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Prismo AeroPress Coffee Maker Attachment Prototypes

Meet The New Additions To Fellow’s Product Team

By | Design

Fellow is always curious about why products are the way they are and how we can make them better. Making is in our DNA. Even our marketing whizzes, customer success gurus, and wholesale managers are tinkerers. When anybody at Fellow gets an idea for a product (big, small, or crazy!), they make a pitch to the product team to see what’s possible. With the influx of new ideas higher than ever, we needed to grow our product team with serious powerhouse talent.

With that, Fellow is excited to announce that Jeremy Kuempel and Tom Carlson of the coffee consulting and engineering company Blossom Coffee have joined the Fellow team. At Blossom, Jeremy and Tom lead design of the Blue Bottle Dripper and played a significant role in development of the Red Dot award-winning Ninja Hot and Cold Brewer, among other successful projects. Fellow worked with Jeremy and the Blossom team for a number of years to co-develop our Prismo AeroPress® Coffee Maker Attachment. Through the development of Prismo, we got to see how Jeremy and the Blossom team operate, and we were impressed by their deep understanding of both specialty coffee and engineering, a rare combination.

As Fellow aims to increase both the count and complexity of our products, we needed to increase our engineering chops. Having the Blossom team join us made perfect sense. Fellow’s mission to make beautifully functional products for both the coffee aficionado and the brewing beginner is about to go into overdrive with Jeremy and Tom’s coffee wizardry.

Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister Frequen

Your Atmos Vacuum Canister FAQs Answered

By | Coffee, Design

The coffee supply chain is long and loving. The number of people who play a role in getting your favorite coffee beans to your kitchen is truly extraordinary. We created Atmos Vacuum Canister to be the final bit of love in this chain before you brew. By simply twisting the lid back and forth, Atmos sucks air out to prevent oxidation and extends coffee’s shelf life by up to 50%. The care put into each and every bag of coffee can now last longer.

Since Atmos is a new technology, we’re sure you have a few lingering questions you need answering before bringing it home. We combed our social media comments and customer service emails to round up the most frequently asked questions:

What exactly is a “vacuum canister”? I thought my coffee bag was airtight!
First off, let’s define what a vacuum is. A vacuum is a closed system in which pressure is less than atmospheric. In order for this to happen, you need a constant amount of space (i.e. a rigid container) where air particles are removed. There’s a lot of airtight containers/bags out there that get rid of some air, but these aren’t necessarily a true vacuum. An easy way to tell if you don’t have a vacuum container is if your container shrinks (i.e. is it a bag or does it have a lid that collapses into the container). If your container shrinks, it is not a vacuum and will not decrease the pressure below atmospheric.

Uhh Fellow, Atmos is definitely not the first vacuum canister on the market. What makes Atmos “special”?
Unlike other vacuum canisters, Atmos does not have an external pump or part that attaches and detaches. The magic of Atmos is all in the lid. This makes removing air from Atmos super simple. Also, the vacuum mechanism in Atmos is so strong that it reduces internal pressure down to half an atmosphere. In fact, pressure is so important to coffee freshness that we wrote a full blog post on it.

Since Atmos is a sealed environment, will this mean there is a buildup of CO2?
Commercial coffee bean bags with CO2 degassing valves are designed to relieve CO2 pressure build-up and prevent bag rupture, not to necessarily keep coffee fresher for longer. In a vacuum chamber, the pressure is low enough that CO2 buildup is not a concern. CO2 in the air around the beans is non-reactive and will not affect the flavor of the coffee. CO2 does, however, affect your coffee’s flavor once you start brewing, so make sure to bloom your bed of grounds before brewing!

How much coffee does each Atmos hold?
Atmos is available in three sizes. The .4 L Atmos holds up to 6 oz of coffee beans, the .7 L canister holds up to 10 oz of coffee beans, and the 1.2 L canister holds up to 16 oz of coffee beans. But remember, some varietals of coffee beans are bigger than others (looking at you, Pacamara).

Can I store ground coffee in Atmos?
Nope! Powdery or ground substances do not play well with the seals and can clog the intake valve. Since we always advocate for coffee to be ground right before brewing, Atmos was never designed for the intention of storing ground coffee. In addition to ground coffee, please avoid putting any powdery substances inside Atmos such as spices (like turmeric), flours, and matcha tea.

No coffee grinds or powdery substances, got it. What else is good for storing in Atmos besides coffee beans?
The sky’s the limit. Atmos extends the shelf life of your pantry items, too. Toss in loose leaf tea, nuts, cereal, cookies, granola, candy, and other plant-based things you have in your house 😉

Can I put Atmos in the freezer?
You can freeze Atmos, but it’s not the best use of the product. Since coffee beans should be frozen in individual servings as to not refreeze and freeze beans continuously, Atmos doesn’t make the most sense. Atmos is intended to hold multiple servings, so it would be a waste of space in your freezer to put only one serving of beans inside. Also, placing Atmos in the freezer will also eventually reduce the life-span of the vacuum seal.

Why did you make a clear glass Atmos if sunlight is a big contributor to coffee freshness?
If you anticipate storing coffee in your cupboard or a shaded area, clear glass is great! You can see the contents, which is especially important if you’re storing pantry items. But if your brew station is near a window or want to put your Atmos Vacuum Canisters on display, then our matte black stainless steel makes more sense. We think both designs are beautiful, so it comes down to your preference and needs.

