Marco: Uber Boiler - Has anyone worked with one of these?

I was on the new La Marzocco website and saw the Uber brewing station.  Looks really neat.  I haven't heard to much about it.  Can anyone shed some light on this for me?  List price point?

Best,

AP

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Joona -

 

If you'll give me a moment to disagree with you a little...

 

While it may be true that the groundwork for the Uber was laid before the current filter boom, the finish of the current design was developed for the hand filter brew market - and has been heavily touted by James Hoffmann as the solution for this market.  

 

Personally speaking, I think that categorizing the uber's downtime as merely a "shortcoming" is glossing over the issue.  The recovery time is central to the problem with the Uber.  As an operator of a coffee shop that brews every cup to order (regardless of "the rush") with seven different brewing methods (french press, aeropress, eva solo, clever, pour over, chemex & vac pot), an efficient, exacting and constant water delivery system is central to what we do.  Unlike a place like The Penny University where they don't care if they only serve three people an hour, The Spro operates much like most coffee shops were volume is the key and we simply cannot afford to have our water heater down for four minutes plus. 

 

At a price tag of nearly six thousand dollars, this kind of "shortcoming" is completely unacceptable for a production boiler.

 

I agree with you, it does look fancy and impressive.  However, the performance is anything but impressive - especially when you consider the price tag.  To get around this, the pundits seem to have started encouraging the Uber's use in lab and cupping lab scenarios - a curious development indeed.  But if you've got the means and the cabinet/counter space, I encourage you to purchase one for your home. It will be most impressive!

 

A couple of months ago, we had the opportunity to place the Luminare LB-1 on our actual brew bar for an afternoon play session.  It's an interesting unit with a lot of great potential to hit the brew market by storm.  The hoped for price point will put it in an excellent range for large scale implementation that is prohibitive for the Uber based on its price.  I've got more to say about it here:

 

http://onocoffee.blogspot.com/2010/08/bex-martin-jeremy-lindsay-and...

I have to admit that I haven't really followed J-Ho's blog these days and probably have missed something über-related. They did use buenos at Penny's so it can't be über's pourp roperties they are touting. At least they shouldn't be :)

 

Since I'm not being a native speaker I have no place to dive in to the semantics either. I wasn't trying to gloss anything. I understand "shortcoming" as something that mars the appearance or causes inadequacy or failure. It's obvious that these shortcomings are critical for you and other rushy places but some smaller and slower paced environments might try and manage with them. One might ask though what's the reason in buying expensive machine that needs to be 'tried and managed'.

 

I hope they get few Luminaires to Northern Europe as well when it's finished. It seems pretty in pictures and sophisticated in words. 


 


Jay Caragay said:

Joona -

 

If you'll give me a moment to disagree with you a little...

 

While it may be true that the groundwork for the Uber was laid before the current filter boom, the finish of the current design was developed for the hand filter brew market - and has been heavily touted by James Hoffmann as the solution for this market.  

 

Personally speaking, I think that categorizing the uber's downtime as merely a "shortcoming" is glossing over the issue.  The recovery time is central to the problem with the Uber.  As an operator of a coffee shop that brews every cup to order (regardless of "the rush") with seven different brewing methods (french press, aeropress, eva solo, clever, pour over, chemex & vac pot), an efficient, exacting and constant water delivery system is central to what we do.  Unlike a place like The Penny University where they don't care if they only serve three people an hour, The Spro operates much like most coffee shops were volume is the key and we simply cannot afford to have our water heater down for four minutes plus. 

 

At a price tag of nearly six thousand dollars, this kind of "shortcoming" is completely unacceptable for a production boiler.

 

I agree with you, it does look fancy and impressive.  However, the performance is anything but impressive - especially when you consider the price tag.  To get around this, the pundits seem to have started encouraging the Uber's use in lab and cupping lab scenarios - a curious development indeed.  But if you've got the means and the cabinet/counter space, I encourage you to purchase one for your home. It will be most impressive!

