By Colin Loh
Termed by some as being "one of the best coffee universities around," Oriole Coffee is no stranger to technology. Oriole Coffee never ceases to be on the forefront when it comes to leading the pack with high tech toys. Just recently, Oriole Coffee became the proud owner of the first La Marzocco Strada EP in Asia. This blog post marks the first of a series devoted to examining how Oriole Coffee integrates technology to help bring more bang to the consumer's buck.
2010. Enter Vince Fedele and the ExtractMojo.
The ExtractMojo is a small hand-held refractometer which measures the coffee's refractive index and determines its concentration, which can then be compared against an Universal Coffee Brewing Control Chart. You can read more about this technology on Gizmodo. Naturally, Oriole Coffee's Chief Geek Officer, Keith Loh had to have it.
I spoke to Keith and he remarked excitedly, giddy as a schoolgirl that "now there was a tool to empirically assess the extraction levels of the way that I was pulling my shots and it probably allowed a consistent way to measure quantitatively instead of qualitatively what I was doing. I've attended many cupping classes and tasting classes and the one thing I realized is the diversity of opinions when it comes to taste and flavor. After understanding about brew strength and extraction yields, there was finally a tool that could actually produce these results on a repeatable and measurable basis easily through just one small device."
Keith further elaborates that "We've been using the Extract Mojo for almost 2 years and I feel it's time to unveil that the Extract Mojo is the secret little weapon we have, or the secret little tool that has helped us to understand what we were doing. It comes full circle because we're about to launch our VST baskets across all our outlets. In fact, we've actually been rolling out the VST baskets at all our outlets for almost a month now. And we've been backing up our results with the Extract Mojo as you can see here from our chart. The trickiest one and the one we left to the end was the Strada EP, of which we should be rolling out as we speak.
Keith adds “This is ultimately the means to an end, and not the means itself, the end being the entire product experience, and not just the coffee. When you sit down, how fast you get served, how it looks, how it’s presented, its price and how fast it’s being served to you – the product experience.”
This is the final grouping test we did for the Strada EP on the 22 gram basket. And as you can see, they're so close that I don't think we could've achieve such tight grouping with normal baskets. So, it's nice to see that the Extract Mojo has proven that as we move along, we will continue to use technology to improve our consistency and let it work as a feedback loop to maintain our protocols, or to advance our protocols as we increase our volume."
Last but not least, Oriole Coffee's resident coffee roaster John Ting adds, "It changes how you looked at espresso extraction and makes you rethink all that you have learned, bringing you back to basics."