This week at the TED conference, the baristas providing the coffee service had the opportunity to get their hands on the newest addition to the Strada family: the Strada EE.
The Strada EE, marked by a black La Marzocco Strada side panel, features traditional semiautomatic brewing control, in the barista-friendly body design of the Strada.
On the Strada EE, similar to the Strada MP and Strada EP, the group is operated using a paddle. However the mechanism for activating brewing on the Strada EE is different from the Strada MP and the Strada EP.
As the Strada EE paddle travels, a microswitch above the group cap is turned on. This microswitch engages the electric solenoid and the pump in the same way that other semiautomatic espresso machines operate. In simple terms, the paddle works like an on-off switch found in other “EE” models.
The Strada EE employs a two-stage, programmable preinfusion process. First, the pump is engaged and water flows to the coffee bed for a programmed period of time. Next, the pump disengages for a programmed dwell period before the pump reengages for the duration of the extraction. The barista moves the paddle to the “off” position at the end of the extraction (based on visual, time, and other cues).
Two-stage preinfusion allows for multiple groups to be in operation at the same time, regardless of the stage of the brewing process from one group to the next.
With the addition of the Strada EE to the Strada family, the family now features three different types of paddle technologies:
The paddle on the Strada EE operates like an on-off switch:
The Strada MP (manual paddle) provides the barista with the flexibility to apply variable pressure from zero bars up to pump pressure before full pump pressure is applied to the coffee.
With the Strada EP (electronic paddle), the barista can record and replay a pressure curve that can rise and fall anywhere between zero and 12 bars. Once a curve is recorded, the curve can be repeated by activating the paddle.
The Strada EE has a number of additional features that set it apart, including a back-lit seven segment high-contrast OLED display, and a proportional solenoid steam valve that requires periodic cleaning, but no rebuild.
See the Strada EE in action at SCAA Expo next month in Seattle, booth 3031, and at the Skybridge Café located near the entrance to the activities hall, between the two Expo halls. The Strada EE is also currently installed in our learning lab in Seattle. To schedule time for a demo, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
A kit for converting Strada MP groups to EE will be available in the US later this spring.