The result was that coffeemakers were the odd, ugly man on the countertop.
This past year has seen a big push to knock coffeemakers out of that design ditch. The Ratio was the first of this batch and with it Mark Hellweg brought a Nordic-meets-Apple sensibility to brewers. Then in August Williams-Sonoma imported the Wilfa Precision machine from Norway and introduced US consumers to Tim Wendelboe. While it seemed to come from nowhere, Wilfa’s been around since 1948 and has a range of gorgeous coffeemakers. Then this week the manual-brewing darling Chemex jumped into the mix with the Ottomatic.
Each of these machines puts a premium on clean lines. There’s no boxy water tank hanging off another box. Nothing angles out from the base and the tank, showerhead, basket, and carafe are part of a unified piece of design. So often coffeemakers look like multiple teams went off to solve different problems and came together with a roll of duct tape to connect it all. None of these feels like the finished look was ever shunted aside. The Precision, with its how-does-this-thing-work mystery, looks like the design came first and the engineers had to puzzle a coffeemaker into it. Instead of an expectation that these will be shoved in a corner with the flour canisters and the toaster, these are display pieces in the same way as a stand mixer. When the design is this good, you’ll rearrange your countertop around a machine.
—Cory Eldridge is Fresh Cup’s editor.