Science Interviews


Mon, 8th Feb 2016

The future of our kitchen cabinets

Peter Cowley, Tech Investor

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Caffeine: Friend or Foe?

What is the future of our kitchen cabinets? Tech investor Peter Cowley talked cookingGraihagh Jackson what culinary gadgets are hitting the market soon...

Peter - Yes, this is quite an amazing device which will allow one to roast beans, before grinding them, with a set temperature profile and a cyclone speed which allows cooling.  And the idea behind it is that you can set it exactly right for a particular recipe of roasting and share that.  So you can actually share round amongst, you know, other users of the machine the best way of doing this and getting the best coffee.

Graihagh - So I have an app downloaded on my phone and that pairs with this device with bluetooth and that means I can control the temperature; how hot it gets and how quickly it gets to that temperature. Does temperature have a big role to play in this?

Peter - Apparently, itís very important.  I take my coffee out of jar so it comes out of the kitchen cupboard so, not to me but there are points in the temperature curve between 205 degrees centigrade and 250, where certain things happen; the way it breaks down where the  chemistry of the beans actually happens and separates out which then gives you the difference between a lightly roasted coffee and and a very dark roasted.

Graihagh - So this coffee roaster - itís about 30 cms in height, itís white, and thereís a glass jar at the bottom.  And at the top, if you look in, you can see a fan in there; I presume thatís where the coffee beans are going to go.  And itís pretty heavy actually, itís pretty hefty, although it is quite slender and narrow - maybe only 10cms at its widest at the top.  So we wouldnít have too much trouble fitting on your kitchen work surface.

Peter - It certainly looks appropriate for the sort of price youíre paying for it and, in fact, itís only doing 50-60 grammes of coffee anyway so, if you look at it that way round, itís actually quite large but it would look great in a high end kitchen.

Graihagh - Itís now saying ready to roast on the machine so why donít we pour those lime green beans inÖ Okay.  And now, if we twist this nozzle, the fan will turn off as the beans drop in - wont they?  So letís do that.  The fan goes off, in go the beans and Iím going to twist it back round shut it and now, on my app itís saying roasting.  And we can follow it in real time as well, so I can see currently itís only 120 degrees but itís risingÖ 126, 130...  Whilst thatís roasting away, tell me about this bag youíve brought along with you?

Peter - Yes.  This is a suvee bag, in fact, and itís used in high end kitchens, so Bloomenthal and Ramsey have used them for many years but itís coming down market now; downmarket in the terms of price and increasing number of volume.

Graihagh - So talk me what I do with it; what sort of things would I cook in this bag?

Peter - Itís designed to cook all kinds of things, so meat and fish are the obvious ones, but one can also cook egg.  This is rather a big bag; this would probably be for a roast for two or three people, put it in here, seal all the air out of it and then drop it in a bag of water.  Good old boil in the bag things from the 70s which I sort of sort of grew up with -  no I didn't, that would be very unfair on my mother - and so that cooks then.  Now the difference about the cooking is that itís very low temperature, itís 55 or 60 degrees centigrade but for much longer.  And what it does, because itís a constant temperature, it cooks through gradually so that itís not overcooking anything; itís effectively making sure the fabric of the food remains perfect.

Graihagh - And I suppose thatís why itís been more beneficial than cooking in an oven.  I can already see the benefits of less washing up because itís in a bag but, actually, does it taste any better because, I have to admit, the idea of boiling my roast dinner in a bag is not very appealing.

Peter - Iím absolutely confident that it will taste better.  What it wonít do is look better, unless you brown it.

Graihagh - I think itís the boil in the bag concept that Iím not on board with.  So the coffee roaster, so weíll turn back to it because Iím looking at the temperature now and itís 196 and if I peer over the top and look at the beans, theyíve gone from that lime green colour to a sort of caramel sort of colour, and I tell you what Iím going to do, Iím going to boil the kettle in anticipation.  So, I will hand back to you Chris in the studio and  I will speak to you when the beans are roasted.

Chris - I canít wait, I can smell that coffee already. 

Interview continues after 'Don't let the Bed Bugs Bite'...

Chris -   Still to come later on the programme, is coffee good for you? Speaking of which, I can almost smell the fumes I think. How are you getting on Graihagh and Peter in the kitchen?

Graihagh -   Weíre getting on pretty well actually. The roaster is now finished and what weíve got to do is weíve got to get them from where the fan is and weíve got to get them into a little jar.  So, if we just hit this switch here - letís have a look.  The fan is on and itís blowing the beans into a little glass jar at the bottom.  So now what weíll do is weíll grind them upÖAnd the kettle is boiled.  Are you excited Peter?

Peter - Iím really looking forward to this.

Graihagh - So Peter - given that lots of high street chains do this.  Is there really a market for this sort of thing.  Why would we want something like this?

Peter - Well. I think thatís probably been proven by the fact that this is a company that was called Ikawa, and theyíve had a high end version of this for some years and theyíve probably sold many hundreds of those, so thatís sort of proved that people do like it.  This is a lower cost version for the domestic market.

Graihagh - And how much is it?

Peter - I believe this oneís about £500.  So for a roasting device that does sound quite expensive, I agree.  But if youíre really into your coffee and you want to do it correctly, and you want to share the results, and get some really great coffee, it must be worth it.

Graihagh - Iíve brewed up some coffee and I will back in the studio with you very shortly.  ChrisÖ

Chris - Excellent.  Iím looking forward to it.  I have my caffeine my cravings kicking in already.



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This segment felt a lot like an advertisement, disguised as a science news story. Gunnar, Wed, 27th Apr 2016

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