Slayer Espresso on its new Slayer Steam Single

Slayer Espresso on its new Slayer Steam Single

Image: Slayer Espresso

Slayer Espresso has released a new one-group espresso machine to round out its Steam line with an evolutionary, accessible, and high-quality product.

Slayer Espresso model names are renowned for taking their inspiration from music records. First came the EP ‘extended play,’ distilling the features required of specialty coffee into one neat volumetric package. Then came the LP or ‘long play’, which built on the EP’s feature set by adding pressure profiling and a host of other features for discerning coffee pros.

But there’s one piece to the music puzzle that’s eluded the Slayer Steam line-up until now: the humble yet equally valuable ‘single’. Typically, when an artist releases a standalone song, it’s done with a marketing motive to promote an album and build excitement. In the case of the new Espresso Steam Single, Slayer Espresso Brand and Product Manager Tommy Gallagher says it completes the brand’s offering and gives café operators and home coffee aficionados a chance to be excited about owning a small piece of the Slayer brand.

“Our existing Single Group machine is designed for the professional market, but we’re fortunate enough that it is also very popular among home users. The new Steam Single is an opportunity for us to better address the home demographic,” he says.

“It presents a bit more evolutionary than revolutionary, but the work that has brought it to this stage has really laid a foundation for us to introduce some very exciting, more revolutionary, commercial- oriented products in the near future.”

Gallagher says the Steam series is by far the most accessible machines Slayer produces in terms of features and ease of use, relative to price point.

“Our mission is to ‘make coffee better’, and the Steam product range makes that easier by including the kinds of features most brands charge you extra for, as the default,” he says.

“In a world of crazy rents and increasing homogeneity, my hope is this machine enables more start-up, pop-up, mixed use applications to ‘make better coffee’. In a world of increasingly automated appliances and less investment in training, I hope in this machine people find the curiosity and desire to learn more about coffee making.”

Gallagher says the biggest difference in this machine is its internal freshwater reservoir, the first of any Slayer Espresso machine to include one. Slayer’s original Espresso Single Group was developed to be a commercial machine first and foremost. The Steam Single, however, was designed with a different user scenario in mind, and as such, benefits from a fresh water tank.

“Despite the familiar package and appearance, the Steam Single is built on a totally new platform with some insights on how we’ve developed our own machines, as well as insights from some other Cimbali Group products,” Gallagher says.

“This means it’s better adapted for domestic and more portable use. All you need to do is place it on a benchtop, plug it in, and it’s ready to brew.”

Other key features of the Steam Single include an intuitive barista dashboard and user interface, the ability to manually dial in and save the desired shot, and a single pump regulated pre-infusion. The latter allows baristas to soak the coffee before extraction begins, providing a more even spread of water during extraction.

“The machine is always pushing full pressure water, but toggling between two distinct flow rates makes dialling in fun,” Gallagher says.

“The ability to easily ‘record’ and ‘play back’ your last shot lets you share that great shot as much as you like.”

All Slayer machines have slightly different approaches to water delivery, in the spirit of making coffee better across different applications. The Steam Single in particular was designed to highlight single origins while bringing out the best in blends.

“The Steam Single simplifies the workflow and dialling-in process, making it easy to extract those boutique coffees effortlessly and repeatedly,” Gallagher says.

Slayer Steam Single
Image: Slayer Espresso

Once the barista has determined the best levels for pre-infusion, they are able to pre-program settings on the group head using Slayer’s classic paddle actuator. These settings include water temperature, extraction time, and volumetric dosing.

“Slayer uses an algorithm within the machine to calculate the amount of water dispensed through the flow meter, the coffee, and into the cup to understand how much water remains in the puck of coffee, in addition to the espresso,” Gallagher says.

“Provided you use a consistent dose, the machine can regulate itself, and continually dispense the same volumetric amount
of water through the coffee to create an espresso without the need for scales.”

The Single Steam’s commercial-style pumps are what ensure shots are delivered consistently, all day. A trick, high-wattage, split heating system allows the coffee and steam boiler to be heated simultaneously.

“When steam demand is high, we can double the power allocated to the steam boiler while keeping the coffee group stable,” Gallagher says. “The biggest volume limitation here is going to be the capacity of the barista to make drinks with only a single group.”

Gallagher adds that the machine is designed to last a lifetime, “meaning your kids can inherit this luxury product”. Its longevity comes down to Slayer’s commercial background and reliance on components from commercial machines.

“The consumer/prosumer market is dominated by products engineered to a cost, which usually means serviceability is fairly limited. Commercial machines, in contrast, need to be developed with longevity in mind,” he says.

“Slayer’s ethos has always been about permanence over disposability. We want to make end-game equipment. Some machines people buy with the idea of upgrading later. We want our machines to be the last ones you buy.”

After an 18-month development process, the Slayer Steam Single officially launched at World of Coffee in Copenhagen, Denmark from 27 to 29 June.

“It’s been extraordinary. The initial reception was really welcoming. So many people love that Slayer is contributing a new machine to the global coffee industry which makes coffee better,” Gallagher says. “We expect to start shipping the Steam Single machines in the next 12 months.”

Every Slayer Espresso machine is designed and crafted in Seattle, United States. A point of pride for Slayer Espresso, Gallagher says, is that the brand came directly from the specialty coffee community.

“The founders of Slayer Espresso, baristas, roasters, and technicians, were interested in flipping the narrative, making a machine from the perspective of the user,” he says.

Slayer Espresso is still a relatively novel brand, having originated in 2007. As such, Gallagher says the team is eager to expand its product offering, and the success of the Steam line.

“Since Cimbali Group purchased Slayer Espresso in 2017, our partnership has focused on improving the manufacturing processes in our headquarters in Seattle. Cimbali Group has helped us build a new, larger factory (in 2022), which has bolstered our global distribution and infrastructure,” Gallagher says.

The move has helped increase Slayer Espresso’s production capacity and support projected growth on a worldwide scale. According to Cimbali Group, having a state-of-the-art facility is critical to support all the brands it represents.

Prior to the move, Slayer Espresso had a production capacity of up to 2000 machines annually. With its new facility, the volume has increased to about 5000 machines, almost tripling capacity.

“This is the first new product that we have developed under the ownership of Cimbali Group. We’re eager to round out our product line as we step into the future of Slayer and produce more machines,” Gallagher says.

As its production line grows, Gallagher says it’s important Slayer Espresso remains loyal to its roots.

“There’s currently a lot of focus on embracing automation in the traditional espresso machine segment. But Slayer’s brand image is almost the opposite of that. While there are plenty of benefits of automated products, we don’t want our consumers to lose sight of how to use our machines. Our agenda is to create products that apply sophisticated solutions without replacing the barista,” he says.

Gallagher says the quality and simplicity of the Steam Single is an indication of what consumers can expect from Slayer Espresso in all products to come.

“In any merger situation, there’s always the question of ‘how will this change the brand’s products?’ This is the first product we’ve released since 2019, and with the help of Cimbali, it will be the first of many that combines their expertise with our heritage,” Gallagher says.

“In many ways it’s the physical manifestation of what the merger of our teams can yield. We continue to learn lots of lessons developing this machine, and we’re excited about how it sets the stage for more future Slayer products.”

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Source: Slayer