I have more than one Atmos. How can I label them to tell the difference?
If you have a clear glass Atmos, you can use chalk pens or whiteboard markers. Both of these options will wash or wipe off. Also, if you have the largest size, you can keep the beans in the bag and put the bag directly inside of Atmos. For the matte black stainless steel, we don’t recommend writing directly onto the body. We love using a strip of washi tape on the bottom.

And lastly, a boring but necessary question. How do I clean my Atmos?
Atmos is not dishwasher safe. When it comes to the lid, please prevent liquid from getting inside and do not clean the lid under running water. Instead, clean with a damp, non-abrasive sponge and use mild soap, if needed. For thorough cleaning, the gasket and filter can be removed and washed separately. Similarly, we recommend hand-washing the stainless steel and glass canister with a damp, non-abrasive sponge and mild soap. Using a coarse sponge, brush or other rough surfaces will scratch the finish of the lid and canister.

If your question didn’t make the list, don’t hesitate to reach out to our customer service team at hello@fellowproducts.com. We’re here to help!

Clyde Stovetop Tea Kettle by Fellow

Redesigning The Classic Whistling Tea Kettle

By | Design

Iron Japanese tea kettle meets Scandinavian design meets curling stone was the conversation that kick-started the design of our newest product. Our product team got to work by first taking everything they knew about the classic whistling kettle and tossing it out the window. We started from scratch to push the limits on what a kettle can and should be. The final product? Clyde Stovetop Tea Kettle.

To dive deeper into the design process behind our sleek update to a stovetop staple, we sat down with the product designer Julian Bagirov and Fellow’s founder Jake Miller:

What was the inspiration behind Clyde’s design?
Julian: The design process for Clyde was very deconstructive. I wanted to completely take apart all the elements of a kettle and put them back together in a simpler and more user-friendly way. With Clyde, we wanted to make a robust and large volume kettle that is easy to use and comfortable to hold, pick up, and pour. We started with a comfortable and easy to hold handle where the center of weight is at the center of the handle and the natural holding point. The overall shape of the kettle is clean simple and iconic where all the elements are clear in their purpose and function.

Jake: And to add to that, we all know that every stove in America has basically the same clunky, mundane tea kettle displayed on the burner. The whistling kettle is just one of those classic kitchenware appliances that come to mind when you think of your grandma’s or mom’s house. I knew we could build a new kettle that not only looked great in a modern kitchen but could also meet Fellow’s high-performance specs.

Clyde Stovetop Whistling Tea Kettle FellowFellow already makes two stovetop kettles. Why launch a third?
Jake: Our fans love the Fellow aesthetic but not all coffee users need a pour-over spout for their brew method of choice. For French press, AeroPress® Coffee Maker, or cuppings, the super slow and controlled pour Stagg provides is too tedious. And, a lot of people simply prefer tea over coffee. We’ve also gotten a lot of feedback from folks that want a kettle where you can serve multiple people. We refer to Clyde has a “workhorse kettle” because of its large 1.7 liter boiling capacity. Lastly, one of the biggest drawbacks with a gooseneck pour-over kettle is that given the spout design, there isn’t a whistle. Clyde is our first kettle with a whistle, and it’s no ordinary whistle.

You can’t leave us hanging. What makes Clyde’s whistle so special?
Julian: The whistle on most, if not all, stovetops kettle is an annoying pain point on the product. It informs you the water is boiling in the most extreme and stress-inducing way. With Clyde, we saw an opportunity to completely rethink how this works. We wanted to inform the user but in a calm and pleasant way. This lead us to explore how we can incorporate a musical note into the kettle. After exploring dozens of options we landed on a dual reed and ball design that lets the pressure out at the right time as the water is boiling, which in turn makes the reeds vibrant and create a pleasant sound. It is really a very magical part of Clyde.

Jake: Our engineer Drew worked for months on calibrating reed length to vibrate at frequencies that sounded like great together. He lost a lot of sleep over those reeds, but we couldn’t be happier with the final harmonizing combo. In addition, Clyde’s whistle not only sounds better than the traditional screeching banshee kettles on the market, but the mechanism to create the whistle provides a more intuitive pour as well. Most stovetop kettles are designed with a lid on the spout that needs to be opened before pouring.  You either have to grab a towel to flip open the spout lid or use your shirt because it’s so hot or shooting steam. That’s a completely unnecessary step. Our magic whistle does not require a lid which means you can pour with one hand. When you’re pouring 1.7 liters of boiling water, you probably want as much control and ease as possible. Clyde provides this!

What other problems with the classic stovetop tea kettle did you fix with Clyde?
Julian: We wanted to fix a few things about the classic kettle. A major aspect we wanted to fix was just how comfortable and balanced we can design a kettle to be. We started by making a simple and comfortable handle to grip that is well balanced and is at the center point of all weight. We also incorporated a large lid opening that is very easy to fill.

