The innovative Flask coffee brewer has been rescued from development purgatory, finding a new home with Planetary Design‘s new Ethoz brand for an official launch next month.
The Flask was originally developed as the first home brewing device by Brooklyn, New York-based Alpha Dominche, the maker of the Steampunk brewing system. Alpha Dominche revealed the device in December 2017 before attracting more than $230,000 in crowdfunding pledges for its production.
In April of 2018, the brewer also turned heads at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Seattle, including that of Jess Nepstad, CEO of Montana-based coffee and tea brewing and storage equipment maker Planetary Design.
“Walking through the trade show, I walk by the Alpha Dominche booth and I saw the Flask, and I said to myself, ‘Wow. If Planetary Design was going to ever design or create an indoor, home-use French press, that would be the product that I would want, that I would hope that we would have developed,” Nepstad told Daily Coffee News. “I spent many minutes sitting there visiting with the group from Alpha Dominche, complimenting them on the design and telling them how much I appreciated it.”
Alpha Dominche unceremoniously ceased all operations at the end of 2018, leaving the Flask and other designs to gather dust. Nepstad took the news of AD’s demise as a call to action. Through various channels, Nepstad said he was able to communicate with Tymer Tilton, Alpha Dominche’s principal designer and a fellow Montanan, as well as the defunct company’s investors, eventually reaching a purchase agreement at the end of last year.
“Then we started uncovering all of the skeletons in the closet, if you will, and we found that the molds were not finished and certain design elements hadn’t been completed,” said Nepstad. “So we took over the project, kind of like taking over somebody’s midterm paper right at the end.”
The Flask immersion brewer involves a deceptively simple two-chamber design. For a batch of 17 ounces of finished brew, the coffee and water steep together in the inner chamber until the plunger is inserted, driving the liquid down through a metal mesh filter and then through a one-way valve and into the outer chamber, from which it can be poured from any direction around its rim.
Additional paper filters are also included for users seeking a cleaner, lighter-bodied cup. The inner chamber slides out and its bottom is removable for easily pushing out the spent grounds with the plunger.
Both chambers are made from clear borosilicate glass. The plunger is composed of milled stainless steel with a rubber gasket, and the device wears a branded leather cuff around its neck for grip and aesthetic appeal.
Said Nepstad, “It looks like it was designed and developed in Montana, and that’s why I loved it so much.”
With some final tweaks and refinements completed, and the original factory partner still on board, Planetary Design is now ready to launch the Flask as the inaugural product of its new Ethoz sub-brand (styled by the company as ethoz), which will feature glass coffee and tea products.
In the Planetary Design family of brands, Ethoz joins Airscape, a line of coffee and kitchen storage containers with a patented inner lid that forces air out and away from its contents, and BruTrek, an outdoors-oriented line of rugged brewers and vessels.
The retail price for the Flask will be $100. An accompanying set of two dual-wall glass coffee cups will also be available for $12. Sales of the Flask are slated to launch online on Thursday, Dec. 10.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.