(Updated 2019 August the 5th )
The coffee scene is evolving quickly. Are we still in the third wave or are we enter already the fourth one? Now there’s another reason why we truly need to look at it and that’s the new toy by La Marzocco. On February the 1st the company announced a new coffee machine called LA Marzocco KB90, the ultimate version of the Linea PB.
KB stands for Kent Bakke, the former La Marzocco International CEO and currently the Chairman of the Board, and 90 as the ninety anniversary of this company.
So, what’s new with La Marzocco KB90?
La Marzocco KB90 is aimed to be the best ergonomic coffee machine ever. Here are the main features:
- straight-in portafilter: this new system doesn’t require anymore wrist, elbow or shoulder action since that we just need to lock onto the group head without any twist, improving the time of execution and lowering the risk of a wrist injury. And the same to release, we just need to push the button down to release the handle. We can now use both, right and left hand. The straight-in portafilter has been proven to reduce the strain by 12 times compared to the standard one;
- steam flushing: the idea with the steam flush (water and steam) was by releasing steam back into the portafilter area and the shower, we can lose and remove far more particles and any lingering condensation from the previous coffee puck. This results in much more cleanliness while working.
- drip prediction technology: technicians ran every possible extraction according to several different variables such as all the different origins, roast profiles, varietals, blends, right or wrong weight of coffee dose, all the different recipes and so on. All of this information has been put together to create an algorithm that can predict every single extraction. A device call flow meter, which is been using in all of the volumetric machines, is now used to govern and entertain and analysed the speed of what is our extraction’s taking place. So, for example, if we put less dose than the recipe we previously set, the device recognises that by shorter the yield in the cup, giving us the same ratio we set. This technology has been using for a year as well in the Modbar AV.
- steam system: the steam is finally cold touch and the steam system has been upgraded: the technicians don’t need any more to remove the steam valve in case of maintenance but it’s now all be done through the front by removing the steam knob. Easy peasy.
All these new features are being made to target high volume cafès by improving workflow with faster execution and ergonomics.
The machine maintains the interface of the Linea PB and is available in 2 or 3 groups. It comes with the red panel (it can be customised with an additional charge, tough); the shape is inspired by the style of the 70s-era automotive and it also represent the shape of the shield of the La Marzocco Lion.
We are going to hear more people talking about the fourth wave soon or maybe we already get inside…..
A 2-group KB90 2AV machine pricing starts at $22,400.
Update: THE LATEST NEWS
So far so good. This is what I would like to say after been using this machine for 4 months.
Of course, there are some considerations to do as an updating of what’s ok and what’s not.
Just before getting into details, just consider that the machine is been using in a busy café that’s up to 6 kilos a day.
So, first of all, the machine is pretty consistent, and that’s what anyone would like to hear the most about a professional coffee machine. When you up to invest some money, this is the most important thing you first consider.
La Marzocco KB90 is something you can trust
The drip prediction, one of the last features that were first introduced in the Modbar, makes sure you don’t need to worry about your extraction, keeping the desired yield shot after shot. Along with the drip prediction, there’s the steam flush feature.
The steam flush does exactly what it’s been designed for. It’s really helpful in a busy environment because it provides the cleanest solution within a few seconds, reducing the routine of the barista. The feature starts with a burst of steam followed by a few seconds of hot water. This helps in many ways such as:
- Significantly improve the workflow: you are not required anymore to push any button to start and stop the purge function: it’s now possible to make a shot while the automatic flushing is in progress. You just need to give a wipe at the tray before putting a cup ready for another extraction. That function wasn’t available until now, as you normally have to wait until the purge ends or set one of the buttons to do that. Now, this function comes already pre-programmed by the La Marzocco but you can also modify the duration time through the setting section. You can’t truly appreciate this function until you try by yourself as any revolutionary change made a huge impact on your daily grind. The only downside to point it out is that the steam is spreading out around the body of the machine and it needs to be wiped quite often;
- The quality of the shot is now tastier as the steam-flush function increases the cleaning of the shower: that’s the perfect solution for a busy café so you don’t need to worry too much about backflushing every couple of hours as the shower screen remains pretty clean compared to the standard purge;
- The straight-in portafilter: this function is one of the most appreciate by baristas. I love the idea of insert the portafilter straight-in to the headgroup and I can say that it’s another good thing to quicken the espresso-making-process before starting the extraction. I’m not sure that this function is helping to reduce the barista wrist strain as I think it’s more about an incorrect way of acting. Also, most of the injury is associated with the bad technique while tamping the coffee dose and is related with the shoulder up to the elbow.
That’s it for now, hope these updates can be helpful. Let me know your thoughts!
La Marzocco KB90 - The Grade
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.