Jake: The handle was really important to us, and Julian knocked it out of the park.  A lot of big stovetop kettles do have a handle that hangs over the top of the kettle like Clyde, but there was always something that kind of left us wanting more. The handles were never robust enough or the material felt cheap. We wanted a feeling of satisfaction when holding Clyde without any strain on the wrist given the large water capacity. The final handle is really robust, but it also feels luxurious because it’s wrapped in soft-touch silicone.

Clyde by Fellow Redesigning the classicConvinced to part ways with your current tea kettle? Add Clyde to your collection!

The Making of Eddy Steaming Pitcher by Fellow

Perfecting Steamed Milk: The Making of Eddy Steaming Pitcher

By | Coffee, Design

With no moving or electrical parts, one would think a steaming pitcher would be a breeze to engineer and manufacture. No complicated PID controller like Stagg EKG. No first-of-its-kind vacuum pump like Atmos. Easy, right? Right.

At least that’s what we thought when we started on this journey into steaming pitcher land. Named after the whirlpool effect in water, Eddy took two years to complete from start to finish with the design guidance from our partners at Branch. We decided against the path of least resistance and chose to swim upstream, if you will, because we knew we could make a serious statement in the saturated pitcher market if done correctly. Each of Eddy’s unique features was born from extensive user testing with baristas. Coincidentally, the features the baristas requested posed major manufacturing challenges which, after countless prototypes, we were able to conquer.

We sat down with Eddy’s product manager, Hanna McPhee, to talk about the user feedback loop, manufacturing woes, and the final product we couldn’t be more proud to share with you. The two-year process was well worth the wait.

Fellow Eddy Steaming Pitcher for latte artWhat was your role in bringing Eddy Steaming Pitcher to life?
My role centered around working with our design partners at Branch to research and prototype Eddy’s unique design features by observing specialty coffee shops and baristas. We wanted Fellow to have the best understanding of what baristas like about the current milk pitchers on the market and what they didn’t like. We then took this industry feedback and went to the drawing board to see if we could actually make a physical product that included everyone’s requests and feedback. This part was extremely tricky and the main reason it took us two years to engineer Eddy.

What inspired Fellow to dive into the espresso tool world?
Obviously, our origin is pour-over brewing equipment but we dipped our toes into drinkware with Joey. As we got into the mug game, we quickly realized we wanted to make cups that made it easier to serve milk-based drinks and pour latte art. When we started engineering this new line of drinkware called Monty Milk Art Cups, we decided to design in tandem a thoughtful steaming pitcher for creating latte art both at home and in the café. Fellow always gets very excited when brainstorming new coffee products, but we won’t make something unless we truly believe we can add our special touch to make something better than what’s currently on the market.

Eddy Steaming Pitcher pouring latte art into a Monty Milk Art Cup by FellowWhat are these differences that set Eddy apart from other pitchers?
In both form and function, Eddy is very different. From a functional perspective, the most defining feature is the sharp front crease. It’s a giant bend that goes almost all the way down the front face of the pitcher. Most steaming pitchers have this little gullet as we like to call it. It’s what you see on a pelican or some type of bird that catches fish in its beak. When pouring, the gullet creates two different flow rates which isn’t necessarily intuitive to both home baristas and professional baristas. Obviously, when you use a product for a long time, pour after pour, you get used to this change in flow rate. With Eddy, we wanted to try something different and see if we could keep the flow rate consistent from the start, which would lead to a more intuitive pour for the user. The sharp crease on Eddy did result in a faster pour because now the milk is all going at one speed. However, we do think that we accomplished creating a more intuitive drawing tool. This sharp crease combined with Eddy’s unique fluted spout, gives you more control and a better understanding of what happens with the milk when your hand moves.

From a form perspective, we worked closely with our partners at Branch to visually create something that’s unlike any other pitcher out there. We’re always trying to keep in mind designing for both specialty cafes and home kitchens. This product should be something you are proud to leave on your counter or beside your espresso machine and not something you want to hide away in your cupboard.

What was your user testing process?
We created many different prototypes and had several cafés around the Bay Area use the product in the café behind bar. This was really important because wanted them to use Eddy in the same workflow they would during normal service hours. After every new production round, we’d bring the new, more polished version of Eddy back to our test cafés and start the process all over again. In addition to café use, we interviewed many different barista champ competitors via Skype and also had them send pictures of how they hold their current steaming pitchers. I have a file on my desktop with dozens of close-up photos of people’s hands holding different pitchers. It’s a little creepy to be honest.

How did Eddy’s design morph after giving the different prototypes to baristas?
Every feature of Eddy was impacted by user testing but the ribbon handle, measurement aids, and stainless steel thickness stand out the most in my mind. We kept hearing over and over again that milk waste was a really big concern for small specialty cafés. To help mitigate waste, we added measurement aids inside of Eddy to ensure precise milk pours. We also got feedback from a bunch of different baristas about the importance of thickness for a steaming pitcher. They wanted to be able to easily gauge how hot the milk was inside of the pitcher. These conversations directly impacted Eddy’s thickness. Lastly, and probably most importantly, our user testing lead us to our ribbon handle. When we first started making this pitcher, our goal was to make the end all, be all handle. This was going to be the best handle that you could ever dream of. What we quickly realized is that how baristas hold a steaming pitcher is pretty personal. It’s like how you hold a pencil or paintbrush. So instead of taking a hard stance on the perfect handle, we did a complete 180 and switched our stance to making a universal handle that would be flexible for all pouring styles. With the open-ended ribbon handle, Eddy can be manipulated and held anyway the barista chooses.

