SCAA Portland

16 04 2012

Wow, we can hardly believe SCAA is almost here! Here are the details:

WHO/WHAT: Specialty Coffee Association of America Exposition, La Marzocco exhibiting

WHEN: 4/20: 11-5:30pm

4/21: 11-5:30pm

4/22: 11-4pm

WHERE: Booth #3101: Oregon Convention Center: 777 NE ML King Blvd.  Portland, OR 97232

WHY: Because we all like the opportunity to talk, taste, brew and compete with coffee!

Other big deals:

  • We’re very excited to be sharing our booth with an awesome list of GUEST ROASTERS, who will be pulling shots of their coffee from our machines. They’ll be at our espresso bars with LM & Mazzer equipment, and at our brew bar, with equipment from Marco & Mazzer.
  • 2012 World Aeropress Championship (WAC) will be taking place at our brew bar from 11am-4pm Friday!
  • SARAH DOOLEY, our Customer Service & Sales gem will be competing in the United States Barista Competition, first going on Friday at 3:55pm! We can hardly wait to support her as she makes us and Olympia Coffee Roasters quite proud.
  • Co-sponsored PARTIES will take place Friday & Saturday night:

Coffee Common + TED

21 02 2012

The exclusive TED Conference is coming up next week, in both Long Beach & Palm Springs, California, Feb 27 – Mar 2, 2012.

Coffee Common, a group that brings together world-class baristas and roasters, will be providing all the coffee service, with La Marzocco representing as the exclusive equipment provider (through the espresso machines, grinders (Mazzer) and hot water devices (Marco)).

The beautiful coffees will be served by sharply dressed baristas, done up in vests, ties, dresses and sweaters – hotness.

Quoting Brent Fortune, from Coffee Common:

“Each coffee roaster submitted a sample of their coffee which was then cupped for clarity and taste. Those who met the taste criteria were researched for sustainability, price transparency, and directness.

The coffees are being roasted by their respective roasters in Canada, Australia and the USA, and will be traveling to Long Beach [and Palm Springs] this week to meet us there.”
The line up for selected coffees include:
Guatemala Zelaya
Producer: Ricardo and Luis Pedro Zelaya
Roaster: Phil & Sebastian – Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Ecuador El Batan Cooperative
Producer: Procafeq
Roaster: Equator Coffees – San Rafael, California, USA (about 20 mi N of San Francisco)

Rwanda Coko Cooperative
Producer: Coko Cooperative
Roaster: Heart Roasters – Portland, Oregon, USA

Burundi Kayanza Gatare
Producer: Gatare Coop
Roaster: Seven Seeds – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Peru La Frontera
Producer: Cenfrocafe’s & communities of the Valle del Santuario
Roaster: Counter Culture Coffee – Raleigh Durham, North Carolina, USA

Bolivia Anjilanaka
Producer: Agricafe
Roaster: Intelligentsia Coffee – Los Angeles, California, USA

Guatemala Finca El Injerto – El Injerto El Tanque Bourbon
Producer: Arturo Aguirre and son Arturo Jr.
Roaster: Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Portland, Oregon, USA
Note: This coffee, part of Stumptown’s Grand Cru collection, is no longer available from Stumptown webshop.  I’ve attached a PDF of a scan of the info sheet for this coffee.

Rwanda Bufcafe
Producer: Epiphanie Mukashyaka
Roaster: Detour Coffee Roasters – Dundas, Ontario, Canada (about 70 km SW of Toronto)
Rwanda Buf Cafe Web Link

Coffee Common x NYC

24 01 2012

Coffee Common brings together world-class baristas and roasters with shared values, to create unique experiences that introduce people to the nuanced joys of exceptional coffee. We believe that great coffee is, at its best, a collaboration of an empowered coffee farmer, an artisan coffee roaster, a dedicated barista, and an enlightened consumer.” –

From January 19th through 22nd, Coffee Common held their first public event in North America at A Startup Store in Chelsea. A selection of the world’s best baristas gathered to make delicious coffee and help people understand how they can too. Demand for quality coffee is on the rise, but a market filled with strange devices and alien vernacular can sometimes be intimidating. Luckily Coffee Common assembled a crew of local and international baristas who ensured that each attendee walked away equipped with the fundamentals of delicious coffee. In addition to engaging demo stations, baristas were on hand to answer any questions, whilst serving some of the best coffees currently available from around the country.

We credit and thank Coffee Common for the first two photos, and Scott Beale/Laughing Squid ( the last three photos.

