Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Consumption on average is about a third of that of tap water in North America and Europe. Behind petroleum, coffee is the second most traded product in the world. The International Coffee Organization reports a worldwide production of well over 130 million bags of coffee beans in 2011. Flavor and aroma of the beverage are defined by the coffee plant species, roasting and grinding techniques, brewing method and water quality.

RFID in coffee makers

Coffee preparation methods have evolved from using traditional drop-by-drop filtering machines to single-cup appliances. Devices designed for the use of pods (or, pads in Germany and The Netherlands) and airtight capsules were first introduced in the 1980’s. Sensor technologies were applied to give users more visual information on device operation than just a lit on/off switch.

A more sophisticated application is using RFID tags on coffee and tea capsules that communicate with the brewing machine. Tack Smart Filter Technology BV still has licenses available for this purpose.

Advantages smart filter

An RFID tag can hold any desired information that enables ease of use and taste control, e.g.:

  • Filter capsule detection, verifying whether a capsule is present, un-used and correctly inserted
  • Filter capsule identification, writing information to the RFID tag on production and ‘use by’ date; when expired a warning displays on the coffee machine, potentially including the expiry date to let the consumer decide to proceed or to insert a fresh capsule
  • Filter capsule contents configuration, letting the machine adjust water temperature and pressure to capsule contents; brewing espresso for instance requires higher water pressure than a regular type of coffee
  • Filter capsule brand recognition, making sure only compatible cups are used in order to guarantee quality