Arduino MKR Makes Nespresso Monitoring Easy

Monitoring an appliance with a microcontroller usually follows a well-worn path of diving inside and finding somewhere in the electrical circuitry that can be connected through some kind of interface to a microcontroller. For his Nespresso pod coffee machine, [Steadman] eschewed tearing into the device, and instead chose to monitor the sound it makes. A commodity sound threshold sensor board is hooked up to an Arduino MKR Zero, and this set-up logs coffee consumption. It’s important to note how this generation of Arduino is no longer one of the simple boards of old, instead it sports an RTC and SD card alongside its SAMD21 Cortex-M0+ processor so it is perfect for just such a datalogging project. The coffee data can be saved into a CSV file viewable by a spreadsheet, for which code is provided.

We like this project for its non-invasive simplicity, and we can see that there could be plenty of other similar machines that could benefit from an analagous technique for non-invasive monitoring. While the pages of Hackaday are full of coffee machine projects we see surprisingly few pod coffeemakers, perhaps because our readers are a canny bunch who balk at paying a premium for their caffeine. If you do happen to have a Nespresso machine though, perhaps you’d like some help identifying the capsules.

23 thoughts on “Arduino MKR Makes Nespresso Monitoring Easy

  1. “A commodity sound threshold sensor board is hooked up to an Arduino MKR Zero, and this set-up logs coffee consumption.”

    I think this could more accurately be described as logging coffee “production”, not consumption – to log “consumption” the device should be mounted on the coffee mug…

      1. On paper or so they say. Many elves slicing open the pods to get rid of the moldy grounds.

        Set a Melita #2 cone that fits on a cup and put them under the hot water end. It may be too tall, this is where hack means something has to be cut shorter, or cut off the base where the cup sets. Bypass all interlocks and DRM control. Fill with freshly ground beans push the button and enjoy. Only paper filter and grounds for trash. Best coffee hack for the effort and results. I don’t know about “espresso” makers though this may need a blast control thru the open cone/filter, so not true espresso.

        1. or don’t buy any of these capsule based espresso machines in the first place. even the operation costs on mid therm are higher than a regular one that uses ground coffee.
          i see the convenience factor, but it produces a huge amount of waste. as more and more companies get into this business it may reach up to plastic bottled water range

          1. How is that? Sure, our Keurig keeps the chamber at temp as long as it’s powered up, but we simply turn it off when we’re done making coffee. Being able to heat exactly the amount of water we’re using for the amount of coffee we want seems more efficient to me than making a carafe of drip that may not be fully finished.

            As far as waste, it takes 30 extra seconds to fill a reusable pod with grounds, and the only waste is spent grounds for our compost and an empty bag every few weeks.

    1. ACK.
      Whatever “real programmers” use (, real makers for sure use portafilter machines.

      My first esp8266 project was an extension to a “simonelli oscar”. That machine takes some 20 to 30 minutes to fully heat up, and the office kitchen was a few corners away from the desk. We got an email once the machine was ready, and of course this was a vital addition to daily office life. Come on, how could you ever live without?

      But what if you already _have_ a portafilter machine, probably stuffed with sensors and things? How to continue life as a maker when all is done?
      Well, there’s still roasting to be discovered (high quality fair trade or self-imported beans, of course).
      Once that’s covered you might want to dive into latte art. Maybe self-produce vegan milk (not that hard), even if you don’t need it: Just go for proof of concept.

      All of these worlds are yours, but Thou Shalt Not Ackquire Capsuled Coffee, nor machines using such.

      1. If one can solve the problems of economically keeping all that functional and healthy more power to you. It would be cheaper and easier to have something that gave you a shot of caffeine in the arm.

      2. A coworker at a former job brought in his own espresso machine and would tamp the portafilter with a large electrolytic cap. I don’t care what others use for go-juice or how they acquire it, and generally find those that gatekeep coffee to be insecure snobs, but that’s some advanced graybeard caffeination technique.

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