John Park retrospective: Coffee Projects and Hacks @johnedgarpark

Florence Siphon
Coffee is a source of joy, inspiration, energy, and passion for me. You too? Yay! I’ve built a few coffee-based projects over the years, from bean roasters, to brewers, to espresso tampers, as well as a few coffee hacks. Here a few of my favorites that I built and documented for Make.

Florence Siphon Coffee Brewer


I built this vacuum siphon coffee brewer for the wonderful steampunk issue of Make: magazine. It’s an excellent method of brewing that was particularly popular in the Victorian era. The magical elegance of this system is that physics conspire to brew the coffee at just the right temperature with no intervention necessary, while the cooling of the vapor in the boiling flask creates a vacuum and draws the coffee back in, stopping the brew after just the right period of time. It’s still done today, but usually in the vertically oriented vac-pot configuration. Here’s the full project build.

Hydraulic Espresso Tamper

Hydraulic tamper 01

My pursuit of the espresso “god shot” led me to build this hydraulic espresso tamper. I wanted a way to consistently tamp grounds in the portafilter with an exact amount of force, so I repurposed a juicer, hydraulic line, pressure gauge, and a few scratch-built components into this beauty. And my friend Mark Frauenfelder brought it onto maker show-and-tell on the Martha Stewart show!


Modernist Coffee

Here’s a terrific coffee hack that I tested out on the intrepid attendees at the Boing Boing Weekend of Wonder: Modernist coffee thickened and aerated with xanthan gum and an immersion blender. The mouthfeel! Prognosis: we loved it. Here’s the recipe I wrote up for Make.


Cold Brew Coffee Tower


I love cold brewed coffee for it’s low acidity and powerful, concentrated flavor. It’s great on ice. Consumer grade cold brew rigs tend to have a pretty low yield, so I created this large-capacity, cafe-sized wall-mounted unit and added an Arduino-controlled solenoid valve to precisely control the drip rate. Delicious and plentiful cold brew coffee!


Interested in seeing new coffee projects and hacks here at Adafruit? Let us know in the comments.

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