Anyone who has visited a Starbucks store is bound to wonder at some stage, where they get their coffee machines. They look so cool and the must be efficient to handle the volume of business.
An event that happened in Seattle in 1971 changed the coffee world and altered our perception of coffee and changed the industry. I refer of course to the launch of Starbucks. The name Starbucks is actually taken from Herman Melville’s classic American novel “Moby Dick”. The original choice of name was “Pequod” the name of the whaling ship in the book. I think you will agree that it does not have the same ring to it.
Starbucks Barista Home Espresso Machine
By 2019 there were Starbucks outlets in 80 countries worldwide. There are three types of Starbucks outlets. The company-owned store, the franchised store, and the automated outlet.
Back in the 1990s, Starbucks used to use a regular espresso machine. The machine they chose was the La Marzocco Linea machine. These were made by a company Founded in 1927 by Giuseppe and Bruno Bambi in Florence, Italy. This company still trades today and is a highly regarded company in the industry. These days, however, Starbucks has switched to a commercial machine, which I will talk about shortly. But first I just want to mention the Starbucks coffee beans. However good the machine, without the right means you will not make a great cup of coffee.
Starbucks Coffee Beans
Starbucks uses quality Arabica Beans which are grown at higher altitudes where there is a temperature differential between days and nights. This tends to make the beans denser. Denver beans create more complex flavors.
Starbucks has created farmer support centers on four continents in order to dispense advice to local growers on how to improve their crops. They also work in the community to ensure that farmers get fair prices and that the whole community benefits.
Picking coffee beans at the correct time is essential. They should be picked when the cherries are red and this is the only time that they harvest their beans. They also have a comprehensive quality control environment.
Favorite coffee blends are:
- Starbucks own brand Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee
- Starbucks own brand French Roast Whole Bean Coffee
- Starbucks own brand Caffe Verona Dark Roast
- Starbucks own brand Espresso Roast
- Starbucks own brand Sumatra Whole Bean Coffee
Starbucks uses Arabica coffee beans which are sourced from three regions; Latin America, Africa, and Asia-Pacific. Their signature coffee blends are mostly sourced from the south-east Asia region.
Starbucks also have their own farm in Costa Rica where they cultivate their in-house coffee beans. Interestingly they import 14,000 bags of coffee from China every year.
About Mastrena High-Performance Espresso Machine
You are possibly hoping that you can go out and purchase a Starbucks coffee machine. After all, they make such wonderful coffee in-store, what better machine to have at home. Unfortunately, the machines are made exclusively for Starbuck’s own use. They are not resold to the public.
Mastrena High-Performance Espresso Machine
This is the most common machine used in Starbucks outlets. Each machine costs around $17,625 and is what’s called a “Bean to cup” machine. This machine has the coffee grinder built into the machine and quite simply you put coffee beans in one end and get steaming hot coffee out of the other.
This automatic coffee making system is computerized and has a memory that remembers lattes and cappuccinos. It grinds the beans for every single cup and then monitors that cup and will then recalculate its setting to maintain the optimum quality.
The machine is manufactured by Thermoplan AG. The company was founded in 1974 by Esther and Domenic Steiner. They did not move into the Coffee Business until 1995. In 1999, just four years after entering the business, this young company pulled off a deal with Starbucks to become the exclusive supplier for automatic coffee machines with Starbucks.
Alternatives to the machine
Since you cannot purchase a Starbucks – Mastrena High-Performance Espresso Machine and the $17,625 price tag is a bit excessive for the average kitchen, you may wonder what is the nearest machine to a Starbucks – Mastrena High-Performance Espresso Machine that you can get.
Probably the nearest model, but aimed at the home market, is the Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870XL which costs $17,077.59 LESS!. This home coffee maker from Breville is the closest we could get and comes in at a price of $547.41.
This machine has the following features
- Dose control grinding, it grinds on demand
- Precise espresso extraction
- Microfoam smooth milk texturing
- Simple and intuitive Grind size dial
- Hands-free operation
- Single or double shots control; Adjustable coffee grind amount
- Power 1600 Watts
Of course, it has nowhere the same features that the Starbucks machine has, but hey, we tried.
There are already self-service Starbucks kiosks operating around the world, usually franchised, and theses are sure to become more sophisticated as time goes by, running in parallel with Barista led units.
Maybe the new Starbucks Mastrena High-Performance Espresso Machine and these self-service units are just the next steps that will eventually be replaced by the Robotic Barista.
Unconnected with Starbucks (yet) Cafe X is a start-up with a brand-new robotic barista designed to create 120 cups of coffee per hour.
Video of the Robotic Barista
The robot Barista is essentially a fully operational coffee shop with a $25,000 six-axis animatronic arm. The customer places his order on a kiosk touchscreen or through the Cafe X app. They receive a text when the drink is ready. You get a multitude of beverage options.
The Coffee industry is a fast-moving business and who knows how it will look in another five years. The Starbucks Mastrena High-Performance Espresso Machine is currently the state of the art with Espresso machines and is a brilliant piece of Swiss engineering that places Starbucks ahead of other coffee chains in terms of technology. With 29,000 stores worldwide they also have a competitive advantage when it comes to commissioning the next-generation machine.