News of new coffee-brewing methods can sometimes feel tinged with a bit of wackiness. The glass spheres and bubbling water of siphons spring to mind, or the semi-risqué looking AeroPress pump. So when I heard about a new all-in-one coffee maker that grinds coffee beans then brews them using centrifugal force, I knew I’d have to check it out with my coffee people.
I had a Spinn coffee maker shipped straight to Olympia Coffee in Seattle, where co-owner Sam Schroeder, retail trainer Reyna Callejo, and I tore it out of the box and put it through its paces.
The Spinn coffee maker is certainly peculiar. Roughly Mr. Coffee–sized, you pour whole beans into the top and a short time later, it squirts an espresso-like beverage into your cup. Yet it’s an interim step that makes it so novel. The brewing happens in a centrifuge that spins at up to 5,000 rpm, forcing coffee through a perforated side wall that acts as a filter. Spent grounds go into a hopper right behind your new cup of joe. It reminds me of a mini version of those spinning amusement-park “rotor” rides where the floor drops out and you stick to the wall. Spinn’s coffee maker has desirable attributes of espresso machines and the AeroPress, and since it only requires you to tap a few buttons to make a cup, it’s as simple as a Keurig or Nespresso maker, brewing superior coffee without the eco-unfriendly capsules.
There are three drink preset buttons on the front of the machine for Espresso, Lungo, and Coffee, plus four you can customize. Or you can control it with a companion app, where there are more than two dozen customizable drink options. Sam saw this and enthusiastically declared, “Let’s make one of each!”
We didn’t make all the drinks, but we made a bunch, starting with espresso-style shots.
Punching the Ristretto button, the machine ground and whirred while the app tracked progress through different phases, from the Spinn-specific “welling” and “premoist”—“I’ve never heard these terms,” Sam noted—to more traditional “grinding” and “extraction.” We brewed some medium-roast beans that the folks at Spinn sent with the machine. All three of us just stared as it started dispensing liquid into a cup, then Reyna and I stared at Sam, who took the first sip.
“This is not as bad as I would have expected. It’s like if you ordered an espresso at Starbucks Reserve Roastery,” he said, packing a tennis game’s worth of backhands into two sentences.
We made espressos, doppios (double shots), americanos, and coffees. You can customize all of these, changing the weight of grounds and final volume of each drink. If you’ve got favorite drinks and favorite mugs, you can use the app to customize four presets on the front of the machine and then skip the app altogether.
We next tried Olympia’s roast from Guatemalan farmer Ovidio Garcia, which was exciting as we could do a head-to-head comparison between shots poured from the Spinn and from Olympia’s espresso machine.