From voice-powered smart rings to the PlayStation VR and luxury smart mirrors, there’s no question that tech is taking over the world as we know it, with the exponential growth of virtual reality, AI and smart gadgets disrupting the way we go about our daily lives. In the kitchen, everything from home beer brewing machines to robot cooks are slowly changing the way the modern kitchen looks and operates. Whether you’re a home cook looking to streamline weeknight dinners, or a tech-head on the lookout for the latest and coolest gadget, here are 10 consumer kitchen tools and appliances (and the occasional robot) that you may want to consider adding to your Christmas wishlist this year.
Regarded as one of the best espresso machine makers in the world, the Krups EA9010 Automatic Coffee Machine is the latest must-have model from the German kitchen appliance manufacturer, pre-programmed with the ability to make 17 different types of hot coffee drinks — likely with more precision than your local barista. From precise grinding to milk frothing and the perfect shot of espresso, a single push of a button will get you your morning java fix in a jiffy: cafe au lait, flat whites, cappuccinos, and more. It also comes with automatic steam nozzle cleaning for a fully self-sufficient system.
HK$9,990 from SOGO, 555 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong, +852 2833 8338
Launched last year, Samsung’s game-changing Family Hub Smart Fridge rolled out its new app integration this year, making it undoubtedly the coolest fridge on the market these days (pun intended). Encompassing voice activation features, three built-in cameras, entertainment connectivity and a companion smart phone app, the Family Hub is transforming the old workhorse of the kitchen — all in a sleek and ergonomic design. The most notable feature is the easy-to-use interface (like a tablet built into your fridge) which allows family members to post pictures, play music, stream TV, manage shopping lists and recipes, and automatically reorder food via Groceries by MasterCard.
Starting from HK$27,000 at Samsung, Shop OC332, 3/F, Ocean Centre, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2432 4668
Billed as the “World’s Best Automated Indoor Smart Kitchen”, AVA Byte is well on its way to revolutionising plant technology, allowing you to grow everything from tomatoes to peppers at the touch of a button. The indoor smart garden has already hit nearly 400% of its goal on Indiegogo, with the first deliveries aiming to go out in Q1 2018. AVA Byte uses compostable plant pods (soil-free and nutrient-loaded), automatically adjusting the watering and light to achieve optimal growth. What’s more? You can capture time-lapse videos and brag about your ‘green thumb’ to your friends. As for what can be grown the options are endless: think tomatoes, herbs, salad greens, peppers, berries, mushrooms, edible flowers, microgreens, tea leaves, aloe vera, root vegetables and more.
HK$1,787 plus shipping fee from Indiegogo; first delivery date scheduled for March 2018.
A simple coffee mug is quickly becoming one of the hottest ticket items of the holiday season: Meet Ember, a sleek tumbler outfitted with advanced temperature-control technology, allowing you to keep your drink at the precise temperature you want it throughout the day. All you need to do is rotate the dial at the bottom of the mug (or change it via a connected app), and your beverage will be automatically warmed or cooled and kept there all day (finally no more scalding hot coffee or tea that’s gone cold). Starbucks has been selling out of the mug at a record pace, but it has recently announced it’ll be bringing it back for its 2017 holiday gift guide; meanwhile, Hong Kongers can get the mug delivered directly from Amazon.
Approx. HK$1,170 from Amazon.com.
Who hasn’t dreamed of having a personal robot chef to cook for them at home? Well, that’s soon to be a reality with Moley, the world’s first robotic kitchen that could well be a permanent fixture in your home by 2018. Programmed to mimic the precise movements of previous MasterChef winner, Tim Anderson, Moley is a fully functional robot consisting of four parts: robotic arms, oven, hob and touchscreen unit. Hidden behind a glass screen for safe use, Moley is operated by touch screen or remotely via smartphone, drawing from an iTunes-style library with a growing collection of recipes from top chefs around the world. Keep up-to-date on the website for the chance to pre-order Moley and welcome your new personal chef into your home.
Find out more information from moley.com.
Think your cooking skills are unrivalled in the kitchen? SmartyPans are here to teach you something new — a smart skillet which uses a combination of voice commands, weight and temperature sensors to help you prepare recipes and relay information about the weight and nutritional value of the food in the pan. With a connected scale and app, SmartyPans is all about making you more conscious about what you’re cooking — think a FitBit for food. It’s dishwasher safe and the lid also doubles as a serving bowl or oven-safe pan. The best part is that SmartyPans’ temperature sensor monitors heat so you’ll never burn your food again (in theory, anyways).
HK$1,982 includes shipping to Hong Kong from SmartyPans.
Anyone who’s ever tried to roast chicken or cook a rack of lamb in the oven knows how inconvenient it can be to have to constantly monitor the meat until it reaches a precise internal cooking temperature. What’s more, each time you open the oven door you’re losing heat, which can result in uneven cooking and tough meat. Enter the Maverick Wireless Thermometer — with two probes (you can buy more as needed), the bluetooth thermometer allows you to monitor the temperature of your meat from up to 160 feet away, opening the oven door just once when your meat is cooked just the way you like it.
HK$624 from Amazon.com.
If you have a bunch of little ones to feed at home (or just love pancakes in all their fluffy, maple-soaked glory), you may want to implore one of your states-side friends to bring this 3D pancake printer back for you. The PancakeBot dishes up everyone’s favourite breakfast food in all different designs and characters, from teddy bears to spaceships. Simply use the included software to design your pancake, pour your batter in the dispenser, and watch as it prints out perfectly formed, golden-brown pancakes. With 3D printers becoming more commonplace, this is only the tip of the iceberg for technology that’s set to revolutionise the food industry.
Approx. HK$2,342 from Amazon.com, currently ships to US and Canada only.
Craft beer enthusiasts, take note: Shanghai-based iGulu aims to be world’s most advanced home brewing machine, incorporating a high-tech control system and sensors coupled with an easy-to-use app. Craft beer lovers can now brew a range of delicious beers at home, with the brewing tank and fermentation tank seamlessly fitted into one clean contraption. The intuitive model allows first-time brewers to make delicious beers, with easy controls for brew time, phase and temperature; meanwhile, more seasoned drinkers can adjust for alcohol content, bitterness, flavour profile and more. And if it all sounds too good to be true, just ask the 600-plus people who have contributed to iGulu’s US$1 million of start-up funding on Indiegogo.
Pre-order for HK$4,294 from Indiegogo, retail price is HK$7,722; estimated delivery starting from Dec 2017.
Finally, what’s more fun than having a little kitchen helper while you make dinner? Set to ship in 2018, Kuri is the world’s first home robot that’s dispersing the whole “scary robot taking over the world” mentality, with its adorable R2D2-inspired frame and cheerful expressions equipped with facial recognition features. While Kuri won’t be able to help you level out the flour or crack the eggs into the pan (at least not yet), it’ll play your favourite songs, keep an eye on the kids while you cook, and take candid photos and videos that you can send to family and friends. How’s that for company in the kitchen?
HK$6,246 for 2018 shipping, pre-order with HK$780 deposit before 4 Dec to receive a Kuri toy and exclusive prototype book from heykuri.com.