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Coffee and tea equipment maker Fellow Products is ending the year with a bang, releasing a bevy of new products that are taking the brand further into categories such as tea, espresso, dry coffee storage and even cocktails.
The San Francisco-based company — which made a splash among coffee pros and home consumers alike with its stylish Stagg EKG and subsequent Stagg EKG+ pourover kettles — has also just announced a product partnership with famed Australian barista Matt Perger’s Barista Hustle brand. Fellow is taking over production, sales, distribution and development of the Barista Hustle Tools line.
Barista Hustle Tools represents Fellow’s first foray into espresso territory, as the line features equipment designed to be durable and accessible for working baristas, while minimizing pressure points.
“We reached out to Fellow to expand the line of our tools because their knowledge of product design and manufacturing is first class,” Perger said in a joint announcement today. “One of my goals with Barista Hustle has always been to solve barista pain points and expand accessibility. I’m confident Fellow, under the Barista Hustle Tools name, has the know-how and talent to make this happen.”
Fellow Brand Manager Hanna McPhee told Daily Coffee News that the Fellow and Barista Hustle Tools lines, while complementary, do serve their own audiences.
“We’re still keeping the Fellow and Barista Hustle Tools product lines relatively separate at the moment, as the products fill slightly different roles on your bar or at home,” McPhee said. “Where Fellow aspires to be beautifully functional, Barista Hustle Tools is technically functional. While both lines deliver technical products usable in homes or businesses, BHT’s products are more affordable as form is not a key determinant.”
The Fellow-brand catalogue expanded this past summer to include the Corvo EKG, an electric sibling to its Raven stovetop tea kettle/steeper. The PID-controlled Corvo kettle is heated by a 1200-watt heater and maintains a set temperature for an hour. Its little Stagg-like screen displays current and target temps plus a stopwatch feature that alleviates extra clutter.
Last month saw the emergence of the Fellow Atmos line of coffee storage bins. Three sizes of bins available in glass or matte black stainless steel feature a novel integrated vacuum air-removal pump within their lids. Twisting the lid draws air out of the container, causing a little green dot to recede into the surface of the lid to indicate an effective vacuum seal.
The company took to its blog to address the concerns of storage nerds who fear the accelerated off-gassing encouraged by vacuum pressure might actually cause coffee to expire faster. Complete with footnotes citing various studies and coffee authorities, Fellow said they looked into it and came up with two conclusions.
“First, 40 percent of CO2 in coffee escapes within the first 24 hours,” the company said. “Most of the degassing happens very quickly in the first few days after roasting.² By the time you get your coffee, it has probably already done a bulk of its degassing so vacuum canister effects on CO2 are minimal.
“If you do get your coffee extremely fresh (1-3 days off roast), a vacuum canister will degas coffee quicker, which in theory, is a negative outcome because degassing too quickly can also lead to the loss of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that create aroma. However, as we talked about earlier, it turns out those same VOCs, along with lipids, are the molecules most affected by oxidation. Oxidation is the primary reason for coffee staling.”
Pre-orders for the Atmos canisters begin shipping this month.
Fellow has also launched its own espresso-related products, Eddy and Monty, for steaming milk and for displaying well-steamed milk, respectively. The Eddy Steaming Pitcher, in 12 and 18-ounce capacities in either polished steel or graphite finish, is tapered to enhance swirling; fluted to a sharp spout for smooth pouring and precise designs; and has a “ribbon handle” for versatile gripping options. The interior of the pitchers are dotted to indicate designated liquid fill levels.
The Monty Milk Art Cups are like ‘spro-oriented reinventions of the company’s artful Joey mugs. The dual-walled ceramics keep drinks warmer longer and feature a rounded interior bottom specifically for latte art. On the exterior the cup is tapered for stacking and feature the Joey-esque aesthetic metal base. Fellow said these will come sized as 11-ounce latte cups, a 6.5-ounce cappuccino, 4.5-ounce cortado, and 3-ounce demitasse. Color options include matte white with a copper bottom and matte black with a graphite bottom.
In the midst of all this, the Stagg kettle’s wardrobe has expanded to include copper and polished steel editions of the EKG and matte white for both the EKG and Stovetop.
There also emerged the first product of what Fellow said is a new “partnerships program” through which the company hopes to roll out two or three products each year in collaboration with various designers and inventors. The first such collaboration is the Fire Road x Fellow Collection, an aesthetically design-driven beverage serving tray, bar tray and bottle opener set. Fellow’s signature matte black, powder-coated aluminum wraps around cool carrara marble for a “timeless yet modern” presentation, according to the company.
“We’ve worked with Andrew from Fire Road for a number of years on various projects, like the buildout of our flagship store on Valencia Street in San Francisco,” said McPhee. “We’ve always wanted to work with a local designer that is fabricating in the U.S. Fire Road was a perfect fit from a brand perspective, and we just love Andrew’s work.”
Regarding the Barista Hustle partnership — in which Fellow is ostensibly doing much of the heavy lifting for the Tools line — McPhee said Perger will remain closely associated and involved with the partnership that aims to leverage the strengths of both camps.
“Matt has an extraordinary amount of experience and knowledge in the coffee world,” said McPhee. “Fellow brings more design and production experience to the partnership, which I think will lead to some really interesting new products.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.