I wasn't aware of kickstarter.com until I saw an article about a couple of coffee-loving engineering types who are planning to go into production soon with an inexpensive espresso maker for the home with full-on PID. (If you read my review of the Breville Dual Boiler BES900XL the other day, you'll remember that PID controllers are devices that constantly measure a set value for something, and make adjustments up and down to maintain that set value. An easy example to understand is the PID controller in your car that gives you "cruise control". You set the speed, and the PID controller maintains it by constantly making minor adjustments to the speed of the car up an down around the speed you set.
In espresso machines, PID controllers monitor and control both pressure and temperature during the extraction of the espresso shot. Temperature around 200F and pressure of around 9 bars is ideal for making a perfect espresso shot.
Most cheaper domestic espresso machines don't have PID controllers, which start to show up in machines abover $700. Machines without PID controllers can definitely make great espresso shots - I know because all my espresso machines until my recent purchase of the Breville Dual Boiler did not have PID controllers - but it's harder work and requires more skill and attention to detail.
Anyhow, these two geeky, coffee-loving engineering types took their idea to kickstarter.com to raise the funds they needed for their project, and raised a phenominal $US369,569 in support after initially setting their goal as just $20,000! I read that it was the 6th most-successful launch on kickstarter to date. Their intention is to be able to offer their machines at around $400 in the U.S. retail market spring/summer 2012!
Check out the project here and note that they regularly post updates if you wish to keep up with progress.
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