There's a clear difference in taking some precious morning moments to brew a fresh cup of coffee for yourself and paying a visit to your local caffeine watering hole. I, for one, would choose waking up earlier to make a personalized brew to skip the cellphone clad crowd at the local Starbucks (and I think many of you might agree). In Chicago-based designer Craighton Berman's words, making your morning cup from a pour over system is an opportunity to take in "the slowness, the meditative qualities of pouring water by hand, the open-air aromas, and the flavor profiles." Berman is the guy behind Manual—a series of products aimed at bridging the intersection of slow food and design. You may remember the first two products in the line: Pinch and The Sharpener Jar. His newest addition to the brand comes in the form of Manual Coffeemaker No. 1, which is seeking funding via Kickstarter.
Berman's design isn't looking to fool anyone with extravagant features or processes: "There's a really strong coffee subculture made up of enthusiasts and baristas, and I knew I didn't want to be so audacious as to assume I could 're-invent' coffee and force it on the community," he says. "The manual brewing devices that exist today are very 'pitcher-like' or 'funnel-like' and I wanted something that felt like a proper appliance, in that it lives on the countertop in between uses and gives you the convenience of placing a mug directly under it." The bamboo base is meant to be oiled and treated as a cutting board. The reward for your extra care: a rich, patina from errant coffee drops.
Check out the campaign video to see how it works:
While there may be quicker ways to get your caffeine fix, that doesn't take away from the careful details that make the extra time worth it:
I like to use the analogy of kitchen pans—you certainly can cook a steak in the microwave, but you know it's merely going to do the job, it's not going to taste all that great. Everyone knows if you want to do it right, you break out the cast iron skillet or the charcoal grill. Additionally nobody owns just one pan—we have a whole array of pots and pans to use in different ways, depending on what we're after. Likewise, an automatic coffeemaker will get the job done, but you'll never get the control of a manual brewing technique, and the coffee will almost never be as good.
Initially, the design was created with 3D-printed ceramic pieces from Shapeways. After being accepted to show at last year's ICFF in an exhibit called Chicagoland, Berman was able to get his hands on glass prototypes—which does the design much more justice—from custom lab glass manufacturer that produces one-off pieces from borosilicate glass for high-end chemistry labs.
At Chicagoland, he ran a 4-day pop-up coffee bar where he was able to discuss the design with those who would appreciate it most. That's where the real difference comes into play when you look at the saturated market of coffeemakers. By traveling around and digging into the design with people who live coffee, he was able to create a well-designed product that didn't necessarily solve any problems, but allowed the coffee maker appreciate their beverage in an entirely new way. "I was able to have a real dialogue with people about the design while I brewed them the coffee," he says. "The reaction was great, and I moved forward into production after the show." Production, in the case, didn't mean large quantities. "It turns out there's a limited number of manufacturers of this kind of glass in the world, and although the design seemed simple, the secondary cut for the opening is actually quite difficult to execute, and must be done by hand," Berman says.
Berman is well-versed in the language of coffee—some of our avid readers may remember his Core-toons under the pen name, Fueled by Coffee. He also explores the world of brew through his blog, Overextracted. (You can also catch more details on the Coffeemaker designing process there.) Much like this other products, Berman's pour over system is much more than a pretty face—its simple aesthetics are the core of the design's concept. "Since the entire design is intended to celebrate the ritual of manual brewing, the aesthetics of course play a large role in this experience," he says. "Rituals are meaningful patterns that emerge overtime in your life—and I think Manual's design will elevate those repeated meditative moments."
Erika is the editorial assistant at Core77. When she isn't covering design, you can find her writing about music, food, and healthy living habits. But mostly music. She also has a strong affinity for hedgehogs, bowling, and bands with goofy names.