Testing

 

What have we been up to?

Since our last update a lot of work has been done with The Porta Presso’s development.

We have finalised the manufacturer that we intend to use to produce our final product. After liaising with multiple different manufacturers we have found the most appropriate one to work alongside our team with the production of The Porta Presso units. The manufacturer we have chosen have a commendable background in the coffee industry and we pride them on the quality of their products, thus making them a good partner for us.

In our last update we were heading into extensive testing with our test jigs to allow us to generate accurate test results and test multiple functions of the device. The Porta Presso team has been hard at work putting a lot of time into this with our main focus being on generating enough pressure to extract the coffee at an optimal setting and the heating/frothing of the milk.

 
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One of the main problems we had originally anticipated was not being able to generate enough pressure. However, we were pleasantly surprised when our first test jig generated such a substantial amount of pressure that it blew out the joints of the test jig.   This test jig was manufactured from prototyping material, not the material to be used in final production however we have since redesigned the test-jigs with more durable materials to enable us to undertake further testing and achieve the required 9 bars of pressure.

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The process of heating and frothing the milk has been tested, with the team originally aiming to replicate settings such as amount of froth and temperature off a standard New Zealand cafe latte. From here we look to expand and include settings for other common coffee types.  The results from this were also very pleasing and our design has been confirmed to be feasible.

 

Next Steps:

While we are yet to encounter any major setbacks, we have found that every stage of the testing process is taking longer than originally anticipated.  We have made it clear that we won’t settle for anything less than the perfect espresso coffee and as a result we have found ourselves investing significant time into the testing and calibration process in order to achieve this.  This has also lead to the need to get custom parts redesigned and re-manufactured as they weren’t as perfect as we wanted them to be. We noticed this trend early in the development phase and in order to operate in the most timely manner, we have honed and manufactured multiple slightly different parts for the same purpose and tested this on a trial and error basis for all aspects of the machine.  This has not only saved us a lot of time, but it has also enabled us to determine which methodologies are most appropriate.

Despite this, this has ultimately lead to us having to extend our project timeline slightly.  With more custom parts being manufactured as we speak, over the next couple of weeks we look to combine each element of the brewing process, which are now individually functional, into a single device.   Following this, next month we look to have all of these individual elements working cohesively and inserted into The Porta Presso’s housing. From here, we look to refine the user interaction process to ensure it is beautifully functional and easy to use.  We will thereby move into further tooling and overall interior and exterior refinements to ensure everything is working to the high standards that we have set ourselves.  

 

Tooling goals:

Although our ultimate goal during the upcoming tooling phases is to ensure The Porta Presso produces a coffee of high barista quality we have also set ourselves smaller goals that we wish to accomplish, these include but are not limited to;

  • Overall size: Where possible getting rid of excess space and strategically position internal components to keep the size of The Porta Presso as small as possible to ensure it is as portable and as convenient as possible.
  • Noise level: Although every coffee machine is going to make some noise during the brewing process, where possible without taking away from quality we look to minimise the noise created.

 

Have your say:

Our design team has been heavily focused on the electrical interface and how users will interact with The Porta Presso through use of the built in LCD screen. We have designed multiple different display options and have since narrowed it down to 3 different types that we envision being a good fit for The Porta Presso with each different option having its own advantages.

 

Design 1: 100% touch screen controlled with no buttons. This option would have the user simply tapping on the LCD screen to select their options.
Advantages compared to other designs include it being easy to select the option you want by simply tapping on a picture instead if having to scroll through the options until you get to the option you want to select.

Design 2: Three physical click buttons and no touch function. This option would have users navigate through the settings menu and select their options via the use of physical buttons that they would click.
Advantages include that the overall machine would be more durable not having to rely on the touch function.

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Design 3: A singular multi purpose rotatable button and optional touch screen. This button would be used to power on and off The Porta Presso as well as being able to be rotated either way to select options. Touch screen will also be available with users being able to swipe either way to select options.
Advantages include the possibility of having more information about each coffee visible on each screen because not all the coffees will be needing to be on the same screen.

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Although these designs are only rough at this point our design team will be working hard on them at the same time our engineering team works on the physical components.  We welcome your opinion and if you wish to have your say and give us your feedback please feel free to click here to be taken to our website where you can let us know your thoughts.  While this is completely optional we would love your input as this will be taken into consideration when finalising our design and user interface.

 

Thank you all for your ongoing support.

 

The Porta Presso Team

Brianna Ellin