The Best New Products We Saw at Expo, Part 1 of 3

We walked the show floor to check out the high-tech brewers, espresso machines, grinders, and other new products offered at Global Specialty Coffee Expo 2018 in Seattle. Here are some of the cool things we saw.


Last month’s Global Specialty Coffee Expo boasted a sprawling exhibition floor spanning two enormous rooms, with additional booths in the skybridge walkway and the upstairs Roaster Village. The multitude of booths gave attendees ample opportunity to check out a range of new products—some released in the recent months and years, and some not even released yet. In the first installment of this three-part series, we’ll recap some of the new products we saw during our time on the show floor.

Expo is the top showcase of the latest products, such as the K30 Twin Grinder from Mahlkönig.

Company: Voga Coffee
Product: Ground Control Cyclops
About: San Francisco-based Voga Coffee debuted a new single-group iteration of its Ground Control batch brewer—called the Cyclops—at Expo 2018. The sleek machine uses a multi-stage extraction process that includes drawing coffee to the top of the brewer via a powerful vacuum, where it’s swirled in hand-blown glass bulbs, providing an enticing visual experience for the user and customer. Users can navigate through the machine’s touch screen to adjust time, temperate, and water to hone in on their preferred brew. During Expo, the Ground Control Cyclops received a Best New Product award from the Specialty Coffee Association in the Commercial Equipment category.

Brand-new batch brewer the Ground Control Cyclops—shown here with one of its creators, Eli Salomon—won a Best New Product at the 2018 Global Specialty Coffee Expo.

From the maker: “This machine works unlike any other on the market,” explains Voga Coffee CEO Eli Salomon. “It’s the only immersion brewer that makes coffee through a series of mini brews, and the result is the ultimate consistency from brew to brew.”

Company: Toddy
Product: Toddy Pro Series
About: The folks behind the Toddy cold brew system have released the new Toddy Pro Series for businesses to brew cold-brew coffee in larger volumes. The brewer features a threadless dispensing valve that’s easily removable and cleanable, as well as an internal filter platform made from one piece of brewer’s grade stainless steel, with no folds or pockets that can trap liquids or coffee grounds.

Toddy released its Pro Series batch brewer for folks who need to make cold brew in larger quantities.

From the maker: The new product is available in two versions: Toddy Pro Series 10 and Toddy Pro Series 20. Mike Skillins, who does international and key account customer service for Toddy, gave us the details on brewing with the larger version: “Use 20 pounds of coarse-ground coffee, add 14 gallons of water, and it yields 10 gallons of coffee concentrate.”

Company: Mahlkönig
Product: K30 2.0 Hybrid Twin and EK43 S (slim version)

The EK43 S was one of two new releases from Mahlkönig at the SCA Expo. The grinder is designed to be barista-friendly.

About: The German-based equipment manufacturer featured two new products in its booth. First was an updated version of its K30 Twin Grinder (pictured earlier), dubbed the K30 2.0, which boasts two sets of grinding discs—one for fine espresso grinding, the other more coarse for a range of filter options. The 2.0, which debuts in August, features new interactive software allowing users to control grind settings, record statistics, and more. Also new from Mahlkönig in Seattle was the EK43 S, a smaller version of its well-known grinder that will be released in August.
From the maker: Gary Horne, president of Mahlkönig North America, says the EK43 S was made with the barista in mind. “The reduced height makes it easier for the baristas to work with,” he says. “It’s really designed to be a barista-friendly grinder.”

Company: Unic
Product: Epic espresso machine

The new machine from Unic features a digital interface that lets baristas control factors such as pre- and post-infusion while providing a real-time visualization of shots pulled.

About: The French espresso machine manufacturer’s brand-new product—to be released in 2019—is the Stella di Caffe Epic. The three-group machine is fitted with digital interfaces that allow the user to manipulate the pre-infusion and post-infusion of espresso shots at the touch of a button. The digital screen provides a real-time visual representation of the shot that is recorded in real time, and the user can save five different profiles for future use.
From the maker: Michael DeJesus, East Coast factory rep for Unic USA, adds that the machine is equipped with heated steam valves that make for a drier steam. “Having a dry steam makes for glossier, shinier milk,” Michael says.

Company: Brewista
Product: Ratio scale

The Ratio scale was so popular at Expo that Brewista had sold out of all the scales they brought.

About: Wyoming-based Brewista makes a range of products for specialty-coffee brewing, including kettles and cold-brew equipment. One of its new products at the show was the Ratio scale, which paces the amount of coffee the user should pour during the brew process for pourover coffee. The scale automatically calculates the water needed based on the coffee grounds used and the ratio chosen. A sign that the Ratio scale was a hit at Expo: When we stopped by the booth to check it out, Brewista had sold out of all the Ratio scales they had brought to the show.
From the maker: Nile Fedewa, product designer, explained that dual timing bars on the Ratio display the actual and desired pour rates as the user goes. “It guides you through the pourover process,” he says.

Company: Rancilio
Product: Rancilio Specialty line

The Rancilio Specialty provides temperature stability and allows the barista to temperature profile during brewing.

About: Italian-based espresso machine maker Rancilio was displaying the RS1 at the show, the first offering in its brand-new Rancilio Specialty line of machines. The machine’s multiboiler system provides high temperature stability and gives baristas the ability to use temperature profiling at the brewing stage.
From the maker: Andrew Bettis, coffee specialist at Rancilio, said another benefit is that its steam system can be adjusted—there are two settings with the steamwand—to minimize water condensation when making milk drinks.

About Chris Ryan 261 Articles
Chris Ryan (he/him) is Barista Magazine's online copy editor and a freelance writer and editor with a background in the specialty coffee industry. He has been content director of Sustainable Harvest and the editor of Fresh Cup Magazine.