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Antique Espresso Machine of the Month: La Cimbali Rapida

 

Screen Shot 2014 02 18 at 2.37.03 PMLa Cimbali is a well-known, Italian manufacturer of professional espresso and cappuccino equipment. While it was initially established in 1912 as a manufacturer of copper goods, the company didn’t produce its first coffee-related machine until 1930.

The “Rapida” was created as Cimbali’s first columnar coffee machine. These machines had a copper boiler, which could be heated using wood or coal-burning systems. It functioned by forcing the water through the ground coffee by the pressure of steam from the boiler.

While this met and exceeded the standard for technology at the time, it also greatly complicated coffee preparation. Baristas had problems keeping the process under control and the result was often a poor beverage without aromas. Even the most skilled barista would have had trouble keeping the brewing cycle under  control. It comes as no great surprise that sugar and spices were added to the  espresso to create a more tolerable and tasteful beverage.

Nevertheless, the machine was a major step forward for the industry of espresso machines, oftentimes being the central and most important furnishing of a café, boasting itself as the only piece of modern technology. Its success furthered the technological advances that were soon to come in the espresso machine industry.

ROI of Commercial Espresso Machines

 

When running a coffee shop (or any business for that matter), keeping the list of expenses at a minimum will always be a high priority. Balancing employee hours and overhead costs with the capacity and income of an operation can be a daunting task. So when you find yourself shopping for new commercial espresso equipment, less is not always more. Here’s why.

Oftentimes, the sticker shock keeps many from investing in a quality machine, but frugality is not always the consumer’s friend. Higher quality machines are a bigger upfront expense, but

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their consistency in providing a quality product is the driving force of your clientele, and their reliability well worth the extra cost. Further, a cheaper machine will experience more breakdowns and a greater need for repair throughout its likely shorter lifespan.  Add this to its initial price tag and it’s easy to see how being frugal with your initial expense can prove itself to be a costly long-term decision.  Keep in mind; an espresso machine is not a piece of furniture or a needed hard good to operate.  It’s a money-making machine that produces real income when a drink is made, and owning a reliable high quality unit means building real business income for the long run.  One should consider not only the cost of entry but the labor and parts cost to maintain, and the overall estimated life of the unit when considering cost. 

Looking ahead to the New Year, it might be time to invest in a new machine for your operation. Don’t be afraid to browse the more proven, higher-end brands. After all, the commercial espresso machine industry is no exception; you will get what you pay for.  But when it comes to decision-making, trust the experts with the most experience: ESI.  We choose to import and represent the La Cimbali brand of espresso equipment based on their technical quality, the size and success of the company, and the overall reputation worldwide.  Having provided sales and service for over 20 years, we can speak from experience when we tell you that this is the lowest cost brand from a longevity and reliability standpoint.  We have the numbers to show you concerning what the real Return on Investment is on this fine piece of Italian manufactured machine really is. In fact, we know that when it comes to foodservice equipment, a La Cimbali espresso machine is the lowest cost of ownership, highest possible income producing piece of equipment you’ll ever own. 

 

If you’re in the market for new espresso equipment, contact us Contact us! We’ll be happy to share some real facts and figures with you. Our advice comes with decades of experience and a sincere interest in providing only the best!

Italian Espresso: The Founder of Tradition

 

Just the word “espresso” itself indicates speed, a special purpose, and made to order. The concept of the espresso is best summarized with the saying “the consumer not the espresso must wait.” If the espresso is left to wait for consumption, the foam dissipates and the art of the espresso is lost in the dry wallsof the cup and the patchy surface of the drink. Additionally, the smoothness of the taste is lost.

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Italian Espresso: a small cup of concentrated brew prepared on request by extraction of ground roasted coffee beans with hot water under pressure for a defined short time.

 

 

 

The topic of speed is also very relevant in the traditional Italian espresso. The energy input in espresso pressure brewing brings both hydrophilic and lipophilic substances into the cup. The best mix is reached within 30 seconds. If the extraction falls shorter than 15 seconds, an acid unbalance is created. However, over-extraction occurs after 30 seconds and a harsh-tasting brew has been created.

Refrigeration Consideration in your New Space

 

These days, it’s hard to imagine an espresso business that isn’t dominated by milk-based drinks; from cappuccinos to lattes, the industry’s trends indicate that this isn’t going to change any time soon. Take into account the whipped cream that many drinks are topped with, and you are suddenly realizing the importance of your refrigeration unit and its location in regards to the espresso machine. For the most efficient production of drinks, the ideal placement of a refrigerator is within arm’s reach of the espresso machine, the most preferred location being an under-counter style commercial grade refrigeration unit.

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Relative to the location of the machine, the most convenient placement seems to be under the counter and slightly to the left of center under the machine. This facilitates operating with two baristas behind the machine. The barista on the right can stage shots of espresso and the barista on the left can steam milk on the left steam wand, each without crossing-over into the other’s workspace.

