Name a more sought-after coffee grinder. I’ll wait.
Few other coffee grinders have disrupted the home coffee industry more in the past year than that of the Niche Zero. Acclaimed by many, including the likes of James Hoffmann, the Niche Zero has quickly become THE grinder that is coveted the world over by those who want to take their home coffee experience to the next level.
I am fortunate to say that I have a Niche Zero sitting on my brew bar at home, and for the past few months have been enjoying its use every-single-day. Whether it be for filter coffee, or espresso this one grinder quickly replaced the two previous grinders I had sitting on bar.
But this isn’t a review of the Niche Zero!
In the past year or so, numerous Coffee Bloggers, YouTubbers and others have done an excellent job in reviewing the Niche Zero. Each review from them is informative, visually stunning, and exactly what I would want to see in a review. Instead, I reached out to Niche and asked if they would be so kind to share more of their story, share more of who they are as a company, so that you can get a better sense of the people behind the product.
I feel that getting to know the people at Niche Coffee will help to better showcase the products from Niche Coffee.
I was thrilled when James Nicholson [JN-for the sake of this interview] at Niche Coffee got back to me and said they were willing to chat. So here for your reading pleasure is a bit of a look behind the curtain at the team behind this industry-changing coffee grinder we know and love, called the Niche Zero.
[CC] So introduce yourself, tell our readers a little bit more about the family behind the Niche Zero.
[JN] The Nicholson family is who is behind the Niche Zero. Many people may not know that we are a family-run business. We have been fortunate to call the Hampshire area in the UK home for quite some time. Working with family is a rare and great experience and has strengthened our bonds over the last few years.
Everyone’s role in the company is a bit of everything. Being a family-run business we all chip in whenever needed and wherever possible. Martin is the MD making all the hard decisions and keeping things running smoothly. I primarily run the logistics and customer service. So whenever you send us a DM or connect with us by email it’s me you’re likely chatting with.
[CC] I have to say, that it was been amazing to see the level of customer service that you are able to offer your customers. I think that’s one of the strongest aspects that many appreciate about Niche is that you are so active on social media, and truly value the relationships you have with your customer. That’s not always something a large-scale company is able to offer, and I know this definitely sets you apart!
[CC] So Martin, you have quite the history in the home-appliance sector, can you share how this past experience helped to shape the launch of Niche Coffee?
[MN] I have had years of experience in the home appliance market. Over the past 25 years I have worked with well known brands like Kenwood etc. What led me to really begin to dream up the Niche was that it occurred to me that the basic design of the coffee grinder hadn’t changed since the 1950’s. Most other technologies had changed almost beyond recognition in that time span, and yet not as much in this market.
I saw an opportunity to design and build a revolutionary coffee grinder incorporating game-changing technology and saw an opportunity to bring coffee grinding of the highest professional standards within reach of everyone who loves truly great coffee.
[CC] I hadn’t really known that there was such a lag of technological innovation in the coffee grinder space for such a long time. They say, sometimes you just need to build a better mouse-trap…and I think that many would agree that what you have done is build a better grinder.
[CC] Where did the inspiration for the Niche Zero come from? Because clearly this was a ground-breaking product in the coffee-grinder market.
[JN] After using many other home coffee grinders, we become annoyed with certain aspects in them such as retention, noise and build quality. This started the journey to build our own grinder that retained virtually no coffee grounds and was quiet and simple to use.
This was no easy feat to accomplish. In fact it took us over 3 years and 27 different prototypes to get to the final product that you see today.
[CC] Wow, I had no idea that it took you that long to design, build, tweak etc the Niche Zero before you were fully satisfied with it. Let me just say thank you for sticking it out and not giving up. I would think that anyone going through this much R&D would go crazy. But I think that this again is what causes you as a company to stand out. After hearing a statement like “we took 3 years and 27 prototypes” no one is going to call into question your commitment to quality.
[CC] I think most people are aware that the Zero in “Niche Zero” refers to its zero-grind retention…but is there a story behind why you chose the name Niche?
[JN] You are right that the Zero refers to the almost zero grind-retention that is synonymous with our grinder. The term Niche actually comes from an abbreviation of Nicholson Engineering. Nich(olson) E(ngineering).
[CC] WHAT?! Ok, I think you have answered a question that has likely been on EVERYONE’S mind for quite some time. I think most of us simply assumed it was called the Niche because you had found your “Niche” in the coffee grinder market. Never did I even guess it was an abbreviation of your family’s name & business pursuit.
[CC] There is no question that in the past year or so, the interest in the Niche Zero has hit a feverish level. Did you ever anticipate this? How have you handled it?
[JN] We never really expected things to get to what they are today! Our first vision was to sell 300 units a year and we would be happy. Clearly we are doing well over this now!
In light of this feverish demand, we have spent the last year increasing production, but this has not been without difficulty both due to the effects of COVID-19, and the added challenges of Brexit here in the UK. But we are really pleased with the reception of the Niche Zero the world-over, and we are so glad to be able to make a small but positive impact in the coffee industry.
[CC] I think everyone hopes their product is a smashing success, but I think we all also bring some level of humility into when we created something new. I feel that you as a company are incredibly humble, and even during the course of this past year with all the success of the Niche Zero, you haven’t let that chance you as a family-business. Let me just say, well done!
[CC] So in the midst of this feverish interest level, can you speak to how COVID-19 has impacted you as a business?
[JN] Like many other business, Covid-19 has had a large effect on both our production and logistics. And while it could be easy to let this get to us, instead we recognize that it has allowed us to focus on what is truly important and ultimately has created more opportunity for us to spend more time together as a family.
I think one of the most exciting things we have done recently is that we have been able to raise money for 4 charities over the last 6 months. In addition to that this time has allowed us the opportunity to focus on improving the quality of the Niche moving forward.
[CC] Having followed you on Instagram for a while now I must say it has been so encouraging to see your ongoing commitment to not just creating a great product but also to giving back! Your giveaway/fundraisers have been huge successes and have been able to do so much good for so many different initiatives. And I love that even in this challenging time you have continued to pursue ways to improve the overall function and quality of the Niche Zero! Well done.
[CC] Is there anything you can share as it pertains to the future for Niche Coffee? Anything that we can expect in the next while?
[JN] We are always working on new ideas, but we can’t release any information at the moment.
[CC] Well you can’t blame a guy for trying to find out any up-coming info. I know that you just released your new dosing cup with a more rounded bottom, and the elimination of the inner lip. I know from talking to many Niche owners how excited they are with this design change. Again, I think this tells my audience that Niche truly does listen to Niche-owners, hears their feedback, and makes those adjustments if they feel it is necessary. This goes a long way to keeping your customers happy, and showing those who are considering getting a Niche that Niche is committed to always innovating and creating the best grinder possible.
I just want to say a huge THANK YOU to the team at Niche Coffee for giving me this chance to share their story.
If you’re looking to get your hands on one the best thing to do is to visit their website and subscribe to their email list (scroll to the bottom of their site) and then familiarize yourself with their Indiegogo site. Niche releases pre-orders of their grinders every few months so make sure to watch for announcements.
If you’re looking to read one of the most comprehensive reviews on the Niche READ THIS.
WANT TO LEARN MORE? Check out these great videos.
3 thoughts on “An Interview With Niche”
Hi, you might also like Dave C’s early review and his addition on the NFC disk