The Design Challenge

When the team at Mother Parkers, more commonly known for supplying McDonalds coffee beans, set their sights on the office environment, they realized the need to develop a commercial grade coffee brewing solution to facilitate entry to the market. This new business model brought with it some distinct design challenges including the need to accommodate existing K-Cup single-serve pods without infringing on Keurig’s brewer design patents. It was crucial for the product to user friendly, easily serviceable and built for durability while being aesthetically pleasing and standing out from a vast sea of coffee makers.

The Research

As this was our first venture into the world of brewing, we dove deep into the booming business of single serve coffee and familiarized ourselves with the office coffee maker landscape. The findings from this design research identified key challenges and shed light on opportunities that would serve as the foundation of the design direction.

Design Process

The research phase pointed out that there were opportunities to make the brewer more intuitive and improve upon the user experience shortcomings we noticed in existing single serve coffee makers. In addition to the requirements laid out by the customer, UX became crucial piece of the puzzle. We foresaw that the most challenging part of the design would be the brew chamber mechanism so we quickly integrated ourselves with the customer’s engineering team and started ideating different solutions while considering how the rest of the design could integrate with this crucial component.

Once the mechanism was locked down, we further resolved the rest of the brewer’s features, component layout, and overall styling. After we had finished the initial design we worked with our prototyping partner to create a very real depiction of the product we’d envisioned. Highly accurate prototyping allowed us to interact with the product and study the user experience in great detail before going into production.

Final Design Solution

We were able to achieve a design that is uniquely styled to stand out of the run of mill coffee maker while minimizing the number of functional parts to increase product reliability. The magic of the design revolves around the brew chamber which enables the cover and piercing needle to lift out of the way while simultaneously shuttling the pod holder forward, which increases the amount of (finger space?) and makes it much easier for the user to insert and remove the pods. In addition to the improved user experience, the mechanism was designed to hold the pods at a 45 degree angle which promotes optimal water dispersion and drainage through the coffee grounds, creating an improved brewing experience.