Wednesday, June 09, 2010

La Marzocco Out of the Box

Lindsay, Devlin, Kimmy and Phil work out the kinks on the new Strada.

Back (or front?) panel.

Grouphead pressure gauge on the manual Strada.

We're in New York City for the La Marzocco Out of the Box event showcasing the up-coming Strada. Already I know we're going to buy one. We end up parking next to Chelsea Market, perusing the shops and find the venue. As we stop in to say hello, Mike Lanz and Mike Delgado are encouraging us to jump on the machine and have a go. A quick call later to Devlin and Kimmy and our crew is assembled to play around a bit.

What was meant to be a five minute pit stop on the way to do a cafe crawl turns into an hours long session checking out the machines. I'm grateful because it's quite difficult to get any serious facetime with a machine in a trade show or group setting - and Kimmy seems to be putting the Strada through it's paces.

A cool modded Buono kettle. Seems like I'm the only one who thought it was cool.

Pressure profiling, the possibilities seem immense. So much so that I don't spend much time on the machine because I think that one needs to spend days/weeks of serious focus with the machine in order to discover its possibilities. Instead of trying to evaluate the machine with unknown coffees on different grinders and in a crazy environment, I've committed to buying one, bringing it into Spro and really have a go with the Strada.

While some people have encouraged me to go for the manual model, I think the true potential lies in the electronic version. On that machine, we can "record" the pressure profile and/or manipulate it via computer, save it, download and dump the profile to other groupheads or other machines.

And while I'm certain that our baristas are capable of reproducing a pressure curve manually, I don't want them to do that on a daily basis. A line barista needs to focus on getting the drinks out speedily, efficiently and consistently. By utilizing the programmability of the Strada, our baristas can then multi-task while preparing the drinks - like getting the milk staged, pre-heating the cup, grinding the coffee, wiping the station, and the myriad of other tasks that the professional barista must handle on a minute-by-minute basis.

Industry types watch Kimmy with grand expectations.

The Laser-like Focus.

Pedal this bike and control the espresso machine pressure.

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