[VIDEO] Mad Science: How to Turn Ordinary Vacuum Light Bulbs into a Coffee Maker

“The post-apocalyptic coffee maker is heated by fire, which brings the water to a boil. After that happens, the coffee starts brewing through the confusing contraption until you’ve got a fresh- brewed cup of java waiting for you inside a bulb…”

Popular Mechanics


[VIDEO] The Next Frontier: ‘ISSpresso’ Authentic Italian Espresso in Space

“Our aerospace engineers have designed a new-concept coffeemaker, which is safe for the astronauts and able to function in microgravity conditions.”

— David Avino, Managing Director of Argotec

As capsule-based espresso machines have taken over the world, one Italian coffee company plans to take its coffee to space. Italian coffee manufacturer Lavazza has announced it is working with the Italian Space Agency (ISA) and engineering firm Argotect to take the authentic Italian espresso into orbit.


The machine will go by the name ISSpresso, from the acronym of the International Space Station (ISS), where it is to be installed

Following numerous complaints by Italian astronauts over the last 13 years that what they miss most while on duty at the International Space Station is a high quality espresso, the company hope that Samantha Christoforetti, who is set to become the first Italian woman to go into space in November can enjoy a warm cup of coffee on board.


The plastic tube carrying water inside a standard espresso machine has been replaced with a special steel tube designed to withstand pressure above 400 bar, while the machine and its accompanying equipment weighs around 20kg.


Astronauts will not be restricted to a shot of espresso for their caffeine fix, with the innovative capsule system able to produce other hot drinks like a caffe lungo or even a cup of tea.

espresso in space_0

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Industrial Pundit Fuel Update

100,000 espressos and still going strong

100,000 espressos and still going strong

Punditfromanotherplanet’s 24-hour news laboratory had a brief crisis this week, when the fuel source was temporarily interrupted. Yes, the espresso supply chain stopped in mid-stream, when the primary caffeine processor was offline. When I flipped it on, it didn’t boot up. With advice from a professional repair consultant, I discovered it’s easy to find the reset button, reset it, and fully restore functionality. Voila! The Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine is now serving.

Turns out, earlier that day, in a neglectful moment, I’d left the steamer on a bit too long, unattended. It overheated, and it activated an internal breaker. It self-protected. Brilliant.  It reminded me that this machine exceeds my previous model Francis Francis Italian espresso (which also got a lot of mileage) machine’s features. The Silvia protected itself from overheating. And the reset (briefly removing the top panel) was a simple process. Rather than a repair bill, a new boiler, or internal electronics, it just needed a push of a button to reset it.

[Check out Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine, and others, at Amazon.com]

I was originally drawn to the Silvia because it falls neatly into the ‘pro-sumer’ line of home espresso machines. More expensive than the typical home model, but more affordable than the high-end models that are professional enough to use in a a restaurant or bar. I found it’s one of the best-reviewed, most prized, durable and elegant pundit fuel sources in its price range, with a sleek, industrial feel, compared to most lightweight home models.

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A Coffee Maker That Looks Like It Comes From A Chemistry Lab


Perhaps it’s the late nights at the lab, or just the fact that the ubiquitous glassware is so well suited for double duty brewing up a cup of joe, but chemistry and coffee have always seemed to go hand in hand. The Café Balāo is a coffee machine that even Mendeleev (or Gale Boetticher) could have loved: a siphon-like coffeemaker that borrows its design cues not from Nespresso, but from the equipment of a science-age chemistry lab.

Designed by Portuguese design student Davide Mateus, the Café Balāo looks very much at first glance like a modified version of the Kipp Apparatus. There are two tiers of the Balāo, one for water and the other coffee, each of which is made with reinforced glass. Place ground coffee in the top bulb, and fill the bottom tier with water. A submerged electric coil heats up and boils the water when the Balāo is plugged in.

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