Barista Magazine

APR-MAY 2018

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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E c o M o d e R e d r a w i n g t h e M a more widespread across the industry, just as we've seen a surge in the use of vacuum-insulated thermoses and water bottles in recent years. Fundamentally, most of the energy used in coffee equipment is keeping water hot, and vacuum-insulated tanks keep water hot very, very well. Powering down brewers, hot-water towers, and espresso machines at night is unrealistic due to extended heating times in the morning getting equipment back up to operating temperature. Even if time weren't the problem, however, it wouldn't even be worthwhile as an energy-saving habit. In fact, the energy that it takes for the machine to reheat from room temperature is approximately the same as the energy it takes just to keep the machine on overnight. To stem this issue, many manufacturers have added Eco Mode features that turn the set temperature down to around 140°F when the machine is not in use. This means that the machine will heat up relatively quickly in the morning and you will also actually be saving energy outside of business hours. Depending on the machine, Eco Mode functionality is programmed to begin at certain times (like after close), or is engaged after around four hours of the machine not being used. In addition to saving energy, running Eco Mode means that heating elements are being less taxed for larger portions of the day, reducing wear and increasing machine longevity. This is another win-win energy-saving trick that is often overlooked. aw p What's really missing right now is a way to standardize how we measure energy efficiency in coffee equipment. Although the Environmental Protection Agency added commercial batch-coffee brewers to the Energy Star program in 2016, these standards are currently in the process of being revamped. The program was started with hopes of incentivizing companies to manufacture machines that would provide 35 percent energy savings, but when it was initially developed, the threshold for achieving certification was unrealistic. "Since the release of the final specification [in 2016], the Agency has learned that many products are designed to align with the Specialty Coffee Association of America's (SCAA) recommended coffee preparation temperature of 200°F ± 5°F," according to the Energy Star program. "The importance of recording the internal water tank temperature, and considering the range outlined by SCAA was not brought to EPA's attention during the specification setting process." The performance needs of commercial coffee brewers based on SCAA guidelines was not completely understood, so new revisions are now being made that would increase the efficiency threshold for a machine to qualify for certification. Creating a benchmark based on the rigors of machine performance that the industry demands is the first step in creating a meaningful framework for talking about energy efficiency in coffee equipment. This is only just now being worked out for batch coffee brewers. Official certification programs for espresso machines are likely years away. There are a lot of factors to consider when developing goals for improving energy efficiency in coffee equipment. As standards have risen within the industry, equipment technology has kept pace, providing more and more precision in hopes of creating the highest-quality product possible. By creating benchmarks for coffee preparation, the SCA sets a paradigm for machine performance in specialty-coffee houses. Having this criteria allows the EPA to better understand how to evaluate the rigors required of these machines, and thereby start to create certification programs that owners and managers can use to make more educated decisions about their purchases. In addition to energy savings, new advances in insulation technology have allowed for equipment to be built much more compactly while also offering superior heat retention. These machines have succeeded in demonstrating that in the quest for the perfect cup of coffee there is no reason efficiency need be left behind—in fact, it will probably be responsible for leading the way. 122 barista magazine

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