The 9Barista Story


The Garden Shed

As a teenager, William Playford, the inventor and founder of 9Barista, developed a passion for building complex thermodynamic machines. His creations included constructing rocket motors and several fully functioning gas turbine engines, all within the confines of his parents' garden shed.

Building model jet engines is challenging, although well documented. A bigger challenge was brewing…


The Inspiration

By day, Will pursued a Ph.D. in jet engine thermodynamics at The University of Cambridge Whittle Lab. However, his passion for thermodynamics didn't end with jet engines. By night, he could be found in the garden shed analysing the thermal performance of his La Pavoni lever espresso machine.

These late-night experiments proved to be more than just a hobby—they led to a groundbreaking idea. Will patented the innovative concept of using two saturated steam boilers at different pressures and temperatures; one to generate 9 bars of pressure, and the other to regulate the brew temperature via an inter-boiler heat exchanger.


The Development

Once the idea was born, Will got to work building the first prototype using his jet engine workshop in Cambridge. It worked! Inspired by this early success, he refined and perfected the machine over 5 years, building computer simulations and dozens more prototypes, running detailed performance measurements until it worked precisely as intended, and could be manufactured at scale.


Kickstarter & the Launch at London Coffee Festival

Will gathered his friends and family with expertise in business, marketing, engineering and graphic design and created a Kickstarter campaign that launched 9Barista at the London Coffee Festival in 2019. The new technology that featured in the machine was wonderfully received, so much so that the machine was awarded ‘highly commended’ status for the most innovative product award at the festival in 2022.


Our Factory, Our Team, Our Future

After building the first Kickstarter machines in the spare room in his flat, the 9Barista operation has now expanded to fill a large factory space in Cambridge, where a team of 11 staff build, test and ship machines every day to countries all around the world. We even have a research and development team working on new products every day, so watch this space - the story doesn’t end here!

Our Values

Hi, I'm Will, the founder. I started 9Barista because I wanted a way to produce café-quality espresso at home without having to buy an unrepairable and resource-intensive traditional espresso machine. I thought other people would feel the same way.

The 9Barista was designed to use as few resources as possible and to last as long as possible, whilst not compromising at all on espresso extraction performance.

Since founding the company we've built a fabulous team at 9Barista, and a wonderful community of customers who share similar values. We're always seeking ways to improve how we run our company so that we can reduce our impact on the planet and make a positive contribution to society.