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Modbar coffee machine: third wave espresso’s new poster-child
The days of mysterious espresso brewing behind hulking machines may be over, if one coffee startup, Modbar, has its way, burying all but the glamorous end of the process under the counter. Revealed today at the opening of the SCAA’s (Speciality Coffee Association of America) annual expo, Modbar is a striking, modular series of espresso groups, pour-over taps, and steam arms which can be hooked up in multiple numbers and configurations, with the promise of greater temperature control, a cut in prep time, and even geek-friendly features like touchscreen operation and support for temperature monitoring in Kelvin.
Traditional espresso machines are sizable affairs, packing one or more boilers into a huge countertop appliance that effectively hides the brewing process from the customer, or alternatively forces the barista to turn their back to them. That, Spudge reports, isn’t something that affects the Modbar: by shifting the boilers and other components under the counter, there’s a clear viewing path to all parts of the drink preparation area.
Visibility isn’t much good if the hardware itself falls short, but it sounds like Modbar has thought about that too. The system supposedly goes from cold to operating temperature in just five minutes – figure on at the very least 30 minutes (but more like an hour) for a typical commercial machine, a time-consuming process that means many cafes simply leave them switched on 24/7, making them hardly eco-friendly – while an actively-heated stainless steel grouphead uses a thermoblock (to raise the temperature itself, rather than wait for hot water to do that) and special boiler controls to achieve 1-degree F temperature stability.
Everything is controlled by a 3.2-inch color touchscreen, a single panel operating all of the interconnected modules. As well as temperature, there’s control for volumetric dosing (i.e. where the machine pushes out a set quantity of water) and current espresso fashion pressure profiling, where the pressure of the water at the grouphead is varied during the roughly half-minute brew so as to adjust the overall extraction. A display on the espresso group itself shows volume, and everything has overrides for tinkering with the particular shot in progress.
The coffee world hasn’t been short on attempts at innovation, and not all of them have found success in the market. However, Modbar does have some notable support from an industry heavyweight: La Marzocco, founded in Italy in 1927, and a brand you’ll find on high-end coffee machines in cafes all over the world. The company’s portafilters (the bit where the ground coffee goes) are used by Modbar too, and production of the modular system has already begun, albeit in limited numbers.
As for pricing, a single espresso module will be $5,399, while the steam module will be $3,995, and the pour-over module $3,687. If that sounds expensive, then consider a Slayer – notable for being one of the few machines that supports pressure profiling – comes in at around $18,000 for the three-group model.
You're reading Modbar Coffee Machine: Third Wave Espresso’S New Poster
Can save personal settings
App and manual controlCons
Doesn’t froth milk
The Morning Machine will shake things up for those who feel limited by the standard drinks from a capsule machine. However, it’s primarily tailored to black coffee – there’s less for latte and cappuccino enthusiasts here.
Between a trend for pour-over coffee and slow drip, and a rise in independent roasters offering their blends in capsules, the world of coffee now offers a huge number of flavours and aromas. However, most pod machines have a single pressure setting and presets that deliver convenience but few ways to adjust brewing.
This is where the Morning Machine seeks to fill the void. Rather than standard ristretto, espresso and lungo options, it’s equipped with a flagship Bloom & Brew setting that pre-wets for a stronger cup, as well as higher temperatures, varying bar pressures (up to 20), and recipes that get the best out of capsules by reproducing drip and filter-style drinks.Design & Build
850ml water tank
Buttonless, sleek and slim (it’s a mere 10.2cm wide), the Morning Machine’s design keeps fuss to a minimum. At the back, there’s an 850ml water tank – enough to keep two people in lungos all day – with a flip-up lid that means it can be filled in-situ.
The front end has a pull-out two-part drip tray with a scale below (enabling the machine to brew coffee to a specified weight rather than volume), and above that, a light that illuminates the cup while brewing.
A silicone drip tray cover is a small but thoughtful addition that prevents cups from sliding around.
Controls come courtesy of an OLED screen and the dial around it, which scrolls through the menu of recipes and is simple to use. You can select one with the ‘confirm’ icon, or hit the ‘back’ icon. The other functions are less intuitive, such as the ‘purge’, water dispensing and connecting the machine to its app – by only having two icons and a dial at your command, getting the machine to do what you want it to becomes inevitably more complex.
