Industrial design in coffee makers: why convex hemispheres?
October 13, 2010 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Why is the lid to my coffee carafe designed this way? Moving down the production chain, why is the interface between the brew basket housing and the lid is two two convex hemispheres?

What factors influenced this design choice? Does this design result in better tasting coffee? Does it results in less heat escaping from the carafe? Is it the optimal way to prevent spillage when transferring coffee from the brew basket to the carafe?
posted by ajsheets to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The lid hemisphere only pushes the basket hemisphere up enough to allow coffee to come down when the lid is more or less completely underneath the basket. This ensures that coffee will only flow when the carafe is well positioned.

Additionally, the two hemispheres provide a smooth, continuous interface, which makes it easy for a groggy person to insert and remove the carafe in the morning without knocking over the coffee maker.
posted by jedicus at 2:43 PM on October 13, 2010

Sometimes the carafe lid shape is related to the spring-loaded mechanism that allows for pouring yourself a cup of coffee before the whole pot is brewed - the mechanism that stops the drip of coffee when the carafe isn't in place.
posted by needs more cowbell at 2:45 PM on October 13, 2010

The bottom hemisphere pushes up on the spring-mounted upper hemisphere when the carafe is under the drip mechanism. This creates and opening, allowing coffee into the carafe. When you remove the carafe, the spring pushes the upper hemisphere down, closing the opening. This allows you to remove the carafe during brewing without covering your counter with still brewing coffee.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 2:46 PM on October 13, 2010 [1 favorite]

why is the interface between the brew basket housing and the lid is two two convex hemispheres?

Since they are continuous curves, there can be positioning errors but there will still always be a point of contact.
posted by smackfu at 2:46 PM on October 13, 2010

Further to the above responses, the bottom sphere can be inserted from any angle and still work properly. Other shapes might not have that same benefit. Also, the point of contact between the two hemispheres helps the coffee not drip all over the place because it can flow mostly continuously down the assembly.
posted by malthas at 2:56 PM on October 13, 2010

It looks nice, aesthetics matter in industrial design.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:57 PM on October 13, 2010


35 years ago, automatic drip coffee was pretty awful. The carafe lid had a big hole in the middle of it and the hot plate under the carafe operated at too high a temp. You had to drink it immediately or the coffeemaker would ruin the coffee.

People drank really awful coffee back then, making grinch faces as they choked it down. Things are better now.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 4:09 PM on October 13, 2010

Probable: there is a spring loaded valve that lets you grab a cup while it is brewing. Which you shouldn't do.

Improbable: Someone in coffee science class figured out that this setup reduces oxidation and maintains taste a bit longer?
posted by gjc at 5:56 PM on October 13, 2010

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