Melitta Professional is raising consumer expectations on the quality and variety of milk textures that automatic coffee machines can offer with its XT-Range and the Top Foam milk system.
With age brings wisdom, and total solutions provider Melitta Professional carries more than a century of global coffee knowledge.
Melitta was created in 1908 when founder Melitta Bentz invented the modern filter paper to remove coffee grinds from the beverage. In the out-of-home sector, Melitta Professional has expanded its portfolio to offer fully integrated solutions that meet new consumer demands and desires. Its successful innovation, the Top Foam system, with the ability to customise milk options, is one such example.
Sven Eikelmann, Product Manager at Melitta Professional, says the popularity of milk-based coffee beverages has skyrocketed over the past 20 years.
“Consumers don’t just want more coffee types, be it a flat white or a chai, they want options in the type of milk they can use, dairy or plant-based, in the textures this milk creates, and whether it has hot or cold foam,” says Eikelmann.
To create its Top Foam milk system, Melitta has built upon its Cafina XT fully automatic coffee machine range.
Entry models Cafina XT4 and XT5 use Melitta’s standard milk system which relies on its foaming technology using a milk pump and steam to produce hot and creamy milk foam. Users of these models are also given the option to froth milk manually using a separate barista-style steam wand, and can dispense warm or cold fresh milk.
“Above the standard milk system, used by XT4 and XT5, our XT6 model sets a higher level, using the Professional Milk System. This automated the process of steaming milk to produce fine, pourable microfoam that is barista quality,” says Eikelmann. “We also introduced a homogeniser that helps to stabilise different milk types, even at high temperatures.”
Another advancement in this system is its ability to produce cold milk foam through the same valve technology used to add air into the milk.
“This opened the door to a new range of cold beverages that, especially in Asia and countries with hotter climate, is very popular,” says Eikelmann.
While these models successfully meet the B2B segment’s demand for a high volume, quality-driven, and customisable machine, Melitta drove onwards, creating the Cafina XT7 and its “bigger sister”, the Cafina XT8.
It was here that Melitta’s newest and most innovative milk frothing system, the Top Foam system, was created. Eikelmann says with this system, the brand has found a way to create its most stable, solid foam that holds its shape long after it has been created.
“We developed a technology using a combination of milk pumps and advanced valves which indirectly heat the milk without steam. With no steam and water to dilute the milk, it creates a texture which is more superior, creamy, and stable,” Eikelmann says.
“With traditional milk foaming, the barista will steam the milk and by the time they have delivered the coffee to the customer, the foam has already collapsed because of this injected water.”
In addition to its texture, Stefanie Heidemann, Manager of Training and Market Intelligence of Melitta, says Melitta’s Top Foam system creates foam with a more intense flavour thanks to its indirect and steamless heating, which results in a stronger taste caused by the natural sugar in the milk foam. This, combined with the pre-set moderate temperature used to warm the foam, results in a sweet tasting foam that is versatile in use.
“It can be used as a topping or decoration for a drink because of its structure that allows it to sit like a bonnet on top, and it interacts well with the other milk textures, meaning there is no limit for the creation of flavourful drinks,” she says.
Beyond taste and texture, Heidemann says one of the most recognisable characteristics of the Top Foam is the unique tactical sensation that results from the foam’s intense creaminess.
This system can be added to the existing Professional Milk System which is available in the XT7 and XT8 models. With the dual milk system, which allows two types of fresh milk, consumers can choose between 12 different textures for any type of coffee.
“These textures are the result of combining different foam consistencies and temperatures, produced by the two systems. We offer three different temperatures ranging from warm to very hot, two different foam consistencies, and two different milk textures,” says Eikelmann. “It can also store up to two different milk types, so customers have access to maximum beverage options from the touch of a button.”
With demand for plant-based milk continuing to rise, the Top Foam Milk system is suitable for any dairy alternatives. The indirect heating method prevents fats in plant-based milk from splitting, which commonly occurs when exposed to high heat.
The XT7 and XT8 also come with Melitta’s most advanced steam wand to date, the Steam Control Plus.
Used as a manual or semi-automatic steam wand, this function saves consumers and