Weber Workshops has wasted no time in moving onto its next major release. The Nevada-based equipment maker has this month revealed the Key Grinder, a motorized sibling to the HG-2 manual grinder launched just last month.
Slimmer and faster than its manual counterpart, the electric Key grinder maintains the same 83-millimeter titanium-nitride-coated conical burr set and fine-threaded adjustment mechanism of the HG-2.
It offers similarly durable all-metal construction, a magnetically centered receptacle platform, the optional “Magic Tumbler” receptacle that attaches by magnets directly to the bottom of the grind chamber, and the same wood-handled brush that nests into the body of the machine.
The roughly key-shaped footprint of the new machine widens towards the front to accommodate the 83-millimeter burr set and platform below, while the long section is just 80 millimeters (about 3.14 inches) wide.
“This thing is just a sliver,” Weber Workshops Founder and CEO Douglas Weber told Daily Coffee News. “When you set it up and put it next to other things, it just doesn’t take any space at all.”
The concept of variability also extends from the HG-2 to the Key. Whereas the HG-2’s gearbox transmission allows the user to shift between easier cranking and slower output versus higher resistance and faster output, the Key Grinder maintains a variable-speed electric motor with speeds from 50 RPM to 300 RPM. The slowest setting on the Key is roughly the speed at which a person might turn a crank manually, and it goes up from there, Weber said.
Several years in the making, the Key is also designed to allow users to adjust burr alignment, an accommodation rarely found on grinders made for home use. While its primary target is the high-end home audience, Weber suggested it may also fit specific commercial applications.
“It’s perfect for the single-dosing cafe,” Weber said, “having one [machine] per bean.”
Pre-orders for the machine have opened at $1,500, which is roughly the same as the retail price of the HG-2. Weber Workshops’ only other electric grinder, the 80-millimeter flat-burr single-dose EG1, sells for $3,495.
“[The EG1] is actually too cheap; it doesn’t follow standard marketing rules of three, four times markup from your production cost,” said Weber. “I didn’t get my MBA, and [The Key] doesn’t follow those rules either. We’re doing it because we want to enable this. We want to establish the brand in a bigger space and make it more of a household thing, and not be just the tools just for the geeks.”
The Key, which will ultimately come with a $1,995 price tag, is slated to begin shipping to customers this fall. A crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo will launch early next month to gather additional pre-orders although Weber Workshops confirmed it will be bringing the Key Grinder to market regardless of the outcome of the campaign.
Said Weber, “I’m not the best at judging the market and what’s going to sell, but from what I can guess, this is what people want.”
[Editor’s note: This story has been updated. The original version incorrectly stated that Weber Workshops is based in Japan. The company is technically based in Nevada. We apologize for the error.]
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.