After two years, at the end of October, another La Marzocco Out Of The Box took place in Milan. During the three days full of workshops and lectures, new products were presented in the production of this legendary espresso machine maker from Florence.
This year's event was dedicated to the issue of water, because this basic element has a major impact on our favorite drink, coffee.
For the preparation of coffee, we already have a given standard for water quality https://www.scaa.org/?page=resources&d=water-standards However, this standard was created more for the needs of cupping or alternative preparations. At La Marzocco, they found that other parameters needed to be considered and the SCAA's recommendations adjusted somewhat. The water in the espresso machine behaves dramatically differently. After several years of research in collaboration with the University of Rome and Prof. Fabio Brunim came up with an orientation test for water quality, which I have already written about here. http://blog.coffeesource.eu/voda-zakladni-element-kavy/ Mimochodem Prof. Bruni gave an amazing lecture at the OOTB, in which he was able to explain to lay people some fascinating properties of this life-giving fluid. Now is the time to offer water treatment solutions for places where water quality is catastrophic (there are few of them and they will increase). Reverse osmosis with mineralization, developed by La Marzocco together with BWT Water Systems and Prof. Brunim. It is a compact system with high performance and subsequent mineralization with the right ratio between calcium and magnesium ions, which help to extract coffee.
Another important point in the program was the upgrade of the Strada EP coffee machine. The coffee machine has undergone slight but significant changes. A fundamental novelty is the new control electronics, which LM manufactures itself, which allows flexible changes to the software. The coffee machine will be equipped with Q LED color displays, which will also show a graph of the pressure profile. You will be able to load up to 8 pressure profiles per head. Strada EP will also be newly equipped with flow meters enabling the setting of a portion of water in a cup. The Strada model line will be expanded with the AV model, a device that functions as an ordinary coffee machine with a programmable portion of water in a cup and with electronic pre-infusion. Last but not least, the design of the coffee machine has also undergone changes in the form of metal head covers and ergonomic handles for the steam controller. Finally, I must mention the STRADA EP 1 lever coffee machine. This is a version of the classic Strada with one head. It is designed for smaller operations with the ambition of preparing selected coffee at the highest possible level.
However, the biggest crack was caused by the launch of the "LA Curva" coffee machine prototype. This prototype wants to revive the mechanical way of preparing espresso, without the use of a pump. It would not be La Marzocco not to want more from this system than just easier operation and higher safety. The entire original system from the 1940s was completely overturned. The spring is mounted horizontally and requires a force of about 2-3 kg instead of about 15 in the original system. Thanks to the setting of the spring compression, the course of the pressure and its values can be regulated. Thanks to the stepping mechanism of the ergonomically shaped lever, it is also possible to change the portion of water for espresso preparation. The lever does not move at the same time as the piston, so there is no risk of injury that a conventional piston mechanism can cause. Otherwise, it is a device with all the basic features of Marzocco, double boilers, saturated heads, PID temperature control and perfect workshop processing with high quality materials used.
There was, of course, a crowd around this machine, but I couldn't miss the opportunity to try it. The coffee machine inspires respect with its dimensions and design, which belongs more to the realm of sci-fi movies. I have experience with a classic lever coffee machine, but this is really different. Making coffee is really very easy. Of course, it's a completely different feeling from work, it's not just a push of a button. You pull the lever, release it and wait to see what happens. Unfortunately, there was only dark roasted coffee to try, so I can't reproduce my taste experience. I think making coffee on this machine is a very addictive thing. The first coffee machines could be on the market within two years.
Linea PB finally got the scales. After more than 6 years, when the Strada with built-in scales was introduced at OOTB, coffee machines equipped with scales are going into series production. So far, the only coffee machine that will be equipped with them is LINEA PB. The long time needed from the prototype to series production was put to great use. The Linea PB coffee machine now has an incredible range of options for measuring a portion of coffee. It can be used classically with the start / stop system, where you can measure the portion by estimation. It can be used with a flow meter, where you set the portion according to the volume of water. Unlike the others, the portion can also be set according to the number of pulses that the flow meter sends to the electronics, thanks to which the amount can be fine-tuned. Finally, it is possible to program a portion according to weight, in several ways. As this feature is very extensive, I will address it in the next article. However, I must mention one. About the unique "Brew Ratio" function, where you simply set your desired extraction ratio, for example 1: 2.20, you put the lever with compacted coffee on the scale and the coffee machine itself calculates how many grams of coffee you should get. When the calculated weight of the coffee in the cup is reached, it switches off the extraction. An amazing tool for consistent espresso preparation.
In the future, great emphasis will be placed on the possibilities of personalizing coffee machines, be it colors on request, wooden accessories, various finishes. Already today, it is possible to order almost any coffee machine with something that sets it apart from others, giving you an original espresso machine. There is beauty in diversity, isn't there?
Like previous years, this year was packed with events and new information. Food and drink amazing, lots of good music from KEXP radio. Many inspirational lectures by Matt Perger, Tim Schilling and others. The next OOTB will be in the fall of 2018 and I definitely recommend making time for it.