La Marzocco announces a new espresso machine, the KB90, aimed at improving efficiency and ergonomics.
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
On February 1, La Marzocco announced the launch of a brand-new machine: the KB90. Named after former La Marzocco International CEO and now chairman of the board, Kent Bakke, the KB90 is a machine meant to focus on the needs of everyday baristas.
The KB90 will be familiar to most baristas because it has the same interface as the Linea PB. However, Kent and his team worked to improve efficiency and ergonomic use of the machine in two key ways.
First, there’s the Straight-In Portafilter system, a completely redesigned grouphead that allows baristas to simply place their portafilters in straight on, as opposed to twisting a portafilter into the grouphead. This feature is meant to reduce strain on the wrist that is often experienced by baristas who have to pull shot after shot and repeat the twisting motion over and over. “By simplifying the fine motions of the barista, the KB90 is able to shave seconds off of the time required to make each drink,” a press release from La Marzocco states.
Second, there’s the Steam Flush system. “The machine’s Steam Flush system automatically purges the group with water and steam, removing the need for the barista to push another button and increasing the cleanliness of the group over the course of service. It removes coffee residue much more effectively for better-tasting espresso,” the press release states. Baristas can simply pull shots over and over without having to worry about purging the grouphead in between shots.
The KB90 also features the same standard features that we love from the Linea PB, like Drip Prediction technology, 3-Button User Interface, and Auto-Volumetrics. In true La Marzocco fashion, the design of the machine was also carefully considered. “Inspired by fast and iconic cars from the ’70s, KB90 has a retro shape and comes in red, a celebratory color of their recent 90th anniversary,” according to the press release.
Building a machine that is ergonomically friendly is a triumph years in the making for La Marzocco. “It’s always been a part of La Marzocco’s DNA to focus on the job of the barista,” shares the machine’s namesake, Kent Bakke. “Twenty years ago, we started thinking that espresso machines should be operated with natural movements and motions to increase the enjoyment and speed of use for the barista. With the creation of the Straight-in Portafilter, I feel that we have built a machine that will forever improve the way the barista interacts with our machines.”
If you’re in Seattle, you can check out the unveiling of the KB90, along with a presentation from Kent, on February 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the La Marzocco KEXP Café. You can also check out the feature on the KB90 in the February + March 2019 issue of Barista Magazine.