Coffee machine makers gaze into their crystal balls

La Cimbali

FEJ caught up with a handful of leading players from the commercial coffee machine market to identify what prospective buyers can expect from this part of the industry in 2016. Here’s what they had to say…

How do you expect 2016 to compare with the trends you have seen over the last 12 months?

Justin Stockwell, managing director, Caffeine Limited: Modern bean-to-cup machines are responsible for the expansion of good quality coffee into outlets where previously it was a no go. As the technology continues to develop, it’s getting easier for operators to offer a more complex coffee menu. As coffee consumers become more aware of what is available and what they like, there is a greater demand for a variety of good quality coffees.

Simon Bracken, managing director, Scanomat UK: A recent report from Allegra World Coffee Portal stated that in the future, streamlined bar environments and increased automation will facilitate greater service-orientation from baristas. However, while baristas prepare drinks from more traditional machines, they cannot face and interact with their customers at the same time. A unique feature of the TopBrewer by Scanomat is that it enables the barista to serve the same premium drinks fresh from the bean while also engaging with the customer. Another major trend we expect to see grow in 2016 is personalisation. Consumers are becoming coffee experts in their own right and they expect to have their favourite drink just the way they like it.

Rob Ward, coffee specialist, La Cimbali: The coffee shop sector — both the independent operators and branded chains — continue to thrive and I don’t anticipate this changing in 2016. It is the non-coffee specialist outlets where I expect to see the biggest growth, particularly the B&I and leisure sectors. The demand is fuelled to a degree by consumers — they have become so used to enjoying quality coffee on the run they also expect the same at work and leisure. Operators are also beginning to appreciate the profit opportunity of a decent hot beverage offer and are investing the resources to realise that potential.

It is the non-coffee specialist outlets where I expect to see the biggest growth, particularly the B&I and leisure sectors”

What are your key corporate plans for 2016, particularly with regards to your product roadmap?

Marcus Gansloser, managing director, WMF: The launch of the 5000s in 2015 completed our range of new generation coffee machines, meaning we can now offer a machine to fit all sectors and styles of operation. With compatible technology across the series, which is easy to use for both operator and consumer, we are now focusing on promoting this family of machines to a wider audience.

Rob Ward, La Cimbali: Cimbali is using Hotelympia to launch a major industry advance: the S30 Perfect Touch, a new generation of ‘super smart’, super-automatic bean-to-cup machines that feature future-proof IoT (Internet of Things) technology that provides a powerful management information system while delivering exceptional coffee quality.

Justin Stockwell, Caffeine Limited: Caffeine Limited’s latest Schaerer bean-to-cup machines, with an advanced milk system, will be making their Hotelympia debut. The new ‘Best Foam’ system gives operators total control of the texture and temperature of the foam, delivering the best ever lattes, flat whites, cappuccinos and other espresso drinks — foaming the milk even better than a barista. The patented milk system allows operators to create individual milk-based coffees, fully automatically and with consistently high quality results. The system precisely controls the process and creates the exact type of foam required for specific drinks, so the foam for one drink can
be made stiffer or creamier than another at the touch of a button.

SCA P Best Foam Cappuccino Fujiyama

Is there anything unique about your machine offering that end-users should be aware of?

Simon Bracken, Scanomat: TopBrewer is the next generation of coffee machine with a totally unique design and app-control technology. With TopBrewer, fresh bean-to-cup coffee is literally turned upside down — there is no longer a large, cumbersome coffee machine on the counter blocking eye contact between the operator and the customer. The TopBrewer gives operators the freedom to engage and interact with their customers in a whole new way, be it barista service, self-service or ‘to go’. There is no compromise on coffee quality — water is heated from fresh for every cup, while fresh milk is steamed and frothed to a silky smooth texture.

Marcus Gansloser, WMF: The new generation coffee machines — the WMF 1500S, 5000S and 8000S — all feature large MMI touch screens, which makes the operation, cleaning of the machine and selection of drinks effortless. The screen also doubles up as valuable space on which special offers can be advertised or key messages promoted. Other new features on the 5000S include ‘Clean in Place’, a time-saving, HACCP-compliant cleaning system which enables the cleaning of the milk foamer without the need to disassemble it or remove it from the machine, and a ‘Dynamic Milk System’. Because the majority of coffees are served with milk, WMF has developed a system that enables the 5000S to automatically produce hot and cold milk and foam to perfection. In fact, four different consistencies of hot milk foam and three varieties of cold milk foam can be produced effortlessly.

Justin Stockwell, Caffeine Limited: Fresh milk is the best thing for taste and foam texture in espresso-based drinks. On the other hand, it’s amongst the worst when it comes to hygiene. Until now, bean-to-cup coffee machines that incorporate a fresh milk system have been a real challenge for staff when it comes to cleaning. Milk can clog pipes, creating odours and bacteria, and it requires expensive, powerful and unpleasant chemicals for thorough cleaning. Caffeine has launched a new milk system: the NC (no-clean) Foamer, developed by Schaerer, which is eco-friendly and needs no nasty chemicals. In fact, it’s also cheaper than a single dose of the chemicals used to clean a traditional system. The key to the new system is that it’s disposable. It is designed for use in the Schaerer Coffee Prime range of bean-to-cup espresso machines and at the end of each shift the operator simply opens the door, unclips the NC Foamer and disposes of it. It’s fully biodegradable and HACCP-compliant. The next day they simply clip in a fresh one.

Until now, bean-to-cup coffee machines that incorporate a fresh milk system have been a real challenge for staff when it comes to cleaning”

What are the biggest factors shaping the type of coffee equipment that operators are purchasing at the moment?

Simon Bracken, Scanomat UK: Operators are always looking to innovate their beverage offering in terms of range, premium quality and customer experience. With that in mind, the new ‘over-the-air’ updates for TopBrewer will allow us to future-proof our eco-system for years to come to give peace of mind to the operator and a world of endless enhancements to the TopBrewer. With layouts becoming more streamlined and open plan, operators are looking for more minimal solutions that take up less counter space. The TopBrewer’s under-counter design offers a super silent, and almost invisible, authentic barista experience at the touch of the TopBrewer app.

Marcus Gansloser, WMF: In our opinion, operators are looking for a reliable piece of equipment that will produce a quality coffee, consistently. But they are now also looking to coffee machine manufacturers for all-round advice on the coffee sector, market trends and inspiration for their coffee service, even down to the detail of how to serve a great coffee. Downtime is not an option, so after-sales service is important as well as ongoing training. It is no longer good enough to simply sell a machine, we need to be experts in our market too, in order to work effectively with our customers. The need to deliver top quality beverages to a consistent level, day-in, day-out, continues to be a driver for most operators — competition is fierce and disappointed consumers don’t usually complain about a lousy coffee, they just don’t come back.

Rob Ward, La Cimbali: The ‘added extras’ often make a difference to the purchasing decision. For example, Cimbali operates the MUMAC Academy London, a ‘centre of excellence’ and dedicated training centre located within the company headquarters in Hertfordshire. The centre is managed by myself and supported by Matt Lasek, UK senior barista and head of coffee training at Cimbali. In addition to showcasing Cimbali’s extensive range of coffee machines, grinders and  associated equipment, MUMAC London is where our team of dedicated  trainers operate a wide range of professional training programmes for clients and other parties working in the industry. The ability to support a client with comprehensive after-sales service and maintenance programmes, on both a preventative and reactive level, is also important. Incorporating a two-way communication flow and diagnostic capabilities into the equipment as we have done with our new S30 can help minimise downtime and will therefore be welcomed by operators.

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