The future of our kitchen cabinets

08 February 2016

Interview with

Peter Cowley, Tech Investor

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, it's 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 - it's about 30 cms in height, it's white, and there's a glass jar at the bottom.  And at the top, if you look in, you can see a fan in there; I presume that's where the coffee beans are going to go.  And it's pretty heavy actually, it's pretty hefty, although it is quite slender and narrow - maybe only 10cms at its widest at the top.  So we wouldn't have too much trouble fitting on your kitchen work surface.

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

Graihagh - It's now saying ready to roast on the machine so why don't we pour those lime green beans in... Okay.  And now, if we twist this nozzle, the fan will turn off as the beans drop in - wont they?  So let's do that.  The fan goes off, in go the beans and I'm going to twist it back round shut it and now, on my app it's saying roasting.  And we can follow it in real time as well, so I can see currently it's only 120 degrees but it's rising... 126, 130...  Whilst that's roasting away, tell me about this bag you've brought along with you?

Peter - Yes.  This is a suvee bag, in fact, and it's used in high end kitchens, so Bloomenthal and Ramsey have used them for many years but it's 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 - It's 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 it's very low temperature, it's 55 or 60 degrees centigrade but for much longer.  And what it does, because it's a constant temperature, it cooks through gradually so that it's not overcooking anything; it's effectively making sure the fabric of the food remains perfect.

Graihagh - And I suppose that's why it's been more beneficial than cooking in an oven.  I can already see the benefits of less washing up because it's 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 - I'm absolutely confident that it will taste better.  What it won't do is look better, unless you brown it.

Graihagh - I think it's the boil in the bag concept that I'm not on board with.  So the coffee roaster, so we'll turn back to it because I'm looking at the temperature now and it's 196 and if I peer over the top and look at the beans, they've gone from that lime green colour to a sort of caramel sort of colour, and I tell you what I'm going to do, I'm 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 can't 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 -   We're getting on pretty well actually. The roaster is now finished and what we've got to do is we've got to get them from where the fan is and we've got to get them into a little jar.  So, if we just hit this switch here - let's have a look.  The fan is on and it's blowing the beans into a little glass jar at the bottom.  So now what we'll do is we'll grind them up...And the kettle is boiled.  Are you excited Peter?

Peter - I'm 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 that's probably been proven by the fact that this is a company that was called Ikawa, and they've had a high end version of this for some years and they've probably sold many hundreds of those, so that's 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 one's about £500.  So for a roasting device that does sound quite expensive, I agree.  But if you're 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 - I've brewed up some coffee and I will back in the studio with you very shortly.  Chris...

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

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