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Optical Feedback For Perfect Coffee

CmdrTaco posted about 13 years ago | from the clever-use-of-led dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 140

FOLICOR writes "One man's quest for the perfect cup of joe leads to a new coffee maker" Somehow I have to hope that this is fake, but it looks like he's using an led to make sure his coffee is brewed reliably. I brew mine on my stove in a syphon cheerfully referred to as The Coffee Bong. Super primitive.

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These Americains cant make chooffee (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#107790)

American coffee is like making love in a boat - f*cking close to water... ;) This invention only makes sure it always tastes of the same sweet nothing. Get a nice Italian or Swiss made Espresso machine to feel the difference. :)

Re:Bugger coffee.. (1)

Zemran (3101) | about 13 years ago | (#107791)

There was a patent issued in the UK a couple of months back for an internet connected toaster that put the weather forecast on your toast. Toasted the bread to a light colour and then put a weather symbol mask in between the element and the toast for the final minute (or however long) so that you had a darker weather symbol actually on the toast. The weather information was obtained over the internet connection.

Re:Factoid (1)

Bob McCown (8411) | about 13 years ago | (#107793)

Anyone that thinks Columbian coffee is he 'best coffee' needs to stop using chock-full-o-nuts, and grab a half pound of Jamacian Blue at your local beanery...

Re:Some better ideas... (1)

Goonie (8651) | about 13 years ago | (#107794)

but remember kids - Starbucks are evil!

Well, we'll find out just how evil. Australians have had a serious espresso culture for quite a few years now, well before any American franchises got into the act. (I gotta say it was a shock to get to the US and find that we were well ahead of a cultural trend :) ).Starbucks, however, has just opened its first Australian store. Moreover, they've stuck their head straight into the lion's mouth, as they've chosen Lygon Street in inner Melbourne, arguably the place where Australians first discovered proper coffee, as the place to open their first store. Bring on the challenger . . .

Go you big red fire engine!

Re:They let him patent this? (1)

ergo98 (9391) | about 13 years ago | (#107795)

Then his patents will fall under via prior art if he ever tries to enforce them. While it is fun on Slashdot to talk about people patenting the wheel, etc., there are quite a lot of checks (though perhaps not enough...) to ensure that even though you might get a patent, it might not be worth the bits that compose the digits that define it if you tried to do anything about it.

Old Percolators (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 13 years ago | (#107796)

I've an old percolator here with a little knob on the bottom you can turn from "weaker" to "stronger" - I think all it is is a thermostat.

Re:GIGO: garbage in, garbage out (1)

MarkMac (13774) | about 13 years ago | (#107797)

My office has these thermos-based coffee brewers - they work pretty well but you never know how much coffee is actually left in the pot! Now if only I could get them to use a better quality coffee :-( I am sure you can get purchase such coffee makers in North America although I have to admit that I haven't seen them in the retail stores. The standard glass carafe and heating element type brewer are undoubtedly cheaper - but they really do ruin the coffee if it sits around on the heating element for more than a few minutes. It would seem that many Americas are simply used to rotten tasting coffee.

This guy is drinking "brown water," not coffee (1)

LittleStone (18310) | about 13 years ago | (#107799)

Even a good coffee shop will throw away coffee sitting on the warmer for some time, because it taste awful!!! Coffee will turn acidic and burnt under constant heat.

Probably not, as. . . . (1)

Salgak1 (20136) | about 13 years ago | (#107800)

I didn't know they grew pot on the Blue Mountain in Jamaica. . .too busy growing coffee on it. . . .

Re:ESPRESSO is the answer! (1)

G-funk (22712) | about 13 years ago | (#107801)

I'm gonna cop it for this, but frankly, _nothing_ amuses me more than coffee snobs. Not a damned thing. Makes me laugh every time I come across it.


Re:Wrong Direction... (1)

skribe (26534) | about 13 years ago | (#107803)

Boiling water impares the taste - Too cold and you don;t extract all thr flavour.

The grind of the beans and the relative humidity also affects the flavour. High humid days and a small grind can result in the coffee tasting burnt.


Re:Perfect Coffee? (1)

Craig Davison (37723) | about 13 years ago | (#107804)

Sure, if you like it oily and heavy, you cheese-eating surrender monkey.

Coffee's Important, but come on (1)

LinuxHam (52232) | about 13 years ago | (#107805)

This guy loves coffee way too much! You'd think he'd be happy with one of those combo grinder/coffee pots and some Brita water.
Steve Jackson

Re:Wrong Direction... (1)

LinuxHam (52232) | about 13 years ago | (#107806)

No boiling water, huh? I use those coffee bags for ultimate convenience, and find that when I let the kettle scream nice and loud, the coffee tastes better.
Steve Jackson

Re:Coffee Bong (1)

TheTomcat (53158) | about 13 years ago | (#107807)

pretty sure it was Dennis Leary...

Re:Three patents (1)

rwg (59312) | about 13 years ago | (#107808)

I'm surprised slashdot ran the story considering the guy has patents on it. Intellectual property, patents, evil, un-American, blah blah blah, etc.

Re:Coffee Bong (1)

kaniff (63108) | about 13 years ago | (#107809)

That was Denis Leary.

He also said: "i didn't quit drugs because they were bad for me, its because i didn't want to build anything."

Or something like that.

Let's see (1)

Jay L (74152) | about 13 years ago | (#107811)

- He is inventing coffee technology but can't spell espresso

- He thinks that coffee gets darker as it gets less fresh

- He doesn't take into account the dirtiness of the water or the pot

Yeah, this oughta work real well.

