La Marzocco’s new high-tech espresso machine respects the human touch and wows coffee geeks

On the subject of coffee tradition in Seattle, it takes a particular stage of innovation to generate a buzz.

On Monday night time, at its cafe situated inside KEXP’s radio station headquarters at Seattle Heart, La Marzocco unveiled a new espresso machine meant to showcase its longtime experience in making such specialty {hardware}.

The KB90 is known as in honor of La Marzocco’s Kent Bakke, former worldwide CEO and now chairman of the board, who they known as “a Seattle coffee pioneer.” The crimson and chrome machine is stuffed with type on the outdoors and improved capabilities on the inside.

Makers of espresso machines since 1927, with its U.S. headquarters in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, La Marzocco designed the KB90 to symbolize each the curves in the protect of the La Marzocco lion emblem and iconic muscle automobiles of the Nineteen Seventies. The machine has the identical interface as the Linea PB — the earlier replace to its traditional mannequin — and it’s constructed for the barista, with quicker work movement, simpler cleansing and superior ergonomics.

At a time when house home equipment and many different forms of equipment are headed towards much more automation, it was vital for Bakke and La Marzocco to proceed to respect the touch that baristas convey to a buyer’s expertise.

“That is one thing that’s an innovation on the machine. It’s extra a mechanism than an automation and we’ve made a acutely aware resolution at La Marzocco to not enter enter into the world of super-automatic machines,” Bakke informed a crowd of some dozen individuals. “They’ve a spot, no query. However we nonetheless consider that that relationship between the client and the barista and the machine is essential. That’s the place I wish to stay. I wish to stay with individuals; I wish to stay with the story; I wish to stay with sharing coffee with individuals. So I’m doubly proud that we now have continued to take care of that philosophy and dedication to the baristas and the shoppers.”

That’s to not say the KB90 isn’t excessive tech. Whereas its look could also be modeled after classic vehicles, the machine is decidedly 2019.

La Marzocco’s Scott Callender, vp of selling and client technique, was working the roughly $22,000 machine most of the night time and displaying off its options. He stated the KB90 contains what’s known as “drip prediction,” an algorithm that improves the consistency of the photographs which might be popping out of the machine.

“One in every of our engineers in Italy named Lorenzo pulled over 10,000 photographs and graphed them at completely different brew ratios, completely different grind dimension and completely different movement charges,” Callender stated. “By graphing all of these 10,000 photographs, he was in a position to create an algorithm that may permit the machine to foretell, as soon as a shot would begin, it might perceive what curve it was occurring in order that it might cease the shot at the proper time and produce utterly constant photographs. So over time this machine doesn’t must be taught something. It’s already discovered over these 10,000 photographs.”

Essentially the most hanging development on the KB90 (the 90 is for the Florence, Italy-based firm’s latest ninetieth anniversary) is the “Straight-in-Portafilter.” Anybody who has ever visited a coffee store has most likely watched a barista’s arm-twisting movement as that particular person snaps the machine holding espresso grounds into the machine. The KB90’s portafilter slides proper in and a easy raise up creates the needed seal.

The corporate believes this easy movement will get rid of pressure and stress accidents on the wrists and elbows of busy staff in the trade. And the stable parts make it really feel such as you’re shutting the door on an costly automobile reasonably than snapping closed the plastic workplace coffee maker.

The enhancements on La Marzocco’s design have been in the works for years. Bakke stated they first began attempting to do a straight-in-portafilter in the early Nineteen Nineties. “It’s not straightforward to do,” he stated.

Melissa Dixon labored as a barista and managed cafes in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., and moved to Seattle 4 months in the past. She now works for Visions Espresso, a distributor of residential and restaurant espresso machines and components.

Dixon was one in every of quite a few individuals with expertise working high-end espresso machines who smiled and stated “wow” as they obtained the probability to place their palms on the KB90 and find out about the variations in the way it works.

“That is like the Transformer model of the espresso machine,” Dixon stated. “However I feel there’s all the time going to be a spot for the hand-crafted model of every part as a result of even the actually good super-automatic machines, you continue to want an individual there tweaking it and telling it what it wants to repair as a result of it may possibly’t make changes for style, solely a human can actually make these changes for style.”

Dixon thought the machine would get rid of a number of the errors that baristas battle with throughout a busy shift, whereas additionally making for a cleaner espresso bar.

“I’m fairly impressed,” she stated. “I don’t know all of its capabilities but … however I’ll promote numerous them.”

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