Rachel OgdenPerformance & Features
Save your settings
Cup detection hit and miss
No off button
What’s especially good about the Morning Machine is that it can be as straightforward or as exacting as you want it to be. You can pop in a capsule, select a recipe, confirm (once or twice, the machine decided it had waited long enough and brewed by itself) and walk away. Or, you can connect it to its Bluetooth app and get into the nitty-gritty of how you like your coffee, adjusting temperature from 75°C to 98°C, weight from 20g-150g, brew speed and additional water amount.
Once you’ve found your ideal recipe, there’s an option to save it and sync it to your machine – meaning you won’t have to keep picking up your phone to enjoy the same coffee all day long. However, the machine only holds 10 recipes so as you add them, the defaults get knocked off.
The default recipes cover a broad range of tastes, including settings for coffee over ice and even tea, though you will have to keep the manual to hand to get to grips with what each one creates. We found it a real plus that you can, in effect, buy one box of pods, yet experience a range of tastes by selecting different recipes.
Our box of Morning’s Bread and Butter capsules delivered everything from a sweet, smooth espresso with an impressively velvety crema to a long coffee with an easy yet slightly bitter flavour.
There were a few frustrations. Sometimes just as we were ready to brew, the machine would need a purge, plus the seemingly handy cup detection function was spotty as it took a couple of attempts to acknowledge our little espresso cup. The machine also chimes when it comes on and when it’s finished brewing – we couldn’t find a way to switch this off and imagine that it’s not the best for those who make coffee at unsociable hours.
The app gives the machine an extra dimension and is easy to navigate with practice. As well as personalising your coffee, you can brew a capsule according to which roaster it’s made by. However, we found that the app consistently crashed when we tried to access the power settings, so things can still be wobbly.
Rachel OgdenPrice & Availability
At this stage, the Morning Machine is only available to buy from its manufacturer’s website (£349) and selected independent online coffee boutiques. The best price we can currently find for it is on the Cascara website, for £314.99.Verdict
While the price tag is high for a capsule machine without milk frothing, over time it could result in a saving if you often drink artisanal coffee from a café. Alternatively, if you find that your current capsule machine isn’t delivering on promised flavours, the Morning Machine could be the key to getting the most out of specialist capsules. Either way, it’s definitely one for the coffee lovers out there.
For more coffee making, options, have a look at our round-up of the best coffee machines we’ve tested.
Coffee Maker Black Friday deals 2023
Ideal For Late Night Gaming
We’ve got Coffee Maker Black Friday deals, so don’t look any further. Whether gaming or grafting – when you are whiling away the hours sitting in front of your computer monitor, few things stiffen the resolve and keep you pushing on more than a beautifully made cup of coffee. There are some great deals on high-tech coffee makers from the biggest online electronic retailers on Black Friday 2023. Here are our picks of the best coffee maker Black Friday offers that you can purchase, be sure to move fast as the caffeinated competition covet creamy coffee creators.
Black Friday Coffee Maker deals 2023
Hamilton Beach 2-Way Brewer Coffee Maker, Single-Serve and 12-Cup Pot, Stainless Steel (49980A)
Cuisinart DCC-3200P1 Perfectemp Coffee Maker
Sboly Single Serve Coffee Maker Machine with Thermal Mug
Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee, Latte and Cappuccino Maker
Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
Lavazza Expert Coffee Classy Plus Single Serve ALL-IN-ONE Espresso & Coffee Brewer Machine
Ninja – DualBrew 12-Cup Specialty Coffee System
De’Longhi Digital All-in-One Combination Coffee and Espresso Machine
KitchenAid – Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine and Automatic Milk Frother Attachment
De’Longhi – La Specialista Prestigio Espresso Machine with Active Temperature Control and Dual Heating System
What Coffee maker brands are on sale on Black Friday?
You will see some of the more well-known brands such as Nespresso going on deep discounts on Black Friday, and Nespresso is our top pick for fuelling yourself for the day or for an all-nighter gaming session this Black Friday. If you want to ensure that you do everything that you need during the day, a Nespresso will have you sorted within mere minutes. Some machines even come with an additional milk frother, which has to be used with some caution but also makes for a significantly better coffee experience.
