Coffee Tools Distributing is partnering with Barista Hustle to offer a brand-new suite of products that caters to the specialty coffee and home barista market.
Matt Perger endured four intense years on the coffee competition scene. He placed third in the World Barista Championship in 2011, second in 2013, and won the World Brewers Cup Championship in 2012 and World Coffee in Good Spirits Championship in 2014. When it came to an end, however, Matt was left searching for
a way to remain relevant in the specialty coffee industry.
“We kind of caught lightning in a bottle with those few wins, and I wanted to make it last. I had seen that previous world champions that had stuck around had a platform to communicate with the industry. That’s how Barista Hustle was born,” says Matt.
Originally created in 2015 as a blog and bi-weekly newsletter, the Barista Hustle website is now home to 15 online coffee courses and certifications that have helped educate millions of individuals.
“We took all the blog material and turned it into a membership for people to access coffee education. It’s actually the largest part of our business by a pretty big margin because it’s online, instantaneous, and has no shipping required. We have thousands of members around the world that take our online courses, both individuals and businesses,” Matt says.
Naturally, the Barista Hustle CEO says it was a logical progression for the organisation to move into making coffee tools. Barista Hustle product designs are the direct result of Matt’s experience as a barista, roaster, and trainer. He personally oversees all the drafting and prototyping of the barista tools.
“Our first product was a coffee tamper, and we still sell the exact same design today. The idea was to make it with less stainless steel than other tampers, because that’s what makes them heavy and very expensive. By reducing the amount of stainless steel used, we could make a tamper that was much more affordable, but still have the precise diameter that specialty coffee people were after,” Matt says.
Made from hard anodised aluminium, and a 304 stainless steel flat base, the Barista Hustle Tamper is durable, lightweight, and designed to be world champion quality.
It’s unique protective rim, located between the base and the top slope of the handle, eliminates any potential vacuum effect, and helps to keep the tamper vertical.
Off the back of the tamper came Barista Hustle’s cupping bowls, made of food-grade high density polyethylene. This is the same plastic as milk bottles, therefore they don’t absorb as much heat from the water that is used to brew the coffee.
“Inexpensive and easy to manufacture, the bowls are even recyclable if you ever manage to break one. They’ve been a big hit, which has been great. We’ve sold hundreds of thousands of bowls and only had one customer ask for a return,” Matt says.
Another innovative product on offer is The Ring, a magnetic dosing ring created to keep a workbench clean and workflow smooth.
“The Ring makes sure all of your coffee ends up in the basket and not on the table. Made with [grade] 304 stainless steel with a brushed finish on the outside and a mirror finish on the inside, it is as sturdy as it looks,” Matt says.
“Fitted with eight neodymium magnets, The Ring snaps on top of the standard 58-millimetre portafilter quickly and cleanly so it doesn’t break the stride of your coffee-making routine. It also fits on top of dosing cups and lets your transfer to the basket, mess-free. And it’s super easy to clean, resists corrosion, and is likely to last a very long time.”
Matt says the reason he started manufacturing these three products, was to simply take an expensive design and make a more affordable version.
“My mission is to eliminate any unnecessary features or materials and come up with a clever solution to make it more affordable, but still does the job just as well. Or, I like taking cheap products that are made poorly and improve them. That’s our product design ethos,” he says.
Matt says Barista Hustle also offers The Comb, which uses the company’s own take on the classic Weiss Distribution Technique (WDT), one of the longest standing espresso distribution methods. With 30 extra needles to replace any bends or breaks, Matt says The Comb can be customised depending on the coffee, the grind size, or technique.
“This innovative distribution tool has a silicone base with 25 strategic needle placements that you can experiment with. Unlike other WDTs, The Barista Hustle tool comes with special rounded needles that will keep your baskets scratch-free. The 0.35-millimetre-thick needles are also perfectly sized for distributing the grinds without creating deep trails,” he says.
According to Matt, The Comb will be a predecessor to the AutoComb, a long- awaited distribution tool to be released in the second quarter of 2023.
“The needles in the AutoComb are similar to the manual WDT, except we’ve designed it with 11 needles, so that each time the tool revolves, they all pass through the basket at an equal distance, almost touching every coffee grind. This is combined with the speed of the needles that fluidises the coffee grinds until they find an even distribution and density across the basket,” Matt says.
“World Barista Champion Anthony Douglas used a prototype of the AutoComb during his competition routine. We iterated and refined the design so that it was ready for the big stage, and thanks to Anthony’s stellar performance, it will enter the world with a bang.”
This imminent distribution tool caught the eye of Coffee Tools Distributing Company Director Curtis Arnold, who partnered with Barista Hustle to expand its product offering.
“When I heard about [the AutoComb] I reached out to Matt to see if he wanted to work with us and increase his exposure in the Australian market. I realised Barista Hustle was a great fit of us and complements our suite of products really well, so I was eager to work with him,” Curtis says.
Curtis is a member of Barista Hustle’s newsletter ‘The Hustle’ and has known Matt for several years.
“Matt’s really easy to work with and approaches business with the right attitude. Every conversation we’ve had has led to an easy compromise or agreement,” he says.
Matt echoes the sentiment, commenting that Curtis has built a great network of cafés and consistent customers that he looks forward to expanding and catering to.
“It was a no brainer for us. We cover the business-to-consumer sector and Coffee Tools Disturbing covers the business-to- business sector in Australia, so together we’re covering all our bases,” he says.
Curtis says he’s excited to include Barista Hustle’s equipment to his arsenal to further the brand’s specialty coffee and home barista product offering.
“The AeroPress was our first product, which the specialty coffee industry really embraced, and my original customers loved. Although we sell more than just coffee products now, I’d like to bring the company back to its roots and invest in specialty coffee again,” he says.
This article appears in the February 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.