Eddy Steaming Pitcher Ribbon HandleAny hiccups during the design process?
So it turns out that when metal is cylindrical, it doesn’t like to bend into a sharp crease. It took many, many versions of the product samples to be able to have front crease without the pitcher literally splitting in half.  This becomes even harder to do when you are trying to make thousands of consistent creases.

It was also a challenge to figure out a way to make the ribbon handle as consistent as possible, as we wanted the handle distance from the body to be a very specific measurement based on feedback from users.

Do you think Eddy will be showing up in a barista champs competition near you?
Definitely. I think the fun part about latte art and milk-based drinks is that baristas are always coming up with incredible new techniques and cool new ways to perfect the process. Eddy is another tool to help push the boundaries on what baristas can do. Really, at the end of the day, it’s about having fun and taking pride in your coffee craft and Eddy helps support that.


Eddy Steaming Pitcher is available in graphite and polished steel and in 12 oz and 18 oz sizes. Grab one for your collection!

Monty Milk Art Cup for latte art by Fellow

Picasso Your Pour: Why Parabolic Slopes Are Better For Latte Art

By | Coffee, Design

A cousin to our Joey Mug, Monty Milk Art Cup is our newest double-wall ceramic drinkware. While Monty can absolutely be home to brewed coffee—our [X] and [XF] Drippers fit perfectly on top of the latte and cappuccino sizes—the design features were specifically engineered for pouring beautiful espresso drinks. So what’s Monty’s secret? A hidden parabolic slope which helps you Picasso your pour by lifting crema to the top without disruption.

First, let’s breakdown the difference between a parabolic slope and a non-parabolic slope. Think back to your algebra days. The slope that’s hidden inside of Monty is similar to the graph created by a quadratic function. The U shape is a welcoming, gentle home for your freshly frothed milk. A cup or a mug with a non-parabolic slope often has sharp 90° or 45° angles. The care put into your milk is instantly mitigated by the hard bottom.

Parabolic slope vs non parabolic slope for pouring latte artNow, let’s talk about the pour. Good latte art has strong definition with bright white milk and dark brown crema. Not so good latte art is often described by baristas as “blown out” because the white and brown mix together to form a lazy tan. To achieve this necessary definition, crema needs to be to lifted to the surface fully intact. This provides a solid canvas to draw on with your milk. The key to getting great contrast is steering clear of turbulence. If you’re pouring milk into a squared, non-parabolic bottom, the milk will inevitably crash into a wall or corner creating turbulence and disrupting the crema. However, if you’re pouring milk into Monty’s parabolic slope, the rounded bottom helps maintain surface tension until you are ready to break it up and start the lines for that beautiful inverted swan with a triple tulip head that everyone loves so much.

Apart from the parabolic slope, our product team kept cafés and baristas top of mind throughout the entire design process. The sizes—latte, cappuccino, cortado, and demitasse—were chosen specifically for espresso-based drinks. We also specifically designed these cups to be square on the outside for convenient stacking in cafés or on an espresso machine. The latte size stacks with the cappuccino size while the cortado stacks with the demitasse. Also, unlike our Joey mug, Monty is dishwasher safe.

Monty Milk Art Cup for pouring latte art by Fellow

Thanks to the very important parabolic slope, Monty is your canvas to Monet your milk. We want to see you van Gogh to town with beautiful latte art. Share your photos on Instagram and tag us for a chance to be featured!


Shop the Monty Milk Art Cup family here!

Fellow Atmos Vacuum Canister for Coffee

A Q&A with the Inventor of Atmos Vacuum Canister

By | Coffee, Design

Fellow’s latest product, Atmos Vacuum Canister, launched in September with the important mission to keep coffee fresher for longer. The minimalist canister looks simple, but the science and engineering inside is no joke. Drew Cosgarea, Fellow’s Product Development Engineer, invented Atmos during his junior year of college at Stanford and spent the next four years working hard to bringing it to market. To celebrate our newest engineer on the Fellow team, we had Drew dig up old photos from his college days and then sit in the hot seat to answer all things Atmos and dive deeper into what’s exactly happening inside the most effective coffee canister out there.

What’s the origin story of Atmos?
During the last quarter of my junior year (spring of 2014), I was in a class called ME203 at Stanford. This is a popular design and manufacturing class where you have ten weeks to come up with a physical product idea, make multiple prototypes, and then present a “finished” version at the end of the quarter.

And how did you land on coffee storage?
My class project corresponded to a time where I had just recently started drinking coffee. I’d buy a bag on the weekend and use it all week, but by Friday, the bag tasted off. I realized that a good product could be something to keep my bag of coffee fresher for longer.

What was the first prototype like?
I made the first version of Atmos in that class, except that it had a hand pump. At the end of the class, we presented at an expo in the d.school where about a couple hundred people came and looked at all the products. Someone came up to my table and said he’d actually use this but didn’t like the separate pump. So I went to the professor of the class, David Beach, and told him I can make the vacuum canister a lot better. I asked him if he’d be willing to mentor me to turn Atmos into a real product.

