They say you should never mess with a good thing, but maybe a little tinker here and there isn’t so bad. Amid the cool new gadgets and coffee tech being showcased at the London Coffee Festival this weekend, a handful of old favorites really stood out for their slight updates. Some changes brought new levels of precision to already precise pieces of coffee equipment, and some were simply aesthetic. Beautiful, beautiful aesthetic.
Here’s a look at some of the glorious coffee mods that we saw this weekend at the London Coffee Festival that we really wish we could take back home with us.
Puqpress M1 Under Grinder Tamper for the Mahlkonig Peak
Released last year, the Puqpress offers precision, adjustable tamping on demand. Their most recent product offers the same functionality but housed in a body upon which the Mahlkonig Peak (or K30 Vario) can be placed. This frees up much-needed counter space and makes for a more streamlined workflow from dosing to tamping to espresso machine.
Leather Paneled Sanremo Cafe Race Espresso Machine
Even with a motorcycle and helmets strewn about their booth to fit the racer theme, the most eye-catching part of the Sanremo display was still an espresso machine. Sure, the motorcycle elicited a few smiles from the passersby, but it was the brown leather-paneled three-group Cafe Racer that people couldn’t help but gravitate towards. The forest green metal bars and patinated copper outer panel with a window to show off the machine’s innards made for a more muted palate, earth-toned stunner.
EK-43 Mods by Titus
The tinkerers at Germany’s Titus are showing off a whole host of hardware for the Mahlkonig EK-43. The team behind the Five Elephant's volumetric bean doser have created a new hopper that allows for multiple coffees to be used by the same machine without pre-dosing, it also looks to solve the problem of grind retention. The sliding mechanism that delivers the coffee from the beautiful handmade glass hoppers also compresses a small puff of water in with the coffee to remove the static electricity.
Another fun add-on is their portafilter dosing system. Instead of dosing into a cup and then gingerly pouring the grounds into a basket, the mod from Titus allows the portafilter to lock in directly into the EK for more efficient dosing. And it has replaced the bag clamp with a pin to pull, so you can still get that very pleasing knock on the shoot.
But perhaps the most useful tool is their new EK calibration device. The simple piece of metal allows users to make sure the burrs are running in parallel, which Titus co-founder Frank Durra tells me allows for the grinder to be used more effectively at normal espresso pressure levels. No longer will espresso machines need to be dropped to three bars of pressure to pull EK shots.
Commandante Hand Grinders
The Commandante has always been one of the more aesthetically pleasing hand grinders on the market. Along with their traditional Wenge styled dark wood version, the German hand grinder manufacturer had a variety of one-off options only available at the London Coffee Festival. Amongst them were some lovely lighter wood grain versions as well as some very funky red and white woods, and my personal favorite, the metal grinder with the skulls etched into the body.
La Marzocco Strada
Across from the hot, hot action of Coffee Masters was an even hotter espresso machine at the Climpson & Sons booth. Created custom by La Marzocco, three-group Strada features a variety of different wood accents and brass trim. The stunning machine is on loan from La Marzocco but “[they] don’t want to give it back,” a barista from Climpson & Sons told me. It’s hard to blame them.
Zac Cadwalader is the news editor at Sprudge Media Network.