Immediately following the Pre-Alpha Testing is the Alpha Testing. Makes sense. This is the phase were other people run the product through more rigorous testing in an attempt to validate the Pre-Alpha Testing and further refine the product.
For this phase, we reached out to a few local coffee shops that we respect the most. We were able to have this new filter tested by the best. Seriously, we are so lucky to to live where we live. Our testers included a:
- Barista Champion
- Brewer’s Cup Champion
- Tasters Champion
- Roaster Championship Finals Competitor
- Some of the best coffee roasters we know
Given our limited supply of samples remaining, we only had enough filters to give each tester one. One single filter to make just one single batch! Many of these testers have been dialing in their current cold brewing processes for years, some for decades. We were asking them to take one shot at evaluating our filter and to perform a blind taste test to compare the resulting cold brews.
Joey and I are huge believers in blind testing because that is the only way that an unbiased conclusion can be reached. We didn’t want coffee shops feeling like they had to pick our products to make us feel better or having past brand loyalties creep in. We wanted a fair test, head to head against whatever methods they were using.
We were fairly confident that the testers would appreciate the easier preparation (one filter instead of two) and the easier cleanup (no washing, drying and reusing the filters), but we couldn't predict the outcome of the taste tests. What would some of the most qualified people in the coffee industry think about our filters?
The taste testing feedback we got was phenomenal! We are not cold brew experts like these professionals. We strive to be but know that there are far more qualified people who should be weighing in. That’s why we asked the testers we did. Only the best.
Most of the testers picked the cold brew made with our filters over their regular method by blind taste test. The most critical testers said that their previous method seemed to have more body, but our “filter better highlighted the acidity”. They concluded the review with "we really liked it”. We’ll take it.
Now for the final step in validating the Alpha Testing phase: pre-ordering. Once we received our tester’s feedback we decided to offer each an opportunity to pre-order more at a discount as a thank you for helping us out. We had a product that filtered as well as paper, was as strong as mesh, and eliminated the need to wash filters. Better yet, we just received confirmation that our filters produced a high quality cold brew according the the best experts we could find.
What we didn't have yet was validation that anyone cared enough to buy some. Would shops be interested enough to buy a product that wouldn't be delivered for weeks? Only one way to find out: Pre-Orders.