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Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
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TeamDemitasse
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Australia
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jul 23, 2013, 7:29pm
Subject: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

As coffee enthusiasts, addicts and critics, we have invested hours of time filtering through knowledge and resources to attempt to create that perfect cup. When we strip our relationship with making coffee down to its essentials, we arrive at a set of key factors we are in control of.

One of these factors is of course the machine. However, the only real choice we have surrounding the machine is which one we decide to purchase. The manufacturer makes the machine, and we have to decide where in a product line we fit.

I would like to open this up and consider the alternative. What if we were in control of the machines design. What features would your machine have? How would you interact with it? What are those “Duh, need to have” features that manufacturers have failed to consider, or how have you modified your current machines to make them more in line with your own needs?

As a group of industrial design students we are excited to be working to rethink what a home espresso machine should be, and would love to draw on the real life experiences of forum members to inform our design process. Any input is valuable so please feel free to post anything you can imagine!
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
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Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

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Posted Tue Jul 23, 2013, 9:20pm
Subject: Re: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

This is a really broad, open-ended question, but a good one, nonetheless!

I am curious, have you and your team purchased a decent machine (one that costs well more than $1000, and a grinder that costs at least a third as much) and had a chance to learn the process of making espresso and specialty coffee drinks? I would think this is a must before trying to re-invent the espresso machine.

When it comes down to it, I think it's purely a question of volume. If there was enough of a demand for nice, HX semi-auto machines in the home, we would be seeing Oscar-like machines well below the $400 mark of half-way decent quality. The issue is that home espresso is a very niche market, and so production is often still done by hand, almost exclusively in Europe. Because of this, a real espresso machine that doesn't feel like a toy or have a boiler the size of a soda can  often retails for well into the four figures.

I suppose if I had control of the machine's design, I would first ask for more modular, standardized parts and fittings. Being as espresso machines marry electronics, high pressure, high heat, and hydraulics into a device about one cubic foot, it's a miracle they work at all!
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lukeap69
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Joined: 15 Mar 2013
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Location: Dubai
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Posted Tue Jul 23, 2013, 10:19pm
Subject: Re: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

Thermometer on the brew head (measuring the brew water temp.)
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Markarian
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Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 656
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Jul 23, 2013, 10:40pm
Subject: Re: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

lukeap69 Said:

Thermometer on the brew head (measuring the brew water temp.)

Posted July 23, 2013 link

One of the reasons I moved from Simonelli to E61. They make exactly what you're talking about:

Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)
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lukeap69
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Joined: 15 Mar 2013
Posts: 15
Location: Dubai
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Nuova Simonelli Musica Lux
Grinder: Nuova Simonelli MDX
Posted Tue Jul 23, 2013, 11:45pm
Subject: Re: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

Markarian Said:

One of the reasons I moved from Simonelli to E61. They make exactly what you're talking about:

Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)

Posted July 23, 2013 link

Now you know why I want that feature. :-)

It would be good if it is built in.
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TeamDemitasse
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Joined: 23 Jul 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Australia
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jul 23, 2013, 11:57pm
Subject: Re: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

Markarian Said:

This is a really broad, open-ended question, but a good one, nonetheless!

I am curious, have you and your team purchased a decent machine (one that costs well more than $1000, and a grinder that costs at least a third as much) and had a chance to learn the process of making espresso and specialty coffee drinks? I would think this is a must before trying to re-invent the espresso machine.

Posted July 23, 2013 link

Thanks for your comments! We are actually in a pretty good place since we will be conducting full machine tear downs, are in discussions with local barista's and the majority of students involved in the project have selected to do so since we all share the passion for making coffee! Cheers!
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DanoM
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Joined: 20 Mar 2013
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Location: Los Angeles
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Posted Wed Jul 24, 2013, 7:38am
Subject: Re: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

Ideally the perfect home espresso machine would have instant, continuous, precision temperature controlled hot water.
It will also need to be a good heavy steamer.
Heated group, either through cartridge heater or water heating.
Should be able to work on 110v/15a circuit.
Accept water via a reservoir, and possibly an option for direct water plumbing.
Large drain pan.  Direct drain plumbing option would be nice too.
Both semi-auto and auto programmable buttons.
Pre-infusion at low pressure capable system.

PID/digital controlled water temp - it's becoming more common.

Generally, we get around the instant hot water issue by using a boiler to buffer hot water for the system.  That same boiler is generally used to heat the group.  Heating up everything takes quite a bit of time, 30-40 minutes for stability on most machines.  A faster heating of the group is possible with cartridge heaters.  Instant, inline boilers, if you can make them precise enough on temperature control, would save quite a bit of energy as the idling machine wouldn't be putting out waste heat.  (Think inline induction heating?  That's what I'm considering running some tests on someday.)  Along that line, you have to compensate your design for the heat that once warmed copper piping and the like - changing to a non-conductive tubing may help.

Nobody has come up with a near instant-on espresso machine that works.  (Lever machines like the La Pavoni are ready in about 10-15 minutes, but that's another class.)  Group needs to heat up, and that generally takes about 10+ minutes with cartridge heaters, so a 10 minute startup would probably be your minimal target zone.

If I were building the perfect machine I'd want it on and ready when the power switch was thrown, but I'll give you 15 minutes.
I'd want an inline heater, with precision temp controls.  This will give me endless espresso capability for a party if I wish.
Heavy steam is vital.
Hot water tap would be great.
When running espresso to make sure the line to head water is hot perhaps it does an auto dump of the water in the line until temp is reached then solenoid switches flow to the group?
1 manual (semi-auto) control switch, 2 programmable volume extract switches.

Max height of 15" so it fits under my counter cabinets.
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,722
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
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Posted Wed Jul 24, 2013, 9:28am
Subject: Re: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

and a  partridge in a pear tree.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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JPF
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Joined: 3 Jun 2010
Posts: 223
Location: NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Mini Vivaldi, Pre-millenium...
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Posted Thu Jul 25, 2013, 7:28am
Subject: Re: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

It would be wise to pay attention to what breville did with their dual boiler (reliability issues aside) and what ZPM espresso is trying to do right now, since both have tackled this question.

 
Living the caffeinated life.
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,022
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
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Posted Thu Jul 25, 2013, 7:45am
Subject: Re: Rethinking The Home Espresso Machine
 

this board tackled this question a month or two ago.  I looked briefly down the "espresso machine" pages, but it's probably in another forum subheading.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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