Coffee Equipment
13TH July, 2018

Übermilk: In Review

Übermilk: In Review

One of the biggest challenges that cafes face relates to staffing and automation can greatly assist here. Automation may not make a competition level barista better, but can make them faster, and less wasteful. In addition, baristas who may not have the same level of experience will really see the benefits by embracing automation.

One of the more recent innovations of automation is the Übermilk system. With the push of a button, Übermilk produces ready-to-pour steamed milk, heated to a specific temperature to ensure consistency across every cup. By embracing such automation innovations such as the Ubermilk, cafés can see such benefits as improved workflow, speed of service and less wastage.


To substantiate the above, we conducted a series of Barista vs. Machine experiments. This involved serving up eight drinks in 10 minutes with 3 levels of automation (manual, semi-automation & full automation). The method of testing is detailed below.

  • Manual – no scales, no distribution tools, manual tamping and extraction
  • Semi-automation – scales for dose and yield, BT wedge distribution tool with manual tamping and extraction
  • Full automation – scales, volumetrics set on machine, BT wedge distribution tool, Puqpress and Übermilk

The experiment delivered some surprising results.

  • The manual process was completed in a time of 7:10. The coffee was delivered fast and presentation was of high quality, but taste (particularly espresso) could have been improved. Milk waste was high (265g weight). The grinder was dialled in the 10 minutes prior, simulating busy café service between 8am-8,30am when grinder was set and priority. Presentation scores were high, but scores for taste balance were medium (espresso not weighed made a difference) and milk temperature was inconsistent (range of 9 degrees Celsius)
  • Milk wastage improved in semi-automation (220g) but still too high. Time was 8:24 (slower than manual, but still under 10min). Sensory score of 65.5/80 with an improved milk temperature range of 7 degrees Celsius.
  • Full automation was completed in a time of 5:04 with a decrease in milk wastage of 17.5g and no variance in milk temperature. Sensory score of 62.5.

The same experiment was also completed by someone with no experience as a barista. The benefits of automation was far more prominent, enabling them to serve a coffee that was drinkable, particularly in a takeaway setting where latte art is not considered.

Milk waste was something not to ignore. Most baristas take advantage of having jug rinsers and wastage is not monitored. Saving milk and producing faster service will make your cafe more profitable.

CONCLUSION
Do we think that the Übermilk system will replace the manual art of steaming milk? Probably not. However, its benefits will clearly be seen for high volume cafes where workflow is key.

How do you think you would fare head-to-head with the Übermilk system?
We’re hosting a Barista vs Machine smackdown series at Brew Bar in Canberra this month. Come along, tickets are free but you will need to RSVP.

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