Friday, July 28, 2017

Sonn Beverage Systems - or, I should have paid more attention in Neal Haygood's chemistry class

In the course of an online discussion about the pH balances of certain liquids, a friend of a friend entered the conversation. The friend of a friend, Glen Poss, encouraged me to look at the in-development product from his company.

Now my employer has used Flavia, my family has used Nespresso, and we have also used Keurig. So what does this forthcoming product from Sonn Beverage Systems offer that the others don't?

Well, the science is a bit beyond me, but perhaps it isn't beyond you.

Using the sonn when brewing allows the solvent (water is the universal solvent after all) to work more effectively and more quickly while using lower water temps to achieve the extraction. This lower temperature is very important because the prime reason that coffee or tea becomes bitter or astringent is the creation of acids that follows with high brewing temperatures. High temperatures are needed for a fast brew, and that is one reason why cold brew coffee is not acid. The other thing that is happening contribute to the silky mouth feel and bigger aroma and taste, the creation of nano sized and micron sized particles. These super tiny particles not only give the water a fresh surface to extract from but increase the total dissolved solids that contribute to the silky feel and big aroma, they are in effect little tiny flavor packets.

The technology can also be used with spirits.

A couple of other resources - here's a Consumer Electronics Show interview with Glen Poss' co-founder. Denis Londry.

And here's an independent review from 2015. Excerpt:

It's going to be interesting to see where it fits into the brewing/home beverage preparation world. It seems early on to have a lot of promise, and is fortunately, going to be quite affordable (estimates around $200). The inventor, Glen Poss, holds several patents on the device, as well as many that he's created for other coffee related gear, a small countertop coffee roaster/brewer....

I have no idea if the $200 target is still attainable, but if so, it will certainly be price competitive with other brewers in this space.

Oh, and one more thing (since I'm thinking proprietary) - does it make sense for Sonn to launch into a crowded market?

Yes, it does, as Agorapulse's founder has noted.

In 2001, my co-founder and I started our first startup. It was a revolutionary new concept that didn’t exist at the time: online social networking.

I know, we were visionaries ;-)

But there was no market for an online social network in 2001. It failed.

In 2004, we pivoted to a B2B play, trying to sell our technology to large businesses and organizations wanting to build their own private social network.

Here again, there was little existing interest. It barely survived.

But when you enter a market with hundreds of thousands, or even millions of potential customers, there’s a big difference! When we entered this space, we no longer had to:

educate our market
convince them they need a product like ours or
fight on prices because there is a market value for your “thing”

Good point.
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