Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

La Fenice coffee machine first to use electromagnetic induction heating

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May 9, 2014

'La Fenice' makes both traditional Italian espresso and American filter coffee and uses up...

'La Fenice' makes both traditional Italian espresso and American filter coffee and uses up to 80 percent less energy than most other coffee machines

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A team of young Italian coffee aficionados has come up with a new concept for a coffee machine, which they claim to be the world's first electromagnetic induction coffee maker. Dubbed "La Fenice," the fully functional prototype makes both traditional Italian espresso and American filter coffee and uses up to 80 percent less energy than most other coffee machines.

Conceived by Stefano Polti, the design features a patented electromagnetic induction heater that instantly heats the water when the machine is turned on, allowing it to be turned off when not in use. Most other coffee machines on the market need a good five to fifteen minutes to heat up before brewing a perfect cup of coffee, while other models are designed to be kept on all day, thus consuming a lot more energy.

"We decided to concentrate first on the energy saving theme, engineering a new heater system that could use less power and only when we need it," says the La Fenice team. "To make it possible we studied electromagnetic induction, the technology that revolutionized the hobs industry, improving energy efficiency by up to 95 percent."

La Fenice directly measures the temperature at the surface of the boiler

Furthermore, La Fenice also includes a specialized pressure flow rate and temperature control (PCP), which constantly evaluates the temperature of the water and allows for "higher precision" coffee making. A specially designed sensor directly measures the water temperature and keeps it at a constant 93° C (199° F).

"Unlike most other coffee makers measuring temperature at the surface of the boiler, 'La Fenice' directly measures the temperature of the water itself thanks to an advanced [technology], resulting in higher precision," says the La Fenice team.

La fenice features two separate coffee making nozzles, one for espresso and the other for ...

The current design is inspired by traditional coffee machines from the early 1900's and features two separate coffee making nozzles, one for espresso and the other for filtered coffee. Unconventional as it stands, the prototype goes one step further and is compatible with both ground coffee and coffee capsules.

The design team behind the La Fenice prototype is currently seeking startup funding on Kickstarter, with pledges from US$250 to reserve a unit – if all goes to plan.

Source: La Fenice

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema.   All articles by Bridget Borgobello
10 Comments

It uses 80% less energy?! That would mean the comparison coffee maker is only 20% efficient, wasting 4 units of heat for every one put into the water. I was about to call B.S. on that when I spotted to magic words "up to". Ahhh. These guys can /imagine/ such a wasteful coffee maker. "up to" is a phrase that means "this is just marketing hooey".

piperTom
9th May, 2014 @ 04:47 am PDT

I think that is way cool. It has a retro look to it and has a 'robot' appearance. If I drank coffee, I would go for that.

BigGoofyGuy
9th May, 2014 @ 05:18 am PDT

Induction stoves are a true advance (although not a recent one; having been in use in Germany for many decades they're only now starting to sell in some quantity in the US).

And it's not hype as they heat water extremely fast. The time it takes for standard espresso makers to get up to speed it embarrassingly slow - and much energy is wasted during that heat up cycle.

moreover
9th May, 2014 @ 10:26 am PDT

@ piperTom

Sense there are more than one coffee makers on the market they undoubtedly found the worst one the could to compare too. A cheap poorly insulated instant brew maker with louse efficiency is undoubtedly on the market. It might not even be Chinese in origin.

Slowburn
9th May, 2014 @ 11:08 pm PDT

i have the picu heat induction cookers and i love them their really wonderful and save gas or electricity

Lola Roberts White
10th May, 2014 @ 06:04 am PDT

I put away my coffee maker years ago. I grind fresh roasted, organic beans in large quantities to make a gallon of concentrated coffee, place them in a gallon jar, add room temp water, and let sit for 2-4 hours. I cool in the frig for 3-4 days, then strain. I have 3-4 weeks of cold brewed, 40% less acidic coffee. My acid reflux is gone.

Why heat water to brew? Can't plan ahead? My way gives me a quicker cup (pre-brewed, pre-cooled for adding to milk shakes or drinking iced), and less acidic.

Don Duncan
10th May, 2014 @ 01:37 pm PDT

induction for heating water? why not microwaving it?

what a waste of energy. all you can heat up with induction is the metal surrounding the water and not the water directly like you would in a microwave.

i don't think that someone could save that much energy by just simply using a different method. there are only two things where energy could be wasted: lack of insulation and remaining heat when the water is already gone or not used.

MG127
10th May, 2014 @ 04:19 pm PDT

@ MG127

Low efficiency heating elements.

Slowburn
10th May, 2014 @ 08:34 pm PDT

Even if it is quite as energy-saving as they claim, at least it looks fantastic!

One of these on a kitchen benchtop would double the chances of selling a house, don't you think?

The Skud
11th May, 2014 @ 08:36 pm PDT

The 80% figure doesn't sound unreasonable, most semi-commercial or commercial machines use what might be described as a 'pressure cooker' system. The boiler has an element inside and contains about 2/3 water. A pressurestat that controls the boiler element is set at about 1.3 bar which means a boiling point around 120 degrees C (to create steam). The portafilters are set up on the exposed end of a thermosyphon tube which projects into the boiler water so the extraction ends up being at about 60 degrees C. The three elements in our two group Gaggia are rated at 5 kilowatts total, with an operating power of (two elements) 3200 watts (the extra is for faster start-up).

The boiler is uninsulated because the 'lost' heat pouring out the top of the machine is used to preheat the cups.

My guess is that each espresso using textured/steamed milk probably uses a couple of hundred watt/minutes of power.

Compared to that, these guys are probably nudging a 95% gain...

dodgy
17th May, 2014 @ 02:25 am PDT
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