Oakland, California-based coffee equipment maker Ground Control has unveiled a more compact, lower-profile batch brewer that is soon to join the brand’s lineup of eye-catching commercial brewing systems.
With the same brewing technology and batch sizes as the existing Ground Control Cyclops, the new machine is notably shorter and less deep than its predecessors. It achieves the lower height primarily by integrating the brew accumulation bulb into a custom airpot at the center of the unit, diverging from the hallmark sci-fi-like bulb perched at the top of the Cyclops.
“The airpot is the center of the show here,” Ground Control Co-Founder and CEO Eli Salomon told DCN in Portland. “The airpot will have capabilities that simply don’t exist in any other airpot.”
The new machine’s airpot features a color-changing strip of LED light that glows within the vacuum-sealed space. Different colors indicate different phases of brewing and other information, serving as a conversation starter for baristas to engage with customers on the shop’s methods, equipment and coffees.
Unseen in the new airpots will be a variety of sensors collecting data on the coffee and machine usage. The sensors will feed data into the Ground Control system via Bluetooth.
“There are new types of data that we’re collecting about coffee in the airpot that no one’s ever collected before,” said Salomon. “I think it’s going to be very impactful, and there’s a sustainability piece to it as well.”
Diverging from conventional drip or pourover-style batch brewing systems, Ground Control machines combine immersion and agitation in the brew bed through a series of customizable brewing cycles per batch.
Users can program the variables of a series of brewing phases, between which a powerful vacuum pump rapidly draws out the liquid and completely dries the bed before introducing fresh hot or cold water for the next cycle.
While the Cyclops retails for $10,900, the new Ground Control brewer is projected to launch for sale at $6,800. The company is showing off prototypes of the new machine at its SCA Expo booth this weekend and expects to formally launch the machine for sale by next year’s Expo in Chicago.
“Our goal with Ground Control is to replace every batch brewer in the world, and to supplement espresso machines and replace cold brew systems as well,” said Salomon. “The idea is to create a form factor and price point where we really can place these in a much wider audience.”
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