March 29, 2012

Mark Barnett

During Café Show in Seoul, Korea, last November, I was fortunate enough to bump into well known coffee machine designer, Mark Barnett from Synesso.

Mark was at the event helping his Korean distributors sell the unique potentials of the Synesso espresso machine to the large crowds of excited baristas. The Korean market, like the Australian and New Zealand market, has been very good for his business, with many sales in these countries for his state of the art espresso machines.

I first met Mark five years ago in Long Beach, California and was overwhelmed by his engineering passion towards espresso technology. Things have not changed, and Mark took me through the innovations of his latest machine with electronic controlling of pump pressure and explained the lab work they have completed around pressure ramp control during extraction. He believes as more coffee businesses explore higher quality coffees, being able to fully control pressure as well as temperature in the espresso process will deliver higher quality coffees to the well educated consumer.

Mark started his career in refrigeration in the fishing industry and was well known in that area for his innovative and creative mind. He spent some time with La Marzocco as an engineer, where he really got to understand the espresso technology and multi boiler systems and the important trend perception of this fast moving industry.

Mark is very pleased that many of the top end cafés in Australia have supported him by using Synesso machines. Five Senses Coffee in Western Australia and Victoria have been loyal agents for sales and service. He still gets a kick out of the modified six group Synesso they built for Proud Marys café in Melbourne, which is a real show piece for his business.

Synesso is still a very small manufacturer based in Seattle, with a small team of less than 15 people. Being a small business, Mark and his team of craftsmen are able to adapt quickly to technological changes, therefore keeping his products at the forefront of the market. Synesso is still the cool kid on the block, and when I asked Mark what’s next for the business, the word ‘grinder’ came up. He still sees the need for better grinder design – especially as the industry changes its methodology in espresso technique. Let’s wait and see what the next innovation is at Synesso.

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