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A completely manual coffee maker that is capable of making high quality, real espresso. Ditch those wasteful coffee capsules!
A completely manual coffee maker that is capable of making high quality, real espresso. Ditch those wasteful coffee capsules!
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277 backers pledged HK$ 685,834 to help bring this project to life.

About

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HK$ 685,834

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  • The Robot is a small, high quality manual coffee maker that makes real espresso
  • It uses few parts, no complicated electronics and only premium materials like stainless steel - it is completely plastic free
  • All you need is ground coffee, some hot water from a kettle and you are all set 
  • The whole process is simple and takes just a few minutes - no need for any capsule machine and less plastic waste for the landfills
  • Features a professional 58mm stainless steel filter basket
  • Also has a bottomless portafilter just like pro machines
  • Save $ on expensive plastic capsules
  • Design is registered and barista version is patent pending

The Robot makes espresso shots only. You can then drink as straight espresso, add water to make an americano or even make milk drinks if you have a milk steamer.  You can use fresh ground coffee with the professional basket, or you can use pre-ground coffee (e.g. Illy, Lavazza etc..) using the pressurised basket.

Some hot water and some coffee. The Robot has no boiler or heater inside, so you will have to manually fill it with hot water prior to brewing.

The Robot has been designed to work with 2 types of coffees

  • Fresh ground coffee from a coffee grinder such as a hand grinder or an electric grinder. Blade grinders will not work. Fresh coffee is to be used with the professional filter basket.  
  • Pre-ground supermarket coffee (e.g. the solid bricks) can be used with our pressurised double wall basket. Pre-ground coffee such as this only really work with the special pressurised basket. 

The oversized filter basket doubles as a brewing chamber. To keep things simple, there is no heating element, so you will have to fill the basket up with hot water from a kettle.  As soon as you pour in water just off the boil into the basket, it immediately cools to around 95 deg c, absolutely perfect for brewing killer espresso. 

Do not be fooled by the toy-like cutesy Robot looks, the Robot means business and is capable of pulling espresso shots like a professional machine costing 50x more.   By pushing down the lever arms, the internal piston forces the hot water through the coffee creating the thick syrupy espresso.  The machine is more than capable of producing that magic 9 bar pressure, but lever machines prefer somewhere in the region of 6-7 bar.

It might take some time to practice, but the Robot gives you the tools to produce great espresso shots.

To stop brewing the coffee you simply stop pushing the lever arms down. 

Paul's Tip If you back the lever arms up ever so slightly this prevents any drips from the spouts after you have moved the cup away. At that point, you can remove the portafilter.  Depending on where you stopped brewing there may be a bit of water left over in the portafilter. If you find that annoying, after you have removed your beverage place another cup under the spouts and raise and lower the arms again. That will push the remaining water out the coffee leaving a nice dry coffee cake.

Coffee grinds make great compost material.

58mm filter baskets Yes the same size as professional semi-automatic machines. Our baskets are extremely high quality, they are made by the same factory that makes all the best baskets in the world.

Stainless Steel Tamper  1 piece stainless steel tamper designed and machined to precisely fit snugly in the basket and has tapered side walls to prevent ground being sucked back when you lift the tamper.

Pressure gauge   Our Patent Pending system takes the pressure reading from inside the basket. Add to that the manual pressing of the lever arms, it enables you to manipulate pre-infusion,  flow and pressure in real-time to get the best from your coffee.  

Extraction pressure   Ignore the magic 9 bar, that figure originally referred to the pump output pressure of a Faema E61 machine, when in actual fact the pressure at the group will be lower, maybe even 1-2 bar lower.   Traditional lever machines (as measured by us) typically extract at 6-7 bars, and since the basket and piston on the Robot are the same size, we suggest you initially aim for 6-7 bars as well and adjust as preferred.

Temperature management   The Robot is clearly not going to give you a La Marzocco type flat temperature profile.  But water off the boil poured into a gently pre-heated basket will yield approx 95 deg c water, and will give you up to 88 deg c coffee output from the basket.

Extraction ratios  Certainly a 2:1 ratio of beverage mass to ground coffee is possible i.e. a 16g coffee dose can easily yield a 32g beverage weight. You can increase the beverage weight up to 40-45g if needed. 

Bottomless is best   For best results we recommend using the portafilter without the spouts - but when using the pressurised basket it is best to use with the spouts attached.

It's a lever machine  Lever machines can be very forgiving thanks to their gentle pre-infusion and the soft ramp up to full pressure.

All machines will be finished, assembled, tested and packed by Cafelat in Hong Kong.

These days it seems you can call any old brown liquid espresso, however, according to the Italian Espresso National Institute there are certain criteria that the coffee must meet before it is considered real espresso:

We have many years experience with manufacturing and are able to give straight honest answers. 