He said it would be a really hard thing to do, but if I committed the time, we can do an independent study the fall of my senior year. I knew I wanted to put a pump into the lid and power it with a twisting motion, which as far as I know, has never been done before. During the study, we iterated through a series of prototypes starting with literally just cutting components of a fish tank pump. But by the end of the independent study, we had a functional, machined proof of concept. No fish tank pumps required!

Atmos Vacuum Canister Drew Cosgarea

Atmos Vacuum Canister by FellowWhat happened after graduation?
Well, I moved to Arizona for a year to train full time for the 2016 Olympic Swimming Trials. I got extremely bored during that time, so I continued working on the project while training. I worked on the CAD and eventually raised $25,000 from a couple different investors, basically friends and family, to help me get the patent on this. I eventually got the patent for a vacuum sealable container with an internal pump mechanism. This is the only internal curved vacuum pump. There were no designs for curved pumps that could be integrated into a lid.

Where does Fellow come into this whole story?
So by now, it’s 2017 and Atmos had been an idea of mine for three years. I spent the last of the money on the patent application, and I was running out of steam. I was about ready to give up on the project when I had a conversation with Professor Perry Klebahn from Stanford. He encouraged me to not walk away, but instead, chat with Jake at Fellow who was in his launchpad class in the d.school a few years back. So I headed to Fellow’s old office in the Dogpatch and met with Jake for the first time. Coincidentally, Fellow had been wanting to make a coffee storage vehicle for the past few years and Jake was excited to add my technology to Fellow’s portfolio of products.

How did Fellow help bring Atmos to market?
Fellow officially took on the Atmos project January of 2018. A side note, I had always referred to this product as Hypo (comes from “hypobaric” which means low pressure and the name Atmos didn’t come along until July of this year). The final naming process took about a month, but I’m so glad it ended up the way it did. Anyways, Fellow and Branch Creative worked for months to create the beautiful design ID and iron out kinks. Then in June, I actually joined the Fellow team officially. This was not the intention when I passed off Atmos, but something kept drawing me back to Fellow and I was excited to design new products with them.

My first day at Fellow was a flight to Taiwan for factory visits. I got to see the mold tooling for the curved pumped piece. This curved pump is the foundation of my invention and a huge headache, so it was pretty rad to see this in real life. Ever since getting back from the trip, I’ve been improving on the design and guiding production ramp up through launch at the end of September.

Atmos Vacuum Canister Protoype

Why is Atmos better than what’s on the market currently?
At the time of invention, there were no vacuum canisters that didn’t require an extra pump. There are also some other non-vacuum coffee containers out there, but they’re total gimmicks. Here’s why. When you roast coffee, a bunch of compounds form that make it smell and taste good. Oxygen comes in and steals electrons from these compounds, which makes them smell and taste bad. This is called an oxidation, and it’s the reason coffee goes stale. How quickly oxidation happens depends on the pressure of the oxygen. Again, pressure. It’s a fundamental principle of chemistry. If you’re not storing in a vacuum, you’re not slowing oxidation. Frankly, non-vacuum containers are no different than leaving your beans in the coffee bag and folding the tabs down. Not to mention, Atmos is beautifully designed and minimalist. The whole idea is you can’t tell there’s a pump inside.

Fellow Atmos Vacuum CanisterDid you have any big hiccups while making Atmos?
I would say there were at least four times that I wanted to totally ditch the project. There were times when the only thing that kept me going was knowing that I borrowed money from my friends and family. I didn’t want to let them down.

How do you feel now that your baby is finally out in the world?
It’s super satisfying. To be able to see the entire process from the original idea to the industrial design to the marketing campaign to fulfillment, it’s pretty magical. I never imagined it was actually possible.

How many Atmos’ did your mom buy on launch day?
Sheila Cosgarea bought six. A set of the clear glass and a set of the matte black stainless steel.

What are you going to store in Atmos?
I’m definitely going to put full bags of coffee in the 1.2 liter glass size. I like to see the label and remember the tasting notes that I’m drinking. Also, specialty bags are so well designed, why would you cover them? Also, when you put a bag of coffee inside, the bag also gets vacuumed sealed!

What’s next in your product inventing pipeline?
From Atmos’ idea conception until the product shipped, it took me four years. I would say now, my goal is to cut that down to eight months for the next Fellow product. That’s why I’m here. They have the resources and mentorship to learn how to do this along with an incredible brand that I’m excited to design for. (Note: We did not pay him to say this. Although, he is on our payroll…)


Thank you, Drew! If you didn’t already know, Atmos is a pre-order product shipping in mid-November. Right now, we have special pre-order launch deal – buy two, get one of equal or lesser value for free!

SHOP ATMOS VACUUM CANISTER

Fellow x Fire Road Andrew Perkins

Fire Road x Fellow | A San Francisco Collaboration

By | Bay Area, Design

Below Andrew Perkins’ rural home in the Santa Cruz mountains spans a network of fire roads. Meant for fire containment, Andrew hopped on his bike as a kid and used the dirt roads as a jumping off point to blaze a new path into the woods. He’d veer off when he saw an adventure waiting to happen and then find his way back on the road to get home in time for dinner. These fire roads were his first gateway to nature.

