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Marco Barison (R&D Mazzer): «Gfc, the latest development from a green manufacturer»


MILAN, Italy — Mazzer, a well-established name in the field of coffee grinders, has presented its latest technological innovations at HostMilano, some of which have already been incorporated into a growing number of machines in the range. Solutions that improve functionality, efficiency and ease of use, with the aim of making the barista’s life easier. We found out more about them with Marco Barison, engineer member of the company’s R&D team.

At Host Milano 2019 you presented a new technology that Mazzer is introducing across its new range. What does it do?

“When our redesign of the Mazzer range began in 2017, we were faced with a number of challenges: improving the consistency of the grind; reducing the amount of coffee wasted; making it easier to clean parts of the machine that are difficult to access. All these things will simplify the barista’s daily work and improve the quality of the in-cup result. Everything needs to work in different countries, different climates and for vastly differing coffees. The answer from our Laboratory was to design the GFC (grind flow control) system, initially incorporated into the Robur S and Kold S models, and now also available on our new Kony S and Major V machines.

How does it work?

“GFC is composed of a removable aluminium outlet insert with one or more wire dampers. The process is very different from that used by traditional grinders, where the flow is blocked at the entrance or the exit to the chute. GFC is actually a dynamic system that responds reactively to the coffee, without obstructing the flow, but with enhanced control throughout the chute.”

“The system prevents clumping and at the same time reduces the electrostatic charge of the coffee grounds, so less is dispersed across the counter. GFC enables greater control of the flow of coffee inside the chute, improving dose consistency and the quality of the grind. In addition, the component is easy to remove, making cleaning extremely simple and efficient, further improving the in-cup result.”

A range of dampers

“Our aim is to optimise the quality of the grinds in the basket in every situation. Weather conditions, coffee origin, roast profile, the work environment and barista preferences are all important variables. Because of this, we give roasters and baristas the ability to customise the GFC system by changing the component that regulates the flow. For this reason, the finished grinder leaves the factory with a hybrid damper which gives the best results in the majority of situations and with the majority of coffees.”

“But in certain cases, such as in humid environments where clumping is an issue or, in the opposite case, dry environments which create electrostatic charge and cause coffee grinds to be blown across the counter, or for very light or dark roast profiles, the component can be customised by choosing the most appropriate damper. The Robur S and Kold S machines currently offer a choice of 3 dampers: AntiClumping, AntiDust and Hybrid, but the system has been designed in such a way as to leave the door open for further customisation in future. We have worked to ensure that this operation can be performed easily so that the barista can rapidly adapt the GFC system.”

Why is this technology useful? For the barista and for the in-cup result?

“Grind consistency allows better extraction, with a better in-cup result.” Reducing electrostatic charge avoids the coffee being blown across the counter, avoiding mess and wastage. The easy-to-remove component enables cleaning to be carried out quickly and thoroughly, avoiding the build-up of coffee residues which can affect the in-cup taste. Being able to customise the component makes the equipment more flexible, allowing the best results to be achieved in widely differing settings.”

What are the latest innovations from Mazzer for 2019?

“The Kony S conical burr grinder, the next generation of the current Kony, and the Major V flat burr grinder, developed from the previous version of the Major. Both are equipped with new electronics that provide IoT functionality, and they’re designed to offer enhanced ergonomics that make the barista’s work easier. Both will have the GFC system, but adapted differently and with different components, but with the same principle and aim: to control the way in which the coffee reaches the basket and to improve the extraction.”

What do baristas say?

“The feedback has been very positive regarding managing clumping, electrostatic charge, dose consistency and ease of cleaning. They also really like the ability to personalise the equipment based on their individual needs.”

It sounds like you’ve added something that’s simple but game-changing

“The component is simple from the point of view of functionality and usability for the barista, but the technology required to produce it and the huge amount of research and planning behind it is very complex. It’s a question of precision mechanics applied to very small components, requiring extensive work in CNC machines for continuous 5-axis machining, and developing a solution has involved both mechanics and fluid dynamics.
“A real challenge. To meet it, it’s vital for Mazzer to have the production capacity of a highly-specialised team of technicians at its disposal, as well as a workshop with the latest machinery and technologies, allowing us to produce very complex components that are then transformed into simple tools for the barista. For years we have invested 12% of our turnover in research and development, and with over 70 years’ experience behind us the results are tangible, and the proof is in this little jewel of engineering.”

The GFC system also makes for a cleaner grinder

“An additional benefit of the GFC system is that the quick-release system allows easy removal of the component and total cleanliness of the chute. This system will enable new standards to be reached in current best practice for maintaining equipment, avoiding contamination with traces of coffee and thus improving the quality of the in-cup result. We’re talking about the ability to remove and clean components that are in contact with the flow of ground coffee, but doing it will be simpler, so the effort required of the barista to maintain good practice will be minimal compared with previously.”

“The GFC system is installed in our new Robur S, Kold S, Kony S and Mayor V models. Given the results it enables baristas to achieve, we’ll be incorporating it across the entire new range with the necessary modifications but the same philosophy of use.”

And all from Mazzer, a green manufacturer

“For a number of years now at Mazzer we’ve been making a considerable investment to ensure we have the least possible impact on the environment. To date, 40% of our coffee grinders are produced using solar energy generated by our new photovoltaic plant built after our expansion in 2016. 572 megawatts of energy per year are produced using renewable energies, giving an estimated environmental saving of 397 tonnes of CO2. The increased efficiency of our plants has allowed us to reduce our energy consumption, and the careful management of manufacturing waste means that over 120 tonnes of waste a year are recycled through external waste management services and so given a new life.”