When Hemro Group Head of Product Development and Design Daniel Hofstetter held an Anfim grinder workshop in Australia in November 2018, the reactions from the crowd were divided. There were nods of heads from those who understood the mathematical explanation of volume-based particle size distribution (PSD), blank stares at the word “sphericity”, and fascinated expressions from those who couldn’t believe how much product information was willingly shared.
“Anyone’s mind blown?” Daniel asked the crowd, pointing to a relating cartoon on the power point slide. “Trust me, the more you look into coffee the less you understand.”
It’s impressive for a company to go well beyond the realm of manufacturing and dig deep into the science behind its production in order to make something satisfying for its users, but “that’s what it takes to be at the forefront of grinder technology”, Daniel says. “We leave no stone unturned.
“As manufacturers, we are constantly in touch with our customers. There is an automatic duty for us to educate them, and talk the same language so together we can make something better that the whole industry can benefit from.”
Anfim has been manufacturing grinders from its Milan factory for almost 60 years. Within that time, the Italian manufacturer has developed the Caimano series, Special Performance (SP) II, Scody II, Practica, and Solida professional grinders, to name a few, helped two baristas win the World Barista Championship by using an Anfim grinder, and is currently the official World Latte Art Championship grinder sponsor. All the while, the brand has continued its dedication to engineering and manufacturing of espresso grinders for demanding baristas the world over.
To this day, Anfim’s grinders are still hand built, with the factory producing 15,000-plus grinders per annum with an impressive record of minimal customer complaints and warranty issues, demonstrating its commitment to high quality manufacturing across its production line.
It’s for this reason that Australian importers Espresso Company Australia (ECA) has had a 15-year relationship with the grinder manufacturer, and is excited to facilitate the next level of grinding technology together.
“Operating in the Australian market, which is recognised internationally at the forefront in preparation of espresso, we feel safe partnering up with a manufacturer who has 50-plus years of coffee grinder manufacturing history, let alone the DNA pool of personalities and skillsets who make up Anfim and Hemro today,” ECA’s Salvatore Savarino says. “These guys are not only capable but willing, which is how we hope we are viewed by our customers.”
Grinding technology has undergone many changes in the past 10 years, with the introduction of models that grind on demand and by weight, but the one thing consumers continue to demand from their grinder, Salvatore says, is a machine to cater to high volume demand.
“We put our espresso equipment under hideous work loads in the mornings, and still want it to perform at the same parameters outside these periods, with minimal intervention,” he says.
As such, Anfim’s SPII Special Performance grinder is designed with Australia’s “insane work volume” in mind.
It comes with step-less grind adjustment to enable the barista to make incremental changes to the precise setting they need to produce the flavours developed during the roasting process, user-friendly software with a precise timer, and is adjustable by one 10th of a second to ensure consistent and exact dosing for constant pour time.
Customised titanium-coated 75-millimetre burrs operate at a low 650 revolutions per minute (rpm) and offers a minimal degree of wear for longevity. That’s paired with a powerful dual fan system to stabilise the internal temperature, and reduce heat emission.
Salvatore says Anfim has always been a flat burr manufacturer and has stood by this choice since it conceptualised the SPII in 2011 using the basis of its existing Super Caimano model (now the Scody II) but with a lowered rpm, more aggressive burrs to increase grind output, and improved ventilation performance.
“[We spent] the next few years showing our customers that a flat burr grinder could cope within a high volume café,” Salvatore says.
The use of flat burrs lends itself towards narrow, predictable, and consistent particle size distribution (PSD), which allows the barista to push extraction higher and for the roaster to roast lighter and still reach a pleasant espresso when extracted well.
PSD for espresso, however, remains one of the industry’s greatest grey areas, a topic first thrust into the spotlight when St Ali barista Matt Perger addressed the importance of PSD in his 2013 WBC routine, forcing the grinder manufacturing industry to “step up and smarten up”.
“Although we are aware of the benefits of a relatively narrow particle size distribution, it is interesting to reveal results for an espresso grinder like the SPII, which is renowned for balance and higher extraction,” Salvatore says.
“When breaking down particle size distribution results and looking at what would be considered as ‘fine coffee particles’ [less than 100 micrometres in size], this would account for around 22 to 25 per cent of volume in a nominated dose, but contributes 75 per cent of the surface area just ripe and ready for extracting. This stated, it should be considered quality over quantity in relation to fines, good sphericity [of particles in a more spherical shape], predictability and minimal dust for better extractions.”
When a roasted coffee bean is shattered in the grinding process and one gram of espresso grounds is distributed, there can be anywhere from 600 to 1.2 million particles, which Anfim has determined thanks to the use of high-speed cameras, 3D imagery and high beam microscopes. This enhanced image is empowering the grinder manufacturer to develop new disc geometry and paint the picture of what impacts particle size distribution, including heat and its impact on extraction consistency and taste.
“Heat remains one of those problem areas. It’s generated from the motor, the grind chamber, and grinding discs, the breaking of beans, and friction between ground coffee particles. That’s why baristas frequently need to adjust their grind size,” Daniel says, not to mention Australia’s long summers and insane output, an unfavourable match.
This article appears in FULL in the February 2019 edition of BeanScene Magazine. Subscribe HERE.
For more information, visit www.espressocompany.com.au