Thursday, May 3, 2018

Coffee at the 2018 Housewares Show

The abundance of coffee makers (and samples) made it easy to stay caffeinated at the International Home + Housewares Show held by the International Housewares Association which took place from March 10 to 13 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. In this article, I will highlight celebrity baristas and speedy cold brew coffee.

Celebrity baristas

Celebrity chefs such as Cat Cora, Emeril Lagasse, Ming Tsai, and Rick Bayless are a big presence at the show as they demonstrate their culinary skills at the cooking theater and welcome attendees at vendor booths. This year, there was a bigger presence of baristas at the show as coffee maker companies seek to position their coffee makers as producing barista-quality, craft coffee, just like at their favorite specialty coffee shop.


U.S. Brewers Cup Finalist Blair Smith demonstrated Sensio Inc’s new Brim line of manual and electric coffee makers as the brand’s resident coffee expert and ambassador. Some of you may remember Brim as a General Foods decaffeinated coffee brand and its “Fill it to the rim with…Brim” TV slogan from the 1960s-80s before it disappeared from shelves. Brim’s new owner has reimagined Brim as a craft coffee brand with the collection including a pour over coffee kit with 30-ounce glass decanter, smart valve cold brew coffeemaker with patented integrated smart valve, an automatic 8-cup pour over coffeemaker with brew pulse technology, and a conical burr grinder.


Coffee Masters NYC Champion Erika Vonie prepared cortados, espressos, pour over coffee, and more at the Gourmia booth. Gourmia showed its Gourmia GCM3350 IoT (Internet of Technology) coffee maker, “the world’s first automatic pour-over coffee maker can be integrated with both Google Home and Amazon Alexa”. The company has “created a unique planetary pouring pattern, perfected the blooming process, and mastered the temperature control” to replicate a barista’s expertise for the home kitchen. Erika and I chatted about specialty coffee while Eric Grimm made unicorn coffee and activated charcoal coffee using coffee from Counter Culture for me. 


Japanese barista Hiroshi Sawada, World Latte Art champion, did not appear at the Hario booth but I am hoping that Hario invites him to the show next year. I had the pleasure of meeting Sawada at the grand opening of his Sawada coffee shop (in collaboration with Hogsalt Hospitality) in Chicago. Hario is best known for its Hario V60 coffee drippers. They also showed siphon coffee makers, cold brew coffee bottles, and cold brew tea bottles at the show.


Andreas Willhoff, Director of Education for Halfwit Coffee Roasters, General Manager of The Wormhole Coffee, and co-author of Craft Coffee: A Manual, demonstrated KitchenAid’s line of craft coffee makers including new Precision Gooseneck Kettles that have a gooseneck spout and three flow-rate settings and a brew range thermometer in the lid along with a Precision French Press that comes with an integrated scale & timer and a larger size Cold Brew Coffee Maker.


Brian Leonard, “Barista Brian”, has created latte art for celebrities at events such as the Sundance Film Festival and Toronto Film Festival.  At the Housewares Show, Brian created custom latte art at the Nespresso booth with an overhead camera capturing his every move. The company showcased its new De’Longhi Lattissima One Single-Serve Cappuccino and Latte Nespresso Machine and offered a digital tour of its coffee production process through virtual reality headsets.

Speedy cold brew coffee

Americans are embracing cold brew coffee as it provides a smoother, less bitter taste than traditional iced coffee that is made from hot-brewed coffee.  But not everyone likes the idea of steeping ground coffee beans in water for 12+ hours. A number of exhibitors showcased cold brew coffee makers that reduce the brewing time to under an hour.

Cuisinart’s Automatic Cold Brew Coffeemaker uses spinning action to extract flavor from coffee grounds and make cold brew coffee in about 25 – 45 minutes. The machine makes 7 cups of cold brew coffee, with a choice of three settings – mild (25 minutes), medium (35 minutes) and bold (45 minutes). Gourmia‘s GCM 6800 Cold Brew Coffee Maker claims that its new cold brew coffee machine can “vacuum cold brew in just 2 minutes”. Storebound’s Dash Rapid Cold Brew System has a brewing time of 5 minutes. The machine uses ColdBoil technology to make 42 ounces of cold brew.