At one of the more attractively built-out booths at this past weekend’s SCA Expo in Seattle, Italian espresso machine and grinder company Rancilio Group held the U.S. launch of of Rancilio Specialty, a new line of machines targeted specifically at craft-oriented, style-conscious coffeehouses in the United States.
“Being based out of Italy, there’s a lot of Italian influence on a lot of our equipment and machines, so this is trying to have a bigger impact on the American side of things,” Andreas Wilhoff, a technical specialist for Rancilio Group North America, told Daily Coffee News. “A lot of Italian espresso machines are on the back counter, whereas we have a lot on the front counter, so we’re trying to make it more of an object that looks good from the other side as well as the front side.”
Rancilio has long maintained a sturdy line of commercial coffee equipment, including its Classe series of espresso machines that culminates in the high-tech Classe 11, where Xcelsius temperature profiling technology allows baristas to brew either at one consistent temperature or to decrease or increase the temperature over the course of pre-infusion and extraction.
Machines in the new Rancilio Specialty line adopt this and other new technologies while delivering it in an attractive package, with a customizable steel case, classy cup-rail and a new red logo that evokes Art Deco style.
A pump pressure adjustment knob is at easy access beneath the machine. Meanwhile, beyond hidden tech and the new overall look, workflow is another concern addressed by Specialty line machines. Wide, ergonomic steam levers fix at two power settings, and the wands are cool to the touch. The drip tray also offers a widened, LED-lit work area of adjustable height, and portafilter handles are angled so that a spouted portafilter stands level for easy countertop tamping. Push-button activators are situated low on the groups for one-handed operation by pressing with a thumb while locking the portafilter into the group.
The independently functioning groups have their own digital displays, while a single central touchscreen offers programming and management data, including cleaning and maintenance info and specs from the most recent 30 shots. The machine’s USB port can be used to interact with the programming system or to charge cordless scales, phones and other gadgets.
The company said Rancilio Specialty machines are expected to begin shipping in October 2018.