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Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project by Mark Prince
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MarkPrince
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Posted Fri May 9, 2014, 12:00am
Subject: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project by Mark Prince
 

Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project
by Mark Prince

A new project has popped up on Kickstarter that's causing a lot of buzz in the consumer coffee world - the La Fenice Induction Heat Coffee / Espresso Brewer.
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MarkPrince
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Posted Sat May 10, 2014, 2:54pm
Subject: Re: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project
 

So I've been thinking about this machine a lot the last few days. Having my discussion with the crew showed me that they're very on top of some things, and more 'not quite with the 3rd wave" (gawd, I hate that term) on just a few things.

On the steam wand thing
I get their argument, but at the end of the day, a steam wand is crucial on any machine that delivers real espresso. And I'm not quite sure if they understand the thermodynamics and chemical changes that steaming and microfoaming milk does, as compared to heating up milk in a sauce pan and then frothing it up with a hand mixer (which is pretty much all the solo milk frothers do). Still, I also understand this technology they're pushing does not facilitate making steam. Steam, to be effective and dry, needs to be collected in a chamber (ie boiler) and used. Making steam on the fly (like in a thermoblock) is not ideal and results in slow, wet steam, with more water introduced to the milk.

On the grouphead design
The photos I posted and a few others shows they're still working on the grouphead designs for both the coffee and espresso side. This is probably a good thing - they'll be listening to their kickstarter backers, and will be evolving that design. I feel pretty good myself that they'll get a decent design happening. I do not believe at this point that the grounds-portafilter for espresso will be a pressurized crappy trick, it'll be the real deal. We'll see.

On hot water
I suggested to them on their Kickstarter page they have a dedicated hot water tap as a stretch goal. Instead, they seem to have a unique solution - a simple filter modification (you insert it) into the brew coffee side to turn that side of the machine into a hot water dispenser. That'll work.

On the fit and finish
This will be a challenge, to make it look nearly as good as their computer aided design photos so far. I am slightly concerned that the brass parts (and copper) of the limited edition are plated, and not solid. I don't know how, long term, a brass plated grouphead will hold up. We'll see! :D

Mark

 
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Sat May 10, 2014, 5:53pm
Subject: Re: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project
 

Mark, addressing your concern about the steam wand:  Would just superheated pressurized air work instead of steam? Is dry steam pretty much just superheated air?

I can see the possiblity of an induction heated pressurized air supply being integrated into their machine using a separate induction heater from their water heater.  It would keep within their all electromagnetic induction theme, likely be much smaller than their water induction heater and they  may be able to hide it out of view soas not to denigrate the lines of the machine.  It would not have the wet steam issue of a thermoblock steamer.

I looked at an outdated patent online ( http://www.google.com/patents/US5350901 ) regarding induction steamers; fairly complex and I would suppose costly to produce.  The patent indicated a type of stainless very tiny holed membrane that separated the resulting steam from water vapor (I suppose to create a dry steam).    

I am thinking that the induction air heater would be much less complex than an induction steamer, much smaller, and less costly to produce.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

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MarkPrince
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Posted Sat May 10, 2014, 9:58pm
Subject: Re: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project
 

Hrm! That is a pretty good idea. I don't know if they even thought about this, but it'd be another radical thing for them to look into.

Mark

 
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andys
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Posted Sat May 10, 2014, 10:45pm
Subject: Re: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project
 

CoffeeRoastersClub Said:

Would just superheated pressurized air work instead of steam? Is dry steam pretty much just superheated air?

Posted May 10, 2014 link

Very unlikely to work satisfactorily. Steam and hot air are very different. As steam cools it changes phase (vapor becomes liquid) and this releases a very large amount of energy.

To get a comparative heating effect with air, it would take a huge amount of it or else it would have to be extraordinarily hot, or both. Not practical.

See this link for more info (but you may have to remove an errant space between the "al" and t.coffee" in the url):

https://groups.google.com/d/msg/al t.coffee/YI53Dsqk_JI/sWob6ypRAAAJ

 
-AndyS
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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Sun May 11, 2014, 6:46am
Subject: Re: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project
 

Thanks for that info Andy.  I believe the temperature side of the equation could be met, and the air pressure side also (maybe that could address the air volume?).  I wonder what the steam pressure is that is coming out of a wand?

If there were any way to superheat the air in such a very small space the only way I can realistically think of doing it would be through a small induction assembly heating a metal tube with a very small interior diameter and supplying air to it with a small air pressure pump.  Those metal induction tubes can get incredibly hot.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

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CoffeeRoastersClub
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Posted Mon May 19, 2014, 1:16pm
Subject: Re: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Pr
 

I just checked the kickstarter project:   $116,889 pledged of $70,000 goal and 22 more days to go.  Absolutely amazing.  It has the wow factor.

Len

 
"Coffee leads men to trifle away their time, scald their chops, and spend their money, all for a little base, black, thick, nasty, bitter, stinking nauseous puddle water." ~The Women's Petition Against Coffee, 1674

Bitcoin Merchant www.CoffeeRoastersClub.com     www.javaPRO-CRC.com
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MarkPrince
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Posted Mon May 19, 2014, 1:56pm
Subject: Re: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project
 

I am conversing with the company via email, about possible future plans and stretch goals. Looks like the variable temperature stretch (of $120K) will be met, which is great news.

I suggested the following stretch goals

a) some hot water delivery solution (looks like they will do this - but use one of the two groupheads and a special filter holder basket to deliver the hot water, and some setting on the panel to deliver it)

b) cups - either a pair of espresso cups, a pair of coffee (6oz-8oz) cups, or one of each, possibly at a $200,000 stretch goal

c) a tamper - not their dynometric one, but one they have commissioned for this machine, and a well made, but normal tamper. I suggested they talk to Paul Pratt of Cafelat about it. Something simple, branded to them, and only given to KS backers (ie not for sale). Suggested a $500,000 stretch for this one.

Anyone got any realistic, "they can afford it" stretch goals to suggest?

Mark

 
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DanoM
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Posted Tue May 20, 2014, 7:02am
Subject: Re: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project
 

Looks like the project is getting more interesting.  Will be fun to follow the development of this thing.

Using hot air for steaming just isn't going to work.  We depend on the phase change of the steam back to water otherwise we'd just be blowing big bubbles in the milk.  Try testing this with a steaming pitcher containing cold water, put in the steam wand and turn on the steam low.  You should be able to see steam exit the wand and quickly the bubbles condense to disappear.  If you heat the liquid too much the vapors won't condense and you'll get bubbly or boiled liquid - a disaster with milk.

An induction heated steam setup should work quite well.  It's all about driving the input water at the right volume for instant steam boiling.  Pressure on a normal boiler is usually 1.0-1.3 BAR of pressure.  1 BAR is close to 14.5 PSI so 14.5-19 PSI is the force of your steam at the tip, minus friction from the steam path and nozzle.
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andys
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Posted Tue May 20, 2014, 7:48pm
Subject: Re: Induction Heating in Coffee - the La Fenice Kickstarter Project
 

MarkPrince Said:

Anyone got any realistic, "they can afford it" stretch goals to suggest?

Posted May 19, 2014 link

This machine is the perfect platform for temperature profiling of espresso extractions.

 
-AndyS
picture page:  http://flickr.com/photos/andy_s/sets/
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