Re:These Americains cant make chooffee (1)

JohnG (93975) | about 13 years ago | (#107813)

I very much enjoy espresso and cappucino, however you are correct there is a big difference between American coffee and Swiss espresso. Most notably that coffee and espresso are two totally different drinks made from the same substance. Comparing the two would be like me saying German beer is watered down because it doesn't have the same punch as a bottle of Everclear.

Free beer software (1)

webweave (94683) | about 13 years ago | (#107814)

An embeded linux computer opens valves and reads sensors allowing automatic home brewing. Drop in malt, hops, yeast and water in one end of the device and connect a beer tap to the other. This could be a good project to get hosted on SourceForge.

Free beer software. Even RMS likes it.

fine but... (1)

chegosaurus (98703) | about 13 years ago | (#107815)

...where's the ethernet interface?

Re:Wrong Direction... (1)

moreati (119629) | about 13 years ago | (#107817)

> 93 degrees centigrate at 18 bar pressure will produce the ultimate coffee.

Do you really mean that? 18 bar == approx 18 atmospheres, or the pressure at 170m below sea level. Where the blazes do you work/live? Or do you have a coffee machine that creates a seal then pumps up the pressure before it makes the brew? I'm fascinated, please tell this wasn't a typo - it'd be so disappointing.

Alex W

Re:Wrong Direction... (1)

moreati (119629) | about 13 years ago | (#107818)

> Yes, it's commonly called an espresso machine...

Mea culpa, sorry didn't think of that one, not a coffee drinker myself.


Alex W

Re:This guy is drinking "brown water," not coffee (1)

jallen02 (124384) | about 13 years ago | (#107819)

It is that GPL virus infecting everyone. Throw in the use of patents on something that is new and novel and the zealots shall talk about "lumination coeffecients" and generally discredit the damn thing without even actually using it ;p ITs the typical a geek knows it all syndrome. Oh well.

Nutri-Matic (1)

albeit unknown (136964) | about 13 years ago | (#107823)

I'm sure that this device, when activated, invariably provides a plastic cup filled with a liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

Re:The law of conservation of coffee (1)

rmst (157328) | about 13 years ago | (#107825)

It won't. But I think he means something like, if you put in too much, then it will add more water, until the desired strength is achieved, and if you put in too little (barring really miniscule amounts, I guess) it'll add less water, as the 'strength' is preserved. You could express it as a ratio, or something, I guess, you want 'brown sludge', aka .5, so, if you add 200g of Coffee, it needs to chug in 400 mL of water. If you only add 175 g though, it only needs to add 250 mL. Or would that be litres? =]. I dunno. Anyways, that's my take on this amazing new technology... Of course now it needs to be interfaced to a computer, so that a small tray/dock app can be used to distribute the status of the coffee across an entire network...

So, while yeah, your law is valid, there are certain adjustments that can be made. Ofbiouvlsy, you can't get anything stronger than your grinds with no water, but you can get a strength closer to what you want with less water, if you put in less grounds, or more water if you put in more grounds. Sound kosher?

It's not coffee (1)

really_blurry (163189) | about 13 years ago | (#107827)

If the led can see through the coffee it ain't coffee.

Re:Coffee Bong (1)

riflemann (190895) | about 13 years ago | (#107830)

Actually, it is documented by the Australian police, that there was a new type of crime being committed - People were reporting their garden hoses being shortened by around ten centimetres, overnight.

Investigations determined that the cause of this was due to pot users looking for 'construction materials'.

Drug paraphenalia, indeed.

"World's first Webcam coffee pot to be scrapped" (1)

dankjones (192476) | about 13 years ago | (#107831)

Just thought you'd like to know The Cambridge Trojan Room Coffee Pot [] webcam is in serious jeopardy and may soon be no more.

This is serious milestone cutting edge coffee technology we're talking about here!

You may begin rioting... now.

staggering invention (1)

unsui (194576) | about 13 years ago | (#107832)

"Hopefully by the end of your visit you will understand the operation better and appreciate the utility of this invention." You only need to look at the grainy photograph and all becomes clear. There is nothing staggeringly complicated about this invention. I'd be surprised if someone hasn't already done this somewhere. It disappoints me to see multiple patents being applied for this. And I wonder if the device is calibrated to a particular variety of coffee. I wouldn't want to drink the same brand every day - which rules out home use. Besides, the idea of brewing both espresso and filter coffee from the same type of beans doesn't appeal. - unsui

Re:Best and Worst (1)

Blancmange (195140) | about 13 years ago | (#107834)

Worst method: Greek / Turkish. At that point, why not just suck on the damn beans?

I guess that makes me an 'unceremonious coffee bean muncher' :)

Re:Wrong Direction... (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 13 years ago | (#107835)

You just described my Krups coffeemaker. :-)

The nice thing about Krups and Braun machines is that they dispense hot water at around 90 degrees Celsius, which extracts out the most in coffee flavor. The problem with American machines is that the dispense hot water more like 75 degrees Celsius, which results in not-so-great coffee. :-(

Re:Perfect Coffee? (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 13 years ago | (#107836)

Wrongo. :-)

It really depends on the type of bean and level of grind of the coffee itself.

Most good coffee should be served on a drip-style coffeemaker using cone filters and near-boiling hot water (the latter is common on Krups and Braun coffeemakers).

Re:Some better ideas... (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | about 13 years ago | (#107837)

While I agree that's true if you're talking espresso-style coffee, for regular coffee I would recommend a coffeemaker that 1) dispenses hot water at around 90-93 degrees Celsius and 2) uses a cone-style filter (and use the permanent gold-plated filter as much as possible). Most German coffeemakers (Krups and Braun) are made this way, hence their popularity worldwide (I have a Krups myself).

If you grind the coffee beans at the correct consistency, a top-line drip machine can make great coffee. And drip coffee has a very strong buzz, too--80 mg of caffeine per 6 oz. of liquid.

