Wake Up and Smell the Crowdsourced Coffee Grinder

Published Mar-16-15

Coffee lovers and coffee experts from 92 countries joined forces to design and finance an improved coffee grinder for precision blending.

Hand Ground, United States

The Story:

Wake Up and Smell the Crowdsourced Coffee Grinder For many people, coffee is a delicious and stimulating start to the day, but there is a continual gripe of lovers of specialty coffees. Namely, the difficulty of achieving a consistent grind to unleash the full flavor locked inside aromatic coffee beans.

One company set out to try and solve the problem once and for all, following the experience of its two co-founders. Brandon Warman and Daniel Vitiello had bought a brand new grinder, but after using it for a couple of weeks were irritated with the coarseness adjustment settings which were giving inconsistent results. They saw the comments of other equally frustrated users on Amazon and so decided to build a new grinder from the ground up.

They designed and tested a number of options, but ultimately didn't come up with anything they were entirely happy with. So they turned to the crowd. Hand Ground decided to crowdsource the design of a new type of grinder with thousands of coffee enthusiasts all over the world.

The Crowd Brew Something Special

The company organised a crowdsourcing contest which resulted in more than 180 different design submissions from as far afield as South Africa, Australia, Iceland, Finland and Indonesia. These were whittled down to six finalists, and after a final round of voting, a concept by industrial designer Joaquin Herlein was chosen. His design was just the start of things, and he continued to work with Hand Ground to refine the grinder.

At all stages of the development process, key opinions and ideas were solicited via surveys. There were hundreds of iterations before the final design was settled on. Every part of the project, from the shape of the wooden knob to the width of the base and the length of the handle (even the company name!!) has been designed by the crowd.

The result is a sleek coffee grinder that took inspiration from the focus ring on a camera lens. By twisting the dotted ring around the blender, users can choose from 20 coarseness levels. The finest micron level is 100 microns and it increases at 125 micron intervals. Whether you want a strong espresso hit or a refreshing cold coffee drink, the machine can handle many different brew types.

Among the key features is a triple-mounted grinding axle. It is believed to produce a more consistent level of coarseness than that produced by a blade mechanism.

Coffee Grinder Production

With a prototype developed, the next stage was to finance production and Hand Ground turned to Kickstarter, managing to raise the required funds within 18 hours. As of March 2015, more than $300,000 had been raised.

The finished product is due to be delivered to its first customers in August 2015.

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