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.

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