The Voltaire isn't the first coffee grinder we've seen with Wi-Fi connectivity and a companion app, but it is the first we've come across that's picky about the beans you put in it. According to creators GIR (it stands for Get It Right), the Voltaire uses an array of sensors to detect when the coffee beans in its hopper get stale. At this point it can either ping you to let you know, or automatically order a new batch of beans to your house.
Exactly how well the Voltaire works is a bit of an unknown though. GIR says its "sensing platform" detects temperature, humidity, bean mass, volume, "gas concentration," and "volatile compound release." However, the Voltaire's Kickstarter campaign (currently halfway to its $100,00 goal) doesn't go into any detail about exactly which sensors are used and how GIR calculates its "freshness" scale. Will all that tech really add up to a better cup of coffee? GIR promises it will, but let's just say the nuances might be lost on the average coffee drinker.
But as well as its sensing platform, the Voltaire has a nice stack of features that anyone can appreciate. There's an LED timer, high-grade conical ceramic grinding burrs, and a built-in battery that can "hold power for weeks between charging" — making the Voltaire a great tool for getting a perfect cup on the road. GIR also promises that it's making its software "largely open-source" and releasing both an SDK and API to let power-users build their own apps.
And if you really want to go all-in for the Voltaire, you can also purchase a number of accessories. These include a pour-over stand, a steel-and-copper tamper, and a "hand-crafted marble tamping tray." All the cheaper, early-bird units for the grinder itself are gone, but if you're ready to get really, really picky about your beans, you can grab the Voltaire for $199.