About Orenda Coffee
By integrating smart, app-connected features, the Orenda coffee maker represents a shift that we’ve been observing in consumer electronics for several years now.
In today’s tech-fueled world, the devices that live alongside us are becoming increasingly tailored to our individual preferences. More than ever, we’re connected to them via our smartphones and tablets in ways that even a few short years ago would have been firmly in the realm of science fiction luxury.
Now, the latest wave of innovation is coming to the humble coffee brewer. With Orenda, the Auroma Brewing Company is looking to shake up the way your daily brew is made and enjoyed.
How Orenda Works
Put simply, Orenda is a coffee brewing system that learns your preferences and tailors itself to them.
The device measures 5.5”W x 12.2”L x 15.6”H, weighs about 6.5 pounds, will brew roughly 4-5 cups of coffee per use, and features a slick industrial design, with the main structure (the part that comes in contact with the coffee) made up of stainless steel and borosilicate glass. It utilizes a built-in metal filter, but the company claims that it is also fully compatible with most paper filters as well, if that is your preference.
The way it is described on the product's website, the first time you add beans to the 1.2L glass reservoir, which features a stainless steel burr that allows for a more consistent grind size, Orenda’s built-in sensors will automatically select the ideal settings.
During the brewing process, these sensors will also measure the total coffee dissolved, temperature, grind size, and time, all the while comparing this information to the official SCAA Brewing Control Chart.
After the process is finished, you can then connect to the companion smartphone app (available for Android and iOS operating systems upon launch) via Wi-Fi to rate the brew, weighing in on preferences such as bitterness, texture, caffeine concentration and overall strength. Once this is complete, Orenda will update the next brew to reflect your taste, reportedly leading to a more personalized experience.
Through the app, it looks as though you can even share your favorite recipes, or use popular ones from other users, though official details from the manufacturer are scarce on how this will work in practice at this point. Don’t worry, though; should find yourself without your phone, brewing is as simple as pressing a button on the device itself.
The explainer video shows us that you can make many different types of coffee with the Orenda, from French press, to pour over, iced coffee, and cold brew. The device can even be set up to work with popular automation services, allowing you to sync its functionality with your daily alarm, as well as with the popular Amazon Alexa and Echo devices.
It also works with IFTTT, which is a free web-based service that allows you to connect devices together to work via automation.
Now, if you’ve been following this brewing system’s development over the past couple years, the top question on your mind at this point might be: Are there any meaningful differences between the original Auroma and this re-branded Orenda?
How Does Orenda Compare To Auroma?
The original Auroma brewing system got its start on the popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter in November of 2015, going on to raise over $231,448 from more than 600 backers over the course of its campaign.
We’ve previously covered Auroma here at HighYa, but the co-founder of the company behind the brewing machine let us know via email that the name was changed in order to navigate various trademarking issues.
Compared to the original, there appear to be two main differences with the Auroma: First, the company states that there is no plastic whatsoever that comes into contact with the coffee itself. On the previous product’s Kickstarter page, they note that it features BPA-free plastic as well as glass in its design.
Second, the original design was only compatible with Kalita Wave paper filters, while the updated version reportedly features a built-in metal filter that’s also compatible with most paper filters.
Are there any price differences between the original and Orenda?
Orenda Pricing & Warranty Info
Orenda is currently available for pre-order, with the listed ship date being August 2017 as of the time of this writing. The device’s current price is $399.00 (the same as the earlier Auroma), though it is shown to be $499.00 when it officially releases.
It is stated that each device includes a one-year international warranty, though no additional information is provided as to what exactly is covered under this plan. We’ve reached out to both the co-founder and customer support for clarification, and once we get a reply back, we’ll update this information here.
The company also lists that they will ship worldwide, for a flat rate of $35. The makers of Orenda say they will ship you the correct voltage for your country by referencing your delivery address.
Orenda vs. Alternative Brewing Options
As more and more products are released with smart capabilities, you can expect that competition will start to sprout up in all sorts of different niches, and smart coffee brewers are no exception.
Based on our research, there are a number of smart coffee systems that are either releasing this year or are already out on the market, such as the Behmor Connected system and the Smart Coffee Machine. What we found, however, was that none of these various systems promise to deliver the same level of exacting control over the brewing process that the Orenda claims to offer.
Another important note: the Orenda looks like one of the only machines on the market that actually grinds the coffee as well as brews it, allowing for that extra bit of convenience and control. Many of the alternatives require pre-ground coffee beans, with some (like the Mr. Coffee Smart Coffeemaker) even using coffee pods like Keurig's K-Cups instead.
That being said, the Orenda also appears to be the most expensive offering by a fairly wide margin, with many other “smart” brewing systems ranging from $200 all the way down to $80 or so. Many of these devices let you control settings, such as the brewing temperature and number of cups to brew, but none of them show the level of personalization that the Orenda offers.
Of course, without using the device ourselves, only time will tell if these settings truly add an appreciable difference to your daily cup. Ultimately, if you’re in the market for a more highly customizable experience and you have a larger budget, the Orenda might be ideal.
If you’re searching for something on the less-expensive end, though, or you don’t need large amounts of personalization, there are multiple different models that feature automation integration, temperature control, and a basic smartphone app for around half the asking price of the Orenda.
Our Final Thoughts On Orenda
As our devices become more connected to us, we'll be presented with deeper and deeper levels of customization. The Orenda represents this ambition clearly with an intriguing design and a full list of smart customization features that might appeal to coffee lovers who are looking for that sort of thing.
However, while the product is currently available for pre-order, it has not yet started to ship--nor has the previous iteration, the Auroma, which was first announced back in 2015. However, the product’s creators have been fairly communicative with backers via bi-monthly or so updates, discussing the problems that have held production up, including having to switch glass factories late in the game due to a quality standards issue.
As we’ve reported in the past, products that get their start on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter sometimes have a rocky road to completion, due to the many hurdles companies must face bringing their ideas to fruition.
Other than the manufacturing delays detailed on the Auroma’s crowdfunding page (which the company has addressed in various updates), there doesn’t appear to be anything else standing in the way of bringing the product to market, based on the company’s communication with their customers. With these sorts of projects, however, there's always a degree of risk involved.
So, at the end of the day, can the Orenda truly deliver an unparalleled coffee experience? We’ll have to wait and see when the device officially releases sometime in the near future.