Rapidly catching up the third wave of coffee, various coffee shops appeared in China like bamboo roots after a spring rain. Through comprehensive research, we proposed a detailed plan of implementation, which may encompass DeCaffi to smoothly fit in to current coffee industry.
Current Market and Target Customers
People are fond of aromatic coffee. But at the same time, they worry about becoming overactive and sleepless due to the caffein. This phenomenon also exists in other kinds of caffeine containing drinks. Although some companies nowadays have launched products that is free from caffein, the flavor is inevitably affected thus cannot live to the expectation of the customers. We are committed to design a customer-friendly coffee cup with the function including: detecting caffeine content, removing caffein, monitoring customers’ physical health.
To have a clear picture of the customers diverse needs and the current market, we researched some well-known coffee cup products. Some focus on high tech, some prefer fashion element, some are surrounded on recycled and environment-friendly principle. To conclude, they mainly focus on the appearance and the heat preservation and tolerance capacity of the products, lacking functions related to caffein intake such as caffein detection and removal. With the growing of people’s health awareness, we desperately need to resolve the conflict between the attractive flavor and side effects both brought by coffee, but apparently and unfortunately, all these existing products cannot fulfill the mission.
For most coffee shop, the merchants already provide distinctive high-quality coffee cup. Therefore, it is better for us to design a set of accessories that can attached to the original coffee cup to achieve more advanced function. This approach can not only meet customers’ diverse demand for the shapes of cups, but also give respect to original coffee cup. Most importantly, our products give the customers more personal and multiple function choices: detect the content of caffeine，decompose and convert it into beneficial theacrine, reduce the content of caffeine and at the same time monitor caffeine intake, which is based on the Internet of Things.
To achieve a wide application scenario and meet the needs of most people, our final product would be a kind of customer-oriented cup and cup accessories that can detect the content of caffeine，decompose and convert it into beneficial theacrine，reduce coffee concentration and at the same time monitor health situation depending on the technology of Internet of Things. More meaningfully, we provide WeChat small program in mobile phone to compile and analyze caffeine intake statistics collected from the cup. Then the statistics will be utilized in our mathematic model calculation. Together with other health statistics such as user’s drinking habits, we can finally give prediction about the probable sleep time and give more reasonable advice about coffee drinking.
Figure 1. shows the basic components of DeCaffi hardware, from left to right, the items are: a coaster used in volume measurement, a cup set on a pressure sensor, a spoon in the cup that act as a bridge connecting each part. On the right lies the electrode and circuit board detecting caffeine content, the Bluetooth module connecting with WeChat small program and a single chip module.
Fig 1. Components of the Hardware
The WeChat small program is demonstrated in Figure 2., including three functions: collecting statistics from the cup, monitoring caffeine intake and analyzing drinking habits.
Fig 2. Components of the Software
The expected usage process is described as follows: the user put the cup with coffee on our coaster, Dip the spoons equipped with heat sensor and magnet into the coffee. As the temperature drop down to a certain extent, the single-chip microcomputer (SCM) twinkles and message is sent from the app in his mobile phone to remind him of putting the caffeine-decomposing bag into the coffee. Details of the bag are shown in figure 3. In the shape of porous cylindrical, the diameter of the bag is a little smaller than the diameter of the cup. Two layers of immobilized enzymes and coenzymes are contained.
Fig 3. Caffeine-decomposing Package
The consumer uses a spoon to attract the magnet in the decomposition box. After the two are connected, spoon and the decomposition box are put back into the cup together and then start converting caffeine to theacrine. After a period of time, the mobile phone would remind consumers to take out the spoon and decomposition box.
