There's always a risk in letting a friend or family member know you're really into something. One time you mention that you think frogs are cute, and the next thing you know you're being gifted so much frog-themed decor it's as though a biblical plague has been unleashed unto your home.
The one thing I never regret telling people I'm into? Coffee. I'm always up for upping my coffee stash with something new that I've not tried before, and any gadget that can make my caffeine habit quicker or more enjoyable is alright in my books.
Just one disclaimer - if you're shopping for a real bean aficionado, chances are they're going to have some strong opinions on how they take their coffee, so if in doubt check in with them first. If they're a casual coffee drinker like me, and especially if they're partial to a clever bit of smart home tech, these are some of the most fun and innovative smart coffee gadgets around right now.
Hugh is Livingetc's Deputy Editor, and writes on everything from the latest decor trends to sustainable architecture and home technology. Here's he's curated his pick of the best smart coffee gadgets available right now.
1. Temperature controlled coffee
Let me paint a picture for you. You make your morning cup of coffee, sit down at your computer and wade through the worst of yesterday's emails to start your day afresh. Before you know it, half an hour has passed and you lift your coffee cup to your lips to be greeted with a mouthful of tepid liquid.
That's why I'm lusting after an Ember Mug 2 (opens in new tab). These clever app-controlled mugs can be used at home or in the office, but allow you to set a custom constant temperature for your coffee, not only meaning you can enjoy your brew from first sip to last drop, but you can choose the exact temperature, between 120°F - 145°F, that you like to drink it at. The 10 oz version will last for 1.5 hours, and the 14 oz version 80 minutes - a period even a procrastinating coffee drinker like me would struggle to not have finished within.
Ember Mug 2, $129.95
Ember's temperature control smart mug comes in two sizes - 10 and 14 oz. While it's available on the likes of Amazon for $144 quick delivery, buy it direct for a better deal.
2. App-controlled pod machines
I'm in two minds about coffee pod machines. On one hand, I find them quick and easy to use compared to setting up a coffee maker with a filter, let alone one that needs to grind beans first, too. However, the key to honing your own perfect coffee is about the quantity of coffee to water, something that a standard pod machine simplifies for a one-size-fits-all approach that leaves me feeling unsatisfied.
However, new smart pod coffee makers like the Keurig K-Cafe Smart, available from Amazon (opens in new tab), take away some of the frustrations coffee lovers have with pod machines. Not only does it have BrewID and Barista Mode that can help you decipher what drinks to use your K-Cup pods for, but app control helps you get to grips with customizing (and evenly remotely brewing) your drink without having to worry about the often complex on-machine controls. It also have technology that helps to saturate coffee grounds in pods more evenly, helping your resulting cup of coffee have more depth of flavor and aroma, where some other pod machines can leave your drink tasting a little flat.
Keurig K-Cafe Smart coffee maker, $249.99
Keurig's latest coffee maker might just well be its smartest yet, and given all its bells and whistles, the price feels pocket-friendly, too.
3. Truly portable espresso makers
I'm a happy owner of a Wacaco Nanopresso (which you can find on Amazon) (opens in new tab), a clever little manual grinding device that means you can take good quality espresso coffee with you on the road. The only issue? You have to add your own hot water to make it work, which means carry an extra flask around with you, or going without.
I was pretty amazed then to find that you can also find similar portable espresso makers that have the ability to heat the water too, like this one from Amazon (opens in new tab). Okay, given the size of this gadget, it's no surprise it's not a quick process - when using cold water, it'll take a good 12 minutes to heat up. It's not cheap either, and only works with genuine Nespresso capsule or L’OR capsule, but for a good cup of coffee when camping or on the roads, it might just be worth it.
CONQUECO Portable Coffee Maker, $104.99
Fresh coffee from scratch with cold water? This coffee gadget is definitely worth a try.
4. Voice control
I've got a fair bit of smart tech in my house already, so I know it wouldn't be beyond possibility to set-up a system where I could get my Alexa, Siri or Google assistant to make a coffee with the right machine as part of my automated home.
But do you know what would make that easier? A smart assistant built right into the machine. That's the idea of Lavazza's A Modo Mio Voicy (opens in new tab) - a coffee maker with a built-in Alexa. So yes, your coffee machine can perform the usual Alexa skills you'd expect, but also customize your coffee if, again, you come over a bit technophobic when it comes to on-machine controls.
Lavazza A Modo Mio Voicy, £149.99
Lavazza's Voicy isn't currently available in the US, but can be bought direct from Lavazza in the UK for a 50% discount.
5. Smart scale brewers
When shopping for coffee paraphernalia, you'll often come across smart scales - something which all feel a bit serious when it comes to something you're drinking for a bit of a pick-me-up. However, as we said before, the real coffee enthusiasts know exactly the ratio of grounds to water they like for a perfect brew. Mind you, if I broke out the scales in the office, I think I'd get a few confused stares.
However, this smart coffee drip set-up from Goat Story, available worldwide on Amazon (opens in new tab), has a smart scale incorporated into the design. It can be linked up to a mobile app, letting you see not only the exact weight of coffee grounds, but also allowing you to time it, too. Plus, it can be adapted to work with standard pour over filtered coffee, cold drip and immersion method brewing.
Goat Story Gina coffee maker, $260
Goat Story's (pretty stylish) Gina smart coffee brewer is available to buy worldwide.