The Orb One coffee maker is a uniquely designed, single-serve (8oz), stovetop coffeemaker that the designers say has the flexibility to change the coffee type by using a different coffee grind and water ratio.
That is, you can make make your favorite cup of coffee from drip to espresso and yet still keep each style’s characteristic richness and flavor.
This unusual-looking coffee maker is not yet in production and is currently raising funds on Kickstarter.
The design team has a goal to raise $250,000 for the project. Further development and production will only take place if this goal is reached by 25 March 2021. As of this writing, they have raised about $355,000, so it seems that production will proceed.
How does the Orb One Work?
The Orb One works like a Moka pot where vapor pressure forces hot water up through ground coffee. The designers don’t mention the pressure generated during brewing but I guess it would be about 1 to 2 Bar like a Moka pot.
The Orb One has a squat hemispherical shape and was designed by Chicago-based Crucial Detail. It looks weird but smart.
It can be used on a traditional stovetop including a gas burner, electric stove, induction stove, ceramic plate, or camping stove.
The brew chamber can take 14 to 16 g of ground coffee and the boiler holds at least 8 oz of water.
Consequently, you can adjust the coffee grind and the ratio of coffee to water to experiment with different brewing styles.
The Orb One coffee maker is not an espresso machine, and can’t generate a pressure of 7 to 10 Bar to make an espresso. However, the designers say that it can make a coffee with the flavor characteristics of espresso.
Temperature, Turbulence, and Time Regulation
Controlling variables is key to consistency. In the case of coffee, the critical variables are often described as the “three Ts”: Temperature, Turbulence, and Time.
The designers say that its internal structure prevents over-extraction by coupling a temperature regulating solid stainless steel shower head with a ‘laser-pulse-drilled filter’ that allows for ‘perfect infusion’.
What the heck does this mean?
It seems that the stainless steel shower head was designed to be a heat sink and cools the boiling water to the ideal temperature of about 91ºC (195ºF) before it enters the ground coffee.
Agitation by flowing water, stirring, and outgassing create turbulence within the coffee grounds. This improves the extraction of flavor characteristics of the coffee. Essentially, turbulence separates the coffee grounds so that they are more accessible for water extraction.
The Orb One’s showerhead was designed with hole size and geometry to avoid channeling, avoid dry spots, and create maximum turbulence.
Extraction of coffee depends on the contact time of hot water with the coffee grounds. You have full control of the brew time with the Orb One. You simply leave it brewing for as long as you desire.
The coffee grind size and the brew time determines the type of coffee you want to make.
A coarse coffee grind with a large volume of water will give you a large volume of coffee similar to drip coffee. In contrast, a fine grind with a small volume of water will yield an intense, viscous coffee, similar to espresso.
You can adjust and experiment with both grind size and brew time to give you the taste you want.
Easy to use & High Precision
It is very easy to clean the Orb One. Simply knock out the coffee cake and rinse!
The Orb One has a unique permanent stainless steel filter. This holds coffee solids in place during extraction.
The designers worked with a Swiss laser manufacturer to develop a specialized technique to make the filter extremely precise and cost-effective. The laser-pulse-drilled stainless steel contains holes that are 250 microns in diameter, held to a 10 micron tolerance.
The Orb One will be an exciting and unique addition to coffee makers. I just hope that it achieves sufficient funds to proceed to further design and production. I want one!