About Auroma Brewing
An increasing number of everyday appliances have become “smart” over the years, including microwaves, refrigerators, and washers and dryers—not to mention hundreds of different home automation devices like lighting, thermostats, video cameras, and more.
However, one giant chasm in this smart trend is the lowly coffee maker, which for the most part, brews pretty much like it has over the last few decades. Sure, some models offer more bells and whistles than others, but the industry largely remains unchanged.
Auroma Brewing is out to revolutionize the way we brew coffee. Their soon-to-be-released coffee maker features several sensors that can precisely monitor all the key parameters that make a great cup of coffee, including grind size, temperature, coffee to water ratio, total dissolved coffee, and more. All of this information can be monitored real time via Auroma’s iOS and Android smartphone apps, which also learns and tailors your coffee to your tastes.
To use the Auroma coffee maker, the company claims you simply put in whole coffee beans and a readily available filter (more about this soon), choose between your own recipes or pre-programmed ones, and press a button. From there, Auroma is fully automatic and will brew your coffee in about two minutes.
Taken together, the manufacturer claims that the Auroma Brewing device makes “great coffee accessible to everyone,” while helping you save up to $1,000 per year when compared to drinking specialty coffee.
There’s no denying that the possibility of making “gourmet coffee at your fingertips” using an inexpensive device—versus spending years learning the tools and methods used by professional baristas—is appealing. But will Auroma really allow you to “never make bad coffee again”? Are there better options?
We’ll answer all your most important questions in this review, starting with how the coffee maker operates.
How Does the Auroma Brewing Coffee Maker Work?
The Auroma coffee maker features a stainless steel shell and uses BPA-free plastic. With the burr grinder and 40g hopper attached, it measures 5.5”W x 12.2”L x 15.6”H and weighs a little over 6.5 pounds.
The Auroma also features a 1.2L reservoir that makes 4-5 cups, along with a built-in metal filter that’s compatible with Kalita Wave Paper filters. You’ll be able to put your coffee grounds directly into the device, and Auroma’s patent pending method will brew your coffee in about two minutes.
According to the company’s promotional video, coffee is made up of 1,500 chemicals, which translates to 150 possible flavors and 30 different aromas. To change the concentration of these chemicals, Auroma uses PID temperature control, a scale, and a conductivity sensor, which measure:
- Coffee-to-water ratio: Auroma’s built-in scale accurately measures the weight of the coffee and water, which can dial in bitterness levels.
- Temperature: Auroma’s sensor with PID control helps maintain a stable temperature throughout the brewing process, thereby controlling the extraction rate and chemicals released.
- Grind size (optional): The stepper adjusts the distance between burrs, giving you precise control over grind size.
- Total coffee dissolved: Auroma’s conductivity sensors measure, in real-time, the amount of coffee dissolved in each cup, providing unparalleled control over strength.
- Time: A traditional steep time control that can be synced with specific times, such as your morning alarm clock, afternoon coffee break, etc.
- Brewing control chart: Ensures the “ideal balance of flavors” is produced each time.
The first time you brew a cup, Auroma will pick the ideal brewing point for the bean you’ve chosen. Then, once you finish a cup of coffee, you can log on to the smartphone app, which connects via Wi-Fi, and rate different factors like bitterness, strength, caffeine kick, and texture. From there, Auroma will learn your preferences over time, so you can continuously brew your perfect cup of coffee.
After brewing coffee using Auroma, you’ll be able to rate different parameters like bitterness, strength, and more, which the device will use to learn your preferences.
We think one really neat feature about the Auroma coffee maker is that, based on any changes you make, the smartphone app will allow you to preview your cup’s flavor before brewing. Also, Auroma is the first coffee machine with a tasting flight that allows you to brew three different types of coffee in three different ways—you can even brew one bean in three different ways!
Auroma will also allow you to create different user profiles; features automatic pre-heating, internal cleaning, and safety shut-off; can be synced with your morning alarm or afternoon coffee break, and will even alert you when it needs to be de-scaled.
How much will all this new technology cost you?
How Much Does Auroma Brewing Cost?
