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Hi-tech machinery and a helping hand from the IoT innovation for a better cup of coffee

IoT coffee

MILAN – The bar has been raised: people expect more of coffee now. The specialty market has made people more aware of the complexities that lie behind a good cup of coffee. For this reason, technology is working to help baristas obtain better results with less effort and more control over processes. Innovation is aimed at creating equipment that is ever more efficient and adaptable to the different origins of coffee, with a choice of settings … and a helping hand from IoT.

The guidelines that are leaving their mark on technological innovation in the sector were explained to us by Maurizio Giuli, president of Assofoodtec/Ucimac, the association for espresso coffee machine and bar equipment manufacturers.

“Over the last decade Italy’s professional espresso coffee machine sector has seen an annual growth of nearly 10%, and demonstrated excellent resilience in the face of the economic crisis of 2009. All this is the result of the highly dynamic approach adopted by businesses that work in it and the efforts that they have made with regard to innovation.

There have been two main areas of development: on the one hand there has been a proliferation of new technologies and products aimed at improving performance standards to make better cups of coffee. On the other we have seen efforts being made to make equipment ‘smarter’ and interactive, through the use of IoT.

Many of today’s espresso coffee machines can now connect to the internet to exchange information of a commercial nature (for example the mix of beverages delivered and coffee consumption levels) or of a technical nature (settings, alarms, malfunctioning), all for the purposes of offering customers a higher quality beverage.”

IoT has proved invaluable especially during the Covid emergency

That view is echoed by Enrico Bracesco, chief commercial officer of Gruppo Cimbali, which is launching two new fully automatic models. “IoT has proved invaluable especially during the Covid emergency. When machinery is connected to the Internet, bar owners can keep a constant eye on consumption and on coffee-making settings, as well as checking up on service processes like cleaning and the analysis of any malfunctioning, especially in a preventative manner. For us, the fact that we can connect up to a network brings us closer to the market and helps us better understand demand, which then enables us to offer a more targeted, timely service, which is key to making our clients’ businesses run more successfully.”

A new product by Faema, a brand in the group, reinterprets a 1960s icon and adds innovative functional improvements. Cutting-edge technology ensures a high level of thermal stability and helps bring out the very best aroma in every cup of coffee, while the updating of the timeless design enhances the interior of the bar.

To mark its 50th anniversary in 2019, La Spaziale chose to focus on a new model with a revamped aesthetic and featuring innovations that cater to new market trends. “The main objective,” the firm says “was to make the coffee extraction process as controlled as possible. New blends and single-origin coffees require different extraction times to produce the best results. Simply by pressing a button on the display, the end user can choose seven different pre-set temperatures on each brewing group; for each type of coffee there is a different extraction temperature.

Research and development has also been central to the work of Sanremo Coffee Machines, which during lockdown and the subsequent easing of restrictions concentrated its efforts on innovation. In the coming months the company will be developing two new models for home use and one for the professional sector. And there could be more new ideas before Host 2021.

Head of R&D Danilo Llopis reflects on the past months: “The production department never stopped, and we organised a rotation of staff so that everyone would feel they had an active role to play in the Sanremo family, all working hard together to achieve our aims. And the great efforts everyone made were a multiplying force that encouraged everyone to give their best as they worked on our new projects.”