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Bullet speeds ahead

One of the world’s smallest and most advanced roasters is finally accessible to Australians, giving users a first-hand experience of the infrared technology that’s taking the guesswork out of roasting.

When Charles Stephens woke to a message from Aillio Co-Founder Jonas Lillie telling him the Aillio Bullet R1 V2 roaster had finally achieved CB Certification after five gruelling years, his reaction was one of euphoria. 

“The significance of the CB certification cannot be underestimated. It now makes the Bullet R1 ‘bulletproof’ by probably being one of the most rigorously scrutinised pieces of coffee equipment anywhere on the market,” says Charles, CEO of Espresso Company Australia (ECA).

The Aillio Bullet went through multiple rounds of tests to become CB/CE certified, passing all international and Australian standards of electrical compliance and safety. The compliance means that ECA, distributors of the Aillio Bullet, can legally bring the roaster into the country. 

“This project has been close to our hearts. We’ve shared an exciting yet agonising few years with the team at Aillio. We are very grateful for the loyalty and detail Aillio have always shared with us and could not be happier for [Bullet inventors] Jonas and Jacob, and their team for this momentous occasion,” Charles says.

Back in 2016, the Aillio Bullet R1 made its mark on the coffee scene as the first one-kilogram roaster to use induction heating. Despite its small footprint, this technology brings one kilogram of green beans to first crack in under 12 minutes on any standard electrical outlet.

With more people discovering a passion for coffee or enhancing their home barista skills, Charles muses that it begs the question: “What’s stopping more people from exploring coffee, not just through a coffee grinder and brewing apparatus, but from the processed green bean?”

“With a compact, adjustable and accurate device like the Bullet, you’ve got the perfect piece of equipment for beginners and home enthusiasts to start their roasting journey. With the keen interest and growth of home espresso machine sales we are sure there will be a similar demand for home roasting equipment, which for many could be the final piece of the coffee puzzle,” Charles says.

“At the other end of the spectrum in the professional and commercial sense, this best in class model is perfect as a sample roaster for batch roasting or testing in a roastery, lab, or café. The Bullet is efficient, accurate and offers more data to the second.”

Charles is eager to watch the performance of the Bullet in cafés and espresso bars after being approached for years by such venues wanting to go the “extra mile” to complete the customer experience and roast on site. 

Salvatore Savarino, National Sales Manager at ECA, agree this would promote the maturity of the local coffee industry and increase awareness and respect down the supply chain. 

“The Australian market is incredibly sophisticated with the engagement between customers, the barista, and the wider coffee industry. To physically roast on site and share the process with customers offers accessible education of the roasting process and a great opportunity to explain the journey from growing origins to the cup of coffee in their hand,” Salvatore says.

“Single origin coffees are offered in most cafés as a staple for espresso or black coffee options. With filter and batch brew offerings also on the rise, the Bullet gives café owners flexibility to roast and keep up with customer demands.”

With stock arriving in March, Charles says the timing of the Bullet’s arrival is “a gift” to start the new year. The other, is knowing how easy the machine is to set up, utilise and access help or information if required. Full set-up instructional how-to videos are available on the ECA website, including how to unbox, clean, and maintain the Bullet. 

Aillio’s RoasTime roast profiling and management software also allows users to automatically repeat their favourite roast profiles and share and compare them with other Bullet R1 users. 

“Knowledge is power. Data-driven roasting is going to make education easier than ever before. Through RoasTime, users have access to a fun international community via the
Roast.World online platform to share their experience as they swap and discuss profiles and recipes,” Charles says.

“Throughout the roast, RoasTime will log power, drum and fan speed, rate of rise and first crack. You can map the data, save it, repeat it via the playback function, and send it interstate or overseas to someone within your business. You can even send it to another roaster or home enthusiast in the international Aillio community via Roast.World. And if you make mistakes, that’s fine too. Share it and allow others to learn from it.”

Running off 10 amps, the Bullet has nine power levels, 12 fan speeds, and nine drum speeds, with a preheat range from 160°C to 310°C to allow for finer-control of the roasting process.

Home roasters can choose to keep things simple as they learn the craft, while professionals can explore limitless possibilities, such as producing sample profiles in batches small enough to be cupped, scaled up, and shared with others to experience. This saves hours of work nailing down the best roasts for both espresso and filter.

Over the years, Jacob and Jonas have continued to refine their product. The biggest upgrade is Aillio’s patent-pending infrared bean temperature (IBTS) probe, now a permanent part of the V2 Bullet and compatible for retrofit or upgrade on V1 models.

This device records the amount of light of a specific wavelength (infrared) emitted by an object and is not influenced by batch size or weight. 

“A traditional temperature probe can only plot the bean probe’s temperature, leading to lag and all sorts of inaccuracies,” says Salvatore. 

“Now with the IBTS, we get real time temperature data and zero [thermometric] lag. The sensor samples the temperature around 10 times per second. Zero lag means we receive accurate data of the surface temperature of beans and get a more consistent profile and roast curve reading.”

Salvatore adds that the IBTS allows users to confidently scale profiles for production.

“The outcome of receiving such accurate information of bean temperature is the ability to make adjustments to a roast based on real time variation and evidence, opposed to just a ‘gut feeling’,” he says.

For this reason, Salvatore and Charles see the infrared probe as a “breakthrough” in terms of data accuracy and overall roast control.

At time of print, the Lillie brothers were busy in production of the new power PCB to make the CB Bullet compliant. 

Now, all that’s left to do is watch and wait for the Aillio Bullet R1 V2 to hit Australian shores with CB certification, and start making a permanent home for it on benches throughout the country. 

The Bullet R1 is distributed via Espresso Company Australia.

For more information, visit www.espressocompany.com.au

This article appears in the February 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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