With less than 200 Slayers in existence worldwide, the ultra rare and über sexy Slayer Espresso Machine makes its first appearance in South Africa, and won’t find a better home than the new Truth headquarters in Buitenkant Street, Cape Town.
For the same price as a new family car, the Slayer is a serious commitment to achieving java nirvana and represents the pinnacle in the quest for the ultimate coffee machine. But it is not the gleaming, other worldly design, or the way the Peruvian walnut meshes seamlessly with polished metal, or even the price tag that has drawn caffeine-like mania and praise from baristas around the world. It seems what really has the coffee experts in a froth is the unique way it allows one to play with the pressure, drawing out the “sweet spot” within carefully roasted single origin coffee beans.
The fundamentals of an espresso are disarmingly simple - hot water forced through fine coffee grains in a filter basket at high pressure - and professional machines generally do this automatically at a pressure of between 8 and 9 bars for about 30 seconds. The result should be a hot, slightly viscous espresso with a healthy blanket of crème.
The Slayer, however, offers a barista analogue control of the pressure profile throughout the process. It allows a low pressure pre-brew at as little as half a bar before ramping up to full pressure to extract maximum flavour and then can slowly ease off in pressure to enrich the texture.
“Just as a professional race car driver is quicker with the driver aids and stability control turned off, so too can the expert barista achieve so much more by manipulating the wooden paddles of the Slayer, adjusting the pressure profile to stay in the sweet spot of flavour extraction,” comments David Donde of Truth Coffee.
Watching David at work with his new pride and joy is reminiscent of watching a tightly choreographed dance. After a practiced performance in dosing, tamping and loading the portafilter into the group head, David continued to slide the wooden paddle to the left, allowing a gentle pre-infusion for the brew for about 20 seconds before pushing full steam ahead to release the rich, reddish brown nectar of the bean. Finally the paddle was slowly eased back and the pressure reduced to avoid any sour flavours or over-extracted bitterness before a rich crème settled to crown the creation.
“Whereas traditional Espresso machines with a constant pressure may mask the subtle flavours that only top quality beans provide, the Slayer leaves complete control of the pressure profile in the hands of the barista,” remarks David, adding that, “our quest at Truth has always been the pursuit of the perfect cup of coffee, and now with Slayer in situ at our new headquarters we have a unique tool that allows the coffee bean to achieve its ultimate expression.”
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