Saturday 15 June 2024
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Lauro Fioretti: “Mythos, the first grinder for the specialty world designed by coffee specialists, will star at the World Barista Championship”

Fioretti: "The grinder has a cooling system with two rear cooling fans and a front heating system mounted on the burrs. This system keeps the temperature stable, leading to two advantages: consistent doses and better extraction. Because there is no thermal shock during the brewing phase. In addition, Mythos is easy to use and program, it is a plug-and-play machine that is an additional plus: it is easy for the barista to set the grind, with a precise and easy external ring that allows for an internal reset. Mythos also allows the grind to be programmed directly on the display using the plus and minus buttons. I would add that Mythos has excellent performance in terms of speed, is equipped with titanium burrs with a very long life and is also easy to clean both from the hopper side as it is very accessible, and from the burrs side which are fixed with only two screws accessible from the central part: this helps baristas with maintenance. The grinder body also slides off from the back, making the machine very accessible"

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BUSAN, South Korea – We are on the eve of the WBC, the World Barista Championship, which will be held in Busan, the second largest city in South Korea. And once again, with over 50 competitors, the Victoria Arduino Mythos grinder will be one of the stars of the show. We spoke with Lauro Fioretti, Victoria Arduino Product Manager and WCE Representative.

Fioretti, the Mythos has been on the market since 2014, in its various evolutions. Why has it marked a turning point in the grinder sector?

“We have only been an official sponsor of the world championships with Mythos for three years now, when we switched from sponsoring machines to grinders. In 2014, it was not yet an exclusive sponsorship because, by regulation, baristas could choose whether to use the official sponsor’s grinder or their own. However, I remember that during the championship in Rimini that year, about fifteen Mythos grinders were requested anyway for the competition.

This is a demonstration of the fact that Mythos was already being chosen by baristas before the sponsorship became exclusive, due to its unique features, especially for the specialty world: it has a design that distinguishes it from other grinders, with its elongated shape and a 30-degree angle of the motor compared to vertical grinders, which brings the grinding chamber closer to the ground coffee outlet. With this design, we have managed to reduce coffee retention practically down to zero.

Another unique feature of Mythos is the distribution of the ground coffee in the portafilter thanks to the clump crusher, the diffuser that allows to break up and eliminate clumping, those small balls of coffee that form during grinding due to static electricity and which in turn create air gaps in the portafilter and therefore a channelling effect. The clump crusher actually reduces or eliminates static charge and thus enables an even distribution of the ground coffee in the portafilter.

arduino fioretti
Victoria Arduino’s Mythos grinder in the special color for Busan (image provided)

Another aspect of Mythos is its stability, which translates into a constant dose, thanks to precise temperature control through Clima Pro technology. Mythos has a cooling system with two rear cooling fans and a front heating system mounted on the burrs. This system keeps the temperature stable, leading to two advantages: consistent doses and better extraction. Because there is no thermal shock during the brewing phase.

In addition, Mythos is easy to use and program, it is a plug-and-play machine that is an additional plus: it is easy for the barista to set the grind, with a precise and easy external ring that allows for an internal reset. Mythos also allows the grind to be programmed directly on the display using the plus and minus buttons.

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I would add that Mythos has excellent performance in terms of speed, is equipped with titanium burrs with a very long life and is also easy to clean both from the hopper side as it is very accessible, and from the burrs side which are fixed with only two screws accessible from the central part: this helps baristas with maintenance. The grinder body also slides off from the back, making the machine very accessible.

All these elements have been developed by a team of professionals, including baristas and engineers, and they respond to the needs to create the ideal grinder both in terms of design and technical and extraction aspects. This team included past champions James Hoffman, Fritz Storm, Gwilym Davies and Colin Harmon, university researchers and internal company technicians, including myself. Together we saw what the desired characteristics were in terms of function and aesthetics, as well as from a technical point of view.

The Mythos grinder in limited edition at the World Barista Championship in Busan (image provided)

And also extraction. For this we did several tds tests to obtain the desired sensory profile. With eight different solutions and burrs, we defined the ideal grind to obtain the best resistance, hardness and sensory profile. Mythos is known for this, as it manages to enhance the aromatic characteristics and gives a clean palate.

All these features together have generated the Mythos, the first grinder designed and designed for the specialty world by coffee specialists.”

