The New Mazzer SPP

Gene Lemos, Owner and President of Nuova Ricambi USA, met with fellow espresso machine enthusiast and Mazzer’s Key Account Manager Luca Maccatrozzo, to review the New Mazzer SPP model grinder.

Baristas have inspired the new Mazzer Smart Portafilter Platform grinding system that has technology and usability at its core.

Mazzer describes its engineering teams as “anthropologists” in the way they observe how baristas care and prepare coffees.
After all, Mazzer Export and Key Account Manager Luca Maccatrozzo says an understanding of a barista’s needs and demands is how the Italian grinder manufacturer gains inspiration to develop next-level products. “We are inspired by baristas who care deeply about producing the best espresso,” Luca says. “These passionate baristas cover the range from professional world champions to home baristas, and all of them pay great attention to every detail of the delicate process.” One detail in particular that Mazzer felt it could improve, however, was the direct delivery of a precise amount of ground coffee, measured by weight, to the portafilter. “Until now, [baristas] have wasted valuable time going back and forth between the grinder and an external scale, usually wasting valuable coffee in the adjustment process,” Luca says. Cue: the Mazzer Smart Portafilter Platform (SPP). After seven years of research from a dedicated multinational and multidisciplinary engineering team, Mazzer developed a state-of-the-art computer-based system with an intuitive user interface to make grinding and dosing even more consistent.

The SPP system made its grand debut at international expo Host Fieramilano in Milan, Italy in October 2015, followed by the Melbourne International Coffee Expo in March 2016. The good news is that this model is now on track for industrial production and distribution later this year. “In Italy we say: ‘Rome was not built in one day’,” Luca says. “Good products need years of research, development, and tests before seeing the light of day.” Luca assures the wait is worth it. The Mazzer SPP grinding system incorporates a “very smart” platform for the portafilter. While there are all kinds of different portafilter shapes and sizes, Luca says it’s very easy to adapt the SPP to support any type of normal portafilter. Once the SPP is optimized for a portafilter type, it gently guides the portafilter into an ideal position to receive ground coffee.

The Mazzer SPP grinding system makes the entire process automatically consistent and painless. The SPP uses a computer operating system and specialized embedded systems software managing an industrial-strength load cell. A constant feedback loop starts and stops the grinder according to real-time measurements of the weight of the coffee delivered from the grinder to the portafilter. Luca says this process not only eliminates wasted coffee and time, but helps reduce costs. According to feedback from elite baristas, the SPP doesn’t capture and immobilize the portafilter with a death grip during the grinding process. On the contrary, the barista is totally free at any time to move the portafilter around. They are also free to tap the portafilter on the SPP itself to settle the coffee, if the barista chooses to use the SPP as an anvil, which Luca says some particularly enjoy.

The SPP includes a scientific-grade weight scale, but Luca advises users don’t have to treat it like a baby. It has many built-in defenses such as mechanic, electronic, and software to help it overcome the challenges of dealing with a delicate load cell, and to withstand the heavy industrial workloads of busy coffee shops. To illustrate – rather dramatically – the extreme tolerance of the SPP, the Mazzer team purposefully exaggerated the tapping of portafilters directly on the SPP platform during the system’s launch in Milano and Melbourne.
“We actually used the portafilter with ground coffee as a hammer to hit the SPP with such force that coffee spilled all over the floor, accompanied by the sound of metal percussion,” Luca says. As expected, Luca says the Mazzer SPP grinding system continued undaunted and, after some automatic adjustment to allow for the spilled coffee, delivered the expected weight of coffee directly to the portafilter. Luca says the SPP itself is an intelligent computer system that dynamically adapts to coffee changes (such as origin, variety, blend, roasting degree, coffee freshness, and so on) as well as variations in the grinding environment, such as coarser or finer adjustments in the grind, ambient humidity, salinity, temperature, and atmospheric pressure. As such, even if the user changes any of these factors, the SPP grinding system will adapt automatically and continue to deliver the requested weight of ground coffee directly to the portafilter. The SPP communicates directly with authorized Bluetooth-enabled units and destinations in the cloud via secure Wi-Fi connections. As such, café managers and authorized users can receive accurate and timely cloud-based analytics and information about the grinder’s use and productivity from anywhere in the world.

“A [manager’s] imagination is the only limit for the possible wealth of insights that can be gathered by studying this information according to time of day, day of the week, amount, and type of coffee,” Luca says. In addition, service and maintenance personnel can access data related to the state of the burrs and other consumables, without gaining access to sensitive business information. With the world embracing wireless product connectivity, Luca says it was time for grinder manufacturing to move in the same direction. “The term ‘less’ [in wireless] implies that the concept in question is undergoing a major revolution. For instance, horseless carriages transitioned to automobiles by eliminating horses. Wireless technology is just one demonstration that Mazzer research and development is at the forefront,” Luca says. “We believe that innovation is better than adapting products to trends.” Mazzer’s eager eyes will continue to monitor the barista community as it looks for new ways to improve its products, but for now, Luca says Mazzer is excited to launch the SPP system to the international market: “Many things are boiling in our pot, so stay tuned.”

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Article provided by Luca Maccatrozzo, re-printed from