Gotec S.A. coffee capsule machine takes technology down a size

At 215 millimetres high and just 160 millimetres in diameter, the Gotec S.A. capsule machine comes across more as a table top accessory than a kitchen appliance. The device, which Swiss-based manufacturers Gotec say is the smallest capsule machine ever released on the market, was innovative enough to take home the Best Coffee Related Product or Machine Award at the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe (SCAE) World of Coffee event that took place in Vienna in June. As it turns out, much of the thinking that went into this machine was, in fact, all about taking the coffee machine out of the kitchen, according to Gotec’s Frédéric Dayer. “Our entire vision for the team that worked on this machine was to take a coffee machine and use it anywhere you like,” says Dayer. “Imagine you could put a coffee machine in a guest’s bedroom so they could make their own morning coffee, or anywhere in the house you would want an espresso hit.” The team’s vision is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that occurs when a non-coffee company comes up with a coffee appliance. Gotec  is a 50-year-old company that began developing and producing solenoid pumps. Today, its pumps are used in everything from printers to medical devices, air conditioning units to heating systems, and, naturally, coffee machines.    In 2008, Gotec  started developing pumps that are smaller, more silent, and with added functionalities. The results was the AIO (All in one) concept, which merged three components – the pump, heater, and flow control – all into one. With this new pump in hand, Gotec  was able to launch its first, and potentially revolutionary, coffee machine. Dayer says that the feedback received at the SCAE World of Coffee Event was fantastic. Visitors were impressed with the compact nature of the machine, and the potential to personalise the machines as well. The machines can be “clothed” in different coloured coverings. The glass etching on the machine can also be personalised, and Dayer says the company will launch its website at the end of the year so clients can log on and have personal messages etched onto the machine. Dayer explains that because of the nature of the pump, which only heats up exactly the amount of water needed for a single extraction, the machine uses a very limited amount of energy and virtually no water wastage. “The ecology of the machine is a huge advantage,” he says. “If you’re making a 30-millilitre espresso, you’re only heating up those 30 millilitres of water or exactly what you need.” The breakthrough is a step away from traditional espresso machines, and some capsule systems, that rely on keeping a large amount of water hot in a boiler system, using high levels of energy. Other capsule systems limit energy usage by only heating up the water used for the extraction, but nevertheless rely on warming up a large amount of aluminium to heat the water ahead of the extraction. By using the pump system to heat the water, the Gotec  system doesn’t even require a standby function, using very little energy to generate 20 bars of pressure. The limited energy usage means that Gotec will be able to reach the next phase in its vision for mobility – a wireless coffee capsule machine. Initial prototypes have proven that the Gotec  system can operate on battery power just as well as it can on 230 volts. “In using just enough energy you need for a single coffee, you’ll be able to make 10 coffees on just one set of batteries,” says Dayer. “Making a coffee with 20 bars of pressure anywhere you want – that’s the future.”   

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