On October 13th, 180,000 people filled the halls of the Fiera Milano Exhibition and Trade Center for the biennial Host Milano. The event is an opportunity for manufacturers across the hotel, restaurant, catering, and most importantly (at least in our book), specialty coffee to show off the latest and most exciting innovations in their respective industries. Heavy hitters like Mahlkonig, La Marzocco, and Mazzer were all there with new equipment, and some impressive surprises were unveiled. Host Milano wrapped up on the 17th, and we thought we’d share a few of the most exciting, soon-to-be-released products in case you missed it.
Mahlkonig EK Omnia
Anyone who’s spent time in the world of coffee is, undoubtedly, familiar with the name Mahlkonig. Even if you’ve never worked in the coffee industry, you’ve probably seen the iconic EK43 coffee grinder at some point. Mahlkonig showed off the next iteration of their flagship grinder during Host Milano 2023 with the EK Omnia, and it’s now one of the most anticipated releases to come out of the exhibition.
The EK Omnia grinder boasts a range of cutting-edge features that builds upon the EK43, ensuring that it will be an tremendous asset in high-demand, high-expectation environments. It’s clear that Mahlkonig sought to do away with relying on arbitrary numbers on a stepless dial to land on a grind setting. Instead, the EK Omnia shows the distance between burrs in microns in real-time as the dial is turned, eliminating guesswork and communicating grind size in a cohesive and uniform language that everyone can understand.
Another exciting announcement made in tandem with the EK Omnia is the integration of Library Mode. This novel technological advancement empowers users to store their preferred grinding recipes, complete with notes and target outputs for a specific coffee. When paired with the Pre-Dosing Unit (PDU) and volumetric hopper, the EK Omnia automatically adapts to the precise burr distance in microns and grind time, as per the recipe. The front-facing LED screen serves as a user-friendly interface for setting ultra-precise micro-adjustments of the grind size. Up to 10 recipes can be saved in Library Mode, making the EK Omnia ideal for both blends and several single-origins coffees.
La Marzocco Strada X
The La Marzocco Strada became a well-known name in the commercial coffee world back in 2008 with its MP, EE, and AV models. The Strada was the culmination of thirty different baristas, known as the “Street Team”, working with La Marzocco in order to design and manufacture an espresso machine that professionals wanted to use. And since “strada” is Italian for “street”, it was only fitting that La Marzocco named the machine for the team that helped influence its creation. At Host 2023, a new Strada was shown to the public for the first time: the Strada X. With a focus on improving the characteristics of the original Strada and modernizing its aesthetics, La Marzocco pulled out all the stops with features like straight-in portafilters, mass-based profiling, smart saturation, and manual, profile, and AV modes, essentially combining the three previous Strada models into one machine.
The different modes found on the Strada X allow the barista to create pressure curves manually, such as 3-bar pre-infusions to full 9-bar extractions with 6-bar ramp downs, and then save them to run that perfect shot all day, regardless of who’s on bar. However, when looking at all of the attributes of the Strada X, the Smart Saturation is truly the focal point of the machine. This feature automates the pre-infusion stage of the extraction based on back-pressure that is sensed by the machine directly at at the group head. The point of this is to ensure that each puck is fully saturated before the pump is fully engaged, significantly reducing channeling and increasing consistency, repeatability, and workflow.
Mazzer Philos & Kony Sg
Over the last 70 years, Mazzer has built a reputation as a premier espresso grinder manufacturer with solid roots in Italian heritage. Not only does Mazzer assemble all of there grinders, but they are completely designed and produced in Italy for quality control. It’s for this reason that most specialty shops choose to pair their espresso machines with Mazzer grinders, and they certainly came out swinging at Host 2023, announcing two new releases that should be on everyone’s radar.
In the world of commercial espresso grinding, the Kony has been a countertop staple, and Mazzer announced plans to bring new technological advances to cafes around the world with the Kony Sg. Featuring a built-in load cell, this low RPM, 63mm conical grinder will be capable of grinding by weight instead of time for precise and consistent doses while easing the workflow of the barista. The end user will be able to program three doses, each to the hundredth of a gram for repeatable espresso throughout the day. Mazzer added this new, streamlined tech to the Kony Sg without leaving behind the features like the Grind Flow Control system that reduces static and increases particle uniformity. With several of the largest grinder manufacturers integrating a grind-by-weight functionality, Mazzer made it clear that they wouldn’t be left behind.
Perhaps one of the most anticipated releases to be announced at Host 2023 was the Philos, Mazzer’s first foray into the world of single-dose grinding. Single-dosing has become more and more popular over the last few years as it allows the user to grind only what’s needed for the chosen brewing method while keeping the rest of the coffee safe from oxidation. While this feature is certainly exciting, it only scratches the surface of the Philos’ capability.
Mazzer designed the Philos with several well-thought-out attributes to compliment its single-dosing functionality. Inside the grinder, you’ll find a pre-breaking auger that assists the burrs in creating particle uniformity and overall grind speed. Two separate burr sets were chosen for the Mazzer Philos: one for high clarity of fruit-forward, floral acidity, and one for a more balanced and sweet extraction that is typical of more traditional espresso. A 58mm dosing cup sits directly under the vertical grounds chute with an integrated knocker and is held in place by neodymium magnets for perfect placement every time it gets used. The Philos also utilizes a grind adjustment wheel that can be used as either stepped or stepless. If you choose the stepped setting, each click amounts to only 6 microns of burr movement, or 0.006mm. As always, the stepless choice will allow for infinite grind settings for the perfectionist. While these qualities make the Philos a strong contender for one of the best single-dosing grinders out there, it’s got a couple more tricks up its sleeve.
Many grinders claim to be “zero retention” machines, but history has shown us that this simply isn’t the case, until now. The Mazzer Philos comes with a tool called the ‘dose-finisher’ that can be used after each phase to remove any leftover grounds from the chute and placed in the dosing cup with the rest of your coffee. Gone are the days of weighing out 18.1 grams of coffee for a true, 18 gram shot. You can be sure that every last bit of coffee that you put in the hopper ends up in your dosing cup, and that cross-contamination of coffees are a thing of the past.
There were several other rousing announcements at Host Milano 2023. Victoria Arduino has unveiled an updated, Pro version of the popular E1 Prima that incorporates a 2.1-inch touchscreen at the group head, while Eureka has made their way into the home espresso machine world. A Swiss commercial coffee equipment manufacturer by the name of Tone Kaffeemaschinen showed off a prototype of their first commercial espresso machine that features two groups and a boiler-free design. To say that technology was king at Host 2023 would be an understatement.
Host Milano 2023 was one for the books. Full of new, exciting equipment, we’re genuinely looking forward to these product releases. If you have any questions about new products, please feel free to reach out to us. We always love talking with you about equipment and we’re truly happy to help answer any questions that you may have.