 

A couple of months ago, we had the opportunity to place the Luminare LB-1 on our actual brew bar for an afternoon play session.  It's an interesting unit with a lot of great potential to hit the brew market by storm.  The hoped for price point will put it in an excellent range for large scale implementation that is prohibitive for the Uber based on its price.  I've got more to say about it here:

 

http://onocoffee.blogspot.com/2010/08/bex-martin-jeremy-lindsay-and...

No worries Joona.   I understand where you are coming from.  

 

While the production limitations might not be such a concern for the lower volume shop, the price point should be a major concern.  In a busy coffee shop environment, the recovery of the money investment in the Uber can be quickly recouped (relatively speaking).  It will take longer for the low volume shop to recover that investment and is not a smart use of their limited resources.

 

A powerhouse, like Intelligentsia, can afford to spend $18K to test out three Uber boilers (not saying they are, just as an example) and their resources means that the $18K won't have the same financial impact on them as it would the rest of us.  Based on their size and revenue, they've got a lot more padding and cushion to recover from a poor decision, when a similar poor choice and financial decision might well wipe out many other specialty coffee companies.

Man, seems everyone's taking their Holiday weekend to read more about coffee.  I love this industry.

 

Jay, there's one more Uber in the US - in Olympia, Washington at Olympia Coffee Roasters' Westside location.  Rather than repeat everything that's been said, I'll just say that the baristas there would agree with all your points - blog post, comments, replies and all.  It's pretty much a water source for their french presses.  I understand that it may be one of the earlier production models, so prototype-flaws are to be expected.  That said, it keeps up with the 60z-worth of French Pressed coffee they do every half hour.  They use a Buono kettle for V60s.

 

The expense alone would be the major deterrent, especially on an "unproven" piece of equipment.  I'm patient, though, and I'm sure all this discussion would help a smart company to improve their product.  I'll wait.

 

(The LB-1 is exciting to watch, though, and a little competition will help both companies to improve)

??  When did they get that?  Granted it's been a few months since I've been up that way... That's what I get for falling asleep at the wheel I suppose.  Did it replace the Clover?

 

-bry

will frith said:

Man, seems everyone's taking their Holiday weekend to read more about coffee.  I love this industry.

 

Jay, there's one more Uber in the US - in Olympia, Washington at Olympia Coffee Roasters' Westside location.  Rather than repeat everything that's been said, I'll just say that the baristas there would agree with all your points - blog post, comments, replies and all.  It's pretty much a water source for their french presses.  I understand that it may be one of the earlier production models, so prototype-flaws are to be expected.  That said, it keeps up with the 60z-worth of French Pressed coffee they do every half hour.  They use a Buono kettle for V60s.

 

The expense alone would be the major deterrent, especially on an "unproven" piece of equipment.  I'm patient, though, and I'm sure all this discussion would help a smart company to improve their product.  I'll wait.

 

(The LB-1 is exciting to watch, though, and a little competition will help both companies to improve)

I agree they have started popping up here and there (here and there being relative to Starbucks' volume) but I don't think we will ever see Starbucks be defined by Clovers.  Their model doesn't support it.  I think the Clover brewers have pretty much saturated the market as far as they are ever going to in terms of Starbucks.  The whole point of Starbucks offering these is to allow their "partners" to work with smaller lots coffee.  If they put these into all of their stores then suddenly those lots are gone.

 

I could be way off, but I feel pretty confident that we won't see the Clover reach stretch much further with Starbucks.

 

Same thing as their version of "pour over" catching on.  That's still hilarious for me to watch them do...

 

-bry

Marshall Fuss said:

It certainly looked that way, but Starbucks has recently started rolling Clovers out into their highest profile locations, where they will use them to brew single origins and other limited availability coffees. The first in L.A. I think is the L.A. Live shop.

Bryan Wray said:

 

And yes, the Clover is pretty much gone.  No point in highlighting the subtle nuances in Starbucks coffee, especially not a $8,000+/piece price tag for each Starbucks location in the US.  You can still find them in some stores around the US, but as the industry as a whole moves more and more towards manual brewing I don't think we'll see them surface as a major force again, especially not with all the buzz around the Bunn Trifecta.