If you are starting up a new shop or want advice on your current operation, contact Espresso Services and we'll guide you to the perfect equipment to ensure that your new venture is properly set up and equipped for success. 

On the Grind

 

While it might not be entirely necessary to understand the intricate chemical
and physical structures of the coffee bean, the basics should be understood
in order to adequately appreciate the art form of grinding the coffee bean.
Whether it’s being ground mechanically or manually, the ultimate goal is to
break the bean into smaller particles to create more surface area to allow a
better infusion of flavor into water.

In addition to its dependency on good water and a quality roast, the brew
is also largely dependent on a sound grinding process. Within realm of
grinding, there are several different methods that can help you achieve the
ideal grind, each having their own benefits and drawbacks.
The mortar and pestle method allows the user to manipulate the size of 4158409469 f0d44df98f zthe grind by manual force. This process is much more time consuming and requires both skill and patience, as it is a hand-operated burr grinder that utilizes muscle power to crank a handle. Essentially, this is a manual version of the electric burr grinder.

If you are lacking in time or patience, an alternative to the mortar and pestle method is the electric blade grinder, which is constructed of two stainless-steel blades and powered by an electric motor. Whirring at high speeds, the blades quickly grind the beans to pieces. The biggest drawback to this method lies in getting consistency in the grind. For this reason, the electric blade
grinder is generally not recommended for commercial use and is generally reserved for home use only.

Fast, reliable, and consistent, the electric burr grinder is the most suitable
option for a commercial operation. This type of grinder consists of either a
flat or conical-shaped set of burrs that provide a precise grind adjustment.
The top bur remains stationary while the bottom rotates. Quality burr
grinders are easy to use and generally have specific settings for each type of
use: French press, espresso, automatic drip, and cone. Additionally, they are
easy to maintain, adjust, and calibrate.

Just like any market, there are different levels of sophistication and price
ranges. If you are looking for a grinder, contact Espresso Services and
we’ll help you find the right fit for your budget and operation requirements.

Water Treatment for Commercial Espresso Equipment

 

Of course, the second ingredient of espresso is water. However obvious this statement may seem, the role of the quality of the water used in the preparation process should not be taken lightly. 

Even if the water coming from public waterworks is safe for consumption, further treatment for the use of coffee and espresso purposes may be required.  An operation should consider water treatment for two main reasons: the taste of the final product and the longevity of your machine.

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Strange flavors that linger in the water after it’s purified for public consumption must be removed.  Oftentimes, the raw product from the tap contains water-disinfectant salts that release free chlorine.  This will surely tarnish the flavoring of the final product.

Secondly, you must consider the hardness of your water.  Managing the level of calcium and magnesium content in a coffee or espresso operation’s water should remain a high priority.  Upon heating water with high concentrations of these elements, insoluble salts are formed and create a plaque-like coating on the heating elements.  Ultimately, the longevity of your machine is sacrificed, as the heat transfer is affected, and may lead to overheating.

Espresso Services Inc., is a proud provider of state of the art reverse osmosis systems and Claris softening systems from Everpure.  Hard water can be a very expensive and damaging element to your equipment, but it can be prevented with a simple pre-scheduled Claris filtration program.  Choosing the right program will lengthen the lifespan of your espresso and coffee equipment and improve your final coffee product.  

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Espresso: An Organoleptic Experience

 

 

Specifically in Italy, everyone has a similar mental picture when they hear “espresso.”  It’s a small heavy china cup whose capacity is around 50ml. It is half full with a dark brew and then topped by thick, reddish-brown foam of tiny bubbles. Millions of cups are sold worldwide each day, every consumer finding a place for it in their day; morning eye-opener, capping off a meal later in the day, or perhaps offering a sense of revival at the end of a long day.

Naturally, most people concern themselves with the simple act of consuming the espresso. A closer look at the process demonstrates a fusion of qualities of this multi-sensory experience. Breakdown the process of consumption and begin to consider the visual, smell, mouthfeel, taste, and after-taste.

Foam is the indicator of perfection in the espresso preparation. Any error in the preparation process will be presented in the espresso’s frothy layer: color, texture, and persistence.  It also seals the aroma of the liquid, trapping the odors of the espresso brew beneath.

To complete the experience, the consumer must be able to distinguish between fragrance, flavor, mouthfeel, taste, and after-taste.  Espresso is unique in the way that it melds touch, taste, and smell.  Taste buds are specialized and perceive mainly four pure taste sensations: acid, salty, sweet, and bitter-sensitive buds. Fragrance is a characteristic linked to the sense of smell involving the detection of volatile aroma molecules.  These molecules are also released in the mouth upon consumption of food and drink, in this case espresso.  This is the process of sensing flavor. After consumption, the brew is trapped by the taste buds, where oil droplets have fixed themselves to the mucus membrane and thus defining the espresso’s after-taste.

