This Countertop Beer Machine Brews Coffee, Tea, and Kombucha, Too
This latest Pico promises to be “a single appliance to brew craft beverages for every part of your day.”
The world has seen a recent rash of single-purpose appliances. Spawned in part by the success of Keurig, startups have been looking for ways to do everything at the touch of a button from baking cookies to toasting a tortilla—and thanks to the global reach of sites like Kickstarter, finding an audience for these products has become easier than ever before. But at the same time, something’s to be said for a machine that can do it all, with benefits like maximizing convenience, minimizing costs and saving space. Now, PicoBrew, probably the biggest name in compact brewing appliances, wants to tap into this larger audience. The brand has just announced its new “Pico U”—an appliance that not only handles its previous touch-of-a-button homebrewing duties, but also promises to make “coffee, tea and kombucha, milk-based drinks, yerba mate, horchata and dry sodas.” That’s a lot of beverages in one machine.
In fact, the first thing that hits you when hearing about Pico U is that the self-proclaimed “universal craft brewing appliance” sounds too good to be true—promising to make a single cup of coffee with your own beans during the day and then firing up a five-gallon batch of brand-name craft beer in the afternoon. “PicoBrew’s unique precision time, temperature and fluid-flow control enables users to brew high-quality beverages for every part of their day with a single appliance,” the brand boasts, all in “the company’s smallest appliance to date” and with a starting price of just $169.
But PicoBrew CEO Bill Mitchell says that the machines abilities stem from its beer-making pedigree. “Beer brewing is very exacting work,” he explained. “When pioneering the world’s first craft beer brewing machine, we had to ensure incredibly precise process control to accurately produce great beers from around the world. We realized this technology also enabled the most precise brewing of coffee and tea and began exploring a broader world of brewed beverages.”
Launching on Kickstarter today, Pico U comes in two different configurations—Basic and Deluxe—with the primary difference being batch sizes. For people who already own a Pico, the campaign also offers “upgrade bundles” to give old models some of these new features.
Back in September, we gave a Pico Pro a test run, and even though the automated system can take a bit of the fun out of making beer, the final results were hard to argue with. Obviously, that old machine wasn’t knocking out single cups of tea or five-gallon batches of cold brew—those are new Pico U features—so we can’t say whether the new Pico U is as amazing as advertised. But Pico has wooed skeptics in the past, why doubt them now?