Raising the bar with the Victoria Arduino E1 Prima
Interest in high-end single group coffee machines for the home have peaked in the last year, with Victoria Arduino leading the charge by releasing the Eagle One Prima single group domestic model.
Form meets function in the design of the Victoria Arduino E1 Prima, positioning it as an ideal coffee machine suitable for industry professionals and enthusiasts alike.
After 30 years working in the Australian coffee industry, Brett Dedman admits the new E1 Prima has cured him of something he’s okay to admit to – his craving for instant coffee.
“I am currently the only one in the country with the Victoria Arduino E1 Prima sitting on my kitchen bench, and I’m never looking back,” says the Australian Sales Manager for Victoria Arduino.
“The thing I love most about this machine is that just like the professional Eagle One models, it produces the type of quality you’d expect in a café. I have been making coffee for family and friends on it, and not one person left saying it wasn’t good.”
The E1 Prima one-group espresso machine made its global debut on 18 September, with an online video that, at time of print, was watched by more than 20,000 people.
In a year that saw more people working from home, the retail market advance, and home barista needs excel to another level, Brett says the machine’s launch was perfect timing.
“I think interest in domestic models is set to continue. The Prima is a high-end single group machine that’s suited to anyone wanting to extract the best from their coffee at home, in a restaurant, an office, a coffee cart, or roastery,” he says.
“A roaster needs a precise machine to profile their roasts. They may already have an Eagle One in the field and could be guaranteed the same experience on the one-group Prima back in the roastery.”
Already, Victoria Arduino Australia distributor Espresso Mechanics has 50 units of the E1 Prima coming into Australia by the end of January, in matte black, white and steel.
The 10-amp machine is SAA Approvals certified, the highest certification standard in Australia for domestic machines. It can be plugged straight into a wall with an in-built water tank or plumbed water supply both available in the one unit.
The E1 Prima offers a sustainable alternative that considers the machine’s environmental impact in terms of energy and economic savings. It incorporates Victoria Arduino’s New Engine Optimization (NEO) technology that represents a new approach to heating water for coffee extraction. NEO technology was first developed for Victoria Arduino’s Eagle One commercial espresso machine. The technology proved to be so compact that it is easily adapted into the E1 Prima without compromise because only the required water for extraction is heated.
As such, the E1 Prima features a small stainless-steel boiler. Because it’s separated from the NEO technology, users can extract espressos and steam milk without losing power at either end.
This steam-by-wire system is electronically controlled through new and improved ergonomic levers. It maintains high pressure levels to allow a greater dry and saturated steam production with an elevated power/speed ratio to reach a superior cup quality.
To control the extraction, the E1 Prima has an interface to display shot time, but Victoria Arduino has also created a mobile app to fully engage with “the magic” of an extraction. Via the app, users can set the temperature, pre wet the coffee, program the steam pressure and hot water volume, and see extraction time.
The best part, Brett says, is the ability to create recipes and share them with friends at home or colleagues in a professional setting to replicate using an iPhone or Android with Bluetooth capabilities.
“Imagine that I’ve just been to my favourite café. I bought a bag of beans and asked for the extraction recipe: 19 grams in, 38 grams out, and a 27-second extraction at 93.5°C. I put those details into the app, make any volumetric adjustments I want, upload any parameters – I can even select to pre-wet the coffee, and the machine picks up the instructions and makes the recipe within five seconds of receiving the data. It does the hard work for you,” he says.
“If you want to explore the app’s capabilities and go totally crazy with recipes, you can. And if you don’t want to play and just want a super tasty coffee, take the machine out of its box, switch it on, and let it do its magic. It’s fully functional without the app too.”
Users can also join the community of Victoria Arduino users and follow the recipes of baristas champions such as 2007 World Barista Champion James Hoffmann, 2014 Champion Hidenori Izaki, 2018 winner Dale Harris, and 2007 Swiss Barista Champion and General Manager of Victoria Arduino Australia, André Eiermann.
“I was invited to work on the Prima when my travel plans to Australia got delayed thanks to COVID-19. I remember going into the Simonelli Group headquarters in Italy and was directed into a room that no one outside the ‘Simonelli family’ was allowed to enter,” André recalls.
“Simonelli Group Vice President Marco Feliziani and CEO Fabio Ceccarani were there. They tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘we are going to show you a secret’. They took me through the production area into another tiny room, and that’s when I understood the significance of what they were doing.”
In addition to his contribution on the Prima and NEO technology, which was first installed in the Eagle One, André also had the idea to integrate the World Barista Championship (WBC) sensory score sheet parameters into the app.
“I think this feature suits the Australian market perfectly for users who want to be specific about the taste balance and flavours they want to achieve from their coffee and the tactile,” he says.
André was also invited to demonstrate the first official unboxing and installation of the E1 Prima in an online video, shot on location in Fabio’s kitchen.
“When I spoke to Brett about how Australians make coffee at home, he told me to ‘think how a high-end barista works’. He assured me 100 per cent I’d need scales to weigh my shots, so I did,” he says.
That’s not the only advice that came from the Australian market. Brett was also influential in having live pump pressure added to the app for users to monitor, opposed to the small percentage of people who would have access to a Scace device.
The machine also comes with a knob to manually change the pump pressure for the extraction.
Users can thereby extract a shot at the pressure they want, and read the actual pressure on the screen of the App.
Also catering to the Australian market is the inclusion of two steam tips – the WBC version with large holes to enable faster steaming for large volumes of milk, if needed.
The steam tip with smaller holes is ideal for steaming smaller volumes of milk for a single cappuccino, flat white or latte, for example.
“The Italians really do listen to the needs of the Australian market,” André says. “But to think that the Prima has the exactly the same technology, boiler, and high performing ability as the much larger Eagle One thanks to the NEO engine is an incredible engineering feat.
“What I really like about the Prima is that it’s a totally professional machine for home use. It’s small and compact, and by now, everyone knows that I’m an extraction geek, so the fact that you can do whatever you want to the profile but still have full control is amazing. I can’t wait for others to geek out over it too.”
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This article appeared in the February 2021 edition of BeanScene.