Today, I have a heavy schedule planned, covering the show for Tested and for CoffeeGeek. I plan to see the Uber Boiler, the La Marzocco Strada, Hario's booth, the Rancilio XCelsius, the Espro Press Pot and probably a lot of other stuff I know I'm forgetting. I just spoke with Bill Crossland over at Crossland Project about his automated pourover prototypes and managed to get a peek at the products Baratza is offering, including their new Esatto Grinder Attachment that adds weight-based dosing to their existing grinders, and their new Vario-E grinder, which does weight based dosing right inside the same silhouette of the standard Vario grinder model. My meeting with both Baratza and Crossland are for tomorrow, but it is interesting stuff.
In fact, two big stories for me at the SCAA show are the automated pourover devices (including offerings from Uber, Crossland and others), and temperature and pressure profiling technologies for espresso (unfortunately, not in the same machine).
I'll start with the La Marcozzo and their Strada commercial espresso machine: one of the new breed of pressure profiling espresso brewers. Unfortunately, I didn't actually get to taste coffee out of the Strada, because while I was getting briefed on the machine, James Hoffmann (2007 World Barista Champion) came by to check it out, and it got a little crazy in the booth. I'm planning on revisiting La Marcozzo before the show opens Saturday morning and hopefully shooting a video of it, so if that happens, the video will be up on Tested and on CoffeeGeek.
La Marzocco's briefing was really interesting though, and the Strada's variable pressure profiles seemed pretty exciting to all the baristas in the booth. Pressure is controlled using the paddle on the grouphead, but it's all fly-by-wire. Once you've figured out what pressure curve you want, you can save it on the machine to call back later. You can even save the profile to a USB thumbdrive and move it to any other Stradas you or your caffeinated buddies happen to own.
Additionally, there'll be a new option available on the Strada soon from La Marzocco, something that many professional baristas have been begging for: built in scales that are right in the drip tray! At the show, La Marzocco had a preproduction version of the scale (designed by Marco of Uber Boiler fame) at the show built into one Strada, showing one scale on the multi-group machine).
Everything about the Strada seems designed to help with consistency, which is especially important since pressure profiling is new to most baristas.
Next up for me is the Rancilio booth, where I'll get to try out the other espresso highlight technology: temperature profiling.
Will Smith is one of the guys you see all the time at Tested. In addition to loving technology, Smith is a die hard coffee and espresso fanatic. Videos are reposted with permission from Tested.