Is the future of coffee in your freezer?

Cometeer is a startup that sells meticulously crafted — and surprisingly good — frozen coffee in pods. Will enough people care?


Photos courtesy Cometeer

It has become much easier — and more popular — to drink great coffee over the past couple of decades.

That’s largely thanks to the boom in third wave coffee roasters, such as recent favorites Dune (Santa Barbara), Andytown (San Francisco), and Integral (New York).

These companies source top beans from remote corners of the planet, roast them to perfection, and prepare them in nice-looking cafés with expensive equipment and highly trained staff.

Some of these brands have grown to become national or international, as specialty coffee has evolved into a whole global aesthetic and lifestyle, chronicled on sites like Sprudge and in magazines like Drift. Blue Bottle, founded by James Freeman in the Bay Area almost 20 years ago — and now majority-owned by Nestle — has around 70 shops in the US, plus Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong. But most roasters are small, local or regional businesses.

Making coffee quickly at home has also become easier over the years. That’s thanks in part to the rise of the Keurig K-cup platform of coffeemakers and single-serving pods of pre-ground beans, which are co-branded with familiar names like Starbucks, Peet’s, and McCafé. Some 33 million US households — a quarter of the country! — were regularly using Keurig brewers at the end of 2020, according to the company, up about 3 million from the prior year.

But what push-button gadgets like Keurig enable in convenience, they generally lack in flavor — you won’t find the good stuff in K-cups. Coffee is a fast-degrading food product, and cheap, pre-ground coffee that’s designed to sit in sealed pods for months or years just isn’t going to taste as good.

So I’m particularly interested in Cometeer, a Massachusetts-based startup that promises great-tasting coffee without a fussy setup: It sells frozen cubes of coffee extract, made with beans from top roasters, brewed using proprietary technology, and flash-frozen, for direct-to-consumer shipping on dry ice.

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Hi, I’m Dan Frommer and this is The New Consumer, a publication about how and why people spend their time and money.

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