At the World Cup, the operation has to be done quickly on the spot: how can you calibrate the Mythos for each test?

“First of all, there is a job that is done upstream even before the competition, which is carried out in coordination between the marketing team and us: the first one works on a graphic dedicated to each championship that aligns with that of the World of Coffee. In parallel, we technicians grind a few kilograms of coffee to deliver already broken-in grinders to the competitors for the practice. In this way, they are already at peak performance when they are assigned.

Then, each team of competitors requests the availability of one or two grinders from the WBC. So, we already know in advance how many will be needed and we assign each competitor one or two Mythos grinders according as per their request. They are all numbered with a unique serial number and are assigned to individual baristas.

Baristas then take the grinders with them for the practice hour, during which they will calibrate the doses and grind settings. At the end of this preliminary phase, they will bring the grinders to be installed on the competition stage with the parameters already set.

Once the competition is over, the grinder is returned to the technical staff, who clean off the coffee residue, reset the parameters, and the next day it is reassigned to the other competitors for the second day of the preliminary round.

After these two days, with an average of 50 competitors in the competition, the semifinals begin with 16 challengers who will select the grinders, have them assigned to them, and proceed with them for the entire day. The six finalists are left with the same grinders used by each in the semifinals, while those of the ten who have been eliminated are withdrawn.

In addition to this, we have two or three people available all day for the competitors who handle the delivery and collection of the grinders and answer all technical questions about the Mythos grinders. Support is therefore continuous, from practice to the final.

Apart from supporting the competitors technically, with the WBC in Busan, the Mythos grinder also celebrates the colours and flavours of the main port city of South Korea that hosts the championship.

In addition to the WBC Busan 2024 customized competition grinders, Victoria Arduino has created a unique Mythos design that celebrates the colours of the roofs of the Korean port city: a variety of colour combinations where different shapes and textures blend with geometries, which play off each other and explore the spirit of Busan and the WBC.

Why was the Mythos chosen for the WBC World Championships?

The selection of equipment for the WBC championships passed through a series of steps. First, companies are selected that operate in the specialty world and have the right tools and a global presence. An initial auction is held between companies that can, as a structure and products, support a championship like the WBC.

Victoria Arduino in Busan (image provided)

Then there is an initial technical selection phase that lasts a few days, during which three grinders are sent to perform a series of tests based on a technical protocol – grinding speed, temperature resistance, particle size, extraction efficiency, aromatic profile, repeatability, precision, usability verification – are evaluated and then a report of these aspects is drawn up and submitted to a committee.

Based on the company’s global presence, the committee chooses the technical support the company is able to provide in various countries, the auction bid, and a letter in which the company itself states the reasons why it wants to sponsor the WBC championship and its goals, the commitment to actively participate as a member of SCA in a series of initiatives.

We, for example, sponsor research with Christopher Hendon on electrochemistry within Coffee Science, we support the education team for the development of a new business model for coffee shops: all these activities demonstrate that the company does not just want to take advantage of the Association, but also wants to support it in terms of training and promotion. All this is part of the meeting and is presented to the Sca Board, which will decide who the next sponsor will be or not.

From the World Cup, let’s move on to the specialty world: how do you see it in the near future and how can the Mythos range help to improve the extraction of specialty coffees?

I have been following the world championships for about 20 years, and in the last two or three years I have noticed a greater focus on the process in the competitions. It started with washed, natural, honey coffees and now we are talking about anaerobic fermentations, controlled, with yeasts: there is a lot of research on this, as well as on new varieties and/or species.

For example, Liberica and Eugenoides have been introduced. There is an increasingly in-depth study of blends even and we are starting to talk not only about single origin.

An example was the championship of Boram Um and Daniele Ricci in Athens, who both used blends of two origins mixed in different percentages depending on whether they were used in espresso, in milk beverage or in the signature drink, to better adapt the coffee profile and find the right balance in the recipes dispensed.

The Mythos can help with its extreme flexibility, it has exceptional extraction, enhances cleanliness, and is easy to use. With the single dose hopper, you can change the coffee for each routine, whether it is espresso, milk beverage or signature. You can also change the settings very quickly between one routine and another. In competition, it allows you to vary the options on the basis of the type of test you want to carry out.

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