In 2015, Andrew started San Francisco design brand, Fire Road. The Santa Cruz mountains not only inspired the name, but also his love for designing and building. At 12-years-old, Andrew constructed his first project, a tricked out Home Alone-style treehouse. Booby traps, pulley system for transporting food and water, a tripwire that sent a shoe on a string flying toward your face. You name it, this treehouse had it.

While Andrew’s design aesthetics evolved beyond booby traps (although this writer would argue that booby traps should be incorporated into more things), he still puts the same passion and detail into every single one of his creations. Fire Road is focused on creating iconic home goods with unique material combinations, minimalist design, and excellent function. Every product is made in the USA, combining advanced production with superior craftsmanship to create innovative and inviting accessories for the home. Andrew values permanence, quality, and sustainability in everything he does.

Since the beginning, beautifully functional has been the foundation of Fellow’s design principles. Every element of a product must equally push forward both functionality and aesthetics. To celebrate brands who share in our same approach when making and creating, we’re launching a new collaboration platform, Fellow Partnerships. We’re honored to work with Andrew Perkins and Fire Road for our first official partnership.

Fellow x Fire Road Serving Set Collection

Fellow x Fire Road Serving Tray ClampsEveryday objects meet high-design for a collection centered around the art of entertaining for the Fire Road x Fellow Collection. Carrara marble contrasted with powder coated aluminum in Fellow’s signature matte black fuse together for a timeless yet modern serving set that includes a serving tray, bar tray, and bottle opener.

“While designing Fire Road x Fellow, I was inspired by opposing materials coming together to create a beautiful relationship. The Carrara marble is the natural element, while the matte black aluminum leans industrial,” said Andrew. “Each individual piece has a little bit of the other pieces in their design. They are a stunning complementary set, but each piece looks effortless standing alone.”

Fellow x Fire Road Cocktail Serving Tray

Fellow x Fire Road Marble Bottle Opene

Fire Road x Fellow is a limited-run collection. Shop each piece separately or snag the entire set to save $28. 

 

SHOP THE COLLECTION

Corvo EKG Electric Tea Kettle

What’s The Point of A PID Controller In An Electric Kettle?

By | Coffee, Design

Minimal and modern with a single button and a sleek LCD screen, Stagg EKG and Corvo EKG’s base is hiding something very powerful inside: a PID controller. A proportional-integral-derivative controller is a control loop feedback mechanism widely used in industrial control systems. The PID controller continuously calculates an error value as the difference between a desired setpoint and a measured process variable and applies a correction based on proportional, integral, and derivative terms which give the controller its name.1  Or in much simpler terms, EKG’s PID controller is basically a mathlete with a TI-84 calculator constantly running equations to determine the most efficient way to reach your goal temperature.

“An everyday example is the cruise control on a road vehicle; where external influences such as gradients would cause speed changes, and the driver has the ability to alter the desired set speed. The PID algorithm restores the actual speed to the desired speed in the optimum way, without delay or overshoot, by controlling the power output of the vehicle’s engine.”2 Well before cruise control, the original application of PID controllers was for the automatic steering systems for ships in the early 1920s. So if you ever want to drop an impressive factoid while brewing up a pour-over, you can say your Stagg EKG or Corvo EKG has the same technology as ocean liners.

If your electric kettle has a traditional thermostat, it heats up by overshooting the goal temperature, and then it drops below the goal temperature to cool off. All kettles (that we’re aware of) have a simple on/off controller. So, the power is either at 100% or 0%. Again it overshoots, undershoots, overshoots, and undershoots until it gets close to the goal temperature. Charted on a graph, it would look like spiking zig zag lines or the stock market crashing and rebounding day after day. This is not efficient and in reality, your “hold” is just holding at a degree or two below and above, flipping back and forth.

Now onto the EKG family and the two reasons EKG outperforms everything else on the market. First, Stagg EKG and Corvo EKG use a PID controller (much like your fancy $20,000 espresso machines), so the zig zags are less drastic and resemble a curve leveling off at your goal temperature. This lends itself to a more accurate output. In addition, those other kettles just have on/off mechanical relays (remember from above, either 100% or 0% power). Fellow’s EKG line is able to do a little something called “Pulse Width Modulation” using a non-mechanical approach. PWM uses series of on/off pulses to vary the duty cycle, the fraction of time that the output voltage is “on” compared to when it is “off.” This PWM action allows us to maintain temp much more accurate compared to a standard mechanical relay that is clicking on and off around the set point. Oh, and that also means Stagg EKG doesn’t have that annoying mechanical on/off click that drives baristas crazy.

Okay okay… so what does this mean in terms of actual performance? After running countless tests, we can say with confidence that the EKG family’s PID controller heats and maintains water temperature to +/- .3 degrees Celsius. This is three to four times more accurate than the leading electric pour-over kettle available on the market today. In one series of tests, we compared Stagg EKG to the leading variable temp pour-over kettle (to be nice, we won’t name names).

The test: 600 ml of water set to hold at 200°F.

Although both kettles have an average temperature of essentially 200°F over the course of testing duration (averages can be misleading), the standard deviations tell a very different story. Stagg EKG has a standard deviation of 0.27°F while the leading pour-over kettle comes in at 1.06°F.

