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The State of Slayer, Part 1: Provoking Innovation

Slayer Espresso in Atlanta at SCAA Expo

Seven years ago, in Atlanta, Slayer introduced true flavor profiling by means of flow control. We innovated a method for making espresso that preserves inherent sweetness and maximizes the viscosity of any coffee.

Last month, Slayer completed a “victory lap”. Exactly 7 years after our launch at SCAA 2009, we returned to Atlanta to tell our story again. Did we see you there?

Atlanta was our launch pad, where the world met Slayer for the first time. We bought a small booth, set up 2 machines – our only 2 machines – and we waited. We hoped that you would come over and share our excitement, or at least try our coffee. And you didn’t let us down.

But how did we get there? What brought a few guys and a new machine to a niche trade show? Why did we start Slayer in the first place? It’s a good story, worth telling and worth following along.

This is part 1.

Slayer Espresso booth SCAA Expo Atlanta 2009

During Slayer’s lifetime, the landscape of the coffee world has seen a seismic shift. Our 2014 retrospect describes the setting, a near-decade ago:

In Cupertino, Apple unveiled the first iPhone. In Florence, La Marzocco released the GS/3. In Tokyo, James Hoffmann won the World Barista Championship.

And in Seattle… several industry veterans hammered away on an espresso machine that would later earn the name “Slayer”.

That group, back in 2007, gathered to explore an idea. With our experiences combined, we had run the gamut: roasted coffee, traveled to origin, opened cafes, trained competitors, maintained (and modded) our equipment, developed new products – all of it. Along with many others, we were keenly aware of increasing standards for quality throughout the supply chain, all the way to the consumer. There was just one problem.

Manufacturers weren’t keeping up.

Our passion, everyone’s passion, was being squandered because every espresso machine on the market made coffee in the exact same way. It was time to rethink how we approached espresso, but no one would budge. We decided to become the company that would provoke innovation.

Thus did Slayer start. Seattle was an easy choice for our homebase, with ample resources for manufacturing and a spirited coffee culture to grow into. We found a small space in an industrial zone and began to test new theories about extraction. At the time, our experiments were completed with the only equipment that we (or almost anyone) had: modern Italian machines and traditional levers, modified beyond recognition.

Countless ideas were considered – pressure profiling included – but only one theory proved itself with real, taste-able impacts on flavor. Flow rate control, made possible by a precision needle valve at each grouphead, became Slayer’s essential technology and pioneered flavor profiling as we know it today. (More on that in part 3.)

Slayer espresso shot with heavy crema

Implementing this one, critical change started something that, perhaps, no one expected. We reimagined the espresso machine, in our own style, and made it to be something that it hadn’t been in decades, if ever. Slayer Espresso is a smart and stunning tool that enables professional baristas to make coffee better™.

Today, at 9 years young, we have raised the bar all over the world. Our latest products continue to provoke innovation and inspire the industry to reach for the best. To our friends, fans, clients, and competitors, we make you this promise: 2016 will be our best year yet.

Want to know more?
Get into the mind of Slayer’s creator and CEO in part 2, dropping next week.