The Latest: Smart Coffee Grinders

The world’s largest trade fair for coffee will be held in Milan during the fourth week in October. Already the starring products are being announced. Not surprisingly, new coffee grinders are becoming more and more electronic, now using smart card technology. Well this IS 2011 after all, the year Starbucks went Smart Card user-friendly, while reaping a whirlwind of free advertising in the process.

While the new RFID MAHLKÖNIG upgrade isn’t reloadable using an iphone and a computer, it is a real breakthrough for roasters who provide free espresso machines for coffee bars. Until now, roasters couldn’t control whether their customers used only their coffee in the free espresso machines and grinders provided, or substituted another brand. With the new RFID (radio frequency Identification) equipped grinders, the customer has to have a RF code on the label from the roaster for the machine to grind. When the amount indicated from the code on the Smart Label has been ground, the machine stops. It leaves one wondering: It wasn’t mentioned in the marketing materials what happens if a customer were to buy another less discriminating coffee grinder, so that they could grind any roaster’s beans.

The company makes another Smart Card grinder for professional use that provides alarms, doses, records the number of grinds done, shows amount of beans needed for a new batch and other functions. Another new grinder in the Vario line, intended for coffee bars as well, automatically grinds the amount of grounds by weight that is programmed in. Once the operator determines the weight of the grounds desired for drip coffee, and sets the calibration for grounds size, the machine stops grinding when the set weight is reached.

The manufacturer recommends this machine for filter coffee makers rather than espresso because the scale won’t work with a portafilter. If the user doesn’t mind filling the portafilter manually, it IS adjustable to grind very finely, as needed for espresso. Though these machines are intended for commercial use, designed as they are for saving time and effort when brewing hundreds of cups a day, it often happens that the technology eventually is applied to home equipment. Many home baristas might benefit from a grinder which grinds the required amount by weight rather than time, if the price were lower. Brew on, perfectly grounded. CoffeeKind has a wonderfully diverse selection of grinders for home use.

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