Die-Cast aluminium tooling  We are not just preparing to make the tooling, we have already done that. We have received the samples from our own tools and are making fine tuning adjustments. 

Silicone parts  The current piston seal is a standard part that we have sold for many years.  The other silicone mould for the non-slip base is also done.

Baskets and Screens  The tooling was completed and approved a long time ago. The baskets and screens you see in photos are the real ones from our tools. All we need to do is confirm the final order.

Main challenges left  The last issue will be getting a good finish on the aluminium parts. Hand polishing and chroming are becoming obsolete and hard to achieve.  We are now working on a suitable electro polish, not quite anodising but something similar.

Food Safety Testing  Like all of our products, anything that comes into contact with the coffee and water is tested by 3rd party independent laboratories.  We openly publish the test reports on our website and we will of course publish the Robot test reports when they are done.

The Timeline later on will lay out the path we have taken and what is left to do.

Why we have decided to use Kickstarter is a very good question.  We have been around for many years and our products are found all over the world, but we are a very small company. We like to take a very hands on approach to everything and are therefore involved in every step. Every product we ship out has been fabricated, assembled, and packed by us. 

When we set out to make the Robot, we wanted it done properly. We could have gone small, CNC cut all the parts and that would have lowered our financial outlay since we could have produced in small quantities. But we would rather invest in the correct tooling, have it die-cast so we can meet prospective orders and aim for the machines to be making coffee decades later.    

Therefore we need you guys to help us with our initial order. Help get the ball rolling to meet the high volumes that suppliers need, when you want to do it properly. 

Development and Prototypes

We had the first development meeting with our friends, who manufacture cookwares, in late 2014. They came up with a few ideas a month later.

1st draft of the coffee maker project, Jan 2015
1st draft of the coffee maker project, Jan 2015

It looked fantastic but it needed some non-slip grips. We thought about silicone overmolds, or even bakelite grips but it really ruined the simple looks. We always joked that it resembled a robot, so hey presto claws were added to make it easier to grip and press down and the Robot was born.

The Robot was born, July 2015 - note the company name!
The Robot was born, July 2015 - note the company name!

Towards the end of 2015 our manufacturers very wisely decided to produce a CNC prototype of the Robot to test that our design was working. I am 101% glad we did as it gave us vital information and we learned a lot from it. We still had basket issues, so we had to have the prototype basket CNC machines as well. 

The prototype allowed me to make changes to the piston shape and size, and adjust the travel of the piston to ensure we got a good drink volume.

In the end of 2016 we received the actual basket samples from our own toolings, this was the key to the whole project.

Our 2 types of filter baskets, screens and right, a standard coffee basket
Our 2 types of filter baskets, screens and right, a standard coffee basket

I think you have seen enough photos and diagrams, time to see a few examples of shots being pulled on the CNC prototype here, these are using our actual baskets.

Robot with pro basket (single basket) in action:

Robot with pre-gound coffee pressurised basket (double basket) in action:

Robot with 21g coffee:

Robot temperature demo:

 Robot with pressure gauge:

Cafelat has been designing, manufacturing and wholesaling coffee accessories and spare parts since 2009.  All our products are original designs and can be found in thousands of professional coffee shops and homes around the world.  

Cafelat at SCAA 2015 Seattle
Cafelat at SCAA 2015 Seattle

The founder of Cafelat is Paul Pratt, from Northampton in the U.K.  Paul has over 20 years experience in the coffee industry and is regarded as one of the leading authorities on traditional espresso coffee machines past and present.  Paul has one of the world's largest collections of vintage espresso machines and his collection is unique. Not only has each one been meticulously restored back to their original working and cosmetic condition, but he undertakes all the work himself. 

In 2011 Paul served on the World Barista Championship technical standards committee.

Paul and Spesh the bean at SCAA.
Paul and Spesh the bean at SCAA.

Risks and challenges

We have been designing and manufacturing coffee products for over 10 years and have a good network of suppliers. We have a reputation for delivering original, high quality products that work. We do not buy and sell and never will. We manufacture products always using our own tooling, we only subcontract out parts and never buy completed items, we always assemble and pack in house. That way we know what goes in each and every box.

The Robot project has been ongoing now for 2.5 years and the largest hurdle, manufacturing the baskets, has been solved. The baskets and screen you see in the photos are the actual baskets from our tools. The Robot is a simple project but we waited patiently to have the baskets done by the company we wanted them to be done by.

Of course there are unknown risks to any project. We want to make it clear from the start that we will not send out a product until we are 110% sure that it is ready to be sent out.

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Support

  1. Reward no longer available

    Pledge HK$ 1,550 or more About $197

    Robot EARLY BIRD Aluminium

    Bag yourself an Early Bird Special of the standard Robot coffee maker. It includes one type of basket for making coffee, an extra piston seal and a solid stainless steel precision tamper.