Re:Bugger coffee.. (1)

JKR (198165) | about 13 years ago | (#107838)

Because the sensor would need to operate in an environment with huge amounts of stray IR to visible red-orange light (look inside a toaster sometime) and 400C temperatures. You could probably do it by choosing an illumination source in the blue region & a corresponding filter or tuned sensor, but that's starting to look expensive.

Besides, brown bread looks much the same, whereas white bread changes significantly.

If it was cheap and trivial, it would have been done. Instead, manufacturers concentrate on the cheap solution (a 555 monostable timer is the most complicated toaster circuit I've seen).

Light barrier (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 13 years ago | (#107839)

The concept of making coffee with the same strength reliably each time is silly : coffee should be as strong as possible, period. (recipe tip : put twice as much coffee in the filter, brew, let it sit in the pot for a day, enjoy watching your hair rise on your forearm as you swallow).

But instead, the guy could put the light barrier near the top of the coffee pot so more coffee can be brewed in the same size coffee machine without spillage (the liquid breaking the infrared light would stop the brewing). Additionally, the coffee machine could make a beeping noise when the barrier is broken to indicate that the coffee is ready. I for one would find this useful, as I always forget I put the coffee machine on.

Coffee dude (1)

pjdepasq (214609) | about 13 years ago | (#107842)

Coffee dude must be for real, he's got a poster presentation ready to go... that makes it real "research".

Re:Corollary idea. (1)

3-State Bit (225583) | about 13 years ago | (#107844)

I realize you're a troll, but I figure some people might learn a thing or two, so I'll address:
Vegans are super cheesy. Same with vegetarians. It's all a load of crap. Bunch of fuckin losers. Being vegeterian or vegan is just their excuse for being a skinny out of shape fucker. Did you ever meet any elderly vegans in their 80 or 90s? Ummm no, why, becuase eating nothing but leaves and grass is not healthy.
Well first of all I'm under 25, and second of all I'm quite buff (I lift), and I have a high-protein diet. (~120 grams a day. that's two large slices of steak.) There are elderly vegetarians, in fact vegetarians tend to live quite long, but considerably more so today, taking proper vitamins (b12 gets you, and some other ones do too, that are in very few plants. but I take vitamins so that's taken care of). "eating nothing but leaves and grass is not healthy" -- I respond " the human mouth does not show carnivorous eating patterns. It is more akin to the cow with flat teeth that are not for the purpose of tearing flesh but rather for the mastication of dense materials like grains and fibers. Our intestinal tracts are also 36 feet in length which is the intestinal tract of a herbivore and/or vegetarian by nature. Animals who are carnivorous have intestinal tracts of less than seven feet to facilitate the quick absorption of flesh before it rots in their systems."
So if we're unhealthy being vegetarian, then so are cows.
I forgot where I got the preceding quoted thing (I had just saved it in a text file for a use such as this one), but I read it in various incarnations in many different places.

The FDA backs vegetarianism as healthy absolutely, provided some important vitamins and minerals are supplemented that it would take more careful vegetarian selection to acquire. (I take iron in my vitamin pill every day, which is a lot simpler than making sure to eat some spinach every week, for instance, which is one of the few rich-in-iron sources.) And now:

My reasons for being vegan.
  1. There is no food I eat for which you can spoil my appetite by telling me where it came from. In other words, I don't have to LIE TO MYSELF in order to justify my dietary habit.
  2. I can fulfil my dietary philosophy (high protein) just as well if not better with my selection of plant-based foods, (hint: lots of soy.) but have a much lower level of cholesterol. I lift.
  3. I believe animals suffer in the animal industry, /as a rule/, and have met no one who has researched the industry and now says otherwise. Picture a small farm. It has nothing to do with your meat. Your meat (unless you're paying 5 times as much as everyone else) comes from sheds filled with animals, that you can drive by and not notice them to be so filled. The animals suffer. Having done any research into the matter, you cannot declare otherwise. (Or if you can, you'll be the first I'll have come across, though I actively looked for pro-meat arguments for more than 2 months.).
  4. I believe that if all vegetarians became non-vegetarians, more animals would suffer. Therefore I am part of a group that actively stops animal suffering. The reason I am vegan is the same reason I do not shop-lift small candies. Although the effects of my choice are negligible, I am choosing to act categorically in the way that all people should act, and am part of sizable group of people so acting.
  5. It is wrong to make an animal to suffer, although he is not human, just as it is wrong to make a jew to suffer, though he is not aryan. Yes, but jewish people are human. Yes, but animals are feeling-beings. What matters, the fact that you are intellectual, or the fact that you can suffer? How much more would you suffer /because you can make more rational deductions/ than an animal suffers in its stall although it cannot so deduce? Pain is pain is pain is dogfood.

Oh, and PS. I'm posting at +2 cuz' I'm at 50 karma. Off-topic? Hell yes. Don't even ask about my IQ. And you are...let me get this a/c who needs to use words like "cheesy". You could not read two books upon the subject without deferring to my point of view. Although I doubt you read. Man, I've already won.

Re:ESPRESSO is the answer! (1)

3-State Bit (225583) | about 13 years ago | (#107846)

Maybe you should write The Idiot's Guide to Coffee. Cuz' next to you, let's face it, we're all idiots. Here I was thinking my 7 USD *$s coffee was worth a turd. What must have I been thinking?

Re:Make Your Own Damn Coffee (Was Re:Corollary ide (1)

3-State Bit (225583) | about 13 years ago | (#107847)

or a fucking JOKE you fucking LOSER!!!!!

But its still only filter (1)

kzadot (249737) | about 13 years ago | (#107851)

It seems this light beam system can only produce consistent coffee, not perfect coffee.

