Swiss commercial coffee brewing equipment maker Tone Kaffeemaschinen has launched a new tankless, heat-on-demand batch brewer called the Tone Touch 04.
The new brewer made its public debut this week at the Specialty Coffee Expo in Portland, Oregon. (See DCN’s complete Expo coverage here).
On display at the booth of its United States distribution partner, GH Grinding & Brewing Solutions (GHGBS), the Tone Touch 04 is similar in appearance to its predecessor, the counter-mounted boiler-free Tone Touch 03.
While the smaller Touch 03 is optimized for pourover-style brews ranging from a 200-milliliter single cup up to 1.5 liters, the Touch 04 is designed for batches ranging from 1-4 liters while offering an equal depth of control over brewing parameters.
The new machine includes a larger showerhead, as well as two internal heating elements, as compared to the single heater inside the Touch 03. With dual 3,500-watt elements devoted to heating water on demand, the Touch 04 is ready to brew within seconds of hitting a button. By not continuously heating an idle boiler throughout the day, the Touch 04 consumes a fraction of the energy of a traditional tank-oriented brewer.
“In every coffee shop, anywhere you have a boiler, you have this energy consumption beast,” Tone Managing Director Jörg Krahl told Daily Coffee News. “The boiler was good for the time being, but now the time has changed. We need something very simple, very easy to program, energy-saving, environmentally friendly. The [Touch 04] housing is made of one metal sheet, just bent; we have next to no screws inside. When you look inside you will be amazed that there’s nothing inside the machine, actually. There’s the heating element, and the main thing is programming to keep it consistent and stable. Programming is the key.”
Through the Tone app, Touch 04 users can adjust flow rates, pulse patterns and temperature at all stages of brewing. Recipes can be assigned to any of the four physical buttons on the front of the machine, and Tone’s logarithmic software can scale recipes up or down automatically depending on volume.
New to the 04 is an integrated spout outside of the showerhead that provides hot water not only for tea but for diluting more concentrated brews. Built into the drawer that holds one of the Touch 04’s two different filter basket inserts — designed for different batch sizes — is a patented bypass pathway. The bypass allows hot water to flow directly into the urn without passing through the coffee.
Users choosing to brew at a more concentrated ratio can also program the volume of bypass water. When the brew basket is removed, the four physical buttons automatically shift to executing four different programmable hot-water profiles for tea.
“We know this industry wants bypass for bigger brews because it’s faster,” Krahl told DCN. “We said okay, we need to optimize bypass. In general, a normal brew is completely fine, we just made it because the industry claims bypass is needed.”
Tone has begun accepting orders for the Touch 04 at a price of $4,200, which comes in slightly higher than the $3,900 Touch 03. The new machine is slated to begin shipping to customers in October 2023, by which time Krahl said the company will have begun phasing the boiler-based Touch 01 and Touch 02 machines out of production.
At the HOST Milano trade event next year, Tone plans on revealing a boilerless commercial 2-group espresso machine.
“Of course we have spare parts for the next few years for the 01 and the 02, but the direction of Tone is focusing on boilerless,” said Krahl. “The future is boilerless. We are the evolution in brewing; that’s the next level.”
[Editor’s note: This story has been updated to clarify the Tone 04 machine’s power requirements. The original version included an error.]
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