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The ever-evolving Synesso: Introducing the MVP

Five Senses CoffeeBen Bicknell 16 October 2015

Let’s all take a moment to share a collective hi-five: specialty coffee is becoming more and more popular with people all around the world… winning! This increasing validation of delicious brews comes with its own challenges however. With a strong history in espresso-based drinks, Australian specialty cafes have many skills in dancing the long-docket-jive, with successful venues turning out many hundreds of beverages each day.

With an ever-increasing drive to fine tune how coffees are crafted, baristas are required to juggle more settings and tools than ever before. The espresso machine sits at the middle of this whirlwind of activity, translating raw ingredients into delicious cups of coffee. Synesso founder, Mark Barnett, has paid keen attention to this shifting landscape and taken the machine hand-crafted by his Seattle factory down its next evolutionary path. We’re therefore excited to announce the worldwide launch of the Synesso MVP and MVP Hydra!

Synesso machines have always focused on providing options for the barista which have real impact on results in the cup and then deliver those settings again and again, even under the heaviest of workloads. The new MVP and MVP Hydra continue to develop this ethos; while increasing the options which enable the barista to explore their extractions, this evolution of the Synesso also allows the capture of those crafted shots for ongoing delivery. As of November, the Synesso line up will include the classic Synesso Cyncra (which is mostly untouched, aside from some nifty updates to the pendant controller and shot timers) as well as the new MVP and MVP Hydra models.

At the heart of this new range is the Manual Volumetric Program (MVP) system which uses a magnetic centring system, meaning that the old rectangular volumetric pads are a thing of the past, having been replaced by a centre-aligned shifting paddle group.

Synesso MVP and MVP Hydra demonstration from Five Senses Coffee on Vimeo.

With its refreshed, activating “swoosh-like” paddle, baristas are able to shift the paddle to the left or the right to activate different settings before it returns to its centre position. In Manual Mode on the MVP Hydra model, this means that the barista can now shift left through each stage of the pressure profile – 1st shift moves to pre-infusion, 2nd shift moves to ramp-up pressure, 3rd to full brew pressure, 4th to ramp-down pressure and a 5th shift to finish the shot. Using this manual drive mode to explore the ins and outs of a given coffee, the barista can then “capture” an extraction that is blowing up their taste buds and, by shifting and holding to the right, can save the settings to one of six recipe slots. Move to Volumetric Mode and one shift left will now activate the settings for that killer shot, complete with its start-to-finish pressure profile and final volumetric dispense.

I’m also really excited about the improvements to the new Synesso MVP models on both the intuitive barista exploration end and in the back system ability to tweak and repeat settings for consistent delivery. Once you’ve captured the settings you like in manual mode, you can then dive into the updated pendant controller and directly fine tune those digits. For example, running through a shot manually you may apply pre-infusion for 4 seconds, but when you go into the settings, note that you actually shifted to the next stage at 4.6 seconds – a quick selection of that setting now allows you to edit and clean up the timings.

“Coffee is an organic product” is something that the pro barista is only too aware of.

Managing extractions for optimum tastiness amongst the shifting landscape of roast dates, bean densities, solubility, grinder heat and more means constantly tweaking parameters. So a super useful new feature of the Synesso MVPs is that the pulses of the flowmeter, tracking total water dispense, are now displayed and made editable. A flowmeter is used by any machine with volumetric control and essentially looks like a little paddle wheel: as it is turned by water, small magnets on the top of the paddles pass a reader and record a pulse.

Once programmed, the espresso machine will dispense the desired number of pulses each time. On the MVP, the pulses for each of the recorded recipe slots are displayed and can be directly adjusted. I foresee this being really handy in ongoing quality control over this shifting extraction landscape throughout the week and especially in the variations that occur from batch to batch. For example, you may dial in a coffee seven days post-roast, with a 22g dose to dispense 44g in beverage weight; fast forward seven days and you’re coming towards the end of your rotation cycle. Now you might find that a 44g beverage weight is slightly over-extracting the older coffee. You can then jump into the settings and reduce your total water dispense by 10 pulses (approx. 4-5 pulses = 1ml/g.) reducing water dispense by 2g. Easy as that! Working with your coffee day in day out and making small, iterative adjustments to the extraction settings has never been easier.

A number of other nifty tweaks to the pendant controller and paddle system are housed within the sleek polished and brushed stainless MVP chassis.

We’re excited to see what happens as more and more people explore the control and repeatability available when these beauties start taking up homes in cafes across Australia. With our long collaborative relationship with Synesso, we’re lucky enough to be the launching ground for the MVPs worldwide and so we’re excited about hosting a roadshow to present a couple of the first production models. Sydney hosted a fun evening the other week getting hands on with the equipment, and Melbourne and Perth followed this week. If you’re looking at buying an espresso machine and keen to find out more info on the Synesso MVP, drop us a line here.

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