Eversys is set to increase its presence in the MEIA region with a strong growth trajectory and a market ready to embrace super traditional machines.
Swiss espresso machine manufacturer Eversys has embraced quality design and technology since its establishment in 2009. It shares this ethos with customers through its presence in Switzerland, the United States, United Kingdom, China, Singapore, and with partners worldwide. And now, it has the opportunity to do the same with businesses in the Middle East, India and North Africa (MEIA).
Federico Ortile, Eversys Business Development Director – MEIA, has been based in the United Arab Emirates since 2008. One of his core objectives was to open an Experience Lab in Dubai, with the intention to boost interactions with the evolving MEIA coffee community, and as of November 2022, that goal became reality with the opening of Eversys’ new regional office.
“Dubai was a natural choice to put the Eversys Experience Lab. There is a vibrant business ecosystem here where we can host all our partner distributors for training. We want to become a point of reference in Dubai, to enhance knowledge of our brand, and share the values, technology, and DNA of Eversys with future generations in the region,” Ortile says.
Coffee Planet was Eversys’ first customer in the Middle East. The Dubai-based specialty roaster started its partnership with Eversys in 2011, which helped advance its local presence, but now the new regional office intends to expand its interactions even further.
“In the past, the Middle East has been quite traditional in its use of espresso machines. But now, the youth – a very tech savvy generation – have discovered automation thanks to its close monitoring of other regions’ trends and their experiences in the United States, where many start their coffee drinking experience, learn the culture, develop a passion for coffee, then bring it back to the Middle East,” Ortile says.
While artisan and specialty coffee operations embrace Eversys, its technology caters well to a large volume of international coffee chains that are scaling their business in the region.
“The only way they can really control quality, consistency, and productivity, is to work with Eversys. I believe we are on track to cover this niche in the market,” Ortile says.
Culturally, Ortile says coffee shops in the Middle East are celebrated as a meeting point, a destination for friends to gather and socialise. In some regions, extended operating hours into the evening means coffee replaces alcohol as a party beverage.
“It’s a social drink, even more than what we know it to be in the Western world. If you go to a coffee shop in the evening, you will see a queue of people lining up, and a lot of young people sitting outside,” he says. “This is a dominant culture in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which have very big specialty coffee scenes.”
One of the first specialty coffee roasters to open in Saudi Arabia was Camel Step. Founded in 2013 in Riyadh, Camel Step Chairman Abdulkarim Alharbi says the company transitioned from a passion project to a business when its three founders realised there was a gap in the Saudi Arabian market for specialty coffee.
The company of 200 employees has 10 dedicated shops scattered across the country, and a five-year plan to be present in every major Saudi Arabian city with an effective business model of serving only coffee.
“Camel Step is unique in the market because of our passion, and our employee’s passion for coffee. Our baristas are called coffee ambassadors and they talk to customers about direct trade, the relationships we have with farmers at origin, and the work we’re doing to improve our relationships. Coming to our shop is an experience,” Alharbi says.
Camel Step was first introduced to Eversys in 2020. As a market leader, it saw an opportunity to manage the rapid growth of the specialty market through automation.
“We saw that Eversys was offering the technology the market needed. It’s always developing new tools and advancing its technology to make the lives of baristas easier, and we’ve been using the Cameo and Enigma machines for some of our to-go venues, called WAY branches” Alharbi says.
Camel Step is also an Eversys distributor, where sales have exceeded Alharbi’s expectations.
“This year (2022), we’ve grown significantly on sales compared to last year, attributed mainly to the Enigma machine because of its superior use of automation. It provides a great selection of beverages, has great milk frothing technology and espresso consistency. For shops that want to keep training to a minimum but still maintain their quality, this is the machine they need,” Alharbi says.
“We did initially fear that the baristas would resist the automation concept, but they have really adopted it and love using it. They know it not only helps their workflow and manage volume, but also reduces errors and increases quality output. Now our customers have access to the best quality coffee, and that’s what I’m excited about.”
Other prominent specialty coffee roasters in Saudi Arabia to partner with Eversys include The Coffee Address, Bebax Coffee, and Caffeine Lab. Eversys’ Ortile says they all used traditional machines before falling in love with Eversys’ Enigma machine range, which can produce up to 350 espressos per hour. He adds that customers also enjoy the Eversys 1.5-Step
milk foam dispensing, which helps keep up with the market’s high volume of milk-based coffees, which Ortile says accounts for 70 to 80 per cent of customer orders.
“In 2021, Eversys sold just a few machines to Saudi Arabia. By the end of 2022, the orders exceeded 200 machines. That volume is exponential,” Ortile says. “After COVID-19, coffee companies tried to catch up on their growth. This trend may continue into next year then normalise, but there’s a strong movement from traditional to super traditional or automated machines, like Eversys offer.
“People working in specialty coffee can be very sceptical about automatic machines, but when we do a demonstration with them, they reach a point where they see no difference in cup quality between a traditional machine and Eversys. Their eyes widen, they become excited, then they tell their friends.”
The first Eversys Shotmaster machine landed in Saudi Arabia in November 2022, with strong uptake expected in 2023.
“Innovation is very well received in Saudi Arabia. They really love it and strive for the best, including their coffee equipment,” says Eversys Commercial Director Christian Haueter.
“Saudi Arabia is heavily invested in technology, innovation, and new industries, with the country building solar parks, new city ecosystems, and investing in electric cars. The Saudi Arabian government strongly supports the growth of the country’s coffee culture, at shop and farm level, with the intention to invest in coffee production.”
Huge growth is also anticipated in the Indian coffee market, a country in which Eversys had zero presence in 2021.
“In just one year it’s become our second biggest market, and we are only just touching the surface. We are working with the most important specialty coffee shops there, whereby from just a few stores, they are now opening hundreds. Compared to Saudi Arabia, India’s coffee scene is much less developed, so the potential is incredible,” Ortile says.
He adds that increased population growth in the Middle East is likely to continue over the next five years with the majority of the population in Saudi Arabica below 34 years of age, according to Euromonitor reports. As such, it’s a prime opportunity for Eversys to connect with the expanding market.
“It’s a really an exciting time for coffee in the Middle East. I really believe the region’s growth will accelerate Eversys’ presence here. I think everybody in the future will be looking at the Middle East as an interesting opportunity to grow their business,” Ortile says.
“We want to help young coffee professionals, encourage their passion, and continue to develop the future of the coffee community.”