For those of you who are interested in cool accessories to complement your coffee art, then you’d be drooling at the idea of what the Cinnibird can do. The Cinnibird is essentially a pen to write/draw on top of your coffees – only, it doesn’t use ink, it uses spices. Cinnamon, paprika, chocolate powder and even that green stuff can be used inside this little pen.
So of course, when I saw a crowd funding project for this pen, I just had to get behind it and here is what I thought of it:
Straight out of the box you notice how beautifully designed this pen is. It’s very nicely presented and packaged – almost Applesque – and when you get it out to hold you notice how easily it fits in your hands just the way a custom pen does.
Unfortunately, for me, that is where the amazement ended and the frustration began. As I wanted to use this primarily for coffee art, this review was done using chocolate powder. Results may vary with other spices.
FILLING THE CINNIBIRD
The first thing I noticed when I opened up the back to fill the chamber with chocolate, was that the batteries were positioned inside right beside the powder receptacle. There was no cover for the batteries, they just sat there sharing the same compartment as the chocolate. Even if you don’t understand physics that well you can easily deduce that putting electronics that get hot directly beside chocolate powder is not ideal. To top that off, the channel you need to fill with powder is only about 5mm wide, so if you don’t place your teaspoon exactly in the right position, and you don’t have the hand stability of a neurosurgeon, you end up with a lot of chocolate powder in with the batteries.
GETTING THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS
You can’t just use any old choc powder, some powders are too chunky or have sugar grains in them. If you try to use normal chocolate powder you’ll just clog up your pen and then you have to go through the enduring tasks of cleaning it out. I found that out the hard way and also learnt a valuable lesson (again): RTFM – READ THE F**N MANUAL
So, after a short trip down to the shops to get some Cinnibird-approved Nesquik chocolate powder I was back home, ready to complete the task of filling it. However, before you can pour the powder into the pen, you need to prepare the chocolate powder. That’s right, as if it isn’t already painstakingly difficult enough, you need to sieve out all the lumps first.
Ok, so now that you’ve done that you’ll need to open up the chamber (which is nice and easy btw) and then carefully spoon in the prepared choc powder. There isn’t any way to tell how much chocolate to put in but when it starts to overflow all over the place you can probably stop. It would be great to have some indication of how much to put in or a marker that says “max fill” because you can’t really tell how full it is until its too late.
USING IT FOR THE FIRST TIME
I started off strong and the pour was like a nice flowing calligraphy pen, that is, at least until I hit a lumpy bit of choc. I’m not sure if the heat of the pen made it clump again, or I clumped it when I was packing it, but it stopped mid stream and I had to knock it on the table to get it going again. This lasted about 5 seconds more before I hit another clump. And another. And another. And just before I finished writing “Yourself” guess what? I ran out of powder. Apparently the receptacle doesn’t hold much after all. So after preparing some more chocolate powder and refilling the pen, I made it to the end of my design (see main image) band that was enough for me for one day. Cinnibird – 1. Ryadan – 0. I put the pen back in its box, and I’m sad to say, I haven’t picked up since.
The idea is great, the outside design = beautiful, but the execution of the build is less than adequate and in the end, the functionality is not at a point yet that this will a baristas dream tool. If you are thinking of purchasing one I would stay tuned until they release V2 and see what has changed then. I think these guys are on the right path and the product will be superb but it’s not quite there yet. If you can’t wait, head to Cinnibird and get one
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Am I being too harsh or am I doing something incorrectly and that is why my results are low? These are only my opinions but I’d love to hear yours.