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How Hemro’s grinders remains at the cutting edge

From the January 2018 issue.

The Hemro Group’s new Tailored Solutions unit is dedicated to meeting the specific needs of individual customers.

Hemro grinders

It’s been a big decade for coffee. There is more variety on the market than ever before, and global sales are up. According to the International Coffee Organization, consumers imbibed over 9 billion kilograms of coffee from October 2015 to September 2016, with annual consumption up 1.3 percent annually since 2012.

With all this experience under their belt, coffee drinkers have also become savvier. They now demand the best possible taste and have developed relationships with specific beans, cafés, and suppliers. From farmers to roasters to baristas to manufacturers, experts have responded by finding new ways to coax the best flavour out of the humble beans. Along the way, they’ve learned the importance in every step of the coffee-making process. As their knowledge and connections have improved, so too has the quality of their product.

This dynamic global specialty coffee network has produced many insights in the industry. Experts have traded tips, inspiration, and secrets on their way to producing a quality finished product. But the collaboration has also produced an important lesson: there is no perfect recipe for a good cup of coffee. Instead, it’s become clear that there are countless truly delicious cups being served around the world each day – and what makes them perfect is their uniqueness. Creating a good cup of java is a craft unto itself, where any small alterations along the way from bean to drink can produce big changes in flavour.

For the industry, this truth has its own paradox. If each cup is special, how can vendors ensure their product is consistently delicious in the face of changing beans, roasting grades and brewing methods? And in a crowded market for coffee drinkers’ dollars, how can they be sure their cup stands out?

To the coffee grinder manufacturers of the Swiss Hemro Group, the answer lies in science. As active members of the global specialty coffee network, the company has long shared a passion for creating the best tasting product using cutting-edge technology. Led by its brands Mahlkönig, Ditting and Anfim, the group’s coffee grinders are the products of years of meticulous research.

The group has led the industry in research and development since 1999, when the German company Mahlkönig developed grind-on-demand technology and teamed up with Swiss rival Ditting to perfect and market its product. The group rounded out its offerings when it brought the Italian grinder manufacturer Anfim on to its team in 2013. By sharing knowledge and leveraging the histories of its German, Swiss, and Italian pedigrees, Hemro has built up legions of fans in homes, cafés, and manufacturers across the world. And with Hemro committing at least 10 per cent of its resources to research and development, it’s little surprise the manufacturer has become one of the top grinding disc manufacturers in the world.

Over the years, more and more customers have looked to the Hemro Group for carefully tailored solutions to their grinding needs. With the demand for customised coffee grinding solutions increasing significantly, the group of companies has recently dedicated a business unit especially to this sales division.

Philipp Baumberger, Managing Director at the Hemro Group, has taken on the challenging task of delivering individually perfect coffee grinders to the group’s many customers. The role is the culmination of years of experience for the industry veteran.

“I am a passionate engineer and have strived to develop the best possible grinding solution for each of our clients ever since I started working at the Hemro Group back in 2002,” he says.

For Baumberger, the assignment is an extension of his recent work listening closely to the needs of clients and building solutions that fit their needs.

“Over the last few years, I have enjoyed a number of exciting collaborations on grinder customisation projects,” he says. “We successfully developed varied individual adaptations to make the grinders fit perfectly to each set of requirements. Our new business unit, Tailored Solutions, will now focus even more on these projects, responding to the growing number of customers approaching us with special inquiries.”

The companies in Hemro see coffee grinders as essential to the cups they produce. Though espresso machines steal much of the coffee limelight, grinders function as a key middle step between roasting and brewing. Good grinders unlock the flavour of roasted beans, exposing the bean’s subtleties and nuances before the grounds are turned into coffee. If the beans are too finely ground for a particular brewing method, the grinds will be over-exposed to the heated water, producing a bitter flavour. Coarsely cut beans, on the other hand, will produce weak coffee.

According to Anne Krahmer, Marketing Director for Hemro, the Tailored Solution team simply applies these insights directly to a given client. Those might include “a roaster who wants to create a grinder fitting its coffee perfectly to make sure to get the best out of the bean,” she says, or maybe a “machine manufacturer who wants to have their own grinder” tailored to its specific product line.

Ditting grinders

For cafés concerned with first impressions and bottom lines, the Tailored Solutions team could be a boon. Krahmer says that cafés often want to match their machinery to the general ambience of their surroundings. Owners also want to make sure their equipment is tailored to the business of their shops so money isn’t wasted on unnecessary supplies or machinery. And they know they can come back for help from top technicians trained by the company’s own Hemro Academy, which was founded in 2016 to provide top skills and knowledge training to coffee service professionals.

Cutting-edge machines like the ones produced by Mahlkönig, Anfim or Ditting include technology that reliably doses coffee grinds so that no coffee bean goes wasted, as well as settings that allow baristas to find the sweet spot in any blend. Hemro believes that creating the machines to power this process requires precision and obsessive attention to detail.

Hemro’s Tailored Solutions team understands this process deeply, and draws from a customised corpus to fit each coffee shop’s design. The coffee giant is used to working with clients ranging from home consumers to global coffee chains. Their grinders feature innovative technological features such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) systems designed to read tags of product, and dual fan systems to minimise heat and noise emissions. With tens of thousands of happy customers, it’s safe to say that when it comes to grinders, Hemro has seen it all.

Still, the focus of the company’s products will continue to be the grinding discs that sit at the spinning heart of every grinder. Baumberger takes the process of creating the discs very seriously. He believes Hemro is especially well positioned to create better grinders because of its extensive track record researching, testing, and building grinders used by customers from all corners of the world.

“Developing an individual set of grinding discs takes time,” Baumberger explains. “It takes time to conduct tests and analysis in order to choose the most appropriate grinding disc material, as well as time to create a disc design that will grind the beans in a way that preserves the coffee’s aroma and contributes to a perfect extraction.”

What defines perfection, of course, is up for debate. With so many options on the market, Baumberger believes shops need to be ready to cater to customers’ tastes and preferences. It’s a situation that calls for the kind of creative, flexible solutions from farm to shop and which includes the machinery that powers the process.

As industry insiders know, tastes may change, but demand for quality, specialised coffee will not. GCR

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