Fellow steps away from its usual grind with $365 Aiden coffee machine

Fellow steps away from its usual grind with 5 Aiden coffee machine

Coffee is a beverage, sure, but to many people, it’s more than that. It’s a ritual to find a pause in the day, rewarded by a tasty jolt of caffeine. For many years, Fellow has been top of mind for those looking to embrace the ritual. It’s a bit of a surprise, then, to see the company launch Aiden. The fancy drip coffee maker has a $365 price tag to match. But in a space where $25 gets you something serviceable, is Fellow’s device really 14x better?

Fellow has consistently pushed the boundaries of what’s possible with home coffee equipment. The latest addition to its aficionado-forward lineup is the Aiden coffee machine, a sleek brewer taking a stab at transforming the at-home coffee experience. Known for their meticulous attention to detail and commitment to quality, Fellow’s announcement of Aiden is a curious one — but with extraordinary design and a handful of fancy features, it may just be a contender.

So, what’s special about it?

“We make coffee products for the nerds. But we also want to help as many people make and enjoy great coffee as possible. We’ve had a dedicated group of enthusiasts asking us to create a brewer for years, and we saw a real opportunity,” said Jake Miller, CEO and founder at Fellow, in an interview with TechCrunch. “Aiden is for everyone — from coffee aficionados to those who simply want a reliable and convenient way to brew their morning cup. Even my parents, who have Fellow products laid out on their counter, still use a basic coffee maker. Aiden is designed for them.”

The brewer has one-cup and multi-cup baskets, accurate time control and a double-walled, stainless steel thermal carafe to keep coffee toasty. Image Credits: Fellow

The Aiden coffee maker promises precision and customization that rival professional setups, all from the comfort of one’s kitchen. The main innovation for the coffee maker is its adjustable shower head, which promises to ensure an even saturation of coffee grounds, which is paramount for extracting the full flavor and aroma from the coffee beans. Users can adjust the spread and rate of water flow, which the company suggests mimics the techniques of a skilled barista.

The other innovation is the coffee maker’s precise temperature control system, which is crucial for brewing the perfect cup of coffee. Aiden enables users to dial in temperatures to suit different types of coffee beans and brewing methods. This level of control can significantly affect the coffee’s acidity, sweetness and overall flavor profile, providing a customizable brewing experience tailored to individual preferences.

“It’s incredibly fulfilling to finally introduce Aiden to the world after two years of development. With Aiden, we’re bridging the gap between manual brewing and traditional drip coffee makers,” says Miller. “No longer do people have to compromise on quality or convenience. I’m particularly excited to welcome new users to the world of specialty coffee, whether they’re embarking on a coffee journey or just want that perfect cup to kickstart their day. Aiden celebrates every coffee preference and journey, and I can’t wait for people to experience it.”

Customizable everything

The company is introducing customizable brew profiles, which enables users to save their preferred settings for different coffee beans and brewing styles. Whether you prefer a robust, full-bodied cup or a lighter, more aromatic brew, Aiden promises to tickle your tastes at the push of a button. This feature is particularly beneficial for households with multiple coffee drinkers, as each user can quickly and easily access their favorite settings.

Of course, it’s 2024, so users will be able to connect to the machine using a mobile app, which lets users adjust settings remotely and helps coffee beginners with feedback and tips on how to improve their brewing techniques. It’s a nice touch that may just make coffee-brewing a bit less mysterious for coffee beginners, turning the task into an enjoyable and educational experience.

Design out the wazoo

The design philosophy behind Aiden is deeply rooted in enhancing user experience and pushing the envelope of innovation. The company says it consistently rethinks and reshapes how coffee equipment can fit into the modern lifestyle, not just as tools, but as part of the daily ritual of coffee enthusiasts.

TechCrunch Fellow Aiden Brewer 2 e1712773651101

A sleek black cube that makes coffee. Image Credits: Fellow

Great design is 99% invisible, and the Fellow design team has gone out of its way to make its sleek, minimalist products better and more intuitive. That goes beyond its outward appearance — the company highlights how every aspect of Aiden has been crafted with the user in mind. The design team at Fellow started with the question, “How can we make the ritual of coffee brewing as enjoyable and efficient as possible?” This question led to the development of features that are intuitive and user-friendly.

“There’s a hidden gem we’re excited about. Aiden comes with a discreet cord-wrap feature, perfect for those seeking a clutter-free countertop. It might seem like a minor detail, but fitting it into the slim base of Aiden was quite a feat. Take a closer look, and you’ll see the meticulous attention to detail our team has put into every aspect of the machine,” says Miller. “It’s a small touch, but one that speaks volumes about our commitment to thoughtful design and makes me proud.”

Beyond a tucked-away power cord, the machine boasts a clean, accessible control panel that demystifies the often complex coffee brewing process. The designers have prioritized clear, understandable icons and a responsive touch interface, ensuring that users of all levels of coffee expertise can operate the machine with confidence and ease.

As you might expect for a brewer in this price class, Aiden continues the company’s reputation for sustainability and durability. Constructed from high-quality materials that are both aesthetically pleasing and long-lasting, Aiden is designed to be a staple in the kitchen for years to come. This commitment to quality materials not only enhances the user experience but also aligns with ecological sustainability practices by reducing the need for frequent replacements — and if something does need repairing, you can get spare parts easily.

More than the sum of its parts?

Yes, this is a $365 coffee machine. That doesn’t include a grinder, so you need to spend a chunk of cash on that, too. Fellow has a sub-$200 grinder, or a $350 high-end edition if you’re really serious about coffee.

“The biggest challenge we faced in building Aiden was fitting so much technology into such a compact design. While most coffee machines rely on a bubble pump, we were adamant about creating something truly innovative. Our engineering team encountered numerous obstacles along the way, with many moments where we didn’t think it was possible,” Miller explains. “However, driven by our commitment to raising the standard of home coffee brewing, we persevered. The result is a brewer that defies convention. Aiden is a testament to our dedication to pushing boundaries and delivering unparalleled coffee experiences.”

TechCrunch Fellow Aiden Brewer 1

Gotta love a bit of design porn. Image Credits: Fellow

I love Fellow’s brand, and have spent a bunch of my own money on their products over the years, but I just keep stumbling over the price tag. I get that technology doesn’t come for free, and neither does thoughtful design — but I’m making really tasty coffee with my $35 AeroPress, and I can’t imagine spending 10 times that for the additional convenience. Then again, this machine isn’t for me — and with the company’s incredible brand recognition and the enthusiastic zeal people have for steeped beans, I have no doubts that Fellow will sell these brewers by the pallet-load.

Aiden Precision Coffee Maker is today available for presale for $365 on FellowProducts.com, and the company says it will ship in September. Each presale purchase includes three bags of coffee from renowned roasters — Onyx Coffee LabLa Cabra and Verve Coffee Roasters — made specifically for Aiden with scannable roast profiles while supplies last. The company backs up its coffee makers with a two-year standard warranty, extendable to three years with product registration.

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