Marco’s Sp9: filter made easy

Brett Dedman, Business Development Manager of Espresso Mechanics, frequently talks to café customers about the right equipment to suit their venue based on size and need.

When he questions the need for a filter brewing station, all too often he hears the comment: “We’d love to install a brewing station, but it’s just too time consuming to manage.” Sound familiar?

With the new Marco Sp9, that problem is alleviated.

“I think filter brewing is something most coffee shops are interested in, but it has the potential to be more widespread across the Australian market. To achieve this, the Sp9 is the gold standard of automatic brewing. It’s essentially an automated Kalita, V60 pour over or Chemex, all in one,” Brett says.

“Think about the process of brewing a Pour Over. You have to bring the water to the boil, measure out your required coffee, rinse the coffee granules with hot water in the filter cone, leave it to bloom, time it, add more water, and stand over the device as you monitor the brew time. For those who love this method and have time to do it, great. But for those who want to achieve the same taste profile in a fraction of the time, the Sp9 is the ideal alternative.”

Espresso Mechanics started its relationship with leading hot water delivery company Marco in early 2017. Brett says partnering with the Irish brand to distribute its wide range of equipment (including the Jet 6 above bench batch brewer, and the Mix, an under-bench hot water dispenser) is the next step in positioning Espresso Mechanics as a one-stop-shop for espresso equipment.

“Marco is the top tier of hot water dispensing equipment, and its new Sp9 model is the most expensive and coolest brewing unit in its range,” Brett says.

The Sp9 is an undercounter unit, with a 394-millimetre-deep, 155-millimetre-wide, and 585-millimetre-high boiler positioned in the cupboard under a benchtop. All that’s needed to power the device is 15 amps and a water supply.

“I’m not completely convinced under-bench espresso machines have reinvented the espresso manufacturing process, but for filter brewing it definitely will. Never before has so much been possible to achieve in such a little amount of space,” Brett says.

Marco specialises in water temperature stability, and has adopted its expertise into this brewing device. The Sp9 uses an undercounter recirculating boiler system, where the water circulates from the boiler to the Sp9 and returns back into the boiler to keep the temperature completely stable.

“The reason the device is called an Sp9 is because nine pulses of hot water occur over any given brew time. If you heat 100 millilitres of water in one minute, the device will still pulsate nine times to ensure an even distribution of heated water,” Brett says.

The water temperature and brewing time is programmable with just two adjustable dials (brew time and brew volume) to suit every user’s specifications.

Brett says users can program the machine to the standard brewing rule of 60 grams of coffee to a litre of water. Or, for customers wanting a single cup, it’s easy enough to halve your ratios to 30 grams of coffee to half a litre of water, or even further to 15 grams of coffee to 250 millimetres for a Kalitta brew.

“You don’t have to be a brewing champion to operate this machine, just capable of following a brew recipe,” Brett says. “This device can replace rock star baristas and instead put impressive technology in the spotlight.”

The Sp9 is minimalistic and perfect for venues with limited bench space. The single head unit is just 193 millimetres deep, 132 millimetres wide, and sits 420 millimetres high on top of a bench top. Its height can be adjusted to suit most manual brewing devices.

With so much potential, the only challenge baristas will have is convincing their boss to invest in the high-end product, with a RRP tag $7500.

It’s what Brett calls “an expensive Chemex”, but a worthwhile investment for top-tier cafés looking to introduce filter coffee without the constringency of time.

For an extra $1000 the Sp9 also comes with two heads that run off the one boiler.

“Baristas now have the ability to press a button, walk away and serve other customers, and return to the Sp9 a couple of minutes later with a freshly brewed filter coffee ready to deliver in-store and via a takeaway cup,” Brett says. “Manual pouring absorbs five minutes of your time. This is just a 30-second commitment.”

Brett says while some may argue that this automated process detracts from the artisan approach to coffee brewing, it does provide consistency.

“More and more cafés are using automated processes and machines that provide consistency and precision. As long as the outcome is a delicious product, it shouldn’t really matter,” he says.

Before making a large financial investment, such as the Sp9, Brett says it’s important customers adopt a “try before you buy” approach.

“The worst thing you can do is purchase a machine that doesn’t suit your needs or perform how you think it should. Espresso Mechanics’ office at 7/63 – 71 Boundary Road, North Melbourne in Victoria is your playground to test drive any one of our machines, including the Sp9,” Brett says.

“You wouldn’t buy a new car without testing it out first, so we encourage everyone to bring your own blend, single origin, even your own milk and pitcher if you like, and play around. I don’t want customers to buy because you want to, but because you love it. Personally, I love the Sp9 because it’s simplistic and the end result is phenomenal. I don’t think anything on the market competes with the Sp9. It’s in a league of its own. But that’s just my opinion. Come try it for yourself.”

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This article features in the June 2017 edition of BeanScene Magazine.

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