Barista Magazine

AUG-SEP 2018

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Modbar AV, and with that data, the engineers at La Marzocco were able to make an algorithm that could be applied to any future espresso made on the Modbar AV. "It's given us enough data to build a model for how espresso fl ows … by second 7 or 10, we know the fl ow rate for the foreseeable future." With this algorithm, the team at La Marzocco was able to accom- plish two things: First, they could predict with near certainty how the temperature of the water in the boiler would be affected given any number of circumstances. "If it's been 10 minutes since your last shot, we can use the model to predict what the temperature loss will be as the water travels from the boiler to the grouphead," Scott says. The machine is designed to perform consistently no matter what the circumstances of your café are, be it a busy rush or an afternoon lull. The Modbar AV uses its model and sensor inputs (like time, tempera- ture, and fl ow rate) to comprehend how a shot will perform. All of this is possible due to the algorithm created by compiling a huge amount of real-world data. The second accomplishment is that the model allows for a feature called Drip Prediction, which utilizes the data collected about the rate of fl ow of an espresso shot to know when to stop a shot. Instead of having to watch the time and weight of your espresso, you can simply start your shot and the machine will know, within seconds, how quick the fl ow of the espresso will be throughout the rest of the shot time, and when it needs to stop the shot in order to hit the target weight. With this feature, setting a drip offset is no longer required when using the optional scales, as on the Linea PB. This feature is anoth- er example of technology driven by the goal of simplifying the café experience: with the ability to consistently deliver the correct output weight, the team was able to move the scale display below the counter and eliminate another distraction for the barista. Under the counter, the Modbar AV borrows stylistically from the Linea PB; the unit has round buttons and red lights like you would see on the updated classic, and its interface is intuitive like the PB, but its technology is 100-percent original. "We designed a machine for a world that is unstable," Scott says, acknowledging that most modern espresso machines attempt, to some extent, to control temperature, but the algorithm on the AV instead can respond to that volatility, not try to control it. "We accepted that instability exists." The technological advances all come back to that one central goal, "to create a machine that allows baristas to present beautiful coffee without being encumbered by their tools." While this technology is vastly interesting, Scott says, "if we've done our jobs right, the barista doesn't notice any of it." The algorithm allows the barista to dial in a shot, and ideally make minimal adjustments throughout the day; they don't have to watch their shots because the machine is doing that for them. "We wanted to remove the tedium of making coffee from the customer-service experience," he adds. The Modbar AV also removes tedium for shop owners and techni- cians. Instead of having to decide on a specifi c number of groupheads the day the machine is ordered, the AV allows for an add-on tap, so new shop owners can start with one grouphead and add a second one when their volume increases. The second tap can also use the same under-counter module (that's Modbar-speak for the box under the counter, which can be up to 1.5 meters from the tap), reducing cost and ineffi ciencies for café owners. Designers also moved the power, water, and drain connections to the side, so that if a part goes down, it's easily accessible and fi xable for technicians. The data set and algorithms developed for the control systems are expected to push the boundaries of future La Marzocco machines. "It really is a world of difference in software from the Linea PB," Scott says. "It's pushed new technology into the La Marzocco world." It's likely you'll see some of the advancements made on the Modbar in future La Marzocco machines, and the data compiled to design the AV algorithm are expected to be useful in other applications. "Whenever you have a big data set like this, it allows you to look at a problem differently," Scott says. You might imagine that the Modbar AV is in direct opposition to the Leva, another new La Marzocco machine that gives baristas more control by providing a safe, temperature-stable way to pull shots using a lever design (this machine, more so than the Modbar AV, borrows a lot of its technology from the Linea PB, especially in terms of temperature stability), but Scott imagines that La Marzocco's vision is that there is not one singularly best espresso machine, but a variety of "best machines" based on a particular café's needs. During World of Coffee in Amsterdam in June, Scott says he got the best piece of feedback he's received about the Modbar AV: "A barista came up to me and said, 'This machine is amazing—it's so boring.' And I almost cried from happiness." —Ashley Rodriguez "Our central goal was to create a machine that allows baristas to present beautiful coff ee without being encumbered by their tools," says La Marzocco product manager Sco Guglielmino. The idea for the machine, he says, started from a desire to expand the Modbar product line to include a hyper consistent, easy-to-use machine built specifi cally for fast-paced bars. 25

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