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A quieter way of making a rather better cup of coffee

Martin Nicholson sitting at a table on which sits two examples of his Niche Zero Grinder

© Niche Coffee

An entrepreneur with a distinguished track record in engineering design work for major brands has developed a revolutionary coffee grinder that delivers fresher coffee than any comparable machine, yet is the quietest on the market.


Martin Nicholson has spent four years’ in developing the Niche Zero Grinder, mainly funded through the family business, Portsmouth-based Nicholson Design Consultants Ltd.


Now a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo has pre-sold nearly 230 examples of the Niche Zero Grinder, proving its market appeal and raising £85,000, well beyond the campaign target.


The first pre-sold Niche Zero Grinders are likely to be delivered next summer after the necessary approvals in the European, North American and Australian markets.


Strategic marketing


Enterprise Europe Network in the South of England has played a key supporting role to Martin in his role as CEO of Niche Coffee through the EC-funded Innovate 2 Succeed programme.


An intellectual property audit earlier this year by our EEN adviser paved the way for further EEN help in defining a value proposition, establishing a business model and also assisting with strategic marketing.


Martin explained: “The EEN programme really helped us focus in on the USPs and the way to communicate the product. That helped us get away from ‘features’ within the device and concentrate more on ‘benefits’ to customers.


“To put it simply, they just want a quieter machine that makes better coffee. That was a very useful exercise. So was the IP audit, identifying what could be patented.”


Unique technology


The Niche Zero Grinder's unique technology means that no beans are wasted because all the ground coffee leaves the grinder. The secret lies largely in the high-quality grinding burrs – normally only found in top-end commercial machines – and designing a ‘clean grind path’ within the device to encourage self-cleaning.


“The design of coffee grinders hasn’t changed much since the 1950s,” said Martin, whose love of the stuff is shared by his wife, Annie, the company’s marketing director. “I thought there must be a better way where you grind only what you need, no more - no less.”


He added: “Ground coffee loses its freshness in just a few minutes, and coffee beans within hours. It’s vital that you’re using absolutely fresh, ground coffee, uncontaminated by previous grinding.”


Martin created 32 different working prototypes while filing 5 patents and conducting long-term life testing, as well as registering the brand for both European and US markets.


He is particularly keen on maximising British-made bespoke components, whether for plastic parts, powder-coating or wooden mouldings.


The Innovate 2 Succeed programme proved to be one of the best training decisions that Niche Coffee Ltd has ever done.

Martin Nicholson CEO Niche Coffee.

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