Cannabis snobs, be warned: (1) This could be the year you buy a vaporizer, and (2) this article will switch on you to test whether you’re reading this straight or not.
With the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington state this year, major manufacturer’s hope this holiday season they’ll finally pry away consumers who are still clinging to more traditional methods of smoking and eating marijuana brownies.
Balloon and whip systems are hitting the market in a year when retail experts say there aren’t many other big-ticket gifts vying for attention.
“This is one of those gifts that say, ‘I know about you, and I know how it will change your life,’ ” says Peter Gibbons, vice president of merchandising for online retailer, Cooking.com.
Some purists may turn up their noses, fans of balloon and whip makers versus hand held and portable systems like how the machines offer the pleasure of that first fragrant draw every time. Brew strength, flavor and even temperature can be adjusted directly and indirectly on some models to match vaporizer whims.
The catch is that each new machine runs on its own format of temperature control —meaning that in most cases when you buy a vaporizer at a significant price, you’re not likely to change and thus committed to the vaporizers operating behavior, such as the time it takes to heat up and the sensitivity to real-time operating temperature control.
Volcano Vaporizer, Classic or Digital, regular price $575.
The plenty Hand Held Vaporizer, regular price $400
Arizer Extreme Q Remote Controlled Vaporizer, regular price $299.
No wonder the race is on to hook smoking fanatics with increasingly fancy features. The competition has been heating up with the arrival of new vaporizers.
Although true for coffee makers, the above is also very true for vaporizers, so now the switch to the actual Nov.21 Wall StreetJournal article. Please enjoy the remainder of this article, or read the entire article “Making a Better Cup at Home”, especially if you’re also a coffee drinker.
In the meantime, more vaporizer reviews coming soon at smokefreeweed.com
Having replaced the office coffee pot, single-cup coffee systems now want to conquer households. Already, 24% of U.S. homes are equipped with a single-cup coffee machine, making it second only to standard drip makers in terms of household penetration, according to market research firm Mintel.
Sales of single-serve coffee pods are soaring to an expected $1.8 billion this year—an almost fivefold increase from $381 million in 2010, Mintel says. Prices of some pods are slipping, though. Certain patents expired for the Keurig K-Cup, the product compatible with Keurig’s first-generation single-cup system, touching off a potential avalanche of cheaper private-label cups.
The rise of single-cup brewing begs shoppers to do the math. Using one of the new single-cup machines to brew a serving of regular coffee costs anywhere from 55 cents to 80 cents, depending on the machine and the coffee. That compares with $1.65 or more for a “tall” coffee at a Starbucks shop.
By far, the most cost-effective option remains to brew a whole pot of coffee at home using a traditional method, at a cost of anywhere from a dime to a quarter per serving. But that assumes you drink the whole pot. The more-common scenario, as any coffee lover knows, is to brew a pot of coffee but only drink one or two cups, significantly raising the per-serving cost.
Espresso is brewed by forcing hot water under pressure through finely-ground coffee. Most Europeans prefer to drink it black. Americans prefer espresso mixed with milk, whether it is frothed for cappuccino or latte. Frothing milk, though, has posed a challenge for many single-cup makers in theU.S.market.
The Verismo, with models priced at about $199 and $399 and available at 4,364 Starbucks shops and at other stores, runs on Starbucks’s own line of coffee and espresso pods ($11.95 for a package of 12 pods). Verismo’s pods of powdered milk ($9.95 for 12) turn out “creamy, sweet and frothy” steamed milk for latte and macchiato. To produce the dry foam needed for cappuccino, Starbucks sells a free-standing electric frother, which costs $59.95.
Froths Real Milk: The Keurig Rivo ($229.99) brews espresso, and a built-in frother uses fresh milk to make foam for a cappuccino or latte.
Starbucks says home-brewed espresso drinks won’t siphon sales from its coffee shops. Instead, the Verismo system is an opportunity to reach customers when they don’t want to leave home. “We’re fulfilling those occasions where we’re under-serving our consumer,” says Paul Camera, Starbucks’ director of research and development. Starbucks says 75% of its customers don’t yet own a premium single-cup machine.
Keurig, the single-cup brand from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., GMCR -0.36%for years insisted that Americans preferred regular coffee over espresso. Earlier this month, though, it introduced the Rivo single-cup espresso system.
According to Keurig research, some 31% of theU.S.population consumed at least one espresso-based drink a week this year, up from 22% in 2010. Younger consumers are especially hooked: Nearly half of 25- to 39-year-olds drink at least one espresso-based beverage each week.
A critical feature of the Rivo is that it froths fresh milk. “The taste theU.S.consumer wants in a cappuccino or latte is the taste of fresh milk,” says Keurig’s president, Michelle Stacy.
Proportion of people ages 25 to 39 who drink at least one espresso-based beverage a week, according to Keurig.
Despite its $229.99 price tag, the Rivo is a money saver, Keurig says. Its espresso-based drinks cost about $1 including milk, compared with $3 or more at a coffee shop, Ms. Stacy says. Keurig’s Vue single-cup maker, introduced this spring, brews coffee and tea with the option to customize the temperature, brew strength and size, in quantities up to 18 ounces.
Nestlé, NESN.VX +0.17%maker of Nespresso machines, in September expanded with the Nespresso U espresso system. Its water tank can swivel 180 degrees to fit into small spaces. It is priced at $199 and for an extra $50 comes equipped with the Aeroccino Plus, a pitcher system that froths fresh milk.
As part of its holiday pitch, Nespresso is emphasizing the quality of the coffee in its pods. Earlier this month, it introduced a limited-edition coffee, Hawaii Kona Special Reserve, which it says is “infinitely rich and smooth, with a velvety body.” The Kona pods sell for about $2 each, compared with the brand’s usual range of 60 cents to 65 cents.
The arrival of a single-cup brewer can change a household’s coffee culture. “You’re buying sliced bread instead of an artisan loaf,” says Peter Giuliano, a professional coffee taster and spokesman for the Specialty Coffee Association of America. “That’s OK. Sometimes, it’s convenient.” The quality of the bean is most important. “You can’t turn bad beans into good coffee,” Mr. Giuliano says.
Many converts to single-cup brewing add a second machine, says Frederic Levy, president of NespressoUSA. “The first machine is for the kitchen and the second is for the bedroom. Consumers can get the coffee immediately after they wake up.”
Amy Mueller, 28, makes coffee during the week with her Keurig machine. She says it’s so easy to use she estimates she drinks an extra cup a week. Still, the Lake City, Minn., physical therapist prefers using her French press on weekends. She likes handling the coffee grounds instead of the pods. “I love the way coffee smells and how it makes my house smell,” she says.
One indisputable advantage of single-cup brewers is that they are fast. At dinner parties they can efficiently accommodate the varying demands of a crowd. Many hosts find the machine provides a welcome post-dinner activity, as guests select and concoct their own drinks before dessert is served.
With Breville’s $279 YouBrew thermal-carafe system, users brew either a single cup or an entire pot. Unlike most single-cup brewers, the YouBrew can accommodate consumers’ own ground coffee, rather than require them to buy pods. “You can use your own beans, which is a lot better environmentally than using pods all the time,” says Adèle Schober, a Breville spokeswoman.
Tassimo, a system made by German appliance maker Bosch in partnership with Kraft Foods, KRFT -0.82%this fall introduced the T55, a single-cup machine that can brew a two-ounce espresso or a 24-ounce coffee. “You’re going to see a full-court marketing blitz this holiday,” says Tyson Deal, a Bosch USA national sales manager.