As you can see from the plot, Stagg EKG is bouncing between about 199.5°F and 200.5°F (blue line), while the leading pour-over kettle ranges from a low of below 198°F and a high of over 201.5°F (red line). The competitor kettle turns on (100%) overshoots the set point, then shuts off (0%). The water cools down to 198°F and then the kettle clicks back on (100%). The result is relatively drastic swings in temperature even though you’re technically in hold mold. Stagg EKG, through PID and PWM is able to do micro adjustments that make it hold temp three times more accurate in this experiment.

Stagg EKG vs. Leading Variable Temp Pour-Over KettleWhy should the inner-workings of an electric kettle matter to you? The fourth wave of coffee has been forecasted as “the science of coffee.” As we learn more about coffee, users seek more resolution on their brewing parameters as seen in many third wave shops employing techniques such as Total Dissolved Solids, brewing by weight, and using coffee brewing smart technology. Stagg EKG and Corvo EKG provide users the ability to manipulate temperatures with to-the-degree precision to easily control the brewing temperature. This empowers users to experiment and explore all the varying degrees of extraction for coffee and tea. Both Stagg EKG and now our latest product, Corvo EKG, have a brew range of 104°F to 212°F (40°C-100°), can hold the set temperature for 60 minutes, and most importantly, are the most accurate variable temperature electric kettles on the market.

Corvo EKG Electric Tea KettleStagg EKG Electric Pour-Over Kettle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design Month | June Featured Roasters

By | Design, Featured Roaster

To tell you why we at Fellow have decided June is “Design Month,” we first have to tell you about San Francisco Design Week!  SF Design Week is an annual gathering of great minds and hands and eyes and imaginations to showcase the latest and greatest in design innovation from all over the world.

Over the last decade, packaging in the specialty coffee industry has become something of an art with the challenge of balancing form, functionality, and originality. Will it keep my coffee nice and fresh? Is it compostable? Informative? Does it look fly on my kitchen counter?

When we take these things into consideration, it’s easy to see why design is so integral and important to the way we experience almost everything in our daily lives from our shoes to our phones to our toothbrushes to our coffee.

To celebrate design with the rest of our city, we have carefully selected some of the finest examples of coffee packaging in the whole industry. We hope you’ll enjoy these gems!

TALOR&JØRGEN
Oslo, Norway | Founded in 2015 by Talor Browne and Jørgen Hansrud

Fun Fact: Before Talor&Jørgen, Jørgen founded a start-up in 2014 called Epic Win Movement to empower young people to learn practical skills to facilitate their projects. Talor boasts a robust coffee career spanning from companies like St. Ali, Barista Hustle, Coutume, and Tim Wendelboe, as well as being a Q Grader.

Talor&Jorgen Fellow June Featured RoastersCoffee/Origin: Rwanda Nyamasheke
Variety: Red Bourbon
Process: Washed
Notes: Vibrant, Raspberry, Vanilla

“This coffee from Mahembe is unique in many ways. Justin the owner is unusual in his commitments to improving his operating and to processing some of the best coffees coming out of Rwanda. Mahembe is a privately owned washing station owned by Justin Musabyiama, who is also growing his own coffee trees. Justin has grown up in the local area and after moving away for some time, decided to come back home and invest in the community he was from by building a wet mill on his father’s coffee plantation.” – Talor&Jørgen (@talorjorgen)

Shop this coffee!

CITY OF SAINTS COFFEE ROASTERS
Brooklyn, New York | Founded in 2014 by Joe Palozzi and Matt Wade

Fun Fact: City of Saints’ café/ roastery is neighbors with a small art gallery with whom they collaborate frequently, contributing to their eclectic and vibrant aesthetic.

City of Saints Coffee Roasters Fellow June Featured RoastersCoffee/Origin: Ethiopia Germa Eshetu
Variety: Heirloom
Process: Washed
Notes: Peach, Agave, Arnold Palmer

“Girma Eshetu is an undeniably badass human being. We knew this before we met him, from the story of how he wound up living and farming in the region he is today, a story that starts in a beer brewery, takes us through a self-funded Masters in Mechanical Engineering, and ends in what Girma believes is his ancestral homeland – fittingly shared with the purported birthplace of coffee itself.

The spiel certainly sets you up to expect a dazzling dude. But meeting Girma sealed the deal – impeccably dressed in pink stripes and a Panama hat, with beer bottles as seeming extensions of his fingers. This is a man who takes tremendous pride in producing phenomenal coffee, and always keeps his sights on improvement. Before embarking on the several hour horseback ride to his Estate, we met at a washing station he constructed for processing community lots. Here, he enthusiastically flaunted his water filtration system by drinking the very water he’d be using to wash the coffee, cupping it in his hand and slurping it up with giddy pride. When we sip Girma’s coffee ourselves, it’s hard not to emulate that excitement. Characterized by vibrant, shimmering brightness and a refreshingly silky mouthfeel, this coffee is a treat anytime, but is perfectly suited for summer.” – City of Saints Coffee Roasters (@cityofsaintscoffee)

Shop this coffee!

