Inspiring genius with the Black Eagle Maverick

black eagle maverick

The Black Eagle Maverick espresso machine from Victoria Arduino provides baristas with an instrument to express themselves and their coffee in a new light.

A maverick is someone who blazes their own trail, breaking free from the mould and looking past the way things were traditionally done. This is the type of barista Victoria Arduino had in mind while developing its latest espresso machine, the Black Eagle Maverick.

“Victoria Arduino has always been inspired by the people behind the machine. When we decided to update our iconic Black Eagle machine, we wanted it to be something that would inspire them and their genius as well, to create something different and bring their ideas to life,” says Marco Feliziani, Vice-President of Simonelli Group.

“Jimi Hendrix played guitar like nobody else, but it wouldn’t have been possible if Fender hadn’t built the Stratocaster guitar. That invention gave Jimi Hendrix an instrument to express his genius in that way, and this was the idea behind the Black Eagle Maverick.”

The Victoria Arduino Black Eagle has become an icon in the global coffee industry, gracing the bench of the World Barista Championship (WBC) since 2015. Feliziani says it was no easy task to revolutionise such a highly regarded espresso machine.

“The Black Eagle is a very innovate machine. It provided barista champions with technology that was very precise in temperature and volume. When you create an iconic coffee machine for the barista and coffee communities, tied to the WBC, elevating that experience is not easy,” Feliziani says.

“To do this, we introduced new technologies to allow baristas to reach their full potential and streamlined the design to make the machine more accessible to a wider variety of coffee shops.”

PureBrew technology allows baristas to create entirely new coffee beverages.

It was important to Victoria Arduino that it consult the very baristas that will use the coffee machine every day to ensure the Maverick meets all their needs and requirements.

“When we create new designs or innovations, it is not something we do on our own. We take all the advice, feedback, and trust from the people working behind our machines over the years and use that to create something new and different that is focused on their needs and expectations,” Feliziani says.

Before launching the Black Eagle Maverick, Victoria Arduino identified several ‘coffee mavericks’ from the WBC circuit and invited them to preview and collaborate on the new machine. These leading baristas include 2019 China Barista Champion Simon Sun, 2019-2020 Indonesia Barista Champion Mikael Jasin, 2015-2016 Irish Barista Champion and 2017, 2020 Polish Barista Champion Natalia Kwiatkowska, and 2016 United States Barista Champion Lem Butler.

Feliziani says each barista champion saw something unique in the Black Eagle that spoke to them and how they express themselves through coffee. For Simon Sun, it was the T3 Genius technology providing absolute control over the extraction.

“The Black Eagle Maverick has to be an instrument that helps baristas express their genius. To do that, we’ve provided them with our most precise technology to date,” Feliziani says.

“The machine can even give you – in real time – an update on the quality of coffee extracted so you will know if the beverage you prepared meets the targets you’ve set and is the quality you’re looking to serve.”

Representing a coffee producing country, Mikael Jasin takes pride in showcasing Indonesian grown coffee on the world stage. Seeing the Black Eagle Maverick in action, he told Victoria Arduino its new Pure Brew technology is a game changer for how coffee is brewed.

Alongside a specially designed cone-shaped filter, PureBrew is a three-phase extraction method that releases the purest flavour from the coffee bean. Feliziani says PureBrew enables baristas to discover new flavours from their espresso or use the machine to produce a beverage more akin to filter coffee than traditional espresso.

2016 US Barista Champion Lem Butler is one of the mavericks Victoria Arduino recruited to test its newest machine.

“PureBrew allows you to create an entirely new experience in your café, one which highlights the pureness of your coffee. With the stainless-steel mesh filter, you are not losing some of the oils and best parts of the coffee that are usually blocked by a paper filter, so you will easily recognise a PureBrew from a v60 or AeroPress coffee,” he says.

“With filter coffee, everything is also made by the hand of the barista. When you are in a rush or must serve multiple different types of beverages, you don’t have time to make it properly. With the Black Eagle Maverick, the machine will do it for you after you design your recipe and you and your customers will always receive a consistent result in the cup.”

When the Black Eagle Maverick premiered at Host Milano in 2021, Feliziani says he was surprised by the enthusiastic response to PureBrew. About 80 of the roughly 100 cups of coffee per hour Victoria Arduino served from its stand were made using PureBrew.

“People were interested in the innovation, and they were surprised when they tested it for themselves and discovered the quality in the cup,” he says.

Natalia Kwiatowska offered similar comments to Sun and Jasin regarding T3 Genius and PureBrew, adding that the versatility of the Black Eagle Maverick could attract more customers to the coffee shop. While Kwiatowska was not sure about the new design at first, Feliziani says she came around after realising that the lower profile allows greater customer interaction and just how accessible the machine is for new baristas. 

“The machine should not only be nice to look at for the customer entering the coffee shop but for the barista spending eight hours behind it every day. While developing the Black Eagle Maverick, we focused with our barista partners to make this one of the simplest and user-friendly espresso machines on the market,” Feliziani says.

“For example, the Steam by Wire lets you set the exact level of steam you want for each jug of milk and with PureBrew, you can easily switch between espresso and filter during service at the touch of a button.”

It is not just the extraction and accessibility of the Black Eagle Maverick that were optimised during its development. With the large amount of energy going to waste in a typical café, Lem Butler told Victoria Arduino he was impressed by how sustainability was just as key a consideration in its design as quality and usability.

“We reduced the Maverick’s energy usage by 37 per cent compared to the original Black Eagle, which took a lot of work from our research and development team,” Feliziani says.

“It’s important to us that our machines be as efficient and good for the planet as possible, and now we’re seeing our customers hold the same expectations, Sustainability has become just as important as quality for the coffee industry.”

While the Black Eagle has become the machine of World Barista Champions, Victoria Arduino’s aim with the Maverick is to assist baristas of any level to produce the same quality.

“The Black Eagle was designed with specialty coffee in mind. We saw interest in that machine from high-end coffee shops around the world. This new model was developed to allow any café to provide the same level of quality, where the owner, chain, or barista is looking for a high-end machine,” Feliziani says.

“The specialty industry is still at the heart of the Maverick, but the quality of coffee is really going up everywhere, even with the more commercial industry. They are looking to offer high-quality coffee and you need not only good coffee but a well-tuned instrument to achieve that result.”

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This article was first published in the January/February 2022 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.

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