Monday, January 26, 2009

A Patient Product in an Impatient World

Recently, we had the honor of getting the Hourglass reviewed by, one of San Francisco’s premiere tech blogs. Gizmodo usually covers high-tech trends and products like laptops and cell phones, but no matter who is reviewing, we’re always excited to get feedback on people’s experiences with the Hourglass. (And let’s face it: geeks drink a lot of coffee, so many of Gizmodo’s readers are very likely coffee connoisseurs.)

The Hourglass frustrated the Gizmodo reviewer, who, from the sounds of it, was looking for a coffee maker that would provide a little bit more instant gratification. Unfortunately, the Hourglass isn’t really for people looking for instant coffee. (In my experience, that only gets you coffee that tastes like…well, like instant coffee. Yuck!) The Hourglass is for people who want the richest flavor possible from their coffee; for coffee drinkers who love the taste of coffee so smooth it needs no cream.

We were disappointed by the review at first, but then the comments from readers began to add up. And up and up and up (for 54 pages!). Like the comments for a lot of tech blogs, they were both insightful and colorful, but overall, one thing became clear: the people who identified themselves as gourmet coffee drinkers all spoke overwhelmingly positively about the quality and benefits of cold-brew coffee. Not everyone is ready to wait 12 hours for coffee, but those who do appreciate the reward.

In the end, we’re proud just to have been reviewed, and glad to be a part of the San Francisco tech blog universe, even if we were slightly misunderstood. We’re also still waiting to hear from the reviewer on how the coffee tasted, too!

Monday, January 19, 2009

When is Cold Not Cold?

Cold-brew coffee is named for the process used to make it: coffee grounds and cold water, left overnight, produce a rich coffee extract that is then combined with boiling water (or ice water) to make delicious low-acid coffee. Despite the name cold-brew, coffee doesn’t have to be cold! We made the Hourglass for hot coffee lovers as much as we did for fans of iced coffee. (It’s also great for people like me, who love both—the Hourglass makes enough extract for 8 servings, and I usually end up having just as many hot cups as I do cups of iced coffee.)

When people first see the Hourglass, they ask what it is, and I’m often not sure what I want to tell them first. It’s a coffee maker that makes healthier, stomach-friendly coffee. It’s a low-acid, space-saving coffee maker made from health-safe BPA plastic. It’s a ticket to getting rid of the bitter bite of Starbuck’s daily grind.

It’s a cold-brew coffee maker, but believe me—it’s just getting warmed up!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sands of the Hourglass: How We Got Into the Coffee Business

When Todd and I first had the idea for the Hourglass, we were excited at the prospect of creating an easy-to-use, cold-brew coffee machine because of the taste, but also the versatility of the hot and iced coffee drinks it made. We envisioned it as the solution to the long-standing problem for coffee drinkers like us—a way to make gourmet coffee with minimal effort.

Then, two things happened that changed everything: (a) we began to do our research, and through that, learned about what low-acid coffee means, and just how much healthier it is; and (b) we started to have to make some decisions about the kind of product the Hourglass would be. It was through both of those processes that we grew to be personally invested in the Hourglass, and how it could make coffee better for everyone.

The Hourglass’s patent pending cold-water infusion process, which is how it makes coffee, produces coffee that’s nearly 70% less acidic than traditional hot brewed coffee. Not only does low-acid coffee taste better, but more importantly, it’s easier on the stomach. That means that for the thousands of people with sensitive stomachs, GERD or acid reflux, the Hourglass makes coffee an option again. As we learned more about the positive effects of low-acid coffee, our mission expanded—the Hourglass became about delivering not just tastier but healthier coffee, and that’s something that we’ve quickly become passionate about.

The production process also helped us establish the identity of the Hourglass as we came to each decision. Very early in the process, we saw the chance to make the Hourglass Eco-Smart, and making it environmentally friendly seemed like a natural fit; health-conscious people are likely to be environmentally conscious. It’s designed to operate without electricity, and we customized the process to minimize coffee waste. Then, we picked the safest, BPA-free plastic we could find.

The result was not only pure, rich cold-brew coffee, but a coffee maker that stands for something: health, environment, and of course, flavor.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Big Idea: The World's Coolest Coffee Maker

I should start by confessing: I’m a health nut who loves coffee. I've always always been that way, and those values are what led me to seek a venture that matched my lifestyle. The "big idea" for the Hourglass, however, originally came from my grandfather Winston, who insisted on making his coffee himself, without the aid of any fancy appliance. His secret to great tasting coffee was that he “cold-brewed” it in a homemade contraption. He had his own techniques, but growing up, all I knew was that he made the best tasting coffee I’d ever had.

One day in 2004, I mentioned my Grandpa Winston's unique way of brewing coffee to my friend and business partner. Todd Maas. A few weeks later, Todd sent me an article from the Wall Street Journal that went on and on about how great cold-brewed coffee tasted, and how much the writer loved it. It was at that point that the light bulb went off, and we realized that this wasn't just my Grandfathers secret; many others were discovering this lost art of brewing coffee.

At one point, Todd and I were talking about the cold-brew contraptions we’d seen on the market—all the pieces, all the mess! And we started to think: What if we could create a cold-brew coffee maker that was functional, yet stylish, and convenient, without the mess?

The rest, as they say, is history—but it was those first conversations that propelled us through the early development of the Hourglass. We started out with a simple mission: to make a product that would bring the cold-brew process into the present; to help others enjoy the kind of coffee my grandfather used to make. Since then, it’s become much more than that—the Hourglass not only produces coffee my grandfather would be proud of, but it’s healthier too, since it’s lower in acid than traditional coffee.

But in the end, the idea has always been about making great tasting coffee that’s good enough for coffee snobs.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome to the Hourglass Coffee Blog!

If you're one of the over 40 million people who have a sensitive stomach and would like to enjoy coffee again then this is the coffee maker for you...The Hourglass produces a raw coffee extract with 69.6% less acid because it uses a cold pressed process. Brewing great tasting, smooth coffee without heat.

Heat causes bitter, unhealthy acids to form in coffee but because the Hourglass uses no heat to brew the bitter acids and oils are never released. Without the acid, coffee made in the Hourglass is rich, smooth and never bitter.

The Hourglass is eco-smart using no electricity, comes with a lifetime stainless steel filter (never buy or throw away paper filters again) and is made with health safe BPA free plastic. The Hourglass is completely portable making it great for travel, camping or even the college dorm.

The Hourglass is available online at