Each bar, or demo station, featured a different focus on ingredients, method, and taste. The guests enjoyed learning the differences between coffee varieties and brew methods, while discussing all the details of brewing a great cup of coffee.

@ the Ingredient& Bar folks tasted exactly how cream and sugar made bad coffee taste better by masking it, and delicious coffee taste worse by diluting it.

@ the Method& Bar step-by-step displays were shown on how to brew your own coffee. One could choose from one of four brew methods: Chemex, Aeropress, Hario V60 Pour Over or Hario Wood Neck Brewer, and from one of five delicious coffees (Counter Culture Coffee, Intelligentsia, Heart Coffee Roasters, Ritual Coffee, Gimme! Coffee).

@ the Taste& Bar each coffee was prepared the same way so people could immediately see the differences in flavors.

“Of course, making coffee for a lot of people required a lot of hot water, with the help of La Marzocco USA we had things covered. They provided us with Marco Ecoboiler water towers and the Uber-esque under counter boiler to keep our kettles full and the baristas brewing non-stop.” –

Uber Grinder: What It Is & What It Isn’t

27 10 2010

Continuing on in our Pulitzer-qualifying “What It Is & What It Isn’t” series, covering some of our newer, lesser known products, we continue on with the Marco Uber Grinder.

Grinding hotness

What is the Uber Grinder?

With the delicious madness that is manual brewing sweeping the land of specialty coffee, there hasn’t been quite a performance driven grinder to match the level of thought and input that manual brewing requires. This is quite worrisome, as you spend 3-5 minutes (or more!) on a preparing a single cup of brewed coffee to only result in maddening quality variance, over/underextraction, and, above all, a sub par cup of coffee.

As part of Marco’s UBER PROJECT (a continuous endeavor to pursue the very best in coffee equipment), the Uber Grinder is designed to achieve what’s technologically and practically possible in grinding for manual brewing. Marco’s main focus is the burr set, which provides the key to an incredibly narrow grind particle distribution curve that results in maximized clarity in the cup. The Uber Grinder burrs feature:

  • Magnets to hold it in place (instead of screws, which their screw holes would trap coffee grinds)
  • Custom profile optimized for 750-800 microns
  • Optimized glass pearl blasting
  • Titanium plating

How the Uber Grinder works

Properly BREWED coffee is a function of an appropriate amount of coffee surface area exposed to hot water and time. Done correctly and you get 18-22% extraction (percent of coffee mass removed from coffee grounds) with 1.15-1.55% brew strength (concentration of coffee solubles in brewed coffee), depending on your preference. Grinding is a critical link in this equation in that it determines the total surface area of the coffee being exposed to the hot water. The finer the grind, the more the surface area, and the more the extraction. The coarser the grind, the less the surface area, and the less the extraction. From here on, it gets a bit more complicated.

Different burr designs – blade, flat, conical, roller – result in different shape of the grind. Unless you have an electron microscope, the shape is probably not as big of a concern for most practical applications. What is of greater concern is the uniformity of the grinds – that is, the consistency of the grind sizes. This is translated into particle size distribution, expressed in sieve sizes, microns, or, most pragmatically, particle size distribution graph.

Uber Grinder's particle size distribution chart (in RED).

There are two predominant methods in coffee to analyze particle size distribution. One is with lasers and obviously more restricted to a dedicated lab setting. You get a nice graph seen above. The other is with sieves. There’s Ro-Tap but, due to its exorbitantly high cost, very few are frequently used in the coffee industry. Then there’s the mini grind sizer from, a hand-shaken portable sieve set great for everyday use. Not only can it help you to brew a better cup of coffee, you can also shake and dance around in the process of doing so.

Coffee grind sizer

Coffee grind sizer

The key to proper extraction in BREWED coffee is grind uniformity. For manual brew, the optimal grind size is around 800 microns. If you have a less uniform batch of grinds, the smaller grind size portion of it will be overextracted (resulting in bitterness) while the larger grind size portion will be underextracted (resulting in peanutty, grassy tastes). All else being equal, a more uniform grind will produce a cup with more clarity and more representative of the coffee being used. The ideal shape of a particle size distribution graph for brewed coffee would be one that’s very tall and narrow.

(The exception here if grinding for ESPRESSO. The ideal espresso grind needs the tiny grind fragments (fines) in addition to larger grinds in order to produce the necessary pressure and solubles. The resulting particle size distribution graph would exhibit either a slant towards the finer side, or multiple peaks.)

    Uber Grinder burr (in BLUE) vs. a typical cast burr (in RED)

    Compared to common drip coffee grinders, the result is something you can literally taste. The difference in particle size distribution can be clearly seen in the contrasting lines in the above graph.


