Maurizio Marcocci of Service Sphere looks at how bulk brewing equipment has improved as customer expectations increase.
A few years ago, the words “filter coffee” would conjure thoughts of bitter, black, and American sludge served from a pot that had been sitting on the diner, café, work, or kitchen counter for several hours.
But times have changed. The quality Australian cafés are serving has become very high and many are embracing filter brewing and its ability to bring out the best of coffee using only the basics: water and beans. Now, bulk or batch brewing equipment is making this possible in larger doses.
Our friends at Veneziano Coffee Roasters see this firsthand. One of its flagship cafés in Richmond uses batch brew to serve a variety of micro-lot single origin coffees every day.
“It is a great way to serve a lot of coffee quickly, the flavour is great, and it gives a different experience for people to try,” says Pete Licata, Veneziano’s Research and Development Consultant and 2013 World Barista Champion.
“It means faster drink service, consistent experience more easily, and a diverse selection of coffee experiences for our customers.”
Bulk brewers are a growing part of the Australian coffee industry, and manufacturers like Bravilor Bonamat have made great strides in improving the quality of the coffee these machines produce. In Bravilor’s case, this involves developing machines with long lasting and high-quality materials and components. Other manufacturers have looked at new ways of brewing coffee.
“Specific variable controls and stability are being pursued, which is a reflection of the desire for better accuracy across coffee brewing equipment lately,” Pete says.
With advancements in brewing technology comes a greater variety of models and equipment to fill different needs, which we at Service Sphere see growing by the day.
Quick filter machines like the Bravilor Bonomat Mondo series elevate drip coffee to the next level. An obvious benefit of this system is that coffee can be made anywhere with a power source, without needing connection to water mains. This is particularly good for small venues looking for a coffee option, or larger operations where coffee isn’t a focus, like small restaurants or offices.
For businesses with limited bench space, like most cafés, a system like the Bravilor Bonomat TH might be the way to go. This filter machine brews coffee direct into a Bravilor Airpot Furento unit, keeping more than two litres of coffee at the same temperature and quality for hours on end. It may sound simple, but what separates these units from pots of the past is the materials used to build them. Stainless steel inside and out, these pots are perfect for holding in heat and aroma.
If you need a lot of fresh filter coffee brewed in a relatively short time, round filter bulk brewers are the machines for you, brewing large quantities of coffee into separate containers. This style of coffee often gets a bad reputation, but with the right coffee, brew, and equipment, there’s no reason it can measure up to its smaller siblings.
The Bravilor B Series does this thanks to its container monitoring factors that impact quality. This provides consistency not otherwise possible at such a large batch size. This is perfect for catering companies, sport venues, or hotels and conference centres.
Operation and upkeep are kept easy with a digital display, total and day counters, descaling system, and optimum security provisions.
Adjustable brewing time allows for optimum extraction. A built-in timer and coffee-is-ready signal means the user doesn’t even need to be in the room to brew coffee.
While quick and round filter brewers build on machines of the past, thermal brewers look to the future. These brewers are suitable for any location, but especially those where many people come and go all day, such as self-serve venues, specialty cafés, and convenience stores.
The Aurora from Bravilor is a great example. It brews filter coffee into a portable dispenser – up to five litres – with the operator able to control almost every facet of the brew process. This ranges from setting water temperature to programming pre-wetting time for an ideal aroma.
Less knowledgeable coffee shops can pick one of three settings for mild, regular, or dark roasts, each developed with the Specialty Coffee Association’s Golden Cup Standard front of mind. But since every coffee is different, more experienced roasters and baristas can create and save their own recipes to create a unique cup of coffee.
Usability is key to batch or bulk brewers.
“Once it has been dialled in, it is very easy to teach someone to make batch brews over and over throughout the day,” Pete says. “I have seen numerous cafés overcomplicate their method and try to make it more difficult than it really should be.”
Turning to the brewing process, manufacturers have introduced different systems to make improvements. Some have introduced a shower brewing system to better control the length of time water is in contact with coffee. Others have reworked the brewing process all together or made improvements to functionality.
Bravilor’s research and development team has implemented a no-valve brewing system, with the only valve existing in the machine for the hot water tap. This reduces the number of service calls needed over the machine’s lifetime.
Demand for black and filter coffee is only growing as customer palates become more refined and brewing equipment becomes more advanced. In turn, the stigma around batch brewing has disappeared.
Visually, units are made to look sleek and appealing. The Aurora and TH look like they belong on a coffee bar, so cafés and high-end venues can have it proudly set up front of house. Its small footprint and detachable dispenser means it can be kept wherever is most convenient.
“When done properly, batch brew creates a flavourful coffee that can be enjoyed black,” Pete says. “The typical serving of batch brewed coffee is larger and often has more caffeine than a single espresso serving, in case customers are worried about getting enough.”
Compared to an espresso machine, it’s not just the coffee quality and taste that’s different with a bulk brewer. Machines are often “simpler”, meaning less maintenance is required and if something does need fixing, it’s usually easier.
Speed is another big plus. With coffee already brewed, high-quality Bravilor airpots on the bar are the way to go.
“As long as the coffee is brewed up and ready to go, it does improve service times,” Pete says. “When it comes to batch brew, the idea is to give great-tasting coffee quickly, consistently, and painlessly.”
This means less work during rush hours for the barista, faster service for the customer, and more time for interaction between the two.
This article appears in the April 2020 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.
For more information, visit https://servicesphere.com.au/