Out of the Box: Milan

If you need an excuse to come to Italy this October, please join our sister company, La Marzocco Srl for OUT OF THE BOX: Milan.

“This event is about celebrating our originality and providing our distribution network, their end customers, coffee shop owners, baristas, trade professionals and industry friends with a snapshot of who we are, as well as the path our company is taking in terms of product innovation.”

The MCs for the event will be TIM WENDELBOE & TIM VARNEY (pretty excited about this) – Coming from Australia & Norway, Tim Varney (master roaster) and Tim Wendelboe (world barista champion) will rock the two day event, bringing plenty of awesome energy.

Themed Workshops will include:

Pressure Profiling
The Basket Case
Social Media Networking
Extracting Profits
Technical Updates
The Specialty Coffee Scene
LM’s Songwa Project
H20 & Espresso
LM Brewing School
Where & When

October 21-22, 2011

Artmouse ( www.artmouse.it )

Via Volterra, 12

20146 – Milano

What a Weekend! A Big Thanks to Everybody!

Large crowds at the La Marzocco booth at SCAA

The new Stradas were a huge hit at this year’s SCAA in Anaheim! Our booth was packed from hours before the show floor opened to after the floor has closed on all three days. Unfortunately, this also meant that I had no time at all to walk the show floor. Based on what people have been telling me, however, our booth was THE most popular booth at the show! Well, a big thanks to all who took the time and the patience to navigate the crowd and get a chance to play on the Stradas!

Tony showing his sign of love

Not only did we have the Strada, we had TWO!! The red Strada EP (electronic paddle) is the version that uses a proprietary variable speed pump to control pressure 0-14 bar, and has the ability to record and play back pressure profiles. The yellow Strada MP (mechanical paddle) features a modified version of the current mechanical paddle to allow mechanical control of pressure 0-9 bar.

This year’s SCAA was also a new experience for me – pulling thousands of shots on the yellow Strada MP – since I’ve never been a working barista before. Sure, I know all the proper techniques and got the palate to match. But it’s definitely something else to continuously pull shots while so many people are waiting for a drink, all the while I had to give an overview of the machine hundreds of times over. Perhaps the most nerve wrecking moments were when I had to pull shots for James Hoffman, Stephen Morrissey, Gwilym Davies, and Heather Perry’s parents. Good thing, Scott had the other machine (the red Strada EP) covered.

You can view a collection of pictures on our new Flickr site here.

LM Out of the Box Coming to NYC

UPDATED INFO ON NEWEST POSTHERE

Strada Debut @SCAA

This is an informational preview of the Strada debut at SCAA. No, it’s not about the iPad app, though we do have something similar to that in the works. What will be shown are stage 3 prototypes of 2 models of Strada.

You can download the information here.


TOTAL CONTROL PLUS REAL PRESSURE PROFILING

Advancing espresso brewing technology to new frontiers, La Marzocco introduces the Strada, a new machine that allows the barista, for the first time, to have absolute and direct control of pressure throughout the extraction.

DESIGNED FOR & BY BARISTAS

Strada is the first espresso machine created with continuous design involvement by the La Marzocco Street Team, comprised of the world’s top baristas and barista champions, overseeing such topics as:

  • Machine design and ergonomics
  • Extraction and quality in the cup
  • Programmability and serviceability

Combined with La Marzocco’s industry leading engineering and 6 years of R&D, Strada is for the serious barista.

REAL PRESSURE PROFILING

Pressure profiling is able to bring out different flavor components to effect the balance and body of the shot, and tends to produce a rounder, softer espresso that highlights brightness, sweetness, and delicate notes.

Strada is the only espresso machine that gives the barista direct control of pressure at any point during an extraction. This opens up infinite possibilities for varying the quality of extraction and is the most exciting advancement in espresso machines today.

Strada can record and replay the desired pressure profiles indefinitely, a key feature that allows efficiency, quality, and consistency in a busy bar environment.

2 MODELS

Strada is a completely new platform from La Marzocco, available in two versions: Mechanical Paddle and Electronic Variable Pump.

