Meet the Designer: KoHi Labs

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During our visit to California this past winter we had the pleasure to meet Peter Thomson of KoHi Labs in Santa Cruz. The people behind KoHi are the creators of the pour over coffee brewing app for iOS as well as a completely different filter for the AeroPress; but I’ll let him tell you more about that.

What is your name and what do you make?

My name is Peter Thomsen. I’m one of the co-founders of KoHi Labs. We make a manual brew app for iOS that is a calculator, timer and recipe manager. We also make an ultra-fine, reusable metal fabric filter for the Aeropress coffee maker.

What grinder do you use at home?

I use a Baratza Vario grinder—it’s amazing. I’ve had it for a number of years and it still works as perfectly as it did when it was new.

What was your first introduction to coffee?

Like many Americans my age, my first experience with coffee was not entirely pleasant. I remember smelling Folgers Coffee brewing at my grandparents’ house—it smelled delicious but tasted like dirt. Fast forward to Verve Coffee opening in Santa Cruz, California. While I had come to enjoy coffee in college, the coffee Verve was making was a game changer. It tasted like blueberries, and citrus, and tart cherries, and chocolate and all kinds of other delicious flavors, not dirt.

How did your experience with Verve feed your growth in the coffee industry?

It was everything. Like many people, I thought I was making good coffee. However, when I tasted what coffee can be, it changed everything. I wanted to help other people experience great coffee and help them brew it the best way possible every time. This led to the development of our app, which guides each brew accurately and precisely.

What motivates you, or what do you look forward to every day?

I seriously look forward to a morning cup of coffee each day. It’s delicious and the ritual of brewing intentionally helps focus me for the rest of the day. Beyond those few starting moments, I love to create, refine and share. I’ve always been a maker. These days my making mainly consists of graphic design and photography around coffee and bicycles. When I’m not clicking buttons, I love cycling. Being outside on my bike is my happy place. Santa Cruz is an incredibly beautiful area and always inspiring. Some of my best ideas come from time spent in the saddle. KoHi Labs was actually born on an epic road ride down the California coast.

Tell me more about your filter and your app.

Response to our filter has been overwhelmingly positive. We launched it on Kickstarter with a funding goal of $5,000. The campaign raised over $20,000. Since then we continually hear feedback of how our filter brews the best coffee users have ever made with their AeroPress coffee makers. We find our filter brews a brighter, cleaner cup with no paper taste or waste. Our users keep confirming these results.

Our app has also been very well received. It does the math for you so you can brew the best cup every time. It calculates the precise quantity of beans and water to achieve optimum results and maximum flavor. The app supports most of the main manual brew methods. The recipe manager function allows the user to store and refine recipes. Amateurs and experts alike find the app a useful tool in the pursuit of the best coffee. Users completely new to manual pour over coffee have been immediately successful with the help of our app. That makes us happy.

Who do you see as your main competitors and what do you want people to see that you are doing differently?

There are another metal filters on the market that are perforated stainless steel. Our filter is significantly finer than any of the other metal filters we’ve tested, which allows for a wider range of grind size. Our filter produces the cleanest cup of any metal filter we tested. In fact, it is on par with paper filters—it’s that clean.


Keep up with Peter and Kohi Labs on Instagram @kohilabs and check out their website!

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