How Barista Attitude’s Tempesta gives baristas as much or as little control as they desire

Barista Attitude

Why Barista Attitude’s Tempesta is designed to be used by all levels of ability, with features and functionalities that aid the barista with as much or as little control as they desire.

When it was time for each national barista representative to compete on the World Barista Championship stage at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo, each displayed their own unique presentation. Each was different in approach, message, and theme, but the one consistent on stage, was use of the Tempesta espresso machine.

The Tempesta, the latest chapter of the Barista Attitude Project, turned heads from baristas and coffee professionals alike in its competition debut and first official display in the Southern Hemisphere.

Unique in design and style, the machine was photographed as much as the baristas on stage using it. Underneath the simplistic façade, however, is a wealth of technology and ergonomic consideration thanks to the experience of CMA in Italy, which has been manufacturing espresso machines since 1969.

“The technology in Tempesta is at the highest level. It includes technology that has been available to market for a while, but it is unique in its approach to targeting the barista with features that ensure ease of operation, maximum control, and the ability to customise to the barista’s needs,” says Paolo Girardi, Head of CMA and Barista Attitude Service Department.

Paolo has worked with CMA since 1994. He has seen the evolution of the Storm and Tempesta Project, and has been responsible for implementing changes to the Tempesta based on customer feedback.

“It’s important to have a beautifully- designed machine, but the operation of it has to be as simple as possible – and not just from the barista’s perspective, but from that of the service technician,” Paolo says.

What is now available to market, is an espresso machine Paolo, the CMA engineers, and Barista Attitude ambassadors, are proud of.

The Tempesta features a multi boiler system that allows for individual temperature settings on each group to be changed, with a precision of +/- 0.5.

Via the touchscreen interface, Paolo says it is quick and easy to set, adjust and control the water temperature, in addition to the temperature and pressure of steam, and the temperature of each group, a featured requirement of the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) in order for Tempesta to be certified as the Qualified Espresso Machine of the WBC.

Rigorous SCA tests for stability were also performed, including on quality, pressure, and temperature when using one or more groups, or when the machine was sitting idle for various times. It passed with flying colours.

“Such control is important to guarantee thermal stability of temperature, extraction and performance when adapting the machine to changing variables, such as temperature and humidity. It is also key when cafés are operating at peak times with high volumes, but also during quiet periods,” Paolo says.

Users can also customise pre-infusion to help personalise and adjust the brewing profile for different coffees.

“When using a blend or single origin, the pre-infusion time can be adjusted– not just the quantity of water, but the precise time the coffee cake is wet without pressure,” he says.

The actively temperature-controlled group heads combine maximum precision in water delivery with high responsiveness to temperature adjustments. It takes less than five minutes to navigate up and down the full temperature spectrum allowed by WBC rules, all while complying with WBC’s strict temperature and pressure requirements.

In the Flow Rate Control (FRC) version of Tempesta, users can not only control the flow of extraction in each group but adjust pressure profiles in different stages of the brewing time to further customise the brewing process and control the intended flavour profile.

What’s unique in the design of the machine, Paolo says, is the brewing activation button above the portafilter holder on the front of the machine. Pushing this button activates purging and brewing to minimise insert-to-brew time.

“We pushed our designers to create this feature that is unique to the machine. Baristas can use just one hand to insert the portafilter, lock it in and start the extraction at the push of the button. Baristas can then easily talk and interact with customers in front of them,” Paolo says.

While the quality of the extraction and the machine’s performance is paramount, Paolo says it’s also important that baristas of all levels of ability can use Tempesta with ease.

“It can be used as a plug-and-play model or at expert level – it suits both ends of the market,” he says. “If you press that button for automatic mode, you can brew coffee immediately. Or, you can activate a number of features that give you deeper control of everything.”

For those interested in a deep dive of data, outside of WBC parameters, the Tempesta interface can display a live graph showing extraction details such as pressure and flow profile, details of brewing temperature, extraction time, and the profile for each group. This gives the barista full control of data to read, analyse and adjust.

On the other hand, Paolo notes there is a growing polarisation between boutique operators and coffee chains that are starting to operate with staff that are not specialised.

As such, features like Tempesta’s interface are about making life easier for the barista, as well as arming them with knowledge.

“It’s not just a pro-level machine,” Paolo says.

“The launch of Storm for the specialty sector was a breakthrough in innovation because for the first time, a manufacturer had really introduced an interface to give the barista insight and knowledge to aid their craftmanship, at a time when the industry was deeply considering a future of push-button machines.”

As well as providing information to customise and control extractions, the display interface can feature cleaning instructions and videos to help simplify the process. Technicians can also use it to locate possible problems during maintenance work.

“All the machines on the market have similar technology in terms of the result. But they have a different mix in now they blend these technologies together. My take on Tempesta from a design and conception point of view is that it’s the most modern of all special machines on the market right now. Modern in the sense that it allows expansion. You have the hardware but then you can expand the experience both for the user and the consumer through use of telemetry, for instance. You can use the machine simply, but there’s also a lot of layers of additional information that allows the barista to expand the experience if they want. You can do a lot if you know what you want,” Paolo says.

One feature that baristas of all levels will utilise is the cool-touch, cantilevered steam wand, for texturing milk-based beverages. It offers safety and ease of control thanks to the rotating steam valve, which is simple to open and close, and use at different angles.

“You can also easily control the speed and power of the steam to suit different- sized jugs or milk types, and thanks to the Super Dry system, steam is kept dry with very low water precipitation at the beginning of steaming. This is important to preserve the milk quality in the cup,” Paolo says.

Thanks to Super Dry and the capacity of the steam and service boiler, continuous use of steam is guaranteed with no drop in power, pressure, or performance during peak periods, or when using two wands at once. An auto-steam wand is an optional feature for venues that want further control and consistency of milk texturing.

“It uses the same steam design and technology with Dry Steam but there’s also intake for air so you can basically get the volume of froth you desire,” Paolo says.

The Tempesta may have every feature a skilled or entry level barista would need, but it is designed to be used and celebrate brewing excellence across the board. When that is achieved, then it’s served its purpose.

“The future will be making specialty coffee accessible. That comes from the final product, but it also means delivery of specialty coffee and passing it through grinders and machines that are smart and help the barista in their job rather than getting in the way. The Tempesta is the evolution of that,” Paolo says.

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This article appears in the October 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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