Future Forward: AI Tech in Coffee

Friday, 17 May, 2024

Artificial Intelligence in Coffee

Words by Katie Burnett

Artificial intelligence has flooded into every part of our lives. Whether it’s just a conversation you’ve had with a friend or your daily life has changed fundamentally by artificial intelligence, it’s tough to find a single person or industry who isn’t aware of or affected by the rise of this new global force. Coffee is no exception.

La Marzocco, one of the iconic Italian espresso machine manufacturers, have come out with an exclusive machine and scale collaboration with Acaia for technology that will automatically stop your espresso shot. La Marzocco describe it on their website: “Designed for the Linea Mini, Brew-by-Weight elevates the home espresso experience with machine learning and a predictive drip algorithm for unparalleled precision. Set your dose, engage the paddle, and let the machine and scale do the rest. Featuring auto-tare and auto-time upon turning the paddle.” Through the La Marzocco Home app, we can choose our desired style of espresso and automatically the machine will be programed to specific inputs and outputs. All that we need to do from here is engage the paddle and the Acaia scale will automatically tare and begin timing. Once the desired espresso yield is reached, the Linea Mini will automatically stop the shot. 

In October 2023, La Marzocco announced a collaboration with Mahlkönig, the coffee grinder manufacturer, called The Sync System, that bring an end to manual grinder adjustments. But how? Mahlkönig notes, “The Sync System consists of a Mahlkönig E80W Grind-by-Sync paired with a La Marzocco machine* (*Linea PB ABR, GB5 ABR or KB90 ABR) which are seamlessly synchronized using the Mahlkönig Sync and LM Pro mobile app. The system allows wireless communication between the grinder and the espresso machine and ensures that every espresso shot is of unparalleled quality, reproducible in all outlets, and by anyone operating the machine.”

Both of these new projects point to a future of home brewing where espressos are more consistent, ultra-precise, involve decreased wastage and allow for an overall easier path to the desired espresso. The significant investment into artificial intelligence by these and many more equipment technology leaders gives us a clear window into the future of coffee brewing equipment.

At World of Coffee 2023 in Athens, the Poursteady booth was surrounded by enthralled café owners and home brewers. The automatic pour over machine company have created a machine that offers a filter coffee solution for retail coffee businesses that is simple and easier than ever before. On their website, Poursteady write, “Let the precision of the automatic pour-over coffee makers handle the pouring and measuring while you make sure the grind is right and your customers are happy.” “You choose the coffee, grind, and dripper. You set the temperature with the boiler. You dial-in the recipes with the app.”

One of these fascinated onlookers was Markus Pyttel, owner of Sweet Spot Kaffee in Munich. At this point in time, Markus was laying the groundwork for opening his second coffee shop in Munich. He was looking for a solution that would help his staff compliment as lean as possible and be able to offer exceptional quality filter coffee and espresso-based drinks.

When Sweet Spot’s second shop opened, it had a Poursteady automatic brewer proudly next to their stunning custom Kees van der Westen espresso machine. Announcing their new machine to their Instagram audience, Sweet Spot writes: “Making good things better is one of the many endless pursuits that keep things fun here at sweet spot kaffee. When we were deciding how we wanted to brew our favourite menu item, filter coffee, at our second shop (oh yeah, there's a second shop now, more on that later), we spent an hour or two at WOC Athens with coffee-wizard @mars_flavourplanet, dialling in some of her coffees at the @poursteady booth, and ordered two units on the spot.”

Perhaps this is what AI in home brewing and retail coffee shops comes down to: making good things better. Markus’ team is able to spend more time engaging with their customers, instead of manually brewing pour overs and the home brewer is able to make their espressos in their desired style more consistently. 

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