At every show there are a couple of products that stick out to me and at the International Home & Housewares Show (IHHS) of 2013, one of those highlights was iCoffee by Remington.
iCoffee by Remington
Before I continue, let me clear up the obvious mistake we all make upon hearing or reading the product name for the first time. iCoffee has nothing to do with Apple, mobile devices, pads or smartphones. The “i” stands for innovation, yes a bit corny, but as you will see this really is an innovative way to brew coffee at home.
Another misconception that I have in relation to this product is the association of coffee machines and the name Remington. I have, like you may, always associated Remington with either personal care products or firearms.
The company is now a brand partner with Spectrum Brands Holdings and is indeed mostly associated with personal care products, though this Remington is not associated with the firearm manufacturer.
However, Remington has been a maker of coffee brewing devices since 1843 when John Remington first filed a patent for his coffee percolator. Over the years, several models of Remington branded stainless percolators and drip brewers have been marketed. In fact as late as the 1960s, print ads found online show the Remington brand percolators for sale.
In 2005 this division of Remington was formed to develop patented technologies in coffee brewing and water purification.
The first challenge their engineers faced was to tackle what they called a 40-year-old dilemma of over extraction of what coffee aficionados say are bitter and acidic oils produced by brewing methods that exchange convenience for flavor.
Remington Coffee Reborn
Remington’s R & D consistently showed that coffee drinkers are not happy with the bitter and acidic flavor produced by their coffee makers and set out to determine the cause of the unwanted aftertaste. They determined that drip brewers unevenly rain hot water down on only a portion of the coffee grounds. The evidence of the partial saturation of coffee grounds is found by looking at the crater left in the basket after the brew cycle. This results in the over-extraction of unwanted acidic and bitter coffee oils, making perfect coffee extraction through the drip method impossible.
Their goal, therefore, was to design a machine that allows the user to create coffee with superior extraction while not sacrificing ease of operation. Remington has spent many years and millions of dollars researching the science of coffee brewing, and as a result has created what they feel is the perfect brewing system.
One of the challenges that an engineer encounters in designing the next great product is to ensure that the new method feels comfortable to the user.
The shape, design and means of filling the water and coffee basket on the iCoffee will seem very familiar to anyone who has ever used a drip coffee machine. Remington wanted the user to feel comfortable using the machine for the first time. In fact, it looks so familiar that I assumed it was “just another” coffee machine as I skeptically approached their display booth at IHHS.
The iCoffee technology focuses on how the coffee is handled inside the brewer, choosing to forego the shower head drip used by most coffee brewers instead seeking a more finessed result with a rich coffee crèma.
First, the coffee is steamed to evenly apply proper moisture and heat. Secondly, their six patented SteamBrew rotational hot water jets further steam, tumble and stir the coffee, releasing the flavors without the acidic and bitter aftertaste.
Because they created a new way of extracting the coffee, iCoffee created a viewing window to allow the coffee lover to observe the SteamBrew process through the BrewView window. This back lit visual aid reinforces the new method within the framework of the familiar.
The process continues in cycles of steaming and saturating until it begins to drip through the fine mesh gold tone filter into the carafe. The resulting coffee is free from any sediment, a feat not often accomplished outside of a vacuum process brewer.
The company states that a full flavor pot of coffee can be achieved using 15% less coffee than you normally use. Due to the sophisticated extraction method and fine mesh of the gold tone filter, they also state that the machine is less dependent on the fineness of the grind.
While I can neither defend nor refute these latter claims, I can say that the resulting cups of coffee that I tasted were incredibly full flavored and smooth. Again, it reminded me of coffee made with a vacuum press but without the scientific laboratory feel of those machines.
Like a standard drip coffee maker, the iCoffee is programmable, has a 12 cup capacity carafe with settings to allow smaller amounts to be brewed. The plastics used are all high quality BPA-free and iCoffee comes with interchangeable colored drip baskets.
Since they state that millions of dollars and many years were spent developing this machine, my first impression seems to be that this was money well spent.
iCoffee by Remington was one of the most popular destinations at the 2013 IHHS and created quite a buzz which wasn’t necessarily related to all the caffeine.
I look forward to getting my hands on one of these brewers and putting it through its paces, testing the claims. One thing I don’t need to find out is whether it makes excellent coffee, it does.
**August 2013 Update: I completed a full review of iCoffee which you can read here http://kitchenboy.net/blog/icoffee-machine-review/
The final step is to see if retail buyers and subsequently consumers will be as taken with this machine in the coming months as people seemed to be in Chicago this March. At $169 retail, it seems a reasonable price for a product that creates such a refined cup of coffee.
September 2013 iCoffee Update
The iCoffee is now available for retail purchase at:
– All Bloomingdale’s locations &
Bloomingdale’s on-line : Bloomingdale’s on-line ordering
– Frontgate Catalog
Frontgate on-line : Frontgate on-line ordering
– Bed Bath & Beyond
– Sur La Table
To keep up with the ever growing list of retailers, check the iCoffee Where To Buy page.
Promotional video demonstrating the iCoffee function: