About this project
PLEASE CHECK OUT UPDATES FOR LATEST PRODUCTION SCHEDULE!
(Shipping to begin Spring/Summer 2012)
What we're doing:
We're making a commercial-quality espresso machine at a consumer-friendly price.
Consistent pressure and temperature through the entire pull is the key to getting a perfect shot of espresso. And that's exactly what our machine gives you, at a price far below any machine currently out there.
There are basically two kinds of home espresso machines on the market today. The affordable models have no good mechanism of temperature or pressure control. These machines can’t pull consistent shots. So if you're serious about espresso, you’ll need one of the higher-end machines - they make great coffee, but they also start around $700.
But we’re engineers, and we knew that we could design a machine that was just as good as the expensive models - for less. And because we’re coffee enthusiasts ourselves, we kept the consumer experience in mind, and included features that we ourselves lusted after in an affordable machine.
Our machine will retail for around $400, but it's available to you guys on Kickstarter for only $200!
No other machine at this price point offers high-end quality, PID-controlled customizable temperature and pressure, pre-infusion, or shot-time settings - we do.
How we did it:
We took the espresso machine back to the drawing board. We looked at all the latest technologies, and we developed a few of our own.
Building a machine from the ground up meant we could include the features we found ourselves breaking our warranties to add. By re-engineering and re-designing the machine inside and out, we have found ways to improve performance while lowering production costs.
Here are our niftiest features and innovations:
- Redesigned thermoblock. Though models featuring a thermoblock can be found in cheaper machines on the market, their poor design results in inconsistent temperatures and pressures. Our redesigned thermoblock ensures quick and consistent temperature, and allows for rapid switching between brewing and the steam wand.
- PID Controller. A proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller includes a feedback mechanism that allows our thermoblock to adjust its temperature while a shot is being pulled. This results in much lower temperature and pressure fluctuations during the shot, and ensures that the set temperature and pressure are maintained throughout the shot. Many home baristas find themselves retrofitting their machines with a PID controller. Our PID controller is tuned specifically for our machine, and configured for multiple settings, ensuring fast start-up, consistency over multiple shots, and fast steam-to-brew transitioning.
- Low-cost manufacturing. We've designed our thermoblock, group head, casing and internal supports to minimize manufacturing costs without sacrificing the feel or quality of our machine. Our machine is made entirely of metal, so it feels sturdier than plastic alternatives, and is heavy enough to not move around. We've minimized the use of proprietary components, which means your machine is maximally serviceable and modifiable by you.
- Open-source. The code for our machine will be completely open-source, allowing owners to import and share their code and hardware modifications.
- Espresso pod compatibility: You’ll be able to use our machine with the Easy Serving Espresso Pods, one of the most widely available pre-packaged coffee systems, in addition to loose grounds. Pods are quick, convenient and make for an easy clean-up. They demand a more powerful pump and a unique portafilter, but we thought it was worth it.
Portafilter: 58mm; Choice of single-spout, double-spout or naked; Regular or ESE-pod compatible portafilter baskets
Colors: Silver, red, yellow, green, blue, orange, black; matte or glossy
Tank capacity: 2.75L shared tank
Pressure range: 5-15 bar
External dimensions (approximate): 9.5inx12inx9in (width x height x depth); 24cm x 30.5cm x 23cm
Power Specs: 1000 watts
The machine will use an Arduino microcontroller.
What we need:
So we've got the proof of concept down and gone through several prototypes.
We’ve taken some of our prototypes to local coffee shops (shoutout to Land of a Thousand Hills and Octane in Atlanta!) and had their baristas pull a shot on both our machine and theirs. The shots our machine pulled were comparable to theirs in quality, every time.
Now we need to ramp up into the manufacturing stage.With the funds we're asking you guys for, we're going to set up a shop with a foundry to cast the thermoblock and grouphead, and a Tormach CNC mill to machine them into the precision shape that makes our machine so good.
With your help, we'll be able to start shipping machines by Spring/Summer 2012! (Please check updates for the most up-to-date production details available!)
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- (40 days)