A shower screen with new filtration technology for professional and home espresso machines called the Matrix is gradually launching from Italy.
The aftermarket espresso product comes by way of Milan-based boutique coffee products designer Del Creatives in collaboration with portafilter basket and shower screen manufacturer IMS, based in nearby Pavia. A beta model compatible with E61 groups is currently in circulation, and a version compatible with La Marzocco and other espresso machine groups heads is slated to follow soon.
Made from a porous stainless steel material, the Matrix shower screen is described by the makers as providing tens of thousands of channels as small as 4-5 microns wide through which water flows towards the bed of ground coffee, as opposed to offering an array of much wider holes and layered metal mesh, as found in traditional screens and filters.
Del Creatives CTO Omri Almagor said that while its channels evenly distribute the water on its way to the ground coffee, the fineness of the Matrix also acts as a pressure damper, causing some back-pressure on the flow and leading to greater uniformity of pressure throughout the shower on the coffee.
This, according to the company, results in better-tasting extractions with less channeling and drier pucks when done. The company also contends that the fineness of the screen also causes some CO2 to separate from the water, further enhancing crema, which in turn better coats the palate with oils and diminishes the perception of acidity.
“The idea is to use a highly organized, packed bed of micro-spheres made of stainless steel 316 which works both as a filter and a gicleur to assure a steady and even flow of water above the coffee puck,” Almagor told Daily Coffee News. “IMS has been working with Del Creatives on this project since the first prototype. In early 2020 we had a stable and predictable version ready for E61 groups, and we are now working on a La Marzocco-compatible version.”
In a related development, the Matrix Filter Basket is slated to roll out next month through a partnership with Italian coffee equipment seller DVG De Vecchi.
“The business model that supported me so far was creating different products, and after reaching a proof-of-concept and patenting them, I then collaborate with a strong brand that can easily fit these new products into its existing commercial activity — production, marketing, and distribution,” said Almagor. “This is our path with IMS for the Matrix shower screen and DVG De Vecchi for the Matrix filter basket.”
The Matrix filter basket employs the same porous stainless steel technology as the shower screen, but acting as a filter underneath the coffee. The resistance in this case enables the use of a standard espresso machine for extractions of more coarsely ground coffee, facilitating higher-volume brews of AeroPress-like characteristics, or extractions of other materials such as tea, spices and dried fruits.
Said Almagor, “The porous plate assures an inner pressure and the dozens of thousands of micro-channels guarantee the system won’t choke.”
As a product developer and consultant, Almagor has contributed to various projects for boutique as well as mainstream equipment brands such as Kees van der Westen, Faema, Decent Espresso, TerraKaffe, and a forthcoming roasting tech company called Griin Coffee.
Almagor said the slow pace of the COVID-encumbered year 2020 did allow time to strengthen his personal business, which now includes plans to open a coffee lab in Milan this April for further collaboration and product development with artists, designers and engineers.
“The lab will give us a place to better collaborate, roast and test fresh coffee, develop products, but also showcase our work to the industry,” said Almagor. “The goal is to be well-positioned for Host 2021 and be a part of the visitors’ Milan coffee tour.”
Del Creatives has a number of additional “fully developed” products that are ready and waiting for the right manufacturing and distribution partners, including patented automatic dosing and weighing solutions for commercial coffee grinders, a semi-professional home espresso machine design, a modular pourover device called Lu-Lu, and more.
In the meantime, the goal for the Matrix shower screen in 2021 is to produce at least 50,000 units. The next batch of E61 Matrix screens is set to become available in March, followed by the La Marzocco-compatible version this summer.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.
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