Hiku – the Premium Hand Coffee Grinder

Designed from the grounds up: An all-new, no-compromise benchmark in coffee hardware.

Amanda Zhong Design December 5, 2017 at 2:24 pm
Pledged of $19,739 goal (USD)
Days Left
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Bakkoo Backer Reward Preview:

Bakkoo backers receive a free coffee scoop (walnut/maple, random selection) with each Hiku Grinder they order.

View This Project On Kickstarter


Hiku is an all-new, precision engineered, hand coffee grinder for the discerning coffee enthusiast. Reimagined and designed literally from the grounds up, Hiku was conceived to be the new premium benchmark that reflects our obsessive attention to detail and passion for purpose-built coffee hardware.

Sleek, Precise and Timeless

Hiku perfectly blends precision with sophistication. Its tough, CNC machined aluminum body is subtly textured to feel absolutely great in the hand, while lending any countertop an air of elegance. The matching grind cup detaches with a satisfying twist and holds up to 50 g of coffee; sufficient for 5 cups of pour over. An artfully sculpted walnut knob and machined handle make grinding a smooth and tactile experience.

Yet for all its beauty, the inside of Hiku conceals numerous unique technical innovations: a brand new, industry-first seven fluted conical burr and patent pending shaft stabilization system. These features work in conjunction with the aluminum chassis and food-safe stainless steel and ceramic hybrid bearings to deliver a smooth grind that maintains perfect concentricity for absolutely class-leading grind particle size distribution.

The KANSO Seven Fluted Conical Burr, a Grounds Up Masterpiece

Our design team’s goal was to put the biggest, most efficient burrset in a handheld grinder that would still be astoundingly slim and easy to hold. We looked to Italy, Switzerland and Asia to source the ideal conical burr but finding nothing suitable, the Kanso team went back to the labs and designed its own.

This Kanso-designed 41mm* burrset at the heart of the Hiku premium hand coffee grinder is the result of hundreds of hours of analysis, testing and prototyping. It is designed in Canada (patent pending) and available only in the Hiku premium grinder. Made of hardened, CNC machined stainless steel, it contains numerous industry firsts, including being the only burrset designed to support both perfect concentricity and weight reduction simultaneously for handheld grinder applications.

Inner and Outer burr fit lazyload perfectly flush with perfect grinding teeth alignment
Inner and Outer burr fit perfectly flush with perfect grinding teeth alignment

Compared with the burrsets in other high-end hand coffee grinders, Hiku’s burr has:

  • 75% more grinding teeth
  • 70% more grinding surface area
  • up to 300% more grinding output per revolution

*Hiku has an inner burr diameter of 41 mm and an outer burr diameter of 55 mm. Other hand grinders measure their burr size by taking the larger dimension. By using our measurement metric, which gives a far truer indication of actual working size, their burrs generally range from 29 to 32 mm.

Infinitely Adjustable, Stepless Grind Size Adjustment Ring

Designed to emulate the look and feel of a premium rangefinder camera’s focus ring, Hiku’s stepless adjustment ring is yet another tactile revelation. Your eyes are naturally drawn to its precision laser etched grind size markings and the finely damped dial lets you tweak and tune your grind size effortlessly. No other grinder adjustment is stepless with an adjustment ring that falls readily at your fingertips, eliminating the messy guesswork or trial and error methods we’ve all seen and experienced before.

Stepless adjustment ring (Patent pending)
Stepless adjustment ring (Patent pending)

The grind size markings – they are purposely non-linear, allowing you even finer control of the grind size between medium to espresso fine.

A smooth, effortless twist for extra fine control of grind size

A smooth, effortless twist for extra fine control of grind size

This unique mechanism allows adjustment from the burr being fully closed to a grind size of up to 2.0mm throughout a rotational range of about 80 degrees. A simple twist of the damped ring allows the inner adjustment wheel to slide on a self-lubricating, non-linear ramp, providing both a smooth feel and really fine control at the middle of the range.

In a digital world, this is analog at its absolute best.

