What is iSPRESSO?
iSPRESSO is a modified / enhanced espresso machine, replacing manual or primitive controls with sophisticated computer algorithms and a web-based control panel.
Can I get one of these?
Yes! There are a couple of options.
First, you can make your own. We will provide source code (free for non-commercial use), and full step-by-step instructions for the DIY or maker enthusiast. We have designed and fabricated some custom Printed Circuit Boards to make installation easier. We have even provided a full list of all the parts and tools that you need to make an iSPRESSO modification to your espresso machine.
Second, we can make one for you. Contact us using the contact form to discuss.
Can I do this to my espresso machine?
Probably, if it has manual or analog controls for heat and pump. We’ve used the Rancilio Silvia because it is very well built and because we had access to them, but this mod would work on most mid-range ($600-$1000) espresso machines.
What is going on under the covers?
The espresso machine has been modified in a few important ways. First, a Raspberry Pi computer has been installed in the chassis. Second, an LCD screen and some buttons have been added to interface with the computer. Third, the boiler and pump are now being controlled by the computer through Solid State Relays. Fourth, a lot of custom code has been written in Python to control the machine, and to provide web and REST interface for control. Fifth, the code also includes a lot of smart features like the ability to set up its own Access Point so you can easily join the device to your WiFi network, and the ability to sense when there are network problems and get back on the network. Finally, the system includes smart update functionality that checks for updates and applies automatically.
Can I control iSPRESSO with my computer or mobile phone?
Yes. There is a built-in web server in the computer, which enables you to set temperature and brew settings, as well as schedule and even PID parameters. Today this works well using Mac / IOS because of the underlying name resolution technology (Bonjour / Avahi). You can also access it via a Linux computer if you install avahi client, or on Windows if you install Bonjour client. We are working on an Android application that is able to easily access the device.
Is it safe?
Using iSPRESSO: Like any kitchen appliance involving water and electric current, this should only be used on a Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor (GFCI) circuit. Most kitchens in modern homes probably have this, but if you are not 100% sure, consult an electrician. You can also get a device from a hardware store for a few bucks that can determine this.
Hacking iSPRESSO: If you are modifying an electrical appliance yourself, please note than any activities involving messing with Alternating Current (AC) are inherently dangerous and should be undertaken only at your own risk and if you know what you are doing.
What’s the best way to enjoy a latte?
A custom, handcrafted mug from our friends at MUGMUG.