Makoto Saito, Chalana Thikarathna and Chris Busch - Integrated Design

Coffee Brewing

Winter Semester 2020/21


Prof.  Petra Müller-Csernetzky



Coffee consumption increases worldwide and people have been drinking coffee for centuries. These coffee consumers are becoming demanding with the quality. This is a result of the third-wave coffee movement, where coffee consumers are more aware and concerned about the behind of each cup of coffee. However, there are still many coffee consumers who are not aware of the importance and origin of the coffee they are consuming. Although tons of content related to coffee is available on the internet, there are a lot of gaps in the learning process in coffee brewing because these contents are in general ready-made recipes to be followed, and don’t teach how to understand the controllable variables and how they act during the brewing process.
In this context, our research question was: How to enable coffee drinkers to control the main variables during the brewing process, in order to make a cup of coffee with their desired individual taste? This project focuses on experiential learning in coffee drinkers and has the main goal to find a solution that enables them to learn how to brew a coffee properly in a practical way and based on their personal taste.
This project has the main goal to create knowledge in coffee brewing methods, using research through design, based on an action and reflection approach, the objective is to create knowledge through the process of designing. By exploring some subjects, such as the concept of knowledge creation, experiential learning, fundamentals of coffee brewing, and experience design, an action research methodology using the design thinking macro process, several prototypes were tested with more than 25 people. Observation, interviews, and surveys to collect data, and coding to analyse the responses were used as a methodology to discover improvements and new insights to reach our research question.
A coffee brewing class was created to promote a complete coffee brewing session that introduces to the coffee drinkers the fundamentals of coffee and enables them how to brew coffee. Although the results showed positive, due to this pandemic situation, we had to adapt our solution into a coffee brewing starter kit, taking the experience to people's houses.
We conclude that an immersive coffee brewing experience, besides teaching how to make a coffee properly with an individual taste, creates an interest in consuming coffee more consciously.