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Small Appliances

We tried a smart coffee maker that has a built-in scale

This stunning coffee maker falls short on practicality.

Three Gina coffee makers by Slovenian start-up Goat Story are on display. Credit: Goat Story

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As a coffee nerd, I’m obsessed with every aspect of coffee brewing, from the beans to the burr grinders to the brewing methods. Being mindful of each step helps me dial in the perfect cup, which extracts the nuanced flavors of some of the most sought-after single-origin beans in the world.

Then I came across an ad for Gina, a smart coffee maker designed by Goat Story, a Slovenian start-up that specializes in coffee gear.

Unlike other pour-over drippers we’ve tested, Goat Story’s Gina is essentially an app-enabled version with a built-in scale—a feature that’s included to help users precisely brew a cup of coffee using the ratios they desire. Intrigued, I purchased a Gina to find out how it actually works.

About Gina Goat Story Coffee Maker

A person is making pour-over coffee using the Gina coffee maker while checking the Gina mobile app.
Credit: Goat Story

This coffee maker has a built-in scale to help you gauge the brewing ratio.

The Gina coffee maker was made famous by Emi Fukahori, the winner of 2018 World Brewers’ Cup Champion. She used the Gina to win the title, therefore making this coffee maker an instant hit.

Queries piled up after the news broke and it took us a few months to receive the coffee maker, potentially due to the high demand.

How does the Gina Smart Coffee Brewer work?

A person is holding a smartphone with Gina coffee maker's app displaying brewing data. Besides the person, there's a Gina coffee maker making pour-over coffee.
Credit: Goat Story

The mobile app works relatively seamlessly with the coffee maker.

Gina works similarly to the traditional pour-over method. However, this coffee maker has three different brewing methods thanks to accessories such as the ceramic lid and a cold drip module that goes inside the glass carafe: Pour-Over, Immersion, and Cold Drip.

Before you start brewing, you’ll need to charge the smart scale, which takes one to two hours to fully charge. Once the battery is good to go, it’ll last for about 25 hours of use. To make coffee using the smart scale, you also need to download the Gina app and make sure the coffee maker is connected to your smartphone.

Once connected, follow the steps for making pour-over coffee. Or, you can follow the instructions in the app.

What I like

A Gina coffee maker is charging, using a USB cable.
Credit: Goat Story

The battery life can last up to 25 hours in one charge.

When the valve at the bottom of the funnel is closed, it can help extend the interaction time between hot water and coffee grinds. This makes extraction more efficient, a feature I wished a traditional pour-over dripper had. To open or close the valve, simply turn the copper knob left or right.

The app is intuitive and well-designed for people with smartphones. I was able to select the brewing method, log the weight of coffee, select ratio (which it calculates for you), and start brewing right away. While brewing, the app navigates you to a page that keeps track of the weight and time. A countdown clock on the app will give you a sense of how much time it needs to finish brewing, which resembles a manual pour-over experience.

This coffee maker combines three types of brewing methods into one appliance, plus a smart scale. For people whose frequent coffee choices include cold brew and pour-over, this smart coffee maker may give them their money’s worth by acting as three appliances in one.

What I don’t like

An up close look at the funnel and its valve of a Gina coffee maker.
Credit: Goat Story

Though I appreciate the inclusion of the knob, it got too hot when I used the Gina to make coffee.

Surprisingly, there’s no display screen on the smart scale, which is located at the base of the coffee maker. This means users will only be able to get a reading of the weight by checking their smartphone app. Though I like using the app, in reality it’s inconvenient for me to keep my phone with me whenever I want to make a cup of coffee.

During testing, I noticed the copper knob can get too hot to touch. I had the same issue when removing the ceramic lid on top of the cone-shaped funnel after making immersion coffee.

Should you buy the Goat Story Gina coffee maker?

A Gina coffee maker with white ceramic finish is in the center of the image and its glass carafe is right behind it.
Credit: Goat Story

If you're getting started with specialty coffee, we recommend investing in a burr grinder first.

If you’re interested in specialty coffee but don’t know where to start, Gina may help you navigate the complex brewing process if you’re also an avid smartphone user. However, you still need to factor in the cost for a quality burr grinder that’ll pair well with Gina, as the coffee maker itself doesn’t offer any guidance on the grind size for each brew method and bean. If you’re honing your pour-over skills to the degree that’ll send you to brewers cup competitions, then the Gina could be a great training device.

On the other hand, if you have patience and don’t mind doing math on a notepad, we recommend buying the best standalone coffee gadgets we’ve tested—a burr grinder, a coffee scale, and a pour-over dripper—to achieve the same result with less upfront cost.

Get the Goat Story Gina Coffee Maker at Urban Outfitters for $245

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