La Marzocco Strada: First Impression
The Possibilities of Pressure Profiling on the Strada EP
The amount of possible profiles for any given shot opens a world of possibilities for crafting one's ideal shot for any given coffee. As has been the case with many manual brewing methods, the question is often raised, "How is it that you can reproduce the results of a profile that works?" Thankfully, La Marzocco has thought this through and programmed the Strada to give the barista the ability to save up to four profiles at any given time. These profiles map the pressure profile and time of extraction to allow the barista to reproduce the profile they deem ideal for the particular coffee and grind. The profiles act independently of the boiler temperature to enable the barista the ability to further play with the temperature after they've locked in a profile.
Since pressure profiling is such a new invention, there's a lot of speculation towards the benefits of the technology and it's ability to be accepted as a new standard. The Strada is on the outside fighting it's way in. After all, it is going up against a standard of proper espresso extraction that has been around for a long time. That being said, the ability to save profiles has giving more stability to pressure profiling and the more people experiment with the effects of this technology on the shot, the more converts there will be.
I didn't have nearly enough time to test and play around with the Strada at the event, but from the shots I did taste and a general familiarity with the affects of the various parameters on the extraction process, I can imagine some of the possibilities the Strada opens up. First of all, let's take a look at the possible advantages pressure profiling brings to the extraction process. One paramater that has remained constant over the years for espresso is pressure, or in relation to the coffee, turbulence. Turbulence does have an effect on the extraction process. Along with temperature and contact time, the amount of turbulence can slow or quicken the extraction process. For so long the magic number for pressure has been 9 bars at 20-30 seconds. As has been done with the Slayer Espresso Machine and it's variable pressure profiling, I'm looking forward to more experimentation with lower pressure (turbulence) at longer shot times and its effects on nuances in the shot. Additionally, the closer you get to the end of the extraction process the more "stressed" the grounds have become. It would then follow that lowering the pressure going into the final 5-10 seconds of the shot could help guard against over-extraction. Along with more control over pre-infusion, those are a couple of examples of how pressure profiling can positively contribute to the evolution of espresso. The verdict is still out how other pressure changes within the profile will affect the nuances of the shot, but as more machines make their way to the public, the better we'll understand the magnitude of this technology.
Now for the fun part, dreaming about the possibilities of the Strada EP within the context of a cafe. With the ability to save four profiles on the Strada EP, the barista could set a different profile for each coffee they offer. One profile for the standard espresso offering, one for the decaf, and perhaps one for a single origin offering. Furthermore, the barista could create two different profiles for their main blend. One profile could cater towards a taste they wish to achieve for espresso, the other cater towards what tastes best with milk-based drinks. This is perhaps one of the possibilities that has the most promise. Many roasters have to adapt their roast to take into effect how the espresso blend will taste both by itself and with milk. What if the Strada could take some of the burden?
Needless to say, the event thrown by La Marzocco and Counter Culture in NYC only furthered my excitement towards the possibilities of pressure profiling on the Strada EP. We may not fully understand the capabilities of this technology yet, but we know that the future of espresso is bright, sweet, balanced...or whatever profile you prefer.
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Hario Skerton grinder is handy for manual home and travel grinding, it can also be slightly more cumbersome for an extended road trip where only a small amount of grinding will be done (for a more detailed comparison of the two grinders, check out this blog post: Hario Skerton vs. Mini Mill). For those trips (or homes) where a minimal amount of grinding is needed, the Hario Mini Mill Slim is the perfect grinding solution. The Mini Mill employs adjustable conical ceramic burrs for grinding any of the wide range of grinds employed in today’s coffee market. It can effortlessly handle 24 grams of anything from fine espresso to a coarse French Press setting. Because of its lightweight (0.5 lbs) and sleek plastic body, the Mini Mill easily fits into small carrying bags and suitcases without adding a lot of extra weight. This, in conjunction with the Aerobie AeroPress coffee maker, has the propensity to make excellent coffee anywhere hot water and fresh beans are available.
The Hario Mini Mill is a traveling coffee enthusiast’s dream come true.... and with its ability to grind to the fine quality needed for espresso, it can be paired with a hand-held travel espresso maker such as the mypressi TWIST (and an excellent choice of beans) to achieve a quality rivaling the product found in many high-end espresso machines. Whether the need is grinding beans for a french press, Aeropress, or mypressi, the Mini Mill Slim is the perfect travel solution.
Small, lightweight, and portable, the Skerton is the ideal hand grinder for the traveling coffee enthusiast, or the home enthusiast on a limited budget. The Skerton employs adjustable conical ceramic burrs for grinding any of the wide range of grinds employed in today’s coffee market. It can easily handle anything from fine espresso to a coarse French Press setting. The Skerton’s detachable 100 gr. glass jar is perfect for collecting the grounds, and in combination with the plastic screw-on lid (included in order) can even double as a storage unit for whole beans on those long trips. After grinding is finished, cleaning the Skerton is as easy as placing the unit in the dishwasher since the entire grinder is dishwasher safe. Whether you desire a quality, handy grinder for the road or enjoy the fine art of manual coffee preparation, the Hario Skerton is the ideal candidate. For an even more portable hand grinder from Hario, check out the Mini Mill (for a more detailed comparison of the two grinders, check out this blog post: Hario Skerton vs. Mini Mill).
The Fretta Iced Coffee Brewer is Hario's answer to brewing the perfect cup of iced coffee. Hario has combined their famous V60 brewer with a decanter and plastic diffuser to assure that the coffee is quickly cooled by hitting ice immediately after the brewing process. This quick heat transition is important in conserving the flavor of the coffee. The Fretta comes with 10 size 02 paper filters. We recommend that you purchase extra filters as well. To do this select filters as an add-on from the options on the right or go to our Hario 02 filter listing. Also recommend is a pouring kettle. We offer both the Hario Buono Kettle as well as the Kalita Wave Pot Kettle in the drop-down menu on the right.