Video Overview | Voga Ground Control

Video Overview | Voga Ground Control

Oct 29th 2021 Written by Reagan Jones

The Ground Control is a new kind of batch brewer that uses immersion, agitation, and vacuum percolation instead of gravity. What's more, the GC brews in phases, each of which using fresh hot water, pulling all the good stuff from the coffee grounds and mixing it all together in the server. This unique brewing is combined with style. A glass globe on top of the GC shows off the vacuum phase, giving customers something to marvel at as they await their filter coffees.


Ground Control

Customization Options

Hey y'all. Ryan from Prima Coffee Equipment here. And today we're looking at the Voga Ground Control. Ground Control is a fresh take on the traditional batch brewer, quite literally turning it up on its head. But Ground Control is not just a batch brew alternative. It can also handle the task of making cold brew concentrate and even high-strength iced latte concentrate, adding appeal to everyone who owns the cafe. Instead of using gravity percolation, like a traditional batch brewer, Ground Control uses a combination of immersion, agitation, and vacuum percolation to extract coffee in ways that traditional batch brewers cannot. Ground Control offers programmability over a series of mini batches, which are brewed individually and then, subsequently, blended together. This allows the user to, essentially, brew coffee layer by layer accentuating or de-emphasizing certain flavor characteristics within each layer to build a custom flavor profile. Ground Control offers a lot of variable control, some are universal and some are specific to the brew cycle that you set up. So, let's go ahead and jump in and take a look at some of those cycles. So, Ground Control offers control over a variety of parameters, some of those are universal and some of those are specific to your brew cycle. So, tap the menu, or the settings bar, and then we'll go 1234, that's our temporary password. All right, from here, you can set the universal parameters and then also access the recipes. So, change temperature is the first universal parameter. You can set temp between 100 and 208 degrees. You also have stirring time between 0 seconds and 99 seconds. Generally, about 10 seconds is what we use for a batch brew. And then there's also a temperature ramp, which is an interesting feature that basically increases temperature by the given value for each cycle. So, if I select 2, for example, if I had a 3-cycle brew, every new cycle would increase by 2 degrees. You can also set it negative as well. All right. There are also some calibration settings. Let's jump into the recipes. So, my recipe is down here, near the bottom. "Parlor Mexico," 2,000 mills. All right, so, I've set up a three-cycle recipe. In the first cycle, you can see I have a brew time of 137 seconds.

I have a volume of 1,025 milliliters, and then a vacuum time of 100 seconds. So, the way it works is the Ground Control will dispense water into the coffee, let it dwell, and then it will engage a vacuum for 100 seconds. And then it'll launch straight into the second cycle. The total process lasts around 7 or 8 minutes, depending on the cycle that you set up. And then I can hit Add Brewer Button, ADD CYCLE. If I want to add more cycles, I can delete this cycle. Our profile is now saved to the home screen. From this home screen, I can actually set up two profiles for the same coffee if I want. So, for example, "Parlor's Mexico," I have set up for 2,000 milliliters but, if I want, I can also set up, you know, say, a 500-mil single cup brew if I really wanted to. So, it's nice during different parts of the day I can set up, you know, a 2-liter batch or I could even set up a 1-gallon batch for the morning. Also, accessible from the home screen is the cleaning cycles. And there's a quick rinse, which just fills the top chamber and lets it drain. A daily clean, which involves Cafiza, and a super clean which also involves deep cleaning with Cafiza. All right, so, let's go ahead and brew some coffee and take a look at what's going on. Just for the purpose of this demonstration, I'm going to remove this front cover so we can see inside the brew basket. All right. So, I'm going to remove this basket. This is a really interesting self-contained basket that will not drip after you pull it out. Put that filter in. I like to make sure the bottom of the filter is a little bit wet so that the filter doesn't move. And I've pre-ground some coffee. Okay, settle the grounds...straight in. All right. So, from here, I've got a profile set up for this Mexican coffee from Parlor. I have it set to 2,000 milliliters and I'm brewing with about 125 grams. All I need to do to start the brew process is hit the brew button. Okay? Now, down here, you can see that the boiler has begun dispensing water. There is no pump, it's just gravity dispensing. Okay, now it's agitating. And I have it set up for about 10 seconds of agitation at a relatively low speed just to make sure that everything is saturated. Now the brew bed is going to dwell. We've set it for 137 seconds, and we won't make you wait that long, but, from this point on through the rest of the cycle, it's just going to sit there like an immersion brew. And then the vacuum pump is going to kick on. All right. So, now Ground Controls vacuum has started. So, it's siphoned up to that top glass chamber. One of those pipes, as I mentioned earlier, basically is an air intake. So, it's creating a negative pressure. And the second pipe is dispensing coffee from that basket. So, after this 100-second vacuum cycle is through, the pump will turn off, and then that coffee is going to drop straight down into that carafe. There's actually no solenoid valve or anything below that holding chamber, it's just a straight shot to the carafe. So, now the pump is turned off, coffee is now dispensing into the carafe. And immediately the infusion for our second cycle has begun. The agitator will spin once more, as we programmed it to, and now the coffee is going to dwell for the programmed amount of seconds. So, what is the point of brewing in multiple cycles anyway? Well, there's two interesting parts to it. One is that coffee extracts its different compounds in order of the molecular weight of those compounds.

So, the things that extract first are our acids, then come the sugars, and then come the flavors that we associate with bitterness or astringency. And by targeting the period of time that those compounds are extracted throughout the brew, we can actually accentuate or de-emphasize those flavors in any way that we want to. And, so, Ground Control, through either means of agitation or volumetric control or the brew time, works to basically highlight or remove some of those undesirable flavors as desired. So, for this coffee I've set up a first infusion of about 1,025 milliliters. And that's a little bit higher than normal but that's actually going to highlight the acidity of this coffee. It's going to increase the extraction potential during that first cycle by increasing the amount of solvent. All right. So, our last cycle is complete. The vacuum has shut off and the coffee has dispensed into the carafe. And all three of those mini brews have been blended together into one balanced brew. As I mentioned earlier in the video, Ground Control is also capable of bringing cold-brew concentrate and even high-strength iced latte concentrate. For cold-brew concentrate, you'd be brewing around a 1 to 10 ratio. You'd set the agitation time to around 99 seconds. And then you'd turn the temperature down to 110 degrees. That's a bit warm for traditional cold brew but we find that, at 110 degrees, the coffee maintains those identifying characteristics of coffee brewed cold but that extra temperature helps expedite the extraction. Iced latte concentrate, according to Voga, is the most popular use case among their customers. And for a good reason. With Ground Control, you can brew a high-strength extraction at a 1-to-4 or 1-to-5 ratio and basically create a espresso alternative that can be dispensed on demand. So, for example, once you've created that concentrate, you could keg it with your choice of milk and then your barista can pour an iced latte, add ice, put on a lid, and hand it off in about 10 seconds. Over the course of the day, that equates to a big savings in labor and, over the course of the year, Ground Control says, "If you brew about," or, "if you serve about 75 iced lattes a day, the Ground Control can pay itself off within 1 year." So, that is the Ground Control from Voga, an amazing piece of technology and offering better coffee for cafes but also better economics, you know, labor savings, time savings allowing your baristas to engage with customers more.

Oct 29th 2021 Reagan Jones

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