Mechanical Paddle

Direct control of water flow and pressure mechanically via an internal valve, thus allowing pressure profiling.

 

Electronic Variable Pump

Precise progressive pressure control via proprietary gear pumps*. Programmable and repeatable pressure profiles for infinite possibilities.

FEATURES

Design

  • Engineered based on feedback from the La Marzocco Street Team, an elite group of the world’s top baristas and barista champions
  • Low machine profile and minimalistic design
  • Stainless steel body panels with exposed groups
  • Fully articulated, lever actuated steam wands
  • Cast aluminum side panel with glass inserts

Usability

  • All new, barista-friendly & ergonomic design
  • Real time actual brew pressure gauge per group
  • Paddle controls increasing or decreasing brew pressure at any point during the extraction from 0 to 12 bar
  • Wider drain tray with adjustable height
  • Back-lit gauges and displays

Tech

  • One pump, one pre-heater, one mix valve, one coffee boiler, one PID, and one real time brew pressure gauge PER GROUP
  • Paddle controlled motor speed for variable pressure*, programmable and infinitely repeatable
  • Jog wheel programming interface
  • Internally mounted pumps
  • ETL and NSF approved

Soup’d Up Mistral

That’s no minestrone. It’s one of two custom La Marzocco Mistrals destined for Stumptown Portland. Under the hood specs:

  • Mechanical Paddle – for variable pressure soft preinfusion
  • Individual boilers
  • Individual pumps
  • Independent PID controllers
  • Preheater – controlled preheating of incoming water

FYI, all La Marzocco machines can be customized via LM Works.

What’s Next?

It’s been almost 3 years since Stumptown has opened their beautiful roasting facility and cafes in Seattle. No matter which roaster you work for or which coffee you prefer, it’s undeniable that Stumptown has had a profound influence over Seattle’s coffee scene. Without getting into who’s coffee is better and whatnot, it’s fair to say that everybody has been upping their game for sure. To that, more power to them all.

Stumptown Seattle's Mistral.
Stumptown Seattle’s Mistral.

This brings up an interesting question – with the proliferation of 3rd wave coffee, what’s next? 4th wave? What are the parameters of this next stage of evolution?

With the way things are brewing (bada bing!), direct trade and ultra attentive sourcing will result in brewing methods that highlight such extensive work. These may include single origin espresso and single origin coffees by the cup via various methods e.g. pourover, chemex, press pot, etc. Equipment-wise, this means new coffee brewers and espresso machines that enable greater control over soft preinfusion and pressure profiling. Though there has not been an entire industry consensus on merits or standards of soft preinfusion and pressure profiling (whether on a Mechanical Paddle La Marzocco, Synesso, or Slayer), things are trickling in.

Advanced soft preinfusion (soft preinfusion with pressure manipulation) in its various forms have shown what’s possible to date. It doesn’t necessarily work on all coffees and, in the end, it’s still in the tongue of the beholder. In words, it’s hella debatable! The results have been impressive for us – espressos tend to be much more softer and rounded, without sacrificing its core delicacies e.g. brightness, acidity, etc. Hopefully, as more advanced soft preinfusion machines (Mechanical Paddle La Marzoccos and Slayer) find their way onto coffee bars, a better consensus can result.

However, advanced soft preinfusion is but only an incremental step towards total control a.k.a. true pressure profiling (that is, infinitely variable pressure from zero to your desired maximum brew pressure throughout the extraction process). Whatever the technology (or the lack thereof) that will get an espresso machine there, more power to it. After all, it’s all about what’s in the cup that truly matters. Well, it’s also about reproducibility as well. It’s rather difficult to use either advanced soft preinfusion or pressure profiling to make every espresso shot in a busy cafe. It’s just not practical!

To date, no production machine has been able to truly enable true pressure profiling. To that end, La Marzocco is working on a brand new, true pressure profile machine. A prototype was shown at this year’s SCAA on a down low basis and there’s field tests/feedback going on to get maximum input and feedback from those that will ultimately use it. All we can say is, watch out for it in 2010!

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