KB90 - Ultimate Workflow

In February, we borrowed a KB90 from the team at La Marzocco. And it’s been awesome. We’re really lucky to have been getting comfortable with not only a wonderful looking machine, but one that helps solve a lot of problems in regards to our staff wellbeing and wastage! Needless to say, it’s been a bit of a game changer.

Overview

The KB90’s main idea was the ‘Straight-In’ portafilters. Rather than inserting the portafilters by twisting and pulling across, you can simply guide them in on tracks, and push up – creating a seal.

This machine also came with some cheeky extra features: cool touch steam wands, automatic steam flushing group heads, scales built into the drip tray with a predictive weight algorithm programmed, and individually filled boilers that can be preset to different temperatures.

Interesting features aside, this machine begins to solve a few issues that our industry is facing – notably wastage and staff health and wellbeing. I know these sound like really big calls but it’s true! Let’s take a look:

Wastage

When dialling in on volumetric machines, we need to calibrate three different group heads flow meters – but on the KB90 you can program your shots by weight. This means more coffee to use during the day, since each group head will put out exactly the same weight, every time.

It also means there’s more time to taste in the mornings, and targets are incredibly easy to just program. Want to try a wild recipe like 17g in and 56g out? You can just program your out weight and voila! Want to just stretch out your espressos juuuust a little, by, say 1 gram? You can simply increase that out weight by changing the number, rather than using several shots across three group heads.

This means less wastage dialling in, and less ‘chasing’ that specific weight across three group heads, that could be slightly different to one another. It also means we can stay calibrated during the day – the weights will stay specific and consistent during the day – even facing variables like humidity or heat from the grinding burrs.

This is huge for cafes – more coffee to use during the day, less coffee wasted for calibration.

Staff

Now, let’s talk about staff. For baristas, it can be a little frustrating chasing these goal weights when setting up, and dare I say a little repetitive. Programming out weights is a system that simply makes life easier, more fun, and more engaging. Morning setups are faster, your time is used more efficiently rather than frustratingly, and you have more time to experiment and get that coffee tasting even better. It’s all good.

RSI and back pain from making coffee is an incredibly common occurrence. Whilst this doesn’t eliminate all back pain and fatigue from being on your feet for 40 hours a week, it takes so much stress off your wrists, twisting motions in your shoulders and back. Having recently worked on different machines across our different stores, it’s amazing what a small ergonomic change can do for the body and for the mind at the end of the day. Less stiffness, less aches, better mindset!

Having cool touch steam wands is another little detail – no silly burns on the back of your hand, no worrying about grabbing the wand in the wrong place.. It’s the details such as those, that make life a little easier with a little less to worry about.

We’ve been so glad to get on board with the KB90, and it’s been really cool to see a machine that can practically do a little more for our staff wellbeing, as well as some little extra benefits for the planet. Stay tuned for more KB90 overviews, details and fun facts in the future!