For perfect coffee one would have to use an espresso at least, its always better than filter, due to the temperature and pressure and finer grind of coffee used.

Make Your Own Damn Coffee (Was Re:Corollary idea.) (1)

schof (260057) | about 13 years ago | (#107852)

My problem is I don't know what strength I want, and I don't know how much sugar I want and I don't know how much milk I want. My wife makes me the perfect cup of coffee, but that's because she spent years trying different combinations and thereby adjusting her own internal feedback loop, until she got a "feel" for how much of each setting made for the best cup of coffee.

So since your wife spent years tweaking your brew, you spent years drinking experimental coffee? It's simple -- add cream and sugar, then taste and adjust. This is either a troll or the most pathetic example of kitchen ineptitude I've seen since my father asked where we keep the ice.

Re:The law of conservation of coffee (1)

schof (260057) | about 13 years ago | (#107853)

I must be missing something here. If I put in a small amount of coffee grinds, and dial in strong coffee, how in the hell is pouring more water over the grinds going to ever make the coffee sufficiently strong? Coffee makers only extract so much from the grinds

Exactly, my friend. If you put less coffee in, it will cut off the water supply earlier, giving you LESS coffee, but of the desired strength. It pours less water through the grounds, not more.

Priorities (1)

Fat Casper (260409) | about 13 years ago | (#107854)

Some people just have too much time on their hands. I want an LED that'll tell me when my homebrew hits the right final gravity.

"You know, the golf course is the only place he isn't handicapped."

Re:Three patents (1)

Fat Casper (260409) | about 13 years ago | (#107855)

Scan the ingredients side of an instant coffee right now and then watch for to post about it. Good luck!

"You know, the golf course is the only place he isn't handicapped."

optical feedback on the wrong problem... (1)

khb (266593) | about 13 years ago | (#107856)

Where automated optical feedback would be (IMHO)most helpful would be in *home roasting* the beans. One can get very nice results with the alpenroast, various fluid bed devices, or even a stovetop popcorn popper ... but it's hard to get commerical level consistency ... a varient of this guys LED device might do the trick.

Factoid (1)

blkros (304521) | about 13 years ago | (#107859)

Did you know that the best coffee and the best pot come from the same places?

They let him patent this? (1)

Mandelbrute (308591) | about 13 years ago | (#107861)

There's a well known technique for measuring turbidity (how much suspended stuff is in liquids) by putting a beam of light through a liquid that has been around for decades. Beverage plants that have used this for quality control for years will have issues with a patents like this that:
1/ Get a patent for applying old technology to a very specific situation
2/ Apply as broad a brush as possible to encompass things that are already in use

Here's something already in use for quality control of beverages by this technique:

Turkish/Yugoslavian coffee (1)

Dutchie (450420) | about 13 years ago | (#107863)

For a period in my life, all I drank was yugoslavian coffee (pretty much coz I was there but it's prepared similarly to turkish coffee). The first time I drank it in the train on my way to Zagreb, I nearly threw up, YUCK, ICK, how dare they do that to coffee!! Later I got introduced in 'the' way to prepare it (as opposed to the train-coffee for which I got laughed at for even daring to taste it, but hey, caffeine is life, the caffeine must flow!)

You take exactly enough water for one cup of coffee, and boil it in a little can that's shaped perfectly well for this purpose. Then, when it's boiling, put on a little bit of the very finely grinded coffee grounds (so, directly in the water). It starts foaming even though the can is now off the stove. It forms little bubbles a bit comparable to the bubbles on Guiness. If you drink sugar in it, remember to boil the sugar along with the water.

First I found it a bit weird, and kept spitting out little pieces of coffee gunk coz I drank too hastily. After learning how to avoid this, and getting used to the taste... *mmmmmmmm* yum yum. The caffeine flows!

The first cup of 'regular' coffee after a few weeks of this tasted REMARKABLY tasteless, like drinking dishwasher water almost. If you haven't drank coffee the before described way, you don't know what COFFEE is. Roast your own beans, too, and your coffee life will never be the same anymore :)))

  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Re:ESPRESSO is the answer! (1)

Dutchie (450420) | about 13 years ago | (#107864)

YES! I like your style, I'm SURE I'd love your coffee. But read on, on how to prepare turkish/yugoslavian coffee. I too, enjoy a good cup of espresso, but the good old-fashioned way of having the grounds directly INSIDE the water cannot be beaten!! At some point you even start enjoying grinding the super thin grinded coffee fragments between your teeth. Like you say, a good grinder is KEY. Go to a turkish coffeehouse if you have one close and resist your initial 'OH NO!!' and drink it. Do it for a week, every single day, and you're hooked. Even your espresso won't taste the same anymore :)

Besides that, it is said that you can read the future in the patterns the coffeegrounds make on the inside of the cup after you have drank your coffee and turned the cup upside down.

  • Imagination is more important than knowledge.

Re:Perfect Coffee? (1)

Troll Account (458861) | about 13 years ago | (#107867)

French Press is the best way to drink coffee.

There is one way to get the caffeine rush you need much more quickly. You can either do an acid/base extraction of the caffeine or go to the local head shop and get the "pharmaceutical" grade caffeine already prepared. Once you've got it to that stage, smoke it just like you would Crystal Meth. It makes for quite a buzz if you are persistent enough about it.

How do I know this works? Easy! I ran out of dope one night and figured I'd give it a shot. DAMN.

Post rehab, though, I prefer the French press method.

Re:ESPRESSO is the answer! (1)

squaretorus (459130) | about 13 years ago | (#107868)

>Stop buying stale coffee at stores and ``gourmet'' shops.

