Franke explains how it’s A line range of coffee machines provide a strong foundation for café operators to scale their business, save time, and deliver quality at the touch of a button.
Swiss coffee machine manufacturer Franke is constantly striving to make the lives of baristas easier, looking for ways to support their talent and creativity behind the machine. According to Mirza Bilalic, Product Marketing Manager at Franke Coffee Systems, this goal is upheld through its A line range of coffee machines that puts the coffee in the spotlight, and the barista on centre stage.
“The A line incorporates timeless and premium design packed with the latest innovations that produces consistent quality no matter what coffee drink is being created,” he says.
The world of automation is nothing new to Franke. In 1996, Franke launched an extended version of its first fully automatic machine, Swiss Mambo, with an integrated milk frother.
“This was the first machine in the world that could produce a cappuccino at the push of a button,” Bilalic says.
In the years following the release of the Swiss Mambo, Franke has worked towards developing its use of automation even further, with the range of fully automatic machines, including the A line. The range consists of seven machines: the A300, A400, A600, A800, A1000, S700, and the SB1200.
“Our A line embodies the performance and reliability that define our heritage of Swiss technology and quality performance,” Bilalic says.
“[Each machine is] individually configured and produced on demand in Switzerland.”
According to Bilalic, the A line was designed in line with recent industry trends, such as the demand for ease of operations and high performance.
“In today’s coffee business, consumers want both convenience and consistent in-cup quality,” says Bilalic. “It’s not just about the drink itself. It’s about an experience that smoothly fits into their busy lives while still delivering great taste,” he says.
Bilalic says it was important that the A line provides a strong foundation to help a café build its business and manage its output and total costs.
“As coffee consumption has become an integral part of daily routines, the reliability, ease of use, and performance of coffee machines all play a crucial role when satisfying consumers’ needs in their everyday lives. That’s where the A line comes into play.”
Each A line machine brings the same quality-led Franke technology, with output being the key difference between models.
According to Bilalic, one of the most exciting features of the range is the inclusion of Franke’s iQFlow technology, which he describes as a “revolutionary solution” to the coffee extraction process.
“We have long questioned the status quo of coffee extraction,” he says. “We’ve always been told that espresso-based coffee is extracted through high pressure, but in reality, the pressure drops to ambient pressure right after water enters the portafilter.
“Having a valve in place after the brewing chamber allowed us to have more control over the extraction in real time for every recipe with consistent high pressure, allowing the machine to extract more aroma and flavours at the same time. That’s revolutionary.”
Franke Brand Ambassador and 2023 Irish Barista Champion Wojciech Tysler credits the iQFlow technology for its precision in obtaining the exact flavours he wants from each extraction.
“Baristas always care about consistency, and that’s what you’re getting with the A line range” he says.
Another commonality in the A line range is the Franke FoamMaster technology, which gives baristas the power to adjust foam levels on individual coffee-based drinks.
“Our promise is to provide the highest in-cup quality on all our machines,” says Bilalic. “Adjustable air and speed parameters [through FoamMaster] allow us to keep up with different types of milk while providing a perfect foam.”
Bilalic defines “perfection” as having the machine replicate exactly what the customer envisions when ordering their coffee. He says the A line not only accomplishes this feat but recreates it across a variety of drink orders.
“It can produce a more liquid foam for lattes and flat whites, a stiffer foam for cappuccinos, and it works perfectly for powder-based beverages, like hot chocolates or choccocinos,” he says.
Bilalic credits this variety thanks to Franke’s software, which allows users to keep parameters open and to adjust for different milk types, such as semi-skimmed, full-fat or plant-based milks, in liquid or in denser forms.
The A line comes with fully automatic cleaning for the coffee and milk components through the EasyClean system, which provides a time-saving alternative to the cleaning of the internal milk system.
“With minimal manual effort, you will get the maximum and reliable hygienic result every time,” Bilalic says.
“By only adding the required dose of cleaning agents, your machine will be up and running within minutes, ensuring consistently great coffee all day long.”
Many Franke customers opt to include the Flavour Station, which can dispense a pre-set volume of flavour, calibrated to the desires of the user. Baristas can connect the Flavour Station to a syrup bottle, and let the machine do the rest of the work.
When it comes to replacing the syrup bottles, Bilalic says Franke’s Digital Services are the perfect complement to communicate such tasks. The company’s telemetry system allows users to monitor a fleet of A line machines, keep track of sales records, alter pre-set menus, and communicate important messages.
“For chain users, it’s beneficial to have a bi-directional system where they can read key data in terms of performance per location as well as the possibility to push new developments, such as seasonal menu updates, without having to send a technician,” says Bilalic.
“It’s also very good for testing out new things on one or two machines and then deploying it on the rest.”
What Franke Brand Ambassador Tysler is also impressed with is the A line’s ability to open up possibilities for baristas to better manage their time.
“With more traditional machines, you can come to work every morning to work and spend lots of time dialling in espresso preferences while getting the settings right,” he says. “With the A line, you program your preferred recipe, and that’s it.
“It sets you on your way [by producing the espresso shot], and that’s when the coffee-making magic can begin.”
Tysler says baristas should look to embrace the rise of automation, adding that it won’t replace them but rather complete smaller tasks, such as measuring an espresso extraction, in order to make their lives easier while they work.
“[It’s] everywhere nowadays, and it’s making life much easier [by reducing workload],” Tysler says. “I’ve seen automation in industries all around the globe, and I love it.”
The reduced workload the A line’s automation brings also helps baristas to use their time for other valuable tasks, such as talking to customers and building relationships.
“You can talk to the customer about what kind of coffee you’re using,” he says. “It doesn’t feel like a lot of time is saved, but it makes a difference.”
From a business perspective, this time can be used to discuss other offerings the café has, opening up opportunities to upsell and win over a customer in the long-term.
Tysler says these smaller facets of the barista’s job are the best ways to grow a café, as customers will feel more welcome while getting to know the business and the coffee, which would not be possible with a heavier workload. He believes the little conversations can make a major difference in the minds of a customer.
When it comes to choosing a specific A line machine, Bilalic says the Franke team is eager to work with new customers to decide exactly which model will best suit their business.
“Depending on where the customer is in their journey, we offer various tools to guide them to the right choice,” he says. “We apply an insight and fact-based driven approach to make the invisible, visible.”
Bilalic adds that this personalised approach is a reflection of the A line itself.
“The A line is focused on delivering customers what they want, which is a machine that is easy to use, and delivers consistently good coffee, allowing them to focus on creating more value for the customers so they keep coming back,” he says.
For more information, visit coffee.franke.com
This article was first published in the January/February 2024 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.