This weekend, the senior editors of Sprudge tasked Charlie Burt of Kansas City to check out as many SCAA 2015 espresso machines as possible and document these sweet-as machines. From product launches to stunning customs to reimagined classics, this is a whiz-bang hot-rod look at the dopest, illest, and frankly sickest espresso machines of the 2015 SCAA Event.
Machine: Linea PB with Brew Ratio Technology
What's cool about it:
Well, we went all in on featuring this machine a few days ago on Sprudge, but in a nutshell: Brew Ratio Technology allows the barista to program an extraction ratio that best suits their espresso desires. The PB's zippy new built-in scales let you quickly determine weight in and weight out for each shot. Volumetrics and brew ratio were hot, buzzy words at SCAA 2015 and the PB with Brew Ratio turned heads.
Overheard at the booth: “The brew ratio technology is making the inconsistency of our espresso grinders less of an issue since it calibrates the recipe to the input volume.” Nerds!
Machine: Modbar Espresso System, Modbar Pour-Over System, and Modbar Steam System
What's cool about it: The Modbar is exactly what the name implies: a modular coffee brewing setup that fits the design and vision of the user. The quintessential low-profile nature of the Modbar allows the barista to maximize customer interactions by opening up the surface space of the bar and removing the barrier that is the traditional espresso machine. The “guts” of the machine sit under the counter in stackable units that visually recall classic stereo-gear. All of the profiling can be updated on-the-fly by easily adjustable settings through the main sub-counter modules.
Overheard at the booth: “The pressure profile is so easy to change, it's all contained in the module. It's easy to adjust the settings, even between drinks.”
MSRP: $15k-ish but refer to authorized sellers.
Machine: Gravimetric Black Eagle
What's cool about it: We've been tracking the Black Eagle around the world since 2013, when the machine debuted at HOST Milan. It's since become a popular espresso machine option for top cafes around the world, from Maruyama Coffee in Japan to Kaldi's Coffee in St. Louis and Prufrock Coffee in London. For this year's SCAA the team at Victoria Arduino rolled out a market-ready gravimetric edition of the Black Eagle, bench tested at the likes of 3FE in Dublin and Browns of Brockley in London.
Gravimetrics take the form of built-in scales in the machine's drip tray, allowing the user to program based on weight, with adjustable timing and output on a visual display. The goal is complex technology for a simple purpose: consistent, repeatable and delicious espresso. Read more in our in-depth feature on the Black Eagle Gravimetric launch.
Overheard at the booth: “By using this machine with the Mythos grinder the wastage has gone down dramatically. Incorporating the information from the drip tray scales closes one more gap of potential wastage by creating and displaying more consistencies throughout the brewing process.”
MSRP: $26,500 and $29,500 for two-group and three-group models.
Machine: Single-Group Slayer / Maker Series Single-Group Slayer
What's cool about it: Slayer's technological and aesthetic prowess draws a crowd to any public exhibition, and that was certainly true at SCAA 2015. The single-group Slayer caught a lot of eyes: what's not to love? This little beauty is an aesthetic delight, with powder coat customization and leather paneling options available to really turn heads. This is fiercely manual, precisely controllable hands-on espresso production, in a striking countertop package. Not the loudest machine at SCAA 2015, but perhaps the loveliest.
Overheard at the booth: People are loving the personalized Maker Series for its custom inspiration that is tailored to the baristas involved in the project.
MSRP: List price for single-group is $9,000. Maker Series machines are up for auction and will likely go for more.
What's cool about it: It takes two (sitting burr-set motors) to Tango. This machine comes packed with a custom grinder (a collaboration with Ditting) to help maintain its bell-curves and can pack up to 24g dry coffee into each extraction, far more than any other super-automatic machine on the market. This allows the non-specialty coffee worker to create a more consistent espresso with a greater extraction.
Machine: The DC Pro
What's cool about it: All machines at the Dalla Corte booth were presented with “chalkboard finish” externals. Dalla Corte paired that with 9 different artist renderings for the weekend, 3 per day, creating engaging living art with the espresso machine as canvas.
Overheard at the booth: “This is a great way to include the customer in the machine experience and as a bonus a lot of people at the head of the line are keeping their phones in their pockets as they interact.”
MSRP: “Chalkboard finish” comes as a standard option and can be applied to pre-existing machines in the same manner as custom powder coating.
Machine: Generation 3 prototype with “MVP technology”
What's cool about it: The Synesso Generation 3 prototype brings a massive overhaul to the way that each group on this machine is allowed to work. While using temperature stability and various pressure stages, a new interface for the paddles allows for programmed storage of recipes that can be implemented or changed on the fly. Each group has up to 6 recipe slots that allow you to stow away and maintain consistent shots from coffee to coffee and shot to shot. This means if you pulled a “God shot”, you can save that recipe and return to its settings again and again.
Overheard at the booth: “Finding that perfect recipe and being able to go back in time to save the recipe is huge.”
MSRP: This product is still in development.
Machine: Faema E61 Replica “Legend” model
What's cool about it: Mr. Espresso specializes in old school, beautiful Italian espresso machines (their HQ in Oakland houses many), but this year at SCAA they brought out something special. The Faema E61 Replica “Legend” has got a classic body with brand new parts and internal build. It's the best of both worlds, really: un-mess-withable mid-century Italian design with modern performance stability. And while the single group machine takes up a good bit of counter space, the 2 group machine doesn't use much up a whole lot more.
Overheard at the booth: “Woah, that's a classic machine! It looks amazing!” “Works like a clock, it's reliable.”
MSRP: around $7,500
Machine: Synesso customization, diversifying the portfolio.
What's cool about it: EP is doing what it does best, adapting and innovating. Recently Espresso Parts has added the likes of Synesso, Victoria Arduino, and more to its customization portfolio and in doing so has expanded the foreseeable customization options on the market. New custom wooden panels, knobs, switches, and gadgets can be custom manufactured as build-ups rather than as fully built-out machines.
Overheard at the booth: “People are super excited about the new EP pitcher. It's dense and thick but they've added back the slight lip to the pour spout.”
MSRP: Prices vary based on needs $-$$$
Machine: The San Remo Opera
What's cool about it: Another HOST 2013 debut, this “smart” espresso machine utilizes predetermined adjustable settings to consistently make great espresso. Settings such as pressure profile, pre-infusion, post-infusion, etc. can easily be adjusted by using a Bluetooth app that instantaneously updates the variables of each group head. While the exterior of the Opera is sleek and pretty to look at, the interior has maximized space considerations to conserve energy output, in the form of innovative insulation and placement of parts. Be on the lookout this fall for some big announcements of another new machine and brand new grinder from San Remo at this year's HOST event in Milan.
Overheard at the booth: “A two person tag team effort works great for adjusting the parameters.” And then later, “The hipster in me loves the shit out of this!”
MSRP: $21k for two-group, $23-24k for three-group, now available worldwide.
Charlie Burt is a Sprudge.com contributor based in Kansas City. Read more Charlie Burt on Sprudge.