This does a disservice to at least one shop near me where the good people running them always have at least 3 options on the 'roasted this morning' board - they even do them as whole bean, rough or fine grind. They'll even grind it for you as you wait if you ask nicely and if your lucky and go in the day when its quieter you might even get a cup.
So give these places a chance, you gotta buy your beans somewhere and if they can save you some bother with roasting and grinding why the hell not!
*$s does taste like vomit though! and you do need a decent machine...

Re:This guy is drinking "brown water," not coffee (1)

aka-ed (459608) | about 13 years ago | (#107869)

No, he isn't:

"The final most important aspect of the light beam coffee maker that is very desirable from a marketing perspective is that the optical monitor provides a continuous readout of the "freshness" of the brewed coffee. As the brewed coffee sits upon the warmer plate we all know that it becomes "stale" and, within an hour or so of brewing, no longer is very palatable. The optical monitor indicates this loss of freshness and displays it on a ten LED bargraph. Hence, freshly brewed coffee has all ten LED's lit; but within an hour, only 1 or 2 LED's remain lit, indicating the degree of "staleness". We believe this represents a significant improvement in brewing technology, allowing one to tell at a glance when the coffee is no longer palatable."

This looks like a relatively low-cost technology that would actually be useful, I don't understand people's beef with it.

I want to get drunk with Hoagy Carmichael and

Re:Wrong Direction... (1)

Glenda Slagg (464228) | about 13 years ago | (#107870)

It's true, although it refers to the pump pressure created to force the water through the coffee grains. Whether this is actually a scientifically acurare use of the word, I cannot tell. Perhaps that's why I work in a restaurant!

Take a look at The Daily Grind [] round-up for details.

They allready do this for beer production. (2)

Crouchy (7129) | about 13 years ago | (#107871)

Or at least here in Australia.

If the beer is slightly a different color than is expected you can dismiss the bottle. The train of thought is that if it is a different color there is something different. i.e. unwanted additive or too much or to less of a product, so throw it away.

The theory is you don't have to actually open the bottle to taste test it and it is more reliable to use a machine then a human to spot the difference.

Re:Factoid (2)

Pope (17780) | about 13 years ago | (#107875)

My Dad came back from Colombia (spelled correctly) and brought me 1 pound of 100% pure beans. When brewed in my favourite little 4 cup Mr. Coffee (RIP - broken carafe), they gave a smooth, strong cup. A very consistent, great cup of coffee, every time.

As for Chock Full of Nuts n Bolts, or friggin Maxwell House, yes, I think they're shit too. But I'll put Kona over Blue Mountain, but only just slightly.

Oh, and french presses suck, IMHO. They're a bitch to clean, so why bother?

Best and Worst (2)

Pope (17780) | about 13 years ago | (#107876)

Best coffee (restaurant): Victory Cafe, Toronto

Worst coffee (anywhere): the Toronto to Chicago Amtrak. :)

Worst method: Greek / Turkish. At that point, why not just suck on the damn beans?

Re:Wrong Direction... (2)

WasterDave (20047) | about 13 years ago | (#107877)

Somthing to regulate the temperature would be better.

Even consumer level espresso machines do this. Ours does anyway, so this doesn't even approach being a holy grail.

Now, a consumer espresso machine where the steamer had some semblance of power in it? That's a holy grail.


Re:Coffee Bong (2)

WasterDave (20047) | about 13 years ago | (#107878)

a telephone handset (think about it!)

Whoa! Dead mobile phone, I even have one around.

Make no mistake, you are the one.

Re:They let him patent this? (2)

DarkMan (32280) | about 13 years ago | (#107880)

He's not measuring turbidity (at least, not intentionally).

The principle of tghe measurment is more like that of UV-Cis spectroscopy, measuring some set of exitation bands. This is, of course, overlaid onto the turdibity measurment that is also made, but not used.


It helps when you read the site (2)

jfunk (33224) | about 13 years ago | (#107881)

The circuit cuts the water supply when the coffee reaches the desired strength. I skimmed the pages to find that one tidbit in the first place, because I wanted to see how he regulated coffee strength. It's pretty simple: a partial feedback loop... kinda.

I'm pretty sure that I didn't see anything about pouring more/b> water over the grinds, and you didn't quote or point to anything that suggested this.

8 to 9 bars is optimum (2)

tmoertel (38456) | about 13 years ago | (#107882)

8 to 9 bars is where the best espresso extraction occurs. And good espresso is the ultimate coffee.

Many good espresso machines have high pressure pumps that can sustain 15+ bars, but the extra pressure is for headroom: The machines are engineered to deliver 8 to 9 bars of pressure to the compressed coffee puck, assuming proper packing. Higher pressure can leach undesirable flavor compounds from the coffee and is to be avoided.

For more, see David Schomer's "Factors in a Perfect Cup (of espresso)" [] or for deep coverage read Illy and Viani's Espresso Coffee : The Chemistry of Quality [] .

Re:GIGO: garbage in, garbage out (2)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 13 years ago | (#107883)

My office has these thermos-based coffee brewers - they work pretty well but you never know how much coffee is actually left in the pot! Now if only I could get them to use a better quality coffee :-( I am sure you can get purchase such coffee makers in North America although I have to admit that I haven't seen them in the retail stores.
Philips makes one that's sold at Target [] .

It's called an espresso machine (2)

xtal (49134) | about 13 years ago | (#107884)

The espresso machine uses steam head to generate the ~18bar pressure (ideal) to force the water through the coffee. I froth a mean pitcher of milk... mmm, foamy..

Check out the rec.drugs.caffeine FAQ (or, perhaps). What happened to the usenet people? :)

Measuring Chemical Properties Optically... (2)

RallyDriver (49641) | about 13 years ago | (#107885) a well established science. Surprisingly accurate.

Can't remember the fancy ....iometry name, but there is proper apparatus to do this - you calibrate with stock solutions using a lightbox and coloured filters, then use it to measure test solutions.