A fine espresso should taste bittersweet with an initial slightly acidic note. It should have a strong body and an intense aroma and should be pleasantly persistent.

 

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Coffee Operation Pop Quiz

 

As a coffee retailer, you probably have a solid working knowledge of the coffee world, as so many new products, purchasing decisions, and flavors continue to surround such an antique drink.  While your understanding is important to running a successful business, it is just as vital that your staff understands the product they are serving as well, as they are the link between the customer and that cup of joe. Here are a few basic questions that your staff should be able to answer:

How does the cost of the coffee relate to its quality?

Oftentimes, the cost of specialty coffee pertains to the extra labor that is put into sorting the green coffee beans before they are exported.  The reason many of the specialty and premium grades sell for substantially higher prices is the hand labor required to remove any black or broken beans present during harvesting and processing prior to export.

Does the method of roasting impact the flavor profile of the coffee beans?

Yes, both the type of roaster and the method of heat application will create different flavor profiles.  Also, the rate and efficiency of heat application will impact the final taste.  When you find coffees that are great tasting, it means the roast master who prepared them understands how the equipment being used relates to the coffee being roasted. 

Can you freeze coffee beans?

In addition to moisture and water, temperature also impacts the freshness of coffee: the higher the temperature, the faster the release of carbon dioxide gas trapped inside the coffee beans.  As the CO2 expands and escapes, it takes with it many of the aromatic flavor compounds that are an important component of coffee’s freshness.  Maintain this freshness by storing coffee in the following ways: 1) a cool dry place 2) the refrigerator or 3) the freezer.  All of these options help to retain the carbon dioxide gas in the coffee beans along with the aromatic flavor compounds.

What does it mean when a coffee is labeled “organic”?

The organic labeling on coffee means that an independent certification organization has inspected and certified that the coffee has been grown, harvested, processed, transported, roasted and distributed without contamination by pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides.

 

 

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Avoid the Common Coffee Mistakes

 

Freshness:

One of the biggest issues in terms of quality problems is the freshness.  Oftentimes, it is recommended that you don’t brew more coffee than you can use in 45 minutes. Brewing an overabundance of coffee and leaving it to sit on heating elements until it is gone drastically changes the flavor of the coffee, regardless of the quality of the beans.

Cleaning:

One of the most common problems is also one of the most basic: cleaning. Especially if you are switching between regular and flavored coffee, a thorough cleaning regimen is of the utmost importance, as the oils will linger and contaminate future flavors.

Deciding What To Serve:

When looking to start a new operation, keeping it simple is key—don’t be oversold by your supplier.  Begin with popular flavors, and as business begins to build, you will begin to get a feel for your clientele’s palate, allowing you to expand your program as you see fit.  Additionally, it is important that you do not overlook the importance of educating your staff about what they are serving, especially if the customer is paying a premium price. 

Equipment:

Whether it is a coffee pot or a new espresso machine, having the proper equipment for your operation is key. When looking at espresso machines, it’s important to stick with Italian brands; they invented espresso, they invented the machines.  While in the market for a new machine, make sure you buy from a reputable company that is able to service it—this will be key in keeping your operation running smoothly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Choosing the Proper Commercial Espresso Equipment, by Peter Kelsch

 

The "specialty" appeal of specialty coffee has already been established, and consumers have now come to expect high-quality, great-tasting product.  To meet customer expectations, retailers focus on creating exciting beverage offerings prepared by knowledgeable employees and served in an ambience that is inviting.  While all can directly affect your business' bottom line, one of the most fundamental requirements to create these specialty beverages is to have the appropriate equipment. Therefore, the decision on which equipment to purchase should not be taken lightly.

Be it an espresso machine, coffee brewer,7432029378 ba4cf0c8b8 z grinder, or granita machine, there are two factors that make up the decision process: The first is the total cost of the equipment; the second is the quality of the product that equipment produces.

You'll need to make a capital investment in equipment prior to opening opening for business. To do this, you should look at the purchase of your equipment as a long-term investment, one that includes not only the initial purchase price, but the more intangible service and maintenance costs, the depreciation value, and the life expectancy of the equipment. 

Aside from the cost, just as important is the quality of the beverage the machine produces. Your business' growth potential will be seriously limited by a low product quality.  If you've consistently served a bitter espresso or lukewarm latte, chances are likely that customers won't return.  Espresso is a well-defined product; a specified grind and a specific amount of coffee is used.  It is then prepared as pressurized water is pressed through the ground and tamped coffee to extract the essence of the coffee.  If the machine you have purchased cannot live up to the expectations you have set for brewing, it's obvious you have made the wrong choice. 

   
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