Rancilio Group Australasia General Manager Paul O’Brien reveals an assortment of new coffee machines that were on display at this year’s Melbourne International Coffee Expo.
For many businesses, withstanding the global pandemic was a challenging period, but for Italian-based espresso machine manufacturer Rancilio Group, it provided a moment of clarity and focus.
According to Rancilio Group Australasia General Manager Paul O’Brien, the company’s investment in research and development over the past two years has given birth to possibly the biggest update in its portfolio of professional coffee machines.
“It’s been a long time in between drinks with lockdowns, so we locked down wisely and really invested in R&D and our brand,” O’Brien says.
As such, Rancilio will use its participation in the 2022 Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE), which took place from 27 to 30 September to share its company updates with the Asia Pacific market, and wider international coffee community.
“Perhaps counter-intuitive to what’s currently happening in the market, we will be presenting probably the biggest update in our portfolio, ever. Certainly, in my time over the last 20 years, I’ve never seen so many new and refreshed models. That includes everything from our Home Line, Rancilio range, Rancilio Specialty range, and also our Egro range – we’ve got new and updated products across every category.”
Another trend Rancilio has capitalised on is a market demand for more accessible specialty coffee machines.
“Coming out of COVID-19, there’s a lot of refurbished equipment being used, but people still have an appetite for new machines and new technology,” O’Brien says.
“That’s why we’ve responded with the Rancilio Specialty Invicta. It’s a single boiler espresso machine, more approachable, and easy to use for baristas.”
The Invicta is a completely new model that follows on from Rancilio Specialty’s RS1 top-end machine. Wrapped up in a modern design, O’Brien says Invicta is an easy-to-use single boiler that speeds up service and allows baristas access to the brand’s best extraction technologies with electronic control of the coffee, water, and steam functions.
“Invicta is a step below the RS1. It’s got the styling and the touchscreen interface from the RS1, but we’ve had a global market demand for a machine that has different technologies for a different target,” O’Brien says.
These technologies include pre-infusion and post-infusion. Pre-infusion allows the barista to vary the water pressure in the initial stage of the extraction process, while post-infusion focuses on the final stage. The barista can also choose between mains pressure or pump pressure, and adjust the duration of each stage.
Additionally, Invicta has a four-position T-switch that means the barista can set a different temperature for each group, even on single-boiler machines.
Moving over to the Rancilio base range, the Classe 5 and Classe 7 traditional espresso machines have been recently restyled and are the brand’s biggest sellers at present. Both using Rancilio’s Steady Brew (SB) technology, these machines are available as automatic or semi-automatic models, and are easy to clean.
This range also has the Classe 20 in both single boiler and multi-boiler (ASB) versions. The single boiler system can control temperature stability, and has an intelligent interface that enables users to monitor all functional components. The technical menu includes a service function, allowing users to quickly check that all the circuits and various components (pumps, solenoid valves, heating elements, sensors, flowmeters) are in good working order from the touchscreen.
“The Classe 20 will be our first multi boiler in the Rancilio range. We currently have a multi-boiler offering in the specialty range, so this will essentially be the top offering within the Rancilio brand before you get up to specialty,” O’Brien explains.
“It’s the best balance of performance and price because it is a Rancilio product, is very easy to use and is very stable. We’re filtering down a lot of our top technology from our RS1 model in the Rancilio offering to create the multi-boiler machine.”
Within the Home Line range of domestic machines, the most recent addition is the Silvia Pro X – a top end dual boiler Proportional-Integral-Derivative offering that will be presented at MICE.
“We launched the Sylvia Pro at the last MICE about two years ago, and we’ve taken a lot of market feedback on board and quite quickly turned around the Sylvia Pro X,” O’Brien says.
“The big ticket item for this machine would be soft infusion, which is something you would normally only find on our top end specialty machines – and we’re now enabling that at home, in a domestic environment. We’re pretty pumped about this one and globally, it’s been very well received already, especially in the US.”
On a traditional machine, O’Brien says users would push a button and the pump would run straight up to maximum pressure – usually going from 0 to 9 bar immediately, or very quickly. “If you haven’t tamped correctly or clumped your coffee, which is actually very common, it causes channelling in the coffee, it gives you an inconsistent shot and a sour taste,” O’Brien says.
“What soft pre-infusion offers you is a much slower ramp up in pressure. It pre-wets the coffee cake over a period of time, which is user programmable, before you hit maximum pressure. It gives you a much more even extraction and actually allows you to run a finer grind as well. By running a finer grind, you physically get more coffee granules in for the same fixed weight. Ultimately, it results in a better, more consistent cup of coffee which can be measurable.”
Rancilio’s new products have been entered in the MICE Product Innovation Awards, and have already received positive feedback from customers.
“We can thank our US counterparts for a lot of the new products, and Australia and New Zealand have a very similar market,” O’Brien says. “When Invicta was launched, it completely sold out in America as well as the Silvia Pro X. Even locally in Australia, the Silvia Pro X is already 80 per cent pre-sold.”
Despite the current labour challenges in the industry, O’Brien says that Rancilio is prepared for the long term.
“In terms of the Australian market, we are absolutely ready for business. Everything we present is not six to 12 months away, it’s here today and in stock and we’re ready to share it,” he says. “Going forward, it is a challenging time with labour at the moment but we will be building a dedicated, specialised coffee team [in the ANZ market], with both sales and technical to support the market.
“We live and breathe the coffee game – we’re seeking feedback, partnerships, we want to help roasters brew the best coffee they can, café owners to be as efficient and effective as they can, and get everyone back to business as quickly as possible.”
For more information, visit www.ranciliogroup.com
This article was first published in the September/October 2022 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.