Bugger coffee.. (2)

epeus (84683) | about 13 years ago | (#107886)

Why doen't someone make a toaster with optical feedback? The perfect toast colour is at a critical point as the drkness makes it absorb more heat and get blackened.

Re:Coffee Bong (2)

Fesh (112953) | about 13 years ago | (#107887)

"...and a telephone handset (think about it!)."

To quote the Dr. Rev. Dennis Leary:

"Duuude! I made a bong out of my head!!! Put the pot in this ear, suck on the other! Give it a hit, man!"

Or something to that effect...


There's No Hope! (2)

Molt (116343) | about 13 years ago | (#107888)

My God, they've realised that to defeat the rabid hordes of Linux geeks it may be necessary to patent coffee!

The law of conservation of coffee (2)

SClitheroe (132403) | about 13 years ago | (#107889)

From his description of how it works: "This method of optical feedback makes for very reproducible coffee strength, independent of the amount of coffee grinds used"

I must be missing something here. If I put in a small amount of coffee grinds, and dial in strong coffee, how in the hell is pouring more water over the grinds going to ever make the coffee sufficiently strong? Coffee makers only extract so much from the grinds. I know this, because I've tried reusing grinds in the past, when really desparate (and broke..). All that you will end up with is lots of weak, crappy tasting coffee. Even percolators, which continuously flow the partially made coffee back over the grinds can only achieve certain strength coffee based on a set amount of grinds.

What it boils down to (no pun intended) is that you _must_ put in enough grinds for whatever strength brew you are looking for.

That, my friends, is the law of conservation of coffee.

Coffee is just black juice from hell... (2)

Ron Harwood (136613) | about 13 years ago | (#107890)

I love the smell, but I can't stand the taste.

Speaking of Joe... (2)

AntiNorm (155641) | about 13 years ago | (#107891)

"One man's quest for the perfect cup of joe leads to a new coffee maker"

Speaking of Joe and coffee, your coffee will have more caffeine in it (i.e. it will be better) if you use Water Joe instead of regular water.


Perfect Coffee? (2)

de Selby (167520) | about 13 years ago | (#107892)

For perfect coffee, don't use a coffee maker! FRENCH PRESS!!!!

Re:Some better ideas... (2)

oingoboingo (179159) | about 13 years ago | (#107893)

I thought the first Australia Starbucks was in Sydney, rather than Melbourne...on the corner of Castlereagh and Park streets. There's at least 2 more that I know of in at Wynyard station, and another at Central station...and they're always *packed* whenever I go past them.

Seems all those reports in the media about Australians having a 'coffee culture' that couldn't be displaced by a US import were as shitty as our apparent taste in coffee.

Why brew at all? (2)

dstone (191334) | about 13 years ago | (#107895)

Seriously, brewing just seems like a slow, agonizing, skunky way to make ground coffee fester.

Make mine an Americano.

Blasphemy! (2)

TheOutlawTorn (192318) | about 13 years ago | (#107896)

*Glares at LinuxHam*

You can NEVER love coffee too much! Bow before the URN, infidel!

My sig does not apply when coffee is involved

Percolator?! (2)

sulli (195030) | about 13 years ago | (#107898)

Ick. Percolators repeatedly pass overheated coffee through old grounds - getting you burnt coffee.

I strongly prefer a good drip maker, and really good coffee - preferably Sulawesi or Kenya AA. It depends on the year, though: this year's Starbucks Gazebo Blend is amazing.

I thought it was "midnight blue"... (2)

achurch (201270) | about 13 years ago | (#107899)

... though I'm not sure that's a color I'd prefer for my coffee.


Re:Coffee Bong (2)

nick_davison (217681) | about 13 years ago | (#107900)

"the problem with marijuana is that it leads to fucking carpentry"

Well, that explains Jesus then...
"Shit man, like these fish, they're so totally huge, they could feed like five thousand."
"Nah, screw that dude, I feel so light I bet I could walk across that water over there, then float away on a cloud!" "Yeah bro, I dig what you're saying. All these glowing joints [later recorded as coals] in our mouths and it feels like I can understand every language there ever was!"

In the now lost final book of the new testament, they went on to talk interminably about Star Wars as all stoners seem to do, thinking their every word pure genius. Understandably, when they came down, they realised how stupid it was and destroyed it.

Corollary idea. (2)

3-State Bit (225583) | about 13 years ago | (#107902)

At first I read "biofeedback" for "Optical Feedback" in the title "Optical Feedback For Perfect Coffee", which immediately set off in my mind the idea that you have a feedback loop to adjust the amount of sugar and cream in your coffee, as well as its "strength" (the slidable thing that looks like the sliding scale on your toaster [y'know "bread/charcoal"] ). This isn't what the article actually is, the article just makes sure that there's a 1:1 correlation between the strength you ask for and the strength you get. My problem is I don't know what strength I want, and I don't know how much sugar I want and I don't know how much milk I want. My wife makes me the perfect cup of coffee, but that's because she spent years trying different combinations and thereby adjusting her own internal feedback loop, until she got a "feel" for how much of each setting made for the best cup of coffee.
Now if in addition to this new machine in the article, which makes sure that the setting specified is the setting received, there were a second machine that adjusted this setting, and also doled sugar and cream out for you, based on a feedback loop whereby after each cup you would specify 1) how much you liked it. Or, for advanced users, 2) whether it was too sweet for you or too bitter and 3) whether it was too strong for you or too dull. (Too hard coffee or too hard cream). The beauty of this is that with even the most modest OS and statistical software the first variable alone (how much you liked it -- even if you don't know why you did or did not like it) would let the average user approach PerfectCup after about 7 cups (rough estimate) of more grossly suboptimal coffee.