Additionally, Nespresso also does a subscription service for coffee, which might seem expensive at first, however, once you get into the swing of things and discover the sheer amount of coffee types available to you, whether you enjoy a sickly-sweet latte all the way to the most strong and bitter of black coffee, Nespresso has you covered with almost every type of coffee that you will want and also additionally adds in a seasonal offering where appropriate too. Ever wanted pumpkin spice or a spiced holiday coffee flavor while out of season? Now you can, especially with everything that Nespresso offers over Black Friday. You would be remiss to ignore just how robust the process is for getting the coffee pods, and recycling the old ones, too.
The best coffee machine on Black Friday
Nespresso – VertuoPlus Deluxe Black Bundle
Nespresso – Vertuo Chrome
Nespresso – VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee Maker and Espresso Machine with Aeroccino Milk Frother
Nespresso Lattissima Touch Espresso Machine
Uh oh, I’ve spilled Coffee everywhere
More Deals Coming Soon!
Third-party reviews offer invaluable insight from an unbiased perspective on your business. They also instill trust with potential customers, which may help guide their decision to purchase your product or service.
In fact, nearly half (42%) of internet users in the U.S. cite reviews from other customers as a feature that would most increase their likelihood of buying a product.
When compared to first-party reviews, third-party reviews can also appear more credible to a searcher. After all, a business is unlikely to publish negative reviews on its website.
Whether you’re looking to convert searches into sales or improve your search ranking, focusing on enhancing your reviews’ search engine optimization (SEO) efforts can achieve both. Reviews are a heavily weighted local search ranking factor, accounting for 16% of the Local Pack ranking.
How can your business better showcase the sentiment found in your reviews to searchers looking for your product or service?
And, what are some proven strategies for surfacing this valuable content through SEO?
You’ll learn both in this post as we discuss five surefire tactics to boost your SEO with third-party reviews and stand out among your competitors.1. Improve Your Review Score
The GMB help guide states that local search results “are based primarily on relevance, distance, and prominence.”
Prominence refers to how well-known a business is, which directly correlates to the number of reviews a business has as well as what customers think about the business.
The help guide also notes:
“Google review count and review score factor into local search ranking. More reviews and positive ratings can improve your business’s local ranking.”
There are several approaches to take to improve your overall review score for your business locations.
First, ask customers who have had a positive experience with your business to leave a review. Not only are they already motivated having had a positive experience with your business, but they’re also likely to leave positive feedback to help you boost your rating.
We also recommend responding to all of your reviews, positive or negative.
When a reviewer sees you’ve taken the consideration and time to respond to their praise or complaint, they’re more likely to have a favorable view of your business. This may lead to the reviewer recommending your business to family or friends.
It also allows you to control the narrative and target your sought-after keywords in your response.
Not only will your overall star rating help improve your SEO but also your sales. According to a recent study, 52% of consumers wouldn’t consider using a business with fewer than four stars and cite star rating as the most important review factor.2. Factor in Review Velocity
Review velocity refers to how often your business receives new reviews.
According to Moz, review quantity, review velocity, and review diversity account for 15% of Local Pack ranking. A frequent flow of new reviews also provides your business with new content.
Along with its SEO value, consumers prefer to read new reviews to learn more about your business.
Forty percent of consumers say they only look at reviews of local businesses written in the past two weeks. Additionally, 85% say reviews more than three months old are no longer relevant.
Encourage happy customers to leave reviews often and make it a part of your purchasing process to keep a steady stream of up-to-date reviews.
All of these tactics can solicit new reviews and fall within Google’s review guidelines:
Send your customers an email
Print a QR code on every sales receipt.
Send a follow-up text after an appointment.
Simply ask for a review during the transaction process.3. Focus on the Volume of Your Reviews
Consider this: You’re out of town visiting a new city where you want to find a restaurant nearby for dinner. Would you prefer to go to a restaurant with 10 reviews or one with 100, both with a similar overall star rating?
More than likely, you’d opt to dine at the restaurant with more reviews as that restaurant appears to be more credible. A solid review gathering strategy can help bridge the gap of having too few reviews to encourage new business.
It can also help legitimize your business with search engines as well.
GMB’s help page states that:
“High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
The best way to get customers to leave a review is to ask them to do so. If your customers have opted into your email or text marketing campaigns, it’s ideal to ask them to leave a review as soon as possible while your business is top of mind.
For service-based businesses that use online booking systems for their services, after the customer has completed their appointment, they should receive an automated message (text, email, etc.) that asks them to leave their honest feedback regarding their experience with a direct link to leave a Google review.
Brick-and-mortar stores may also benefit from having a QR code on receipts that directs customers to leave a Google review.