Concentric Design, Working in Unity

Precise control of grind size requires obsessive attention to every factor that affects concentricity, alignment and positioning. Our engineers developed the stabilizing shaft to work in conjunction with the inner burr to eliminate any chance of wobble or misalignment.

We even replaced the age-old wire wound spring with a wave spring that more uniformly compresses the mechanism to maintain alignment.

Food-safe stainless steel ball bearings provide the right amount of rotational feel while ensuring the cranking torque is directly transferred through the mechanism to the coffee beans. Free play is kept to an absolute minimum through the use of two bearings that support a unique shaft with numerous keying features to ensure alignment and a perfect coupling of associated components.

No Compromise on Concentricity:

  • Use of two food-safe stainless steel ball bearings
  • The first hand grinder with wave spring for uniform compression
  • Unique shaft with numerous features that maintain perfect alignment

Because these bearings require no lubricants, the grinds inside Hiku will never come into contact with oils or grease nor clump together, something we consider essential if Hiku is to be taken seriously by enthusiasts and coffee artisans.

Furthermore, Hiku is a handheld grinder and the feel in the hand is of utmost importance. Weight and weight distribution play a factor in feel. Our team discovered that we could simultaneously achieve perfect concentricity, alignment and weight reduction with our patented burr system. This means that although our burr is far larger than typical handheld grinders, it is not much heavier.

Brew a Better Coffee with HIKU
Brew a Better Coffee with HIKU

Designed for Portability

Hiku forces no compromise when you need to make coffee on-the-go. Weighing less than two pounds and far smaller than a typical 16 oz insulated water bottle, Hiku can travel where electric and other grinders cannot. The machined handle detaches from Hiku while the lid remains in-place. Slip Hiku into your backpack or duffle and everything you love about fine coffee can be enjoyed anywhere.

Kanso Coffee started with a vision to build the best coffee hardware in the industry. Unhappy with all current offerings on the market, we set out to improve what we consider to be the key failing of most hand grinders available today: the ratio of hand crank rotations per unit of grind output. With every other hand coffee grinder on the market, grinding is a lengthy process. But speed is nothing without quality.

The burr is at the heart of every grinder and Hiku is no different. Our team started by engineering a revolutionary new burr set that is both significantly bigger and substantially more efficient at converting rotational motion into finely controlled coffee grinds at an astounding rate. Where all others have turned to factories in Switzerland, Italy or China to source an off-the-shelf burrset to build their grinders around, we went straight to the labs and tested the competition instead. We benchmarked, we measured and we analyzed. Unsatisfied at what we saw and experienced, we set off to design a new custom burr from scratch.

Months later, and after countless prototypes, analysis and refinement, our burr was ready. But the journey had only started. This burr had to be housed in a manner that reflected our design objectives, and the enclosure needed to work in conjunction with the burr and the mechanism to be a complete solution. We are proud to say that we have achieved what we set out to accomplish. Along the way we filed three patents pending and the unique seven-fluted, Kanso designed and manufactured burr set is just one of a series of innovations.

The pictures you see below show just a few of the prototype burrs as the development evolved as well as the very first burr testing fixture that we built to study how a better burr could be built. The blue grinder pictured is an early Hiku functional prototype that housed a production burrset for grind and mechanism testing.

Early Burr Testing Fixture & Prototypes
Early Burr Testing Fixture & Prototypes

Over the course of design and development for Hiku, testing was performed extensively on the competition as well as every iteration of the Kanso burrset. Moving from concept sketches to 3D CAD and then into various methods of rapid prototyping allowed us to test efficiently and gather critical feedback at every iteration. We then moved on to CNC machining for further development testing. This process applied not just to the burrset but also to the ergonomics of the enclosure, the adjustment mechanism, the subtle texturing on the body of the product, and even for fine tuning the feel of the stepless adjustment ring and the bayonet mount of the grind cup. Bringing all elements together incrementally, we could grind coffee beans at every stage and ensure our design decisions were being well informed and that any assumptions or uncertainties were validated or addressed. And yes, we broke things too. Bearings and grinding surfaces were stress-tested and handles were torque tested.

