Love Espresso and Coding? Open Source, Commercial Grade Espresso Machine at Decent Price Coming Soon

January 17, 2012

2:36 pm

I love love love espresso – well, cappuccino to be honest – and though I don’t know how to code at all, I am super excited about the ZP Espresso Machine, a product design project currently on Kickstarter that was developed by engineers Gleb Polyakov and Igor Zamlinsky.

While I dig the fact that their goal is to make a commercial-quality espresso machine for consumers at a decent, non-$1,000+ price point, all of you espresso enthusiasts/software geeks out there will also love the fact that the machine is open-source.  Yup, you read that right: you will be able to import and share code and hardware modifications – which of course will lead to an even better machine.

I spoke with Janet Tambasco via email about why they chose to make the machine open source:

Open-source code will allow users to add their own features and make improvements to things like the native PID control loop, which they can then upload to the web and share with other users. It will also allow people to make their own profiles and share them with anyone else who has a machine, allowing people to share and replicate brew settings for a particular roast, and talk about their experience even when they’re on opposite sides of the planet….People have also already talked about other modifications too, like programming the pump to play tunes.

Open-source code will improve things like the native PID control loop and adding their own features that can then be uploaded to the web and shared with other users. It will also allow people to make their own profiles and share them with anyone else who has a machine, allowing people to share replicate brew settings for a particular roast, and talk about their experience even when they’re on opposite sides of the planet….People have also already talked about other modifications too, like programming the pump to play tunes.

ZP Espresso Machines will retail for $400, but if you fund them, you’ll get one for $200.  A lot of people have taken them up on the offer: 1,376, who have raised $319,379 as of press time – the initial goal was to raise $20k!  (If you want in, you have a little more than 60 hours to make a pledge.)  Funding will be used for manufacturing; they expect to begin shipping this spring or summer.

For all of you fellow espresso fanatics who want more technical info on the machine:

If you have a machine at home that didn’t cost as much as your monthly mortgage or rent, it suffers from a lack of temperature and pressure controls – which explains why you don’t always get a good crema.  The ZP team, both of whom are engineers, redesigned and re-engineered the machine from top to bottom and inside and out.  The thermoblock is the part of the machine that controls temperature and pressure – so that was the first thing they fixed.  Then they fixed the PID (proportional-integral-derivative) controller, which allows the thermoblock to adjust its temperature and pressure while a shot is being pulled.

Check them out on Kickstarter to get in on the action!

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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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