While all review platforms encourage businesses to ask customers for reviews, it’s important not to violate any policies. For example, Google states businesses can’t “selectively solicit(ing) positive reviews from customers.”
Additionally, Google also forbids:
Reviews left by employees.
Soliciting reviews in bulk.
Paying customers in exchange for reviews.
Discouraging or prohibiting negative reviews.
Posting fake reviews for your business.
You can read more about Google’s official guidelines here. Keep in mind that every platform will have different rules and regulations and it’s important to check what each allows.4. Respond to Positive and Negative Reviews
Responding to positive and negative reviews not only shows consumers you care about their feedback but has also been confirmed by Google to play a role in SEO.
“Respond to reviews that users leave about your business… Responding to reviews shows that you value your customers and the feedback they leave about your business.”
Responding to every review may seem like a daunting task for a business that has many locations. However, a good workaround for eliminating work is creating corporate-approved templates.
These templates can be based on your brand guidelines and should adhere to your brand voice.
Your business should also have a process for escalating reviews that require a more in-depth response, as well as a point person who can respond to these reviews quickly.
If your business is just starting with your review response efforts, focus on responding to negative reviews first, especially those left within the past few months.
Recent reviews will be more prominent to searchers. Once you’ve worked through all your negative reviews, you can then move onto responding to your positive reviews.5. Consider the Content of Your Reviews
Google continuously evolves to meet the needs of searchers. Their goal is to deliver accurate, timely results to end-users to create an optimal user experience.
Yet, in order to deliver top-tier results, they rely on business information.
Some of that information may be sourced from your review content, such as a customer mentioning the city your store is in or the street name where your business is located.
These words send powerful signals to Google helping your business improve its relevance.
Additionally, a review with positive language from a local customer signals to Google that your business is trustworthy. This applies not only to reviews left directly on your GMB listing but on other third-party platforms, as well.
Reviews left on third-party review sites increase your exposure, drive traffic to your website, and add legitimacy to your business.
Your business can’t dictate what a consumer writes about their business, however, you can ask consumers to mention the location in which they did business within their review.
These mentions can continue to help your brand achieve the authority that Google looks for in its search algorithm.Conclusion: Why Implement a Third-Party Reviews SEO Strategy?
Consumers’ expectations are continuing to evolve with business operations in an ever-changing and unpredictable climate.
These expectations are showing up more frequently in reviews. If your business is keeping up with current trends and maintaining a solid reputation management strategy, your path towards SEO success becomes clearer.
Following the above tactics will help you improve your third-party reviews SEO efforts, and in turn, provide an exceptional experience for your customers.
Talking to Google about Street Art Project’s second wave
Today Google expands on their “Google Street Art” project, bringing their collection started in 2014 to new, more massive heights. This expansion of works for the archive is being presented with several new “more immersive experiences,” according to Google, “bringing street art to people’s daily lives.” a sort of a soft-launch of one outlet for this expansion appeared on Android Wear earlier this month.
Google Street Art’s expansion is as much an announcement about new platforms for sharing as it is about growth in the archive. We had a chat with Lucy Schwartz, Program Manager of the Google Cultural Institute this week about the expansion.
“For this second installment of the collection (it first launched in June 2014), we developed more immersive experiences,” said Schwartz.
“Bringing street art to people’s daily lives: artworks on your TV with Chromecast, on your desktop with Chrome tab extension, on your watch with Android faces and on mobile with partner apps.”
See the collection through these interactive media sources:
• Google Street Art webpage (mirrored on Chromecast to your TV)
• Google Art Project Chrome Tab
• Street Art watch faces for Android Wear
• Audio Tours through the StreetArt.WithGoogle webpage
• Mini-documentaries through Google Art Project – like you see below:
Google worked with partners (art organizations and museums) from several key locations in many different countries for this expansion – and they plan to continue to do so well into the future.
This is an organized, closely watched collection – carefully selected!
“We worked with partners (arts organizations and museums) from around the globe to create this collection,” said Schwartz, “All of our partners selected their images and curated their exhibitions.”
This being the second wave, so to speak, of street art added to the collection, Google made a big effort to expand worldwide efforts to see all perspectives.
Google’s celebration of this second big push for the Google Art Project is set to take place in Los Angeles with local artist duo Cyrcle creating artwork live while Google does demos of their Street View trekker gear.