The Auroma Brewing device recently completed its Kickstarter campaign, which had 638 backers who pledged $231,448 at the time of our research. Pre-order packages ranged between $299 and $3,490. Current estimated shipping date is December 2016.
You can also order the Auroma coffee maker directly through the company’s website for $399, which will eventually increase to $449. For this price, you’ll receive the coffee brewer, built-in metal filter, and the grinder.
Pro tip: The Kalita Wave Paper filters used in Auroma will set you back about $15 for a pack of 185, depending on where they’re purchased.
Since the Auroma brewer hasn’t been released yet, is there any online customer feedback?
Are There Any Auroma Brewing Reviews?
Because there isn’t a lot of competition for smart coffee makers like Auroma, the device has received a fair amount of media attention from popular websites like CNET, GadgetFlow, SlashGear, DigitalTrends, and more.
Unfortunately, most of these are high level reviews that don’t provide any hands-on insights that you can use to make a more informed decision. GadgetFlow gave Auroma Brewing a 4-star rating, although they didn’t indicate if they actually tested one of the devices, or exactly which factors went into their rating.
Let’s talk more about this competition in the next section.
Are There Other Coffee Makers Like Auroma?
If you type the phrase “smart coffee maker” into your favorite search engine, you’ll be met with hundreds of different results from mainstream manufacturers, most of which are priced meaningfully less than the Auroma brewer.
However, you won’t find the same combination of sensors found with Auroma, and while some will provide app connectivity, their features don’t seem to be anywhere near as robust (such as selecting different parameters, the ability to learn your preferences, etc.).
Now, this doesn’t mean that other companies haven’t tried bringing truly “smart” technology to the coffee brewing arena, although most have yet to deliver on their promises. For example, the CNET article linked above notes:
“Behmor, creator of the Specialty Coffee Association of America-approved Brazen Plus machine, says it has a connected coffee maker "coming soon" but hasn't delivered the goods quite yet. Meanwhile, the Poppy Pour-Over has been cast in serious doubt since its parent company Quirky recently filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. And another smart coffee gizmo which promised the moon, the Arist, has missed its July 2015 ship date, causing many of its backers to lose hope.”
What’s going on here? While we can’t know exactly what happened in each of these cases, the fact of the matter is that it’s extremely difficult to bring a product to market, even if it has a great deal of success during the crowdfunding stage. We’ve seen this happen time and time again within the technology space, with products like Coin Credit Card, Vessyl, TrackR, and many others.
Will this same thing happen with Auroma? Only time will tell, although the company seems to provide regular updates on their progress via their Kickstarter page.
Who Created the Auroma Brewing Device?
Auroma Brewing was co-founded by Ornicha Srimokla, Pawin Wongtada, and Rayan Al-Shaibani, which started as a science experiment in a Canadian apartment and quickly grew into a seed-funded company. They claim that their ultimate goal is to “bring the care back into coffee making, starting with the weakest link — home brewing.”
After coming up with Auroma’s prototype, the team moved to Shenzhen, China (what they call the “manufacturing capital of the world”) and partnered with Hax (“the world’s best hardware accelerator”). After going through four full iterations of the device, the company claims it’s now ready for you.
In the future, as they grow, the Auroma team plans to partner with more roasters, although we’re not told exactly what this will entail (perhaps to stock select blends, similar to Teforia?).
Will Auroma Brewing Deliver Better Quality?
Assuming the Auroma brewer works exactly as the company claims, it might be a game changer for coffee aficionados and casual drinkers alike. After all, it’s a completely self-contained unit (including burr grinder and water tank), features three built-in sensors to control all the important aspects of the brewing process, offers unparalleled insight and customization through their smartphone app—and does all of this with the press of a button.
And to top it all off, all of these features can currently be yours for less than $400 (which will increase to $449 at some point in the future).
Will it deliver? We’ll just have to wait until customer feedback starts rolling in after its release. In the mean time, it doesn’t appear that the company offers refunds, so be sure to think it through before pressing the order button.
Speaking of which, did you purchase an Auroma brewer? Did it arrive on time? Does it work like the manufacturer claims? Tell us about all the nitty-gritty details by writing a review below!