Eversys customers explain the advantages to the world of automation once the fear of perception is removed and the results speak clearly for themselves.
There’s an old proverb that claims, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, but after 17 years using a traditional espresso machine at Australian venue Savour Café, Co-Founder Matt Jefferis made the leap to an Eversys super traditional machine.
“We wanted to get better consistency of coffee, reduce our labour costs and evolve the business with market technology without impacting service or quality with the rotation of baristas. We needed to streamline our processes,” Jefferis says. “We went to Brisbane-based Latitude Roasters and trialled our coffee on their single-group Eversys Cameo and played around with its automatic milk steamer. The coffee tasted the same as with our traditional machine, and the milk consistency and foam quality was really good.”
But it was the moment Jefferis first laid eyes on the design of the Eversys Enigma that sealed the deal.
“We loved that it mirrored the design of a traditional machine. Changing machines was definitely something we were looking at doing but knowing the COVID-19 situation was going to be difficult for businesses in 2021, gave us an added push to make the move,” he says.
“We were the first business in Australia to get the E’6M/Super Traditional machine in January 2021 through distributor Tiger Coffee. We were so conscious about customer perception, whether they would notice a change in the quality of our product, but you know what? No one ever asked nor questioned if it was an automatic machine or not. Not one person commented on any difference in the flavour or quality of our coffee compared to when we used a traditional machine.”
Jai Lott, Vice President of New-York based coffee brand Blank Street shared the same fear of public perception. However, after installing an Eversys Cameo and 1.5 milk module in a two-by-three-metre space, replacing the need for separate tampers and milk dispensers, he need not have worried.
“We did a significant volume daily in the first three months, and the amount of people who commented on the type of machine was zero. No-one cared what the machine was, they were just glad to have a barista that had time and wanted to chat while simultaneously making their drink,” Lott says.
“Automation has truly freed our teams up. I could do a whole shift on my own doing great sales numbers, all while spending time talking to customers about their dogs. Typically, in a US coffee shop, you walk up to the bar, order, and wait for the barista to yell out your name for collection. Often there is a disconnect and a staff member with their head looking down. But with the Eversys machine, the customer comes up to the counter, you have a chat, tell me the order, and I look at you while I press the button for a double shot. All variables are controlled and accounted for. It pours perfectly every time, and I keep the conversation going without compromising on speed of service.”
As a result, Lott says his US-baristas make significantly more money per hour with tips compared to the rest of the industry.
Seeing a further opportunity to expand Blank Street’s small-format coffee shop into New York retail spaces, Lott invested in 25 Eversys Cameos. Soon after, he learned about the release of the Eversys Shotmaster and its various milk calibration options to suit customer demand for oat and almond milk beverages, and ordered five, two-group models with a steam wand. He now uses the Shotmaster in Blank Street retail stores and Cameo for its coffee carts.
“I demand a lot from our espresso recipe – 20 grams in, 40 grams out with a 35-second extraction, and the Shotmaster has to grind fine to achieve that. Once you give the Shotmaster your recipe, you follow the normal procedure of dialling in, only that the action is pressing a button. You choose your extraction time, taste, and adjust if needed. It’s the same for milk. You dial it in the same day the machine is installed, and there’s no temperature variation,” Lott says.
When it comes to staff training, Lott says he’s at a stage where teaching the manual process of grinding and tamping is redundant. Instead, he explains the inner workings of the Eversys machine and how different components contribute to the end product.
“It’s like having a clean slate to specialty coffee, where you can explain exactly what extraction is, lift the curtain on what’s happening in the machine, and show the button that correlates to the action,” he says.
“The Shotmaster does the heavy lifting – it’s almost like the process of coffee making is semi-outsourced. Rather than trying to control the variables, the Shotmaster is more about time management: making sure the cups are in the right spot and moving your hands. Once you understand how to use the Shotmaster, you go to another level of productivity but with the confidence of coffee quality.”
Contrary to industry venues that are struggling with staff shortages and the difficulty of finding staff, Blank Street is opening on average three Blank Street stores per week, with no shortage of job applicants.
“A lot of our hires have no coffee experience,” he says. “Although it is beneficial, we do not only look for prior coffee experience in candidates. Instead, we focus on people skills, which are fundamentally harder to train. We look for baristas with a unique ability to deliver a wonderful, personal experience for our patrons from the moment they walk in to the moment they leave. Not having to focus 100 per cent of their interaction time on pulling an espresso shot makes Blank Street a phenomenal brand and neighbourhood ambassador.”
Blank Street has opened 30 locations in New York over the past 11 months and plans to open upwards of 100 locations internationally this year.
“For us, the return on investment on a Shotmaster is higher than a traditional machine. Eversys enables us to deliver on our core value propositions of speed, delightful service, and quality as we continue rapidly scaling across America,” Lott says.
Daniel Kim, Eversys Director of Business Development North America says more high-volume businesses are discovering the advantages of the Eversys Enigma and Shotmaster ST as they look to serve uncomplicated, quality coffee in high volume areas. In the US, 75 per cent of Eversys customers use Cameo machines, 25 per cent use the Engima, and the latest released Shotmaster is predicted to have strong market uptake.
“Eversys was on the radar as a solution for many businesses, including roasters, wholesale customers, offices, retailers, self-serve markets, and airlines, but now COVID has accelerated what we already started. It’s always been Eversys’ motto to deliver ‘true espresso with a touch’ and that’s being felt in the market. The gap between traditional and super-automatic machines is bridging closer than ever,” Kim says.
Savour Café’s Co-Founder Jefferis is also feeling that gap close, with his Enigma ST producing 70 to 90 kilograms of coffee per week.
“The Engima does everything a barista does with a traditional machine, only faster. We knock out coffees a lot quicker because we can pull six shots and run three jugs of milk at once, with two milk wands producing automatic foam from two jugs and a third manual steam wand. We also added four hoppers so we could run a single origin, blend and decaf all from the same machine without a mountain of grinders on the bench.”
Making coffee is now a multitasking job for the one person behind the machine on weekdays, and two on the weekend.
“We knew that if we could save on overall costs in terms of staff labour, we could pay off the Enigma after one year, and every year after that is savings,” Jefferis says.
The other type of investment is in the reduction of milk waste. Rather than baristas estimating the volume of milk per shot, the Enigma can be programmed to extract enough milk for six-, 12- and 16-ounce cups.
“With traditional machines, you would also quite often get channelling and shots which you need to throw out, but with the Enigma, you set the parameters. We set our extraction for 35 seconds and if it deviates three seconds either side of that, the machine will automatically change the grind to be finer or coarser to compensate, so less wastage of coffee as well because of the consistency of the grind,” Jefferis says.
The Engima’s automated cleaning cycle also enables Savour Café to keep its machine running right until 4pm when it closes, with the cycle taking just 10 minutes to complete.
“We’re definitely happy with where we are as a business and our decision to purchase the Engima. Some hospitality venues are having to reduce hours or close because costs are still there, but thankfully we made the decision to change our machine and implement QR ordering into our business model, and it’s definitely helped our financial position,” Jefferis says.
He now has the confidence to open additional shops without the added pressure of maintaining coffee consistency.
“Automation is definitely the way forward. It just makes sense for us, and should we expand, we will be looking to use Eversys machines again,” Jefferis says.
For more information, visit www.eversys.com
This article was first published in the March/April 2022 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.