Everything tastes better with nut butter on top.
My favorite must be almond butter, but then there is also hazelnuts and oh, pistachio nut butter is definitely the most exclusive of them all. To me, it is the ultimate treat*- enjoying a banana or dates topped with a little bit of ground nuts into a delicious and gooey cream.
I can’t quite remember the moment of this discovery, but I am sure happy I did! It might have been on social media or researching bulk/zero waste stores all over the world, however, it was definitely during my stay in London. I stumbled upon the start-up company heyqnut. I was so amazed by the device, that I decided to go to hetu (in London) within the next couple of days. I brought my empty jar of another nut butter (I go through them quite quickly once they are in my possession) and got a refill in the zero waste/ bulk store on London’s South Bank. The nuts, I believe it were almonds, were just roasted and chopped and then put in the heyqnut. The nut butter was not completely smooth, with a little crunch to it which I personally quite enjoyed. After I indulged on this almond butter, I decided to do a little more research on the heyqnut. Funny enough, the start-up is from a part of Bavaria, Germany where I also have family- this made me ever more curious and amazed. I waited no longer and contacted the people behind heyqnut and have had the pleasure and honor to do a small interview with them.
What does “heyqnut“ stand for?
Our original idea was to call ourselves “Knut“, however, the Berlin Zoo trademarked this name for its polar bear. This is how Qnut came to be. It sounds similar phonetically (in German) and the letter’Q’ has positive connotations of quality and quintessence. We then added ’hey’ to ’qnut’. This was the birth of heyqnut.
Where and how did the idea originate to provide the consumer with nut butter in such a simple and fast manner?
A trip to California in 2014 marks the beginning of this project. We realized that nut butter is very established in grocery stores and has been for several years. It was our mission to do similar by European standards, implementing our ideas of design, sustainability, longevity, being consumer-friendly and taste. The twist is, however, to not do so for a single household, but rather following the leitmotif of ’sharing is caring“ in the natural habitat of our target audience- being organic grocery stores, cafés, hotels, culinary schools, schools, catering services and so on.
The idea and product is stripped down to simplicity. More often than not are these the ones requiring the most work. How long did it take you to perfect the grinding gear and concept?
It took around 1 year from the initial idea to the first prototype.
What kind of materials are used to built the heyqnut?
We solely use sustainable materials such as wood and metal. We have consciously abdicated from the use of plastic, as the machine is built for eternity. The manufacturing is exclusively done within the region (Bavaria). The woodwork is done in the Allgäu, our funnel-maker is located close to Munich, who also builds the jet engines of Ariane launch vehicles.
Does the heyqnut work manually, with electricity or a different kind of mechanism?
The machine works mechanically. The mechanism is, however, powered by a small engine through a common household outlet.
If you want to switch up the type of nut butter you are making (as a distributor) how does one go about cleaning the heyqnut?
It is a very simple process: You dissemble the grinding gear, which takes about 1-2 minutes, place it in the dishwasher or quickly give it a wash by hand and then assemble it again. We also have a selection of supermarkets, who do not clean the heyqnut between the change of nuts so that each customer can individually decide what nut they would like to have ground. The cleaning then takes place once a day- it is a matter of taste.
Where can you grind your own nut butter with the heyqnut? What is your favorite nut butter?
You can easily find a list of stores on our website. We have just started distributing new machines to new locations- we are expanding by the day! We already have locations in Germany, France, in the UK, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain. Our favorite nut butter is organic Sicilian pistachio butter or organic Bavarian hazelnut butter. They are great for cooking, cocktails, to produce nut mylks or to enjoy by themselves!
*Despite my weakness for any kind of nut butter, it is important to me that I moderate my intake. I have to bare in mind that one teaspoon of nut butter probably equals to 7-10 almonds for example. Therefore, I really do consider it as a treat.
Photos taken at Ohne in Munich. Thank you to heyqnut for the interview!