In order to see how much amount of coffee they intake, consumers can use a spoon to take out a small amount of caffeine and put it in the center of the blue electrode. We used enzyme electrode technology to specifically detect the content of caffeine. The enzyme used in the enzyme electrode also comes from the engineering bacteria we synthesized. After the coffee is added, the circuit on the right will start to detect the caffeine content. After the peak potential and current were obtained through scanning of the potentiometer, the caffeine content was calculated according to the formula summarized in experiment. The SCM will upload the temperature, volume and caffeine concentration to the mobile phone miniprogram in real time through Bluetooth to provide statistics for our health detection program about sleep time and caffeine intake. After that, consumers can enjoy this cup of coffee with reduced caffeine content.
Fig 4. Bluetooth connection
In “Help”--”Bluetooth”, users can easily connect our hardware to their mobile phone, and get the current temperature, volume and caffeine concentration of drinks. In “Recommend” section, select “Use the hardware provided by UCAS-China”, our program will give the recommended range of caffeine intake according to the literature data and personal constitution information. For more information, refer to software wiki.
Fig 5. Recommend range of caffeine intake
- The spoon is equipped with a temperature sensor and a magnet to attract the enzyme containing package.
- The pressure sensor detects mass. The amount of pressure changes before and after drinking help us calculate the volume of consumed coffee.
- The electrode detects the concentration of caffeine through the electron transfer between coenzyme Q0, Cdh and caffeine. The electrodes are currently disposable, similar to the blood glucose test paper. Achieving mass production can help us reduce the cost. After the stability of the enzyme is improved, we may realize reuse of the electrodes.
- The potentiostat design refers to online open sources. The principle is that the signal provided by the SCM is transformed by the operational amplifier to obtain the set potential output. Potentiostat and current measurement function together constitute this small electrochemical workstation. Connect three electrodes, set voltametric cyclic scanning mode and measure peak current, the caffeine content can be calculated by substitute the data into a fitted formula.
- The electrode system contains three electrodes. Graphene oxide, enzymes, necessary coenzymes, low concentration of polyglycol diglycidyl ether and low concentration of electron microscope stationary solution were used to modify the working electrode.
- The real-time operating system runs on the SCM to schedule the tasks of temperature, volume, Bluetooth receiving and sending, and can control the scanning process of the potentiometer at the same time.
- The caffeine decomposition package can be opened by rotating, pieces of paper with enzymes can be added. Some of the papers have enzymes linked by covalent crosslinking, others have coenzymes obtained by soaking. Coenzyme paper is symmetrically coated by two layers of enzyme paper. Users can move the spoon up and down to increase the flow rate of the drink and increase the reaction rete.
- The caffeine decomposition package is designed as a hard structure, which is compatible with another design of our team, where the beverage slowly pass through the filter with immobilize enzymes, so as to fully react.
In our hardware, electronic components cost about 100 yuan currently, and we plan to reduce it by microminiaturization and Integration. Referring to the market price of glucose testing strips, the cost of a single electrode can be reduced to less than 10 yuan by mass production and further improvement in the future.
To help DeCaffi successfully fit into current coffee industry, we designed a flexible product that can be used in different scenarios, thus leading to different business modes.
- To have the condition of microminiaturization and integration to lower the cost, we plan to cooperate with coffee cup manufactures. Thus the weight and volume will be reduced greatly.
- For end users, we offer temperature detecting spoons, caffeine detection electrode, circuit boards, caffeine decomposition packages and health detecting apps. The accessories can be used in various kinds of coffee cups or other beverage-containing cups. There is no need to transfer the liquid across different containers because detection and reaction can be conducted directly in the drink, which is apparently more convenient.
- For coffee shops that have the need to make low-caffeine coffee, we provide a caffeine decomposition filter that can be fixed into the coffee machine. Currently, coffee shops use decaffeinated coffee beans to produce low-caffeine coffee, the coffee bean replacement operation is inconvenient. With our filter, more kinds of coffee can be treated while the cost is reduced.
In the future, we can acquire caffeine enzyme that is more suitable for electrode detection except enzyme that is appropriate for caffeine conversion based on directed evolution technology. Success in this will make the reactions more adequate and the reuse of enzyme easier.