Grow your own coffee beans

beans

Unlike T-shirts, sneakers, cell phones, children’s toys, software, appliances, virtually everything made of plastic, and food, people really seem to care about who makes their coffee. Instead of buying guilt-free free trade coffee, [spikec] over on Instructables decided to actually do something to uproot the evils of consumerism. He’s making his own coffee, at home, with a real coffee plant.

[spikec] bought a coffee plant a few years ago off eBay. Coffee plants are actually trees, and with careful pruning they can be maintained to a reasonable size. But what about the weather? Well, for [spikec], who lives in the 7a USDA hardiness zone – a strip that runs from southern New Jersey to the Texas panhandle – he just brings the plant inside when it’s cold.

Once the coffee fruit turns ripe, [spikec] picks the beans, husks the fruit, and puts the beans in a dehydrator. From there, it’s a trip through a small coffee roaster and into a french press.

[spikec] only harvested about a half pound of beans. That’s still very impressive for growing a bonsai coffee tree a thousand miles outside its native range.

Monitoring a coffee pot with an Arduino

coffee graph

Coffee has always been an important part of the internet; the first webcam ever was in the Trojan Room of the Cambridge University Computer Laboratory to monitor the contents of a coffee pot. Now, instead of webcams, we have Arduinos and a bathroom scale. Not particularly similar to a webcam, but more than enough to keep track of how much coffee is currently available at DoES Liverpool.

Being a techy workshop/studio, coffee is always in short supply at DoES Liverpool. Instead of getting up and checking the pot, [Patrick] thought it would be a good idea to monitor the contents of a coffee pot online. He’s doing this with a bathroom scale underneath the coffee machine connected to an Arduino Ethernet module. By measuring the weight of the coffee pot and subtracting the known empty weight, [Patrick] can get a pretty good idea of how much coffee is left in the pot, and how long the coffee has been sitting there.

The data from the Arduino is fed to an Xively feed that displays the current status of the coffee machine on any computer with an Internet connection. Far more sophisticated than the first webcam ever, and a very useful tool for everyone at DoES Liverpool.

Give yourself to the dark roast side

R2

A normal coffee maker won’t cut it for dinner parties or any time you need a lot of coffee really fast. At this point, you have two options: you could buy an industrial coffee maker, or you could buy an industrial coffee maker and make it look like R2D2. Guess which option we think is cooler?

The R2D2 coffee pot was designed for large dinner parties where waiting five minutes for a pot of coffee to brew is just an inefficient use of time. Instead of a Mr. Coffee, [iminthebathroom] used an industrial BUNN coffee maker as R2′s body. This coffee maker has two water reservoirs, one that pours into the coffee filter and another that keeps a pot of coffee’s worth of water piping hot.

As for the cosmetic modifications to the coffee maker, [iminthebathroom] found a wonderful dome for R2′s head in a junk yard. It was formerly a giant ball valve, and a little work with a saw cut it down to a proper R2 skull shape. R2′s voice – as heard in the video below – come from a greeting card programmed with the bleeps and boops of the actual hero of the Star Wars saga.

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Precise temperature control of a coffee urn

coffee-urn-temperature-controller

Hackaday Alum [Nick Schulze] decided to help out a friend who needed a controller to hold water at a precise temperature. Coffee guzzling hackers of the world should rejoice, as [Nick] targeted a coffee urn as the vessel for the project. What he came up with was a couple of custom boards and a roll-your-own temperature probe which does a fantastic job of regulating the temperature of the liquid.

Needing to switch the mains going to the heating element he immediately thought of an AC chopper circuit based on a Triac. What didn’t come to mind immediately was the need to detect the zero crossing. In the image above you can see nearest the urn his high voltage board. Below that is the zero crossing detector circuit. For feedback he created his own temperature probe using a TC1047 temperature sensor. After soldering on a filtering cap and the leads he dipped it in JB Weld to make it water tight. If you’re using this for coffee may we recommend seeking out a food safe probe.

After successful testing he added a user interface and buttoned it up in the enclosure seen in the video below.

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A coffee machine with an attitude

coffee

[Armin] and his crew at BerkelaarMRT were contacted by the Museum of Communication in The Hague to see if they could build a coffee machine that was operated only by voice. It sounded like an interesting challenge, so they took on the job and came up with a very awesome interactive coffee machine.

The interactive coffee machine is based on a coffee maker made by Animo with the ability to make cappuccino, espresso, or just a straight coffee. The electronics are based on a Motorola Xoom 10″ tablet with an Electric Sheep module from Sparkfun. This, along with a custom-made PCB with optocouplers, to allow the buttons on the coffee maker to be electronically activated.

When anyone walks up to the coffee machine, a Maxbotix sonar module detects their presence and a small animated coffee cup asks what they’d like to drink. The cute little cup then prepares the drink and waits for its next human.

There’s a video of the machine in action available below. it’s in Dutch, but anyone will be able to get the jist of how the animated coffee machine operates.

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Phase one of a robot coffee maker

coffee fry

A coffee machine that brews a fresh pot of joe,  automatically putting coffee in a filter, filling the coffee maker with water, brewing, dumping the grounds, and adding sugar and cream, all without any human interaction. Some may call it the fevered dream of a madman. Others may call it a vending machine. All we know is [Phil] is working on his own version of this robot par excellence.

This is only phase one of a robotic coffee machine build, but so far [Phil] has a single cup coffee maker that can fill itself with water and dump its grounds automatically.

The electronics are based on a PIC18F4550 that controls two mechanical relays that control the solenoids, one solid state relay that controls power to the coffee maker, and two stepper motor drivers that open the lid of the coffee maker and dump the filter into the wash bin.

It’s an awesome build and we look forward to the next stage of this awesome, truly homebrew build.

 

A drip coffee maker for camping

drip

[TE] goes camping, and on his excursion he likes to take just the bare necessities. A sleeping bag, a tent, food, but above all else, coffee. Most camping coffee makers are a percolator design, which is widely regarded as the worst way to make coffee ever. With a little bit of ingenuity, he created an improvised drip coffee maker for camping, just the thing for a nice cup of brew in the wilderness.

If you were to make your own drip coffee maker, your first inclination might be to use a funnel, put in a filter, pour in some coffee, and load it up with hot water. This was [TE]‘s first design, but he quickly realized the hole in the bottom of his makeshift funnel would clog very quickly. After investigating his electronic drip coffee maker, he discovered the bottom of the basket had a series of baffles that allowed the filter to drain over its entire bottom surface. But how to replicate this in a piece of DIY equipment?

The solution came from [TE]‘s wife, who pulled out an apple slicer. This allowed the filter to sit a little proud in the basket, allowing for an efficient draining of coffee. Simple, effective, and nearly impossible to break; that’s very good camping equipment.

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