The Fellow Aiden makes coffee good enough for snobs with a single button


Sometimes even the most die-hard coffee enthusiasts just want a quick cup of joe. Unfortunately, that often leaves people with sipping less-than-satisfactory java from traditional drip brewers. But now after years of customer requests, Fellow is finally releasing a machine that it claims can deliver a pour-over experience at the touch of a button. And after seeing it in action, there’s a lot to like.

Starting at $365, the Aiden certainly isn’t cheap. That said, compared to the $500 grinders and pricey accessories that so many aficionados lust after, this might seem like a bargain to some. But the big difference between the Aiden and traditional coffee machines is that unlike a typical drip-based brewer, it features an adjustable showerhead that mimics the process of a traditional pour-over. Fellow also uses a thick film Ferro Techniek heating element which is said to deliver exact water temperatures (down to a single degree and up to 210F). When combined with the ability to adjust things like bloom time, the amount of water used and more, you get a ton of control over the brewing process. Fellow even includes two different baskets: a single-serve option that delivers a slightly more nuanced product or a batch filter to accommodate big crowds (up to 10 cups at a time).

The Aiden's carafe is double-walled as Fellow wanted to avoid a built-in hotplate which could potentially scorch your coffee.

The Aiden’s carafe is double-walled as Fellow wanted to avoid a built-in hotplate which could potentially scorch your coffee. (Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget)

The Aiden also features a guided brew process that walks you through various settings, though you can always create your own profiles or download instructions directly from participating roasters via a QR code and Fellow’s free companion app. That said, I appreciate that if you don’t want to break out your phone just to make a cup of coffee, you can still set programs, start a brew and input data directly into the machine via its bright color LCD screen and large control dial.

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But the best thing about the Aiden is how easy and convenient it is to use. It features a 1.5L reservoir and its heating element is completely silent so you can brew a cup in the morning without disturbing the peace. Once you have your favorite brews dialed in, starting a batch is as simple as dumping in some grounds and hitting start (and adding water to the tank if you haven’t done that already). The machine will remind you when you need to run a clean cycle or descale it. Because its showerhead is super precise, if you schedule it to run in the morning before you wake up, it will be ready exactly when you tell it. Not a minute too early or late. There’s even a cold brew setting that will slowly drip water through the grounds throughout the day (and of course you can set how long or short this takes) instead of relying on a prolonged immersion like you would otherwise.

The Aiden comes with two different brewing baskets and a switch for you when you need to change between single-cup and batch brew functions. The Aiden comes with two different brewing baskets and a switch for you when you need to change between single-cup and batch brew functions.

The Aiden comes with two different brewing baskets and a switch for you when you need to change between single-cup and batch brew functions. (Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget)

However, one feature the Aiden doesn’t have is a keep warm function, but that’s because most coffee lovers tend to stay away from machines with built-in hotplates that can result in scorched joe. Instead, Fellow relies on a thermal double-walled carafe to keep things warm until you can get to it (which probably won’t be long if you’re in need of caffeine).

Finally, while your tastes may vary, I like the Aiden’s minimalist design. It’s short enough that it should fit under most kitchen cabinets and its sleek lines and boxy shape make it a cinch to clean. And while I only got to sample a single cup, the Scandinavian light roast I tried retained a lot of the subtle vanilla and hickory notes that would normally be stamped out by traditional drip brewers.

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That said, it’s important to remember that the Aiden isn’t meant to replace your V60 or Aeropress or whatever your preferred brewing method is. It’s simply meant to provide a higher quality joe than what your standard drip brewer can make for situations where you don’t have the time or energy to make a cup yourself. From what I’ve seen so far, it does just that.

Pre-sale for the Aiden is live today, with shipments expected to begin sometime this September. Additionally, anyone who pre-orders will get a bag of coffee each from Onyx Coffee Lab, La Cabra and Verve Coffee Roasters specifically designed for this machine along with scannable brewing profiles.



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