Coffee Machines, Profiles, Simonelli

The evolution of the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle Maverick

Black Eagle Maverick

Victoria Arduino Product Manager Lauro Fioretti reveals how sustainability and technology unite in the Black Eagle Maverick, the manufacturer’s smartest and most efficient coffee machine to date.

The relationship between sustainability and technology is symbiotic: technology is often the key to sustainable advancements, while a drive towards a greener future fuels innovation in intelligent machinery and equipment. It’s a correlation Victoria Arduino Product Manager and World Coffee Events Representative Lauro Fioretti understands deeply, and one which inspired the creation of the Italian manufacturer’s new flagship machine.

Released in 2022, the Black Eagle Maverick is considered the company’s most intelligent, user-friendly, and efficient machine yet. Following the success of the VA388 Black Eagle, it was designed to be a modern evolution of the iconic model, which would answer baristas’ calls for a machine that delivered peak performance and cutting-edge technology while also reducing emissions.

“Technology is constantly evolving,” says Fioretti. “We still loved the VA388 Black Eagle, but we had developed so many new technological advancements in our research and development department that a completely new machine was warranted.”

With European Union targets in place to reduce greenhouse emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 and have a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, Fioretti and team knew their next release needed to be as efficient as possible – not just to fulfil the company’s own carbon-negative ambitions but to serve its clients who want to invest in the future.

Fortunately for Fioretti, many of the developments the team had been working on to improve performance also happened to increase efficiency.

“Essentially, we’ve used less power and fewer materials to create a machine that delivers better performance than any of our previous models,” says Fioretti.

“Take the boiler, for example. To deliver peak performance, the VA388 Black Eagle required a 14-litre boiler. Over the past eight years, we worked on a solution to increase the pressure with less water, and now the Black Eagle Maverick produces an elevated result on just an eight-litre boiler.”

The Victoria Arduino engineers collaborated with an Italian university to conduct a lifecycle assessment of the materials used to produce the Black Eagle Maverick to help calculate the machine’s environmental impact.

“We discovered the materials only account for 5 per cent of the machine’s total impact, which told us that 95 per cent of its total energy consumption would be in its day-to-day use. Therefore, we knew we had to make it as efficient as possible,” says Fioretti.

One of their solutions was to develop a Thermal Energy Recovery System, which uses leftover energy scraps to preheat incoming water.

“We realised every time the group head is flushed, the energy used to heat the water is literally going down the drain. Therefore, we developed a system that recycles the energy used to heat the water by diverting wastewater into an insulating box that transfers the energy to the heat exchanger which heats fresh water,” explains Fioretti.

In total, the Black Eagle Maverick uses 37 per cent less energy than previous Victoria Arduino models. Improved electronics and Proportional Integral Derivative mean the machine can control the heating elements with greater speed and efficiency while maintaining a consistent temperature.

“Having a super efficient coffee machine can make a huge difference to a café’s energy consumption because it’s in use for most of the day,” adds Fioretti.

One aspect of the machine Fioretti is particularly proud of is the PureBrew Technology (PB Tech), a high-frequency pulsing mechanism which allows the machine to create consistently smooth tasting espresso but also prepares filter-style coffee, or PureBrew, at the touch of a button.

“Traditionally, espresso is created using high pressure and grounds that have been compacted in the basket, which makes it hard for the water to penetrate every surface of the coffee grounds. Our PB Tech creates ‘relaxing moments’ using high-frequency pulses to increase the permeability of the coffee, while also keeping the pressure high,” he says.

Image: Victoria Arduino

According to Fioretti, this results in an improved coffee profile and flavour. To evidence their theory, the team conducted a series of blind taste tests on six different coffees, which were prepared with and without the PB Tech. The overwhelming feedback was that it smoothed the extraction of coffee to create a more balanced cup.

“The biggest challenge when preparing espresso is finding the perfect equilibrium of sweetness, acidity, and bitterness. Our PB Tech resolves this,” says Fioretti.

The PB Tech helps users create consistently great espresso and can be used to produce filter-style coffee on an espresso machine. The PureBrew low-pressure extraction method simply requires the barista to use a specially adapted basket, and uses low-frequency pulses to recreate a similar structure to filter coffee.

The Black Eagle Maverick also includes Victoria Arduino’s Gravitech technology, which gives baristas ultimate control of consistency and precision via a weight-sensitive drip tray that automatically senses cup weight. Despite these advanced functionalities, Fioretti stresses the machine is extremely easy to use.

“We wanted to create a coffee machine that speaks the same language as the barista,” he says.

“There are some very geeky machines on the market, which appear scary to me as an engineer, so I can imagine they are very daunting for some baristas. We wanted to do the opposite of this, and have paid particular attention to the interaction between barista and machine.”

A machine library makes it super simple for users to create recipes and then share them with colleagues, or even clients, via the Victoria Arduino app.

“It’s a great tool for roasters who want to dial in a new coffee and then share the recipe with their customers who also use a Black Eagle Maverick,” says Fioretti. “It’s an easy way for people in the coffee community to share knowledge.”

Fioretti says the feedback they’ve received for the machine so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with users loving the sleek new aesthetic, smaller footprint, and touch-screen display.

“People have been very enthusiastic,” he says. “They like how powerful it is, and the amount of control they have over the machine, which is resulting in better consistency, streamlined workflow, and more precise coffee.”

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This article was first published in the May/June 2024 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.

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