    • Incredibly uniform and consistent grind particles
    • Fast grinding
    • Near zero residual grinds in housing
    • Easy chute cleaning tapper
    • 110V


    • No programmable timer
    • 1.6lb hopper (good if you use different coffees cup to cup but not so if you just want one)


    First of all, stop using Robur or Kony E’s for drip brewing! They are designed for espresso! Second, Uber Grinder is excellent for drip coffee grinding, particularly for single cup brewing applications. If you focus so much on sourcing the best and the latest coffees to feature at your bar, why let something as simple as grinding mess it up?

    The Uber Grinder may command a price premium over typical retail coffee grinders but considering the consistency and additional quality in the cup you can achieve, it may be well worth your consideration.

    UBER BOILER: What It Is & What It Isn’t

    21 10 2010

    The Uber Boiler is part of Marco’s “UBER PROJECT“, a continuous endeavor to pursue the very best in coffee equipment. Whereas typical products go through the standard product development cycle – research, concept, develop, test, and launch – the Uber Project inherently loops itself indefinitely. As we speak, Marco has the next generation in development.

    Marco is a small Irish company specializing in the design, manufacture, and sale of hot water beverage systems, primarily for filter coffee brewing and tea infusion. It is heavily focused on R&D and involved with SCAE and its Gold Cup program. The Uber Project currently has two products – the Uber Boiler and the Uber Grinder.

    What is the Uber Boiler?

    The Uber Boiler is a precise hot water delivery system designed to deliver exact volumes of water at exact temperatures to meet the needs of cup by cup tea infusion and coffee brewing. To brew coffee correctly, there are essential guides; in particular, the barista must have the right water to coffee ratio and the right brewing temperature. The Uber Boiler gives the barista control to manage these important parameters. It is designed for single cup manual brewing, cupping, and other small quantity precision hot water needs.

    The Uber Boiler was born out of a collaboration between Marco and WBC champions James Hoffman and Stephen Morrissey. It was prominently featured as the only coffee equipment at Square Mile’s brewed coffee-only cafe, Penny University.

    Courtesy of Penny University, via

    Stumptown's new brew bar in Brooklyn (photo via

    The Uber Boiler has attracted some attention in the USA and several units are now in use across the country, including at Counter Culture, Intelligentsia, and Stumptown. At Stumptown’s new brew bar at their Red Hook roastery in Brooklyn, they’re following a similar format as Penny University – no espresso, brewed coffee only. Quite fitting, as the idea is to showcase the variety and origins of coffees they offer.

    How the Uber Boiler works:

    The Uber Boiler has four main components: the font (the gooseneck) & nozzle, scale & drain, user/programming interface, and a 6 liter, 2800W boiler.

    1. Set the desired water temperature. The Uber Boiler is accurate to 0.1 degrees Celcius.
    2. Place the brewing device with coffee on the scale and tare it.
    3. Press the “boost” button. This circulates boiler temperature water throughout the font, in order to ensure zero heat loss along the line of travel out of the boiler. Under the boost mode, the system locks out any cold, fresh water from entering the boiler. This is important to preserve the temperature integrity of the entire system to eliminate any deviation from the set point.
    4. Dispense with the side mounted dial for variable flow rate. Use nozzle handle to direct water direction. During usage, the scale automatically tracks amount of water dispensed by weight in grams. Stop when the desired portion is dispensed.
    5. Once the coffee is brewed, any waste water can be poured directly onto the scale/drain. Press “prime” button to turn off boost mode and allow the boiler to “prime” by refilling and reheating with incoming cold water.


    • Incredible temperature accuracy
    • Unparalleled temperature stability
    • Undercounter design; minimal obstruction between barista and customer
    • Comprehensive barista interface for everything needed for manual brew
    • No kettles needed!
    • Accommodates all types of manual brew methods
    • Great for coffee cuppings


    • Temperature stability only lasts up to the boiler capacity (6 liters), after which you must turn off the boost mode and allow the boiler to refill with cold water. During this filling and heating cycle, the system will lock the user out from dispensing any hot water.
    • If the barista has used all 6 liters of hot water in one use, the refilling/reheating cycle and lock out may last up to 14 minutes (with a 2800W heating element)
    • Designed for single cup brewing; not t for filling up 4 one liter press pots at time


    The Uber Boiler is a precise instrument, build around a specific set of usage parameters, and doesn’t deviate much from that. The Uber Boiler may be right for you if you:

    • Want to focus on and prominently showcase quality, single cup brewing
    • Have small quantity, precision hot water needs
    • Have an alternate hot water dispenser if you have large volume hot water applications e.g. multiple press pots, rinsing, etc.
    • Have the undercounter space

    Should your brewing needs fall outside of this, definitely check out Marco’s other hot water dispensers – the Ecoboiler and Ecosmart. They are more temperature stable, precise, and energy efficient than the typical hot water towers.