As you’ll see above and below, this collection also includes “GIF-iti”, images created with several frames, all painted, to create moving images.
Will this program capture street art for the foreseeable future?
“Yes!” Schwartz continued, “this is the second major addition to the collection and we have made great progress since the initial launch.”
“With 55 new partners, 19 additional countries reached, and a collection comprised of more than 10,000 images, we have a wide ranging collection that we aim to continue building.”
You can contribute to this collection by tweeting or sharing on Google+ with hashtag #StreetArtProject. You can also connect with one of several of Google’s partners in this effort directly.
“The Cultural Institute is based on partnerships with expert partners,” said Schwarts, “who themselves sometimes work with photographers and are responsible for ensuring they have the permissions and provide information to document the murals.”
See the full collection of artworks – ever expanding – at chúng tôi and let us know what you find!
Above: a tiny GIF-iti gallery. Below: the process with Checko.
BONUS: For those of you wondering Google’s stance on the sometimes-illegal nature of street art and graffiti, Schwartz has the following to offer.
“Newer forms of art often spark controversy in their early days but Street Art has been a widely recognized field of art for many years and differs from illegal graffiti, even if it may share common roots.”
“We do not condone vandalism of any kind but it’s also important that the Internet reflect current discourse and street art is a very current form of expression.”
Spatial Audio is Apple’s branding around a rising standard in music, with songs authored as Dolby Atmos soundtracks. Dolby Atmos has become popular for home video for movies and TV shows (such as all the content in Apple TV+ is available in 4K HDR with Atmos sound) and is now starting to enter the world of music.
Dolby Atmos music is available in the Apple Music streaming library, but it’s also offered by other services like Amazon Music HD. The point is, it’s not an Apple-exclusive thing.
Dolby Atmos songs can theoretically be played on any headphones or earbuds because it doesn’t rely on special hardware. Instead, the iPhone plays tricks on your brain by sending audio to the left and right speakers/headphones with slight phase delays. It is these phase delays that simulate the wider soundstage and make it feel like audio is coming from above or behind you. (If you use Apple Music on Apple TV 4K with a surround sound home theater system, the extra speakers will transmit separate audio channels though for the best experience.)
Out of the box, any iPhone with iOS 14.6 will transmit music using the Dolby Atmos mode to all AirPods, AirPods Max and Beats headphones with the H1 or W1 chips inside. In my experience, the effect on the small AirPods earbuds is pretty minimal to non-existent. You really need proper headphones which are simply big enough to provide an engrossing audio experience. That doesn’t mean you need to shell out the $500+ on AirPods Max.
For instance, I have heard some great Dolby Atmos mixes through the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones. These offer decent sound reproduction and impressive noise cancellation for under $300 all-in. There is one trick you need to be aware of though to use the Sony’s — or any third-party headphones — with Spatial Audio for Apple Music.
By default, your iPhone or iPad will not recognize these headphones as Atmos-compatible. As not every audio accessory in the world can understand Atmos properly, Apple only sends Atmos sound to its Bluetooth devices automatically. With default settings, all other connected headphones will only receive a stereo mix.
You have to change your audio settings manually to fix this.How to listen to Apple Music Spatial Audio on any headphones
Open the Settings app, on an iOS device running iOS 14.6 or later.
Go to Music settings.
Select ‘Dolby Atmos’.
Change the preference from ‘Automatic’ to ‘Always On’.
As the name suggests, the Always On setting will send the encoded Atmos stream to any connected headphones or speakers. This now means you can use your own headphones like the Sony XM4’s and experience the spatial soundstage. The reason why this setting is not enabled by default is because some equipment can actually sound worse interpreting Atmos than a standard stereo mix.
One final thing to be aware of: with iOS 15, Apple is enabling head-tracking for Apple Music Spatial Audio. This means that the direction of sound when listening through AirPods Pro or AirPods Max will change depending on your own head movements. This feature of Spatial Audio will not be available on third-party headphones as it uses the gyroscope sensors inside the AirPods. However, whilst head-tracking for watching movies is natural, it is less clear what the benefits are when listening to music.
Whereas when watching movies you are stationary and focused on the screen, you are often listening to music when walking around or doing other tasks. In those cases, the head tracking spatial effect can be annoying. In fact, many people currently the iOS 15 beta are hoping Apple adds a toggle to disable the head-tracking feature inside of Apple Music as they found the effect too distracting.
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