Further tweaks could perfect the milk/cream ratio ("Half and half" is just such a ball-park estimate :]) -- think "alpha channel", where RGB is coffee-strength/sugar level/milk level.

Of course each coffee bean would be associated with a particular set of settings, and each member of your household would also. (Just don't let Microsoft find out or you'll need a Passport(R) to get your morning cup of joe.:])

Oh, and you could sometimes ask for something more jolty and sometimes something more sweet. Like one bean for one person might have a "morning" (jolty), "meal" (nice good cup) and "desert" (rather sweet, milder) setting. What do we say, gang? Worth starting on sourceforge?

this reminds me. Tell someone "Say boast three times fast." ("okay. boast, boast, boast.") "Now what do you put in a toaster?" ("toast") "No, you mentally deficient individual, you put bread in. Toast is what you take out." [joint polite laugh.]

Disclaimer: I am vegan. I would exploit the above software to get me a decent cup of coffee with real-non-dairy-creamer (the kind that isn't laced with whey) or else with soy milk. The real reason I want to make the OS opensource is so I could compile me these custom mods. That and ssh'ing into my coffee maker. ("What are you doing?" "Oh I'm just logging onto my coffee server [ha] to set the timer for a nice big cup of coffee when I get back home. Wait a minute lemme check the web cam to see if I left my mug in. Yep." How cool is that?)

Three patents (2)

cyberformer (257332) | about 13 years ago | (#107907)

He has two for "Brewed beverage maker with optical feedback system" (any beverage, not just coffee) and one for adding an antioxidant to coffee to keep it fresh.

Have the US patent examiners never read the ingredients list on a jar of instant coffee? Antioxidants have been added to nearly all processed foodstuffs (including coffee) for decades.

Better pay him a royalty for the cup I'm drinking now...

Re:Wrong Direction... (2)

blair1q (305137) | about 13 years ago | (#107908)

Okay. That link shows the Capresso machines. Wanting to know more, I found them at [] .

What I don't get is why the C1000 [] is a dead ringer for the Krups Orchestro [] (with that form factor they've got to have the same guts), but costs a good $100 [] more.

Besides, if it doesn't have a genuflecting duck [] on it, it ain't really an espresso machine...


coffee (2)

soulsflyt (463074) | about 13 years ago | (#107909)

In my humble opinion, what makes a great cup of coffee is what one is used to drinking.

Different brands (2)

carlcmc1 (465035) | about 13 years ago | (#107910)

Different brands probably would have different translumination coefficients. Things like particle size of coffee grounds also would effect this....

Re:Wrong Direction... (3)

ncc74656 (45571) | about 13 years ago | (#107911)

No boiling water, huh? I use those coffee bags for ultimate convenience

Coffee bags? What kind of philistine are you? :-) I tried those once...they're hella nasty. (You are talking about the ones you brew like tea, right?)

There's no substitute for proper brewing (drip) of freshly-ground beans. Ideally, you use a coffee maker that takes a cone-shaped filter (nearly the only kind you'll find in Europe; the inferior basket-type coffee makers are much more common in the States), and a permanent filter (one of the gold-plated thingies) won't impart flavors in the way that paper filters can. With the same beans (Colombian supremos), I noticed a big difference going from a 4-cup Mr. Coffee with paper filters to a regular-sized Krups with a permanent filter; the latter rig produces a smoother cup.

prior art on this (3)

hqm (49964) | about 13 years ago | (#107912)

In the 1970's my father made a visit to Brazil, where
as you know they are serious about coffee. He
invented a coffee strength tool using the same principle, but
somewhat simpler, no computer required -- you just take a plastic ruler
and dip it into the coffee, and then read off the
strength by seeing where the last tick on the ruler is that you can still see. A manual optical
strength meter.

Re:Wrong Direction... (3)

Rix (54095) | about 13 years ago | (#107913)

Or do you have a coffee machine that creates a seal then pumps up the pressure before it makes the brew?

Yes, it's commonly called an espresso machine...

What a waste of time (3)

Pedrito (94783) | about 13 years ago | (#107915)

I never got into the whole Starbucks thing. I like good coffee and I like coffee made right, but I can do it pretty simply.

First of all, you start with good coffee. Most people can get it at their grocery store (I'm not talking Folgers). Second, you get a coffee maker. Even a Mr. Coffee is fine, but I prefer a percolator myself. Once the coffee is made, you put it in a thermos. The only thing that makes good coffee go bad is to let it cook.

I may be a simple person, but just like I know good beer and wine, I know good coffee, and the mechanics don't make much of a difference.

Re:Is it black? Like, midnight black? (3)

MrBlack (104657) | about 13 years ago | (#107916)

A friend of mine did the "teaspoon test" on every cup he made. If you can see the bottom of the teaspoon it's too weak. He is VERY particular about his coffee. When he drops in for a visit he brings his own device and supply with him. He stopped just short of growing his own beans.

Is it black? Like, midnight black? (3)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | about 13 years ago | (#107917)

That's all the optical feedback I need.

GIGO: garbage in, garbage out (3)

NaturePhotog (317732) | about 13 years ago | (#107918)

I find that putting the same amount of good quality coffee (e.g., beans from my local organic coffee shop, or from Peet's [] and filtered water makes for a good pot of coffee every time. Put garbage in, and you'll get garbage out. If you're worried about the coffee getting stale, put it in a thermos to keep it hot so it doesn't get that skanky burned taste that leaving it on the hot pot can give. It uses less electricty that way, and you can take it with you to your computer^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H breakfast table with you, too. My sister in Germany has a coffee pot where the carafe is a thermos, and it shuts off the heating element as soon as the coffee is brewed.