A whole new phase of testing, validation and qualification will kick off once tooling completes. At that point we will be confirming that functionality matches or exceeds expectations, and aesthetic and finishing details are up to standard.

Walnut/Maple Coffee Scoop; Bean Storage Set
Walnut/Maple Coffee Scoop; Bean Storage Set
HIKU Premium Hand Coffee Grinder
HIKU Premium Hand Coffee Grinder

We are a team of coffee obsessives and product designers. On a daily basis we commercialize ideas and product innovations that surprise and delight our clients and end users. With Hiku, we began with a simple idea, but that idea blossomed internally into a full fledged R&D project, and quite frankly, a labour of love. Employing our in-house team of talented engineers and product designers, we set off on a mission to develop a no-compromise device that we know all future owners will be proud to begin their day with.

Hiku is a finely tuned instrument in the world of coffee hardware. We believe that our background as professional product designers, and our passion as coffee enthusiasts have been artfully combined to offer you the most desirable hand coffee grinder available.

Altimus is a product design agency that partners and collaborates with inventors, startups, creative professionals and corporations of all sizes to commercialize innovations and launch businesses and brands. Located in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, it offers an exclusive and unique portfolio of industrial design, product development and electronics engineering services — all under one roof.

Altimus was involved in every aspect of design, prototyping and engineering for the Hiku project. Along the way, numerous innovations were created, resulting in three patents pending and a truly unique product that we are proud to introduce to the world in collaboration with Kanso Coffee.

A Word from Our Founder

Hiku began as an idea in September 2016 to create the world’s best, most efficient burr — wrapped up in a hand coffee grinder that I couldn’t wait to use each and every morning. The coffee culture in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada lends itself well to being immersed in a neighborhood with high profile technology companies, plenty of makers and creatives, and of course, a well established startup culture.

My research and subsequent shopping adventures led me to conclude that there was not a single hand coffee grinder on the market that met my (admittedly high) expectations of consistent and precise grinds, beautiful aesthetics, and ease of use. My team subsequently performed more formal research and confirmed that my initial hunch was correct. Besides, hand grinders are typically slow and messy, while electric grinders sound crude and noisy. The last thing I want to do is crank for two minutes after I’ve gotten up on the wrong side of the bed!

I’m extremely excited to be putting my team’s creation out into the world and it begins with this campaign. My team is not new to product development for the consumer market or the food industry and our collective experience allowed us to achieve this vision in just over two years. I’m confident you will agree Hiku is what all coffee enthusiasts have been waiting for. Our testing and qualification phase wraps up this month and we can’t wait to start production. I hope you’ll join us and we look forward to delivering Hiku in May 2018.

Risks and challenges

Once our campaign is funded, we will move immediately to kick off production tooling and pilot production. Since our design and manufacturing team has extensive experience in releasing thoroughly tested and qualified designs into production, we follow both a rigorous and realistic schedule. This means that we will not proceed to mass production without first performing a full scale pilot production run even though we have already been bench testing prototypes for months in our labs.

For the past several months leading up to the Kickstarter campaign, we have been qualifying components and performing prototype builds with the very same vendors that will be performing mass production.

Wherever possible, we have accurately represented the product and its features with photographs of the actual prototypes, not just CAD renderings. Any details that might change after tooling are in all likelihood limited to the inside of the product, or with details that do not affect function in a negative way.

We anticipate the first fully qualified production run to be ready to ship in May 2018. There are no major challenges to meeting this timeline, however we do expect to be resolving routine quality checks and providing detailed feedback to vendors prior to approving tooling and pilot run samples. In any new product introduction there are always issues to resolve and saying anything different would be irresponsible and inaccurate. Our timeline allows for sufficient time for the resolution of routine manufacturing challenges as production ramps up.

We commit to providing project updates on a regular basis whether the news is positive or negative so that all backers are fully informed.

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