What have we done?

Luminaire is constantly asking how we can elevate the art of coffee. Here are a few ways we've succeeded.

When La Marzocco came to Luminaire to develop the electronics for the new LineaPB, Luminaire did more than design and build a circuit board. By analyzing the entire product ecosystem, we developed a modular architecture which allows La Marzocco and Luminaire to continue to innovate by creating reusable add-ons. We took this modular concept from architecture to full production, managing the electrical design, firmware implementation, production testing, and manufacturing relationships to produce a system that is smart, reliable, and expandable.

Accurate timing provides an important window into the quality and consistency of espresso, but even on high end espresso machines doing so can often be a nuisance for home users. Luminaire designed the ShotTimer to measure the changes in the magnetic field of a solenoid when a shot is being pulled in order to provide an automatic, hands-off way to integrate timing into the brewing process. Engineered to work with any espresso machine, the ShotTimer does not require connection to proprietary components and is capable of running on a watch battery for years. The ShotTimer represents Luminaire's ability to focus on the details while understanding the big picture of what matters.

The scale is a standard component of any manual brewing setup, used to ensure consistency in the volume of water poured over the course of a brew. A skilled barista will use this tool to control the flow rate of water into the grounds, but a normal scale can only provide a limited picture of this important variable. Luminaire decided to take manual brewing to the next level by building a scale that not only measures the weight of a pour, but uses this data to provide a real-time graph of flow rate. After 2 days building a proof of concept prototype by taking apart an existing scale and adding custom circuitry and software to calculate flow rate, we validated the concept with local baristas and used their feedback to build a refined prototype. This prototype, built in just 2 weeks, added upgraded circuitry and smartphone integration. By displaying the flow history on a smartphone, we were able to quickly prototype interfaces and display styles.

The LB-1 combines state of the art engineering with the lofty goal of solving the barista's hot water dilemma. Using a proprietary heating technology combined with advanced control systems that leave PID in the dust, the LB-1 is able to heat water to any desired temperature within 2 seconds. Because there is no boiler, it never runs out of hot water. Combined with programmable flow control, the LB-1 is a pour-over brewing barista's best friend. While the LB-1 has not made it into mass production, it has proven to be a solid testing ground for advanced technology used throughout our products.

The temperature and humidity that green coffee is stored at has a direct impact on the degradation of its quality. To help roasters and importers monitor these important variables, Luminaire built a prototype of a WiFi enabled temperature and humidity monitor. The device automatically monitors the temperature and humidity and uploads it to a custom web site. The graphs on this site allow the roaster or importer to view historical data about their coffee storage. This prototype provides a proof of concept of how coffee devices could become internet enabled.

In order to quantify the environmental impact of on demand heating in coffee production, Luminaire team members performed a Life Cycle Assessment of Coffee Production. Data about coffee production was gathered by interviewing Edwin Martinez of Finca Vista Hermosa in Guatemala. To quantify the impact of the brewing process, energy data from espresso machines was gathered and an espresso machine was torn down to quantify the impact of the materials used in commercial espresso machines. The results showed that the majority of the environmental impact of this process occurred in the country of consumption. More details are available by downloading the poster and paper.

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