METHODICAL COFFEE ROASTERS
Greenville, South Carolina | Founded in 2015 by Will Shurtz, David Baker, and Marco Suarez

Fun Fact: Will started serving coffee from his mobile cart called Vagabond Coffee when he was only 18!

Methodical Coffee Roasters Fellow June Featured RoastersCoffee/Origin: Honduras “Santa Barbara”
Variety: Red Catuai
Process: Washed
Notes: Milk Chocolate, Stone Fruit, Nutty Finish

“Since 2005, the region of Santa Barbara and the small producers living and working there have shared the distinction as the place and the people producing exceptional coffee within Honduras. Our work and the beginning of the on-going relationships we’ve since established here began during the 2005 Cup of Excellence. We came to realize that there are exceptional producers from this small area. And since that inaugural year, we have purchased from over twenty different Santa Barbara producers.

Located in the village of Pena Blanca is coffee exporter San Vicente – the company that coordinates the coffee we buy from Santa Barbara. Over the past several years, one particular hillside has become the largest supplier of CoE winners in Honduras. The most successful farms with the smartest and most innovative farmers are neighbors on the hillsides of this region and they help each other to refine the best of their lots.” – Methodical Coffee Roasters (@methodicalcoffee)

Shop this coffee!

BRANDYWINE COFFEE ROASTERS
Wilmington, Delaware | Founded in 2013 by Todd Purse

Fun Fact: All of Brandywine’s bags are stamped and screen printed by hand with original designs by Todd himself!

Brandywine Coffee Roasters Fellow June Featured RoasterCoffee/Origin: Panama Elida Estate
Variety: Catuai
Process: Natural
Notes: Grape, Elderberry, Kiwi

“The Lamastus Family has being producing coffee in Elida Estate for four generations since 1918. Elida Estate coffees are produced under a unique world-ecological condition. It is shade-grown, bird friendly, and the farm is located at a very high elevation in a micro climate with very low temperatures. The coffee trees are surrounded by the Volcan Baru National Park, a virgin native cloudy rain forest.

At the turn of the century Kentucky born Robert Lamastus started an Arabica coffee plantation in a farm located at around 5,600 ft (1,700 m) above sea level in the skirts of the Baru Volcano in Boquete, Panama. At the time our grandfather processed and exported what is still today considered as one of the highest quality coffees in the world. Nowadays and three generations later, the tradition continues. The Lamastus family still produces, processes, exports, and now roast its own rare estate coffees.” – Brandywine Coffee Roasters (@brandywinecoffeeroasters)

Shop this coffee!

ELIXR COFFEE ROASTERS
Philadelphia, PA | Founded in 2010 by Evan Inatome

Fun Fact: Elixr’s newest roastery/café facility offers an “Omakase” style, where guests can receive a specially curated flight of their special offerings!

Elixr Coffee Fellow June Featured RoastersCoffee/Origin: Colombia “Suarez”
Variety: Caturra, Castillo
Process: Washed
Notes: Bruleed Sugar, White Grape, Birch Beer

“For the second year in a row, we are proud to present Suárez from the Cauca region of Colombia. We first came across this coffee at the best of Cauca competition two years ago. This year’s crop offers the same deep sweetness, and complexity as we remembered. With tasting notes of bruleed sugar, white grape, and birch beer, this coffee is one of those easy drinking sweet and enjoyable cups!” – Elixr Coffee Roasters (@elixrcoffee)

Shop this coffee!

While these five eye-candy coffees have taken up residency on our Featured Roasters wall this month, that’s not the only SF Design Week fun Fellow is having. On June 15, the Fellow Store + Playground is along the route for SF Design Week’s Studio Crawl for Dogpatch, Mission, and Potrero. Grab your tickets before they sell out because…the first 70 people to visit Fellow will get a tote bag screen printed by an artist live at our event!

Stagg EKG+ Production Update

By | Coffee, Design

 

After a couple of months of frustration, we finally had a great week:) All Kickstarter and website pre-order Stagg EKG+ units were successfully assembled and tested. Each and every unit produced was connected to BlueTooth and each unit was brought to a boil to confirm functionality. In addition, we hired an independent third party testing agency to randomly sample a subset of units and the agency provided our team with a pre-shipment inspection report. Everything is looking good.

What’s next?

Yesterday the Stagg EKG+ units were loaded into a 40′ sea container at our factory and the container was transported via semi-truck to the loading area for the shipping container. The ship was set to sail on February 11th with an estimated arrival date of March 9th at the Port of Oakland. We can’t tell you how relieved we are to get these units our before Chinese New Year. Our factory shuts down today and won’t be operational again until early March!

Once the units arrive in Oakland we’ll schedule a pick-up and deliver to our warehouse in Oakland, California. Typically, we are able to pick-up a container a couple days after arrival. As soon as we get the units into our warehouse we’ll start the shipping process out to you! We’ve already purchased shipping boxes and supplies in advance. So, this means the first packages will be shipped out the week of March 12th (or 1-2 days after we are able to pull the container). Obviously things can happen that would delay this date (i.e., customs flagging the container for inspection), but we’re optimistic we can stick to this schedule.

All of use here can’t wait to deliver Stagg EKG+ to all of you — our backers and early supporters. Thank you for patiently waiting…. we’re confident the wait will be worth it!

Jake and the Fellow Team