This coming March (2020) the Victoria Arduino Eagle One espresso machine will be launched in the UK. With the official world tour currently underway we’ve been lucky enough to get our hands on one of the first models. The machine is only with us for a couple of weeks but it is enough time to gain a better insight into this new and exciting piece of kit. Read on to discover our first impressions or watch the video below.
Out of the Box
Even before we unpacked this machine, the size really struck us. It is a very compact design. Locate this machine on the front bar of your coffee shop and it won’t impinge on that vital merchandising space you need to push sales. When a machine looks this good it needs to sit on that front bar. The machine has a very low profile so even when stacked with cups, it is very easy for staff to see over the top, allowing them to engage with customers or just keep a general eye on the cafe floor.
The side and back panels are of a simple yet effective design. They are very easy to customise. We’ve already seen designs in wood and marble, and in the coming months I’m sure we’ll see some very creative ideas come to the fore.
There are a number of energy saving features built into this machine. Each coffee group holds just 150ml of water – the aim being to heat just the necessary amount of water. In a similar fashion the steam boiler has a capacity of just 7 litres but operates at a suggested pressure of 2.1 bar. All boilers are surrounded by insulating materials to minimise heat loss. One neat idea in the machine is the ‘Thermal Energy Recovery System’. Hot water which is back-flushed down the drain after each shot is used to slightly heat the incoming cold water.
The machine was a joy to use and the whole team became avid fans very quickly. Steam wands have an electronic control for both the purge and for continuous steam. It took a couple of jugs of milk to get used to this subtle change in operating the wands but I’m pretty sure the ease of use will pay dividends during a busy service. The power and dry nature of the steam was easy to adapt to, though we fitted slightly smaller steam tips to help manage the pressure. We were able to heat jugs of milk very quickly and the wand produced plenty of spin to texture the foam. The wands are controlled by solenoid values which should require much less maintenance than traditional, manual steam wands.
Controlling the machine is through a 2.8″ touch display which is very easy and intuitive to use. Much of the machine can be customised from individual group temperatures to how the steam wand controls operate. We managed to get the machine set up and dialled in within 20 minutes, easily changing group temperatures, brew pressure and the volume of water dispensed by each button. There is an app in development which will allow for adjustments to be made away from the machine. There are also a number of diagnostic features within the machine which will help alert service engineers to potential faults or issues. We’ve only had a quick look at the app but it seems we are beginning to borrow technology from automatic coffee machines, which can only be a good thing.
The ‘autoflush’ facility is a nice feature though it seem to be more relevant if a machine is being operated by baristas working in tandem. When the portafilter is removed from the group head the machine performs an autoflush. However if there is a delay of more than 20 seconds before the portafilter is removed, the autoflush is cancelled. As I was pouring milk onto the espresso before emptying the spent coffee, I often lost this feature. I’m hoping this delay can be customised as the software gets updated.
The machine has an auto clean facility which is again fully customisable. Want a longer wash time for a busy location ? It’s easy to alter in the menu. During the wash cycle a countdown timer appears on the group heads allowing you to see clearly when the wash cycle will finish.
So far the feedback from the whole team has been overwhelmingly positive, from the overall books to the ease of use. We have the machine here at Carvetii HQ for the next couple of weeks and in that time we hope to explore a few more features. If you’re looking to purchase a new machine and would like to try the Eagle One for yourself, please feel free to join us at our open event on 2nd March 2020.