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Eversys’ vision for the future barista

From the October 2017 issue.

Superautomatic manufacturer Eversys sees a future where the barista can relinquish the mundane and relish the creative.

Matt Perger

When 2012 World Brewers Cup Champion Matt Perger presented at Host Milano two years ago, he spoke about the controversial idea of superautomatic coffee machines eventually wiping out the role of the barista.

But rather than a tale of doom and gloom for baristas, Perger’s speech was actually focused on how the barista’s role would simply shift in a positive way. Rather than operators of mundane tasks, they would become technical or service specialists, with the machines allowing them to focus on their craft.

It was no coincidence that Kamal Bengougam, Chief Commercial Officer of superautomatic coffee equipment manufacturer Eversys, was at this presentation. After hearing this award-winning barista and writer prophetically share his vision for the future barista, which was very much in line with the future Eversys envisaged, Bengougam saw the makings of a perfect partnership.

Perger says it was only a couple of months before he gave that presentation at Host for traditional coffee machine maker La Marzocco that he had finally accepted the idea that the barista’s role would be evolving in line with the industry. But instead of retreating, he decided to leverage his position in the industry as a renowned expert, spokesperson and entrepreneur. He set out on a mission to help stakeholders adapt to the changing industry, while also looking for a way to get into the superautomatics market himself.

“I had started looking into how to manufacture a machine like this,” he tells Global Coffee Report, “or for a company [in the space] to engage with on a fundamental and technical level.” Needless to say, Bengougam’s timing was perfect.

It took more than a year for the partnership to be fleshed out, but Perger says it felt right from day one. “Even though they talked the right talk in the beginning, after I visited the Eversys factory, I came away with zero hesitation,” he recounts. “I could see all their attention to detail and focus on quality. I was more than satisfied after walking away.”

Bengougam also remembers Perger’s first trip to the Eversys headquarters in Ardon, Switzerland: “He wanted to see if our machines were up to scratch and I wanted to see if he’d be a good fit.”

Throughout his career in coffee, Perger has consistently challenged the industry’s perception of the quality and capability of superautomatic equipment, which made him a perfect addition to Eversys as brand ambassador and advisor. As part of the partnership, Perger will work with the Swiss team and its global customers to help them provide consistent quality in the cup and coffee excellence across the board.

“Eversys is right at the forefront of coffee-making tech, so I’m excited to be working so closely with the team behind it,” he says. “I’m a big believer in superautomation freeing baristas to do what they do best – bringing the human touch to coffee making. I’m in this industry for the love of coffee, and Eversys’ technology is raising the bar to deliver quality coffee for everyone.”

Adds Bengougam, “Matt is very passionate, so he brings an authentic voice from his generation into the market we’re going after. He’s working with us on the quality-control side, too. He’s helping us understand coffee better so we can improve the in-cup experience and take it to the ultimate level.”

Fittingly, Eversys made the official announcement of its partnership with Perger at the 2017 World of Coffee in Budapest in June, where superautomatic machine manufacturers were invited to exhibit for the very first time in the history of the event.

The beginning of the superautomatic
Eversys has been producing its high-end superautomatic machines since 2009 when founders Jean-Paul In Albon and Robert Bircher set out to bridge the gap between traditional Italian coffee equipment and the speed and innovation of superautomatic machines without sacrificing quality.

The market is divided into those two categories, explains Bengougam: “Those who favoured traditional machines for their aesthetics and quality and those who favoured superautomatics for their efficiency and ease of use. There was a clear disparity. So when Eversys started, its mission was to create a market in the middle – to pursue a blue ocean strategy where Eversys is in a market of its own, without competitors.

And with the first machines, we achieved the mission and proved that quality is possible with a superautomatic.”

Eversys started with the e’ series in 2012, building a reputation for innovative superautomatic espresso machines that streamline the entire bean-to-cup process. From grinding to brewing to microfoam, all internal components are modular and can be easily removed and replaced without having to decommission and replace the entire machine, which can mean costly downtime for a high-volume coffee shop.

The superautomatic machines are also digitally advanced, with intuitive user interfaces to program the perfect cup and custom reporting and usage stats that can be accessed via LAN connection and used for future decision-making and strategy.

Just last month, at Host Milano no less, Eversys announced a completely new machine that takes its e’Barista to the next level: the c’2 Cameo.

In addition to improved modularity and e’Foam System, the Cameo has new technical features, including variable hot water temperature for tea and an electronic milk texturing system to make bespoke milk textures depending on the recipe requested by the barista.

“With the c’ series, the barista is making a cameo,” Bengougam tells GCR. “It’s not meant to remove the human element completely, but rather allow the [baristas] to relinquish the mundane and explore their creative sides.” Additionally, the c’ series is not meant to replace the e’ series, but merely provide existing and new Eversys customers with different options.

Bengougam likens the barista’s role with a superautomatic coffee machine to that of a top chef or the conductor of an orchestra: “If you look at the conductor of an orchestra, he doesn’t play an instrument. Similarly, chefs don’t actually cook anymore. They create recipes and then train people; they are the quality control,” he explains. “That is what the barista should become. A barista doesn’t grind or brew. He is quality control, and then even an artist at the end. He can use the machine to truly express the essence of a particular bean by playing with the different parameters, like the conductor of an orchestra.”

