Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Coffee-machine-powered coffee-grinder

Have some ready for next time.
  (+10, -8)
(+10, -8)
  [vote for,

Simple really. Coffee machines work by heating water. This generates steam. Use that steam to run a small steam engine which drives a mill to grind the coffee for the next jugful. As a bonus, the waste steam could then be used to froth the milk for cappuccino.
For reasons of efficiency, the steam engine should be a turbine, but aesthetically , I would prefer the beam engine type.
angel, Apr 25 2001

Steam engines http://www.kbsm.org/engines/
These were in use until recently [angel, Apr 25 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

A bit big for a counter-top, though http://www.oldengin...emon.co.uk/nmes.htm
[angel, Apr 25 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Cutaway diagram http://www.geocitie...polis/6914/seff.htm
This is how they work [angel, Apr 25 2001, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       as a half-baked idea this is really neat, you get my +. but i'm afraid peter's right: the amount of (i'm assuming electrical) energy you'd have to put in to build up enough steam to power an engine is much higher than the energy an electric grinder would require. and also, depending on when the next pot of coffee was going to be made, you wouldn't want to grind the beans at that time.   

       this would be a great novelty item, though. </$1999.99 at the sharper image>
mihali, Apr 25 2001

       Angel, could you better define "Beam engine"? are you referring to the "water engine" used as an analogy to explain the operation of a Solar Engine?
bear, Apr 25 2001

       I assume by "beam engine" [angel] is referring to the sort of piston steam engine used in steam locomotives and the like. Chuff chuff chuff chuff chuff chuff (toot toot!)...
egnor, Apr 26 2001

       The beans should always remain unground and refrigerated until it's time to put them in the pot.
sirrobin, Apr 26 2001

       I like the image of a little steam engine, all brass and black iron, puffing away on the countertop, no matter if it's grinding coffee beans or stirring pancake batter. Coffee's done and the batter stirred, toot-toooooot sssssssssssssss...   

       I wonder how one of those countertop espresso machines would work as a steam engine boiler? This is seriously cool.
Dog Ed, Apr 26 2001

       [egnor]: Yes, just like those. See the links.
[PeterSealy] and [mihalo]: The coffee machine need not be electric - it could simply be a variation on the pot sitting on the stove.
As to non-freshness of beans, I would have thought that a HalfBakery coffee-pot would be brewing permanently.
All your bean are - never mind.
angel, Apr 26 2001

       You're not putting a steam-engine boiler in my kitchen. (Honestly, the one idea where "Exploding..." works, and AA is nowhere to be found...)
bookworm, Apr 26 2001

       In order to preserve bean freshness, store the energy in a big flywheel until beans actually need to be ground.
jutta, Apr 26 2001

       The love of mechanical overengineering. I'd love to have one of these. I have an electric grinder, but to have a steam powered one chuffing away at it would be a lot cooler...
StarChaser, Apr 28 2001

       There goes my diesel powered coffee grinder
thumbwax, Apr 30 2001

       The cool thing about steam power is all the arms and wheels flailing away all over the place, with lots of spinny shiny things and steam jetting out. Internal combustion engines are boring, all you get to look at is a belt...
StarChaser, Apr 30 2001

       PeterSealy: I feel like such a fool. I've been walking a few metres to reach the coffee pot in the kitchen when I could have travelled a mere 900 kilometres to the nearest Starbucks.
sirrobin, May 01 2001

       [PeterSealy] sometimes seems to forget that not only do we not all live in NYC, some of us don't even live in the USA. In my small corner of TW (which, as we all know, IAVBP), (population c90,000) not only is there no Starbucks, there is nothing sufficiently similar that I could be persuaded to patronize it. Should we all go live with Peter? He's buying.
angel, May 01 2001


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