Swedish cafe and roastery owner, and former barista champion Costas Pliatsikas has been even busier than usual this past year: besides operating his successful company, Costas Roastery, he has been working night and day on the final professional versions of a coffee tool he invented back in 2005 when he was the Swedish Barista Champion. He calls it the Intelligent Dosing Ring, or idr.
I ran into Costas at the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe show in Nice, France, a couple of weeks ago, and he was excited to show me the product. It’s so cool! The idea came about when Costas was preparing for competition in 2005, and he noticed that after he dosed into his portafilter, he would lose a lot of the grounds when he leveled off. He fashioned a crude solution ”a paper cup that fit into his portafilter.
Since those days, Costas has perfected the design. Check out this little video to see the idr in action:
He’s currently working out the IDR’s last kinks and will go into full production of the tool in September. I had the pleasure of learning more about the IDR from him ”where it came from, how it works, and how it will save baristas and cafe owners a lot of money by eliminating coffee waste ”and I thought I’d share it with you folks here on Barista Magazine’s blog.
Sarah: What inspired the idr? How has it helped you as a barista?
Costas: I came up with the idea in 2005 while training before the national barista cup in 2006. I wanted to be more stable and accurate while dosing, distributing, and leveling and also minimize my coffee waste. [I wanted to do] all of that in a fast, simple, but also artistic way! I just took a paper cup, cut it, and placed on the top of my portafilter! And it worked! It was the year I became Latte Art Champion in Sweden and came in 3rd place in the World Latte Art Championship in Bern, Switzerland! I used the very first aluminium “ring” there. It looked and worked very different than it does now.
Then I took the idea to work and realized that it helped me and my staff a lot. Most of us couldn’t work without it! But it wasn’t perfect so I continued developing it ”that’s why I didn’t have it [at the WBC] in Japan 2007. But up until this point, I was only using it for myself. I didn’t think this would be something others would want, too!
A couple of years later, I saw that some people around the world were making some similar devices. It was then I realized that the problem, even with the most modern grinders, still existed all over the world. So I made the decision to develop the idea to a final product with a unique function that would make baristas’ lives easier and also save them time and money.
Sarah: How much waste does it save? I.e. how much weight in coffee is saved by using the idr?
Costas: A small cafe that is doing 2 to 3 kilos a day can save appx 10 to 15 kilos per year! Even the most experienced baristas have an issue with wast ”believe me! Wherever I go, all over the world, I see coffee waste around the grinders. It’s simple mathematics!
1000 cafes can save approximately 10 to 15 tons of coffee per year! I believe that with the idr I can save hundreds of tons of coffee world wide. Remember: 1 kilo of fine specialty coffee can cost between $20 and $30. That’s thousands, even millions of dollars that we throw away every year.
Sarah: How much will the idr cost when it is released in September?
Costas: The final production cost is not set yet. As the idr is built of high quality material for long term use I believe that will cost around $80, more or less. A cafe can win back this amount of money by not wasting and by making a better espresso in just a few weeks. Plus the baristas will become more accurate, faster, and more effective.
Thanks, Costas! And readers, stay tuned to Costas’ website for news of the release of the Intelligent Dosing Ring in September, when it will be available for purchase.
Sarah Allen is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.