Innovation, quality and design
The biggest change from Eversys’s e’ series to the c’ series is the design, with emphasis on making it smaller and even more aesthetically pleasing.

Bengougam attributes the new design to six years of listening to the market and the engineers’ willingness – though not without scepticism – to create something entirely different.

“I joined the company with a strong background in marketing, so I realised very quickly that we had great machines but the design let us down,” he explains. “Buyers wanted the best of both worlds: the aesthetics and quality of traditional machines but the efficiency of superautomatic machines. So I went on a mission to drive a design that could create coherence between the in-cup experience and the visual aspect.”

The scepticism among Eversys’s engineers was similar to that of a “parent who thinks their child is the most beautiful thing in the world”, Bengougam says. “It was a massive debate in the company. I told them to create a more aesthetic machine and they asked me what was wrong with the current product. But now that the engineers can actually see the new design, they absolutely love it.”

Similar to the e’2, the c’2 can produce up to 175 espresso beverages per hour, two at a time; but it is more compact. The c’2 is 13 centimetres narrower and 15 centimetres shorter than the e’2. It also has a different design that is highlighted with nature-inspired colour palettes, such as earth (brown and charcoal), ocean (teal and silver) and tempest (silver and charcoal).

“There’s definitely a visual language at cafes, where customers look for the machine, the milk jug and more,” explains Perger. “Cafes that don’t kick off those visual cues will lose customers because that’s just what people are trained to see. We’re still pandering to people’s anxieties about what it should look like [behind the coffee bar], but with machines like the Cameo that couple the ideas of visual appeal and quality coffee, we can slowly retrain people.”

The visual aspect, and subsequent conditioned response, was also a major component in Bengougam’s push for more aesthetically pleasing machines. “In coffee shops, everything is front of house, so they want to give the impression of a handmade product to reflect the pricing,” he tells GCR.

Eversys Cameo

Although Perger was not involved in the Cameo’s development, he attended Host Milano 2017 with Eversys for its global debut – which is fitting considering it was at Host exactly two years prior that he gave that controversial talk about superautomatics.

The week before Host, Eversys actually debuted the Cameo to exclusive crowds at a private Host preview event and the Allegra World Coffee Portal CEO Forum as the Professional Coffee Machine Sponsor. The two-day, New York City event, which was limited to 200 of the industry’s senior leaders and influencers, created an opportunity for Eversys to brew interest before Host. Bengougam says the two preview events helped create dialogue around the new machine and drive traffic to Eversys’ booth the following week.

Partnerships for progress
Another partnership Eversys announced this year is with De’Longhi Group, a global leader in household coffee machines. In April, the Italian company acquired 40 per cent of Eversys Group, with a two-way option to acquire the remaining 60 per cent after two to four years.

Similar to the partnership with Perger, Eversys saw an opportunity to work with a like-minded company while improving its place in the coffee industry.

Although Eversys didn’t officially put itself out for bid, “we were approached by about half a dozen companies as we started to become more visible”, Bengougam tells GCR. Concurrently, the company’s executives went on a retreat where they faced head on the question of where they wanted the company to be in five years.

While Eversys may be a leader in its space, Bengougam says it lacked the “industrialisation” component that a company needs to create scale and “go from being an SMB to being an enterprise. For us to achieve all our objectives as a company, [a merger] was in the best interest for everyone”.

Naturally, both parties went through a selection process where they established criteria important to a partnership. In De’Longhi, Eversys executives saw an entrepreneurial, family-owned company that would support the Eversys vision, wanted to be a long-term player in the espresso market and had the ambition to be a global player.

For De’Longhi, which has been serving the in-home espresso machine market for more than a decade, they wanted to enter the professional realm, says Bengougam. In order to do so, “they could spend the next 10 years creating their own machine, or they could acquire a company that already does it”. Obviously, they went with the latter.

Says Fabio De’Longhi, Vice-Chairman and CEO of the De’Longhi Group, “Eversys brings a wealth of technology, a management team with proven experience in the sector and the ambition to become a leading player in the global professional coffee market”.

Appropriately, considering the acquisition and Eversys’ latest emphasis on design, De’Longhi has actually won several international design awards. In 2007, the in-home appliance maker earned two in particular for its Esclusivo line of small appliances, which includes the fully automatic PrimaDonna ESAM6600 espresso machine.

With its own obvious capabilities in the domestic market and now access to Eversys’ expertise and technology in out-of-home, there is opportunity for De’Longhi to create its own line in the professional space. Because Eversys already sits at the top end, “there’s a gap in the lower end for the professional market that we can help De’Longhi [fill],” something that Eversys wouldn’t have taken on otherwise under its own brand.

But before Eversys gets too deep in creating new machines, it still has the excitement of the c’2 Cameo to ride out. In addition to its current buyers, the company also “want to attract users who aren’t customers already”, Bengougam says. “This machine can give us access to new markets, so our objective with it over the next few years is to make it appealing and accessible to people who are really passionate about coffee but who don’t need the super-duper barista to make high-quality coffee, from the convenience store to the five-star hotel.”  GCR

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