This is for real (4)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | about 13 years ago | (#107920)

This is for real. If you head over to [] and type in the patents numbers that are on the guy's web page then you will see the patents come right up. For those of you who like links, here they are: I reckon the best thing about is that it will probably sell as the marketing guys will love the idea. I suppose it is up there with fuzzy logic washing machines, which were a big hit in Japan

Some better ideas... (4)

irn_bru (209849) | about 13 years ago | (#107921)

Someone should tell this guy that if he's looking for the ultimate coffee he ain't going to get it from a drip method.

Coffee needs to have its flavour force extracted by water at about 18 bar pressure....

Take a look at:

Gaggia []
Capresso []
Seaeco []

and remember, the more money you spend - the better it gets. Or go to your local coffee emporium, but remember kids - Starbucks are evil!

Finally... (4)

tswinzig (210999) | about 13 years ago | (#107922) that DESERVES to be patented!

Re:Coffee Bong (5)

rark (15224) | about 13 years ago | (#107923)

Who was it who said that "the problem with marijuana isn't that it leads to other drugs, the problem with marijuana is that it leads to fucking carpentry"?


ESPRESSO is the answer! (5)

tmoertel (38456) | about 13 years ago | (#107924)

There's no need for any of this monkey business. Just drink good espresso.

Let me be blunt: If you aren't drinking espresso -- good espresso -- you haven't tasted coffee. And I mean espresso, not cappuccino, not latte, not frapparichinomochalaloopy. That's the kind of stuff you make when you want to cover up the taste of bad espresso.

Good espresso is nothing like the over-roasted, over-extracted, bitter and charred-tasting stuff you've had when you finally worked up the courage to try an ``espresso'' at *$s or some other gourmet coffee chain. If you're lucky, they gave you 3 or 4 ounces of unspeakably bitter drek. If you weren't lucky,... Well, I'm just thankful that you're still with us.

Good espresso is like heaven in a cup. Deep, rich, dark, and luxurious, good espresso has no bitterness. Its potent perfume only hints at the depth of complexity that awaits you upon the first sip. Creamy, caramelly, exploding with flavor, with a touch of sweetness on the tongue: This is what good espresso tastes like. No need to add sugar, the real stuff is quaffed straight.

Oh, and does espresso help your coding? You betcha! Nothing cuts through code fog like a double ristretto. Fires up the brain into smooth working condition. Clarity? You own clarity. With espresso cup in hand, ease in to the Captain's Chair: You are in command.

Face it, you need the real stuff. Here's how to get it:

  1. Stop buying stale coffee at stores and ``gourmet'' shops.
  2. Get an old hot-air popcorn popper and start homeroasting [] . It's cheap, it's easy, and it's so worth it. You won't believe how much better truly fresh coffee tastes. If you go no farther than this and get a french press and a cheap grinder, you'll have better coffee at home than you'll be able to find anywhere else.
  3. Get a decent espresso machine. No steam toys. Read the user-contributed reviews [] on [] . Plan on spending at least 250 USD for a decent machine. Spend the money: you'll pay for it in under a year from your coffee-chain savings.
  4. Get a good grinder. You can't make real espresso without one. This is the one that people skimp on and later wonder why their fancy 1000-USD espresso machine can't make good espresso. Plan on another 200 USD, minimum. Again, it pays for itself.
  5. Lurk in [] and drink in the wisdom. Learn how to pull a ristretto [] that extracts the deep, beautiful essence of 15g of freshly ground, freshly roasted coffee into 1.75ounces of pure bliss. Once you've had a "god shot" [] , you'll never be able to go back to bad coffee again.
Do it. It will change your life.

P.S. Here's a good starting roast/blend for espresso: 2 parts brazillian cerrado, 1 part sumatra mandheling, 1/2 part monsooned malabar, 1/2 part monsooned cherry aa robusta. Roast each part individually, just a bit into the second crack. Blend and store in an airtight glass container. The next morning, open the container and try to contain your amazement at how great the stuff is.

Coffee Bong (5)

talonyx (125221) | about 13 years ago | (#107925)

Thinking about that...
Basically, a coffee percolator is an inverted bong, as the heat comes from the bottom, forcing the water around instead of suction forcing air around.
Thinking along those lines two weeks ago I took an old percolator, and with the help of some duct tape and a hacksaw I made a bong! The top, where the glass knob normally is where you can see the coffee bubbling, has been replaced by a bowl, which leads down into the former coffee chamber that has been sealed airtight except for the tube leading down into the water.
There's a pipe-tube-hookah thing leading into the spout, also sealed airtight. The pipe is built with a little tiny piece of plastic PVC so it's easy to disconnect it and put it inside for safekeeping.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, ANYTHING can become pot smoking paraphenalia. Just be creative!
My other pipes include an old wireless Nintendo controller (where the thumbpad was,a bowl is now) and a telephone handset (think about it!).

Enjoy, and study plenty at four twenty.

Critical Question (5)

sulli (195030) | about 13 years ago | (#107926)

Is it RFC 2324 [] compliant?

Bong (5)

DankNinja (241851) | about 13 years ago | (#107927)

My friends and I were doing something similar for potheads all over the world. Ours was a regular straight-pipe bong with a red LED and a CdS photo-detector. This controlled a small air-pump near the top of the bong. One started, the airpump would shutoff once the voltage dropped to a sufficient level due to the smoke in the chamber.

Wrong Direction... (5)

Glenda Slagg (464228) | about 13 years ago | (#107928)

Somthing to regulate the temperature would be better. Boiling water impares the taste - Too cold and you don;t extract all thr flavour.

93 degrees centigrate at 18 bar pressure will produce the ultimate coffee.

Also, I would imagine that the use of different beans would create variations in colour which this machine could never deal with.
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