internal mechanisms of coffee


New member
Feb 14, 2006
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I am a design student and my honours degree project is to design a espresso machine.I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction as to what you believe needs to be improved in the design of commercial espresso machines both mechanically and aesthetically. And also if anyone can give me some info on the internal mechanisms of the espresso machine such as their function, how they work etc. i can be emailed at [email protected] and/or [email protected].
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your time

Alan Breslin


Jan 22, 2006
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Just being new to espresso I have much more to learn but after practical experience with a serious entry level machine, the Rancilio Silvia, and after about 4 months of obsessive research on espresso and machines I'd say espresso machines fall into two groups.

First group would be the low price range group that offers pressurized portafilters, froth assist but still boasts 15bars of pressure out of the pump.
I don't have experience with these machines but from the testimony about them some do a good job at pulling espresso shots. Personally I wouldn't invest in equipment with questionable life, reliability and ability to make great espresso.

The second group, the group that intrests me most, is the prosumer machines whose design and components reflect consumer standards. I like quality, durability and reliability and would spend more for good equipment. My preference also favours a semi automatic design mostly because a semi automatic allows the operator direct control of espresso pulling.

The ideal machine would be easily and finely adjustable for temperature and pressure and maintain steady temperature and pressure during the pull. A double boiler machine with the grouphead mounted directly to the espresso boiler would be stable. PID control of the boiler temperature in Fahrenheit increments of 1F would be ideal. Pressure guages on both boilers and on the grouphead would be ideal as well. A temperature meter on the E61 grouphead would round things out nicely.

Use commercial grade parts and make the machine a rotary pump pourover with plumbing option, put it all in a shiny stainless steel package that would fit on a kitchen counter under the cabinets and you'd have the espresso world beating a path to your door.

The Brewtus II is not a bad start. It offers temperature control but, as far as I understand, not by PID. Like I said, I'm new to espresso but I'm starting to see that temperature in the boiler is controlled by pressure not internal water temp and there must be an advantage in that so thermostat control using a PID might not be ideal. The Brewtus uses a vibe pump rather than a rotary pump. As far as I understand a vibe pump by it's design does not offer as smooth a delivery of pressure and is noisier than a rotary pump.

The Ventrano is another supplier collaboration that offers a very good prosumer level machine to the home espresso market.

Higher end machines like the Astra Gourmet or the Elektra A3 interest me more, however.

There are a few suppliers with connections to manufacturers that are having machines designed to their specs. Those are the machines that intrerest me. IMHO, if the prosumer machine is rated for commercial use and can reliably operate in a low volume commercial setting, then I'm interested. Give me a machine that is powerful, durable, well designed, gives feedback with regards to pressure and temperature during operation, is easily adjustable and maintains rock steady temperature and pressure through a pull and I'd be happy to invest in it.

Good luck with your project. Advances in espresso machine design definitely a worthy niche that needs filling.