Fast Cold Brew
3-Minute Cold Brew Coffee at the Touch of a Button!
Check out a presentation by clicking here!
Project Motivation: Cold brew coffee traditionally takes 8-24hrs of steeping ground coffee beans in a fridge before it's ready for consumption. Given the unique flavor profile that isn't as acidic as normal coffee, it's a favorite drink of those who might not like traditional coffee but still want the caffeine kick. As college students, we generally very do much want a nice big caffeine kick on the regular, but we also are usually short on time. What if we could speed this up and make a sort-of Keurig machine for cold brew?
Project Goal: Given the key trick of using vacuum pumps to cold boil a water + coffee mixture to speed up cold brewing process, build an enclosed tabletop system to store and cool water, mix the ingredients, and dispense coffee into a cup.
Personal Objective: As the Project Lead for Fast Cold Brew, this was my first true foray into a management role of other engineers. We had a team of 7: three MechEs, 1 EE, 1 CompE, and 1 ChemE, plus me. I wanted to not only execute a successful project, but also to create a tight-knit team that truly enjoyed each other's company and did their best work. I took tons of pictures -- I'm really proud of this team and this project! I consider it to be the highest point of my college career.
Lessons Learned: We made this thing food-safe. That little addition ended up becoming a much more expensive proposition than originally scoped. Of the $5K budget that I managed, most of it went toward food-grade materials, and a lot of time was spent optimizing that when it could have been used toward a faster iterating. For a Rev A prototype, even a well-polished one, food-safe should have likely been a stretch goal, and not a requirement. Something I mulled over with a nice cup of coffee! :)
Client Interactions: From the start, I worked with the clients (two senior ChemEs at Northeastern) to scope out the project and continually keep them apprised of the work as the Fall 2018 semester progressed. Managing the engineers, client expectations, and leadership updates to Generate's Hardware Directors was a great experience, and I truly enjoyed this part of the work! Keeping the project grounded and preventing scope creep (aka, the "wouldn't it be cool if?" that engineers always love to say) was a great learning experience for me, and I've taken these lessons to heart.
More to Come: as I update this page with more details. Stay tuned! Be sure to check out my presentation in the meantime!