    You also get the all-in-one portafilter which means you can use with spouts or you can get naked.

    The total package has an MSRP of HK$2400 or US$306

    Shipping is by Fed Ex / EMS Speedpost

    Includes:
    • Dispersion Screen
    • Filter basket of your choice - decide just before shipping
    • Spare piston seal valued at US$6
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 30 backers
    HK$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Reward no longer available

    Pledge HK$ 1,550 or more About $197

    Robot EARLY BIRD Retro Green

    Bag yourself an Early Bird Special of the standard Robot coffee maker with the retro green colour . It includes one type of basket for making coffee, an extra piston seal and a solid stainless steel precision tamper.

    You also get the all-in-one portafilter which means you can use with spouts or you can get naked.

    The total package has an MSRP of HK$2400 or US$306

    Shipping is by Fed Ex / EMS Speedpost

    Includes:
    • Dispersion Screen
    • Filter basket of your choice - decide just before shipping
    • Spare piston seal valued at US$6
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 30 backers
    HK$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge HK$ 1,870 or more About $238

    Robot Retro Green

    Get the Retro green Robot, handmade by us, before anyone else. You get one type of basket, precision stainless steel tamper and an extra piston seal.

    You also get the all-in-one portafilter which means you can use with spouts or you can get naked.

    The total package has an MSRP of HK$2400 or US$306

    Shipping is by Fed Ex / EMS Speedpost

    Includes:
    • Dispersion Screen
    • Filter basket of your choice - decide just before shipping
    • Spare piston seal valued at US$6
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    19 backers
    HK$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge HK$ 1,870 or more About $238

    Robot Aluminium

    Get the Aluminium Robot, handmade by us, before anyone else. You get one type of basket, precision stainless steel tamper and an extra piston seal.

    You also get the all-in-one portafilter which means you can use with spouts or you can get naked.

    The total package has an MSRP of HK$2400 or US$306

    Shipping is by Fed Ex / EMS Speedpost

    Includes:
    • Dispersion Screen
    • Filter basket of your choice - decide just before shipping
    • Spare piston seal valued at US$6
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    11 backers
    HK$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge HK$ 1,950 or more About $248

    Barista Robot EARLY BIRD Retro Green

    Barista Robot early bird special for 50 lucky individuals. You get the green Robot with the pressure gauge, the professional basket, the stainless precision tamper and an extra piston seal.

    You also get the all-in-one portafilter which means you can use with spouts or you can get naked.

    The total package has an MSRP of HK$2850 or US$366

    Shipping is by Fed Ex / EMS Speedpost

    Includes:
    • Dispersion Screen
    • Filter basket of your choice - decide just before shipping
    • Spare piston seal valued at US$6
    • Pressure gauge
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 30 backers
    HK$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Reward no longer available

    Pledge HK$ 1,950 or more About $248

    Barista Robot EARLY BIRD Aluminium

    Barista Robot early bird special for 50 lucky individuals. You get the aluminium Robot with the pressure gauge, the professional basket, the stainless precision tamper and an extra piston seal.

    You also get the all-in-one portafilter which means you can use with spouts or you can get naked.

    The total package has an MSRP of HK$2850 or US$366

    Shipping is by Fed Ex / EMS Speedpost

    Includes:
    • Dispersion Screen
    • Filter basket of your choice - decide just before shipping
    • Spare piston seal valued at US$6
    • Pressure gauge
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Reward no longer available 30 backers
    HK$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge HK$ 2,250 or more About $287

    Barista Robot Aluminium

    Get the Aluminium Barista Robot before it hits the market. You get the aluminium Robot with the pressure gauge, the professional basket, the stainless precision tamper and an extra piston seal.

    You also get the all-in-one portafilter which means you can use with spouts or you can get naked.

    The total package has an MSRP of HK$2850 or US$366

    Shipping is by Fed Ex / EMS Speedpost

    Includes:
    • Dispersion Screen
    • Filter basket of your choice - decide just before shipping
    • Spare piston seal valued at US$6
    • Pressure gauge
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    43 backers
    HK$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge HK$ 2,250 or more About $287

    Barista Robot Retro Green

    Get the Retro green Barista Robot before it hits the market. You get the green Robot with the pressure gauge, the professional basket, the stainless precision tamper and an extra piston seal.

    You also get the all-in-one portafilter which means you can use with spouts or you can get naked.

    The total package has an MSRP of HK$2850 or US$366

    Shipping is by Fed Ex / EMS Speedpost

    Includes:
    • Dispersion Screen
    • Filter basket of your choice - decide just before shipping
    • Spare piston seal valued at US$6
    • Pressure gauge
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    79 backers
    HK$
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)