 

 

Safehouse Coffee and Tea has the uber in Griffin, GA...may be the only one in the Southeast. I've discussed it with the staff there, as well as those in the industry who frequent the shop more than I do. Given the fact that Safehouse is not a high-customer-flow shop, the uber is able to keep up with demand. But we're talking very slow customer flow. Safehouse has a very different business model from many shops represented on bX, which makes the uber a workable option for them.

I think the Uber would serve well in a roastery lab, where precision would allow roasters to fine tune their assessments of test roasts, etc., as well as provide accurate descriptions of coffee being shipped to retailers.

Oh, and the comment about preferring to be the Flintstones instead of the Jetsons...there needs to be a t-shirt made for baristas with that in mind. It would be incredibly awesome!
The Clover still lives at their downtown cafe.  They've got another in West Olympia, on Harrison Ave.

Bryan Wray said:

??  When did they get that?  ...Did it replace the Clover?

 

-bry

Except roaster's discriptions for retail would really only be more valid in this context for a particular brewing device Uber brewed a particular way. Unless you mean multiple sets of descriptions of each coffee for multiple brewing temps multiple brewing times multiple brewing volumes specific to different grinds for multiple brewing devices. (what did I miss?) Not a bad idea but realistically... 

Paul Yates said:
I think the Uber would serve well in a roastery lab, where precision would allow roasters to fine tune their assessments of test roasts, etc., as well as provide accurate descriptions of coffee being shipped to retailers.

Jay,

 

Comparing the Uber to the Luminaire is really not fair. One device exsists in product and the other in perpetual prototype stage.

 

I agree that the Uber has it's challenges and is not the perfect fir for every bar. I was an early adopter and brought in the first production Uber to Olympia Coffee. It showed its down falls in many areas and shined in others.  The Uber is under going updates constantly thus the overall name "The Uber Project". I would expect to see boilers that address your concerns from Marco in the reasonably near future, as this group listens quite well.

 

Just my 2 cents. Hppy New Years!

 

 

Jay Caragay said:

Joona -

 

If you'll give me a moment to disagree with you a little...

 

While it may be true that the groundwork for the Uber was laid before the current filter boom, the finish of the current design was developed for the hand filter brew market - and has been heavily touted by James Hoffmann as the solution for this market.  

 

Personally speaking, I think that categorizing the uber's downtime as merely a "shortcoming" is glossing over the issue.  The recovery time is central to the problem with the Uber.  As an operator of a coffee shop that brews every cup to order (regardless of "the rush") with seven different brewing methods (french press, aeropress, eva solo, clever, pour over, chemex & vac pot), an efficient, exacting and constant water delivery system is central to what we do.  Unlike a place like The Penny University where they don't care if they only serve three people an hour, The Spro operates much like most coffee shops were volume is the key and we simply cannot afford to have our water heater down for four minutes plus. 

 

At a price tag of nearly six thousand dollars, this kind of "shortcoming" is completely unacceptable for a production boiler.

 

I agree with you, it does look fancy and impressive.  However, the performance is anything but impressive - especially when you consider the price tag.  To get around this, the pundits seem to have started encouraging the Uber's use in lab and cupping lab scenarios - a curious development indeed.  But if you've got the means and the cabinet/counter space, I encourage you to purchase one for your home. It will be most impressive!

 

A couple of months ago, we had the opportunity to place the Luminare LB-1 on our actual brew bar for an afternoon play session.  It's an interesting unit with a lot of great potential to hit the brew market by storm.  The hoped for price point will put it in an excellent range for large scale implementation that is prohibitive for the Uber based on its price.  I've got more to say about it here:

 

http://onocoffee.blogspot.com/2010/08/bex-martin-jeremy-lindsay-and...

Terry-

I don't know if "fair" is really a consideration - especially when the Uber was also in a state of perpetual development for a very long time - and they couldn't be bothered to answer emails or questions of someone who was very interested in implementing one in the new brew bar he was building.  So much for listening and responding...

 

But I am interested to know where the Uber has "shined" as you have stated.

Proofreading fail!

I didn't mean to imply they've got another Clover.  Another Cafe is what I was going for.


will frith said:

The Clover still lives at their downtown cafe.  They've got another in West Olympia, on Harrison Ave.

Bryan Wray said:

??  When did they get that?  ...Did it replace the Clover?

 

-bry

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