It’s very clear here at 80 Stone Coffee Roasters that we love a good La Marzocco coffee machine. We really think they help make some of the best espresso possible alongside some good barista skills. To the untrained eye, it may not be immediately obvious why they’re so good and why they are trendsetters in the coffee world. Let’s take a look at what sets apart these machines from the rest and how they have innovated in the past.
The History of the Espresso Machine
In the nineteenth century, coffee was a booming business in Europe, but brewing it was a long and messy process. Inventors started to apply steam technology to the brewing process to improve speed and the quality of the coffee. The first inventors to achieve some commercial success were Luigi Bezzera and Desidero Pavoni, who created a vertical boiler machine that brewed a single cup of coffee, made to order in a matter of seconds. Bezzera and Pavoni introduced their “cafeé espresso” machine at the 1906 Milan fair.
There were numerous Italian engineers who made incremental changes to the espresso machine over time, but one of the biggest changes wasn’t through technology but through marketing. Pier Arduino built a genius marketing campaign depicting well-dressed society men and women enjoying espresso beverages. This took espresso global, making it a widely popular drink across the world.
Over time, engineers continued to innovate. Allowing the machine to apply more pressure during the brewing process. In 1961, Ernesto Valente invented a machine that used a mechanical pump to create a consistent nine bars of pressure and a heat exchanger system that helped create a more stable brewing temperature. This technology was arguably the most important advancement in espresso-making to date. That machine was called FAEMA E61 and we have one of those beauties on display in our training room.
This brings us to the biggest achievement of La Marzocco. In 1970, Giuseppe Bambi from La Marzocco developed the GS machine, the first double boiler machine with a dedicated steam boiler and brew boiler, allowing for even greater temperature stability and increased volume potential.
Who Are La Marzocco?
The brand was founded in 1927 in Florence, by Giuseppe and Bruno Bambi and has traditionally specialised in producing high-end professional espresso coffee machines. Today, La Marzocco equipment are widely used in speciality coffee shops.
A historical Italian maker of espresso machines, its products are consistently considered in the top rank. They have been trendsetters in the industry, being the first company to produce a variety of industry-standard machines.
This includes the first espresso machine with a horizontal boiler, which, in comparison to the previous vertical structure, organised the brew groups in a horizontal fashion, which provided efficiency for the barista and an opportunity to engage with customers.
They really cemented their reputation as an industry leader however after the introduction of the dual-boiler GS series in 1970 as mentioned above. This really changed the way a lot of baristas made coffee and still make coffee to this day. This changed the way that espresso machines could control the temperature stability of the water.
Temperature Stability When Brewing Espresso
So why does improving the temperature stability during the brewing process even matter? Baristas and engineers have spent countless hours working on machines to improve this so it’s importance can’t be understated. This is because the temperature, even at the slightest of changes, can make a huge difference to the end product. Therefore, being able to keep the temperature as stable as possible gives the barista more control over the flavour of the espresso.
For example, Lowering the brew temp will enhance acidity in coffee and raising the brew temp will decrease acidity in coffee. Increasing the temperature can be used to increase the extraction yield of a slow, dripping shot. Using higher temps can be used to compensate for an underdeveloped roast while lower temps can be used to overcome the high solubility of an overdeveloped roast. This control is given to baristas by temperature stability.
How La Marzocco and the Dual Boiler Changed Things
Great tasting coffee is best brewed between 93°C to 96°C. Trying to keep that temperature stable in that range used to be difficult for a single boiler, and still is. This is because the single boiler has to juggle boiling steam and the coffee. Dual boilers allow the machine to simultaneously do these.
The GS was the first successful commercial machine to have two separate boilers—one for brewing coffee, and the other for steaming milk. The two independent boilers separated coffee extraction from steam production thus, together with the saturated groups, ensured thermal stability and improved coffee quality in the cup since water now flowed through independent circuits.
The machine also brought something else to the table— the saturated grouphead (gruppo saturo). By welding the grouphead directly into the boiler, La Marzocco’s saturated group allowed for incredible leaps in temperature stability and consistency. Ultimately, the introduction of the dual boiler system and saturated grouphead on the GS set the stage for the modern cafe that we know and love today.
Why Having Dual Boilers Matters Today
A coffee machine with two boilers will help you deliver fresher and more consistent drinks, more quickly and more easily, with fewer delays or concerns over temperature. In summary, using a dual-boiler machine means:
- That the two different temperatures for brewing coffee and texturing milk should be more consistent and predictable
- You can texture your milk at the same time as brewing coffee. Perfect if you like the freshest brew or you have more than one drink to make
- There is less waiting for the machine to either heat up or cool down
Get in Touch Today
If you would like to know more about La Marzocco machines, contact us today! We love talking about coffee and we’d be happy to tell you about our La Marzocco coffee equipment leasing programe. These machines will help your baristas take their coffee to the next level.
If you want to help your in-house baristas up their game, we have our own barista training course which can either teach a new barista the basics or help experienced ones hone their game.
We’re a wholesale coffee supplier so not only can we give you great equipment and training, we can supply you with some great tasting coffee beans roasted locally by us. Swing by our Cafe in Elephant and Castle to try some of our coffee for yourself! We’re always happy to talk coffee.