    As a company that strongly values R&D and market feedback, Marco continues to work on new products based on technologies and lessons learned from the Uber Boiler. Stay tuned for new developments on the Uber Boiler or other new products Marco may introduce.

    Marco is Here!

    18 10 2010

    UPDATED 10/21: The Uber Grinder is 110V

    La Marzocco USA is excited to introduce Marco and their advanced line of coffee equipment to the USA!

    Uber Boiler – You probably have heard of it before. It is the result of an engineering collaboration between James Hoffman, Anette Moldvaer, Stephen Morrissey, and Marco – a precise water delivery system designed to deliver exact volumes of water at exact temperatures to meet the needs of uncompromising manual coffee brewing. When Hoffman’s Penny University opened, it was the only piece of brewing equipment used. Download brochure here.

    Uber Grinder – The other product in Marco’s Uber Project and a result of collaboration between Marco and Mahlkonig. It has the body of a Mahlkonig Tanzania but with a proprietary, unique burr set that produces an amazingly narrow grind particle distribution curve. Download brochure here (UPDATED: the Uber Grinder is 110V).

    Ecosmart 10L – An electronically controlled, insulated hot water tower with a digital temperature display and programmable features. Unlike typical hot water towers that immediately displaces every cup of hot water you use with incoming cold water and thereby lowering the temperature of the entire vessel, the Ecosmart prioritizes temperature stability by controlling when and how much cold water can enter. Also features an “Ecomode” for saving energy use during off peak hours. Download brochure here.

    Ecoboiler 5L and 10L – Same as Ecosmart but no digital display. Insulated and made with 95% recyclable materials. “Ecomode” available on 10L model only. Same brochure as Ecosmart.

    La Marzocco USA is Marco’s exclusive distributor in the USA and can sell to Canada as well. Visit La Marzocco USA’s booth (#625, 627, right next to Barista Magazine and Espresso Parts) at Coffee Fest Seattle!

    Courtesy of Marco:


    3 06 2010

    You (industry professional) are invited to come to La Marzocco OUT OF THE BOX NYC Wednesday, June 9. OUT OF THE BOX will be an evening celebrating coffee and the fun toys we use to brew it. It’s open to all those in the specialty coffee industry, no tickets or registrations required. The Chelsea Market event space is limited in size so please arrive early to ensure entry!


    Chelsea Market Event Space, across the hallway from Amy’s Bread.


    Coffee + toys + drinks

    Strada EP & MP: Stage 3 prototypes of the upcoming Strada for you to use, brew, steam, or simply gawk at. Two versions will be shown – Electronic Paddle and Mechanical Paddle.

    Pressure Profiling Bike Race: Our tech guys Roger and John (doesn’t hurt that Roger used to be a bike mechanic ~10 years ago) modded an old bike to directly power the water pump – and voila! Pressure profiling via cadence! It serves to burn the calories from the drinks and to demonstrate the progressive pressure profiling capability of our new machines. The bike isn’t pretty bike but then again, I’m not volunteering any of my personal bikes for sure. Top competitors from each round will receive prizes. Two rounds – 7‐9pm and 9‐11pm.

    Manual Brew Deathmatch: Featuring the Marco Uberboiler and Ecoboiler. The first ever type of event in the USA. Two competing baristas will brew coffee using either a Marco Uberboiler or Ecoboiler and a brew method of their choice – Hario V60, Bonmac, Clever, Chemex, press pot, Eva Solo, or Aeropress. Scoring will be based on % yield/strength via MojoToGo (45%), taste (45%), and method/fun (10%). Top competitors from each round will receive prizes. Two rounds – 7‐9pm and 9‐11pm.

    Represent: Our sponsors/partners/helpers Mazzer, Espresso Parts, Marco, Liemco, Barista Magazine, TampTamp, MojoToGo, and Hotel California Tequila will have their own tables or presence to showcase their own offerings. FYI, TampTamp will be offering Bar Ready classes on Wed and Thu.


    Wednesday, June 9, 4-11pm.

    4pm: Door opens to all guests
    4-6pm: Open house
    6-7pm: Presentations on the new Strada, LM portafilter basket project, and words from our sponsors/partners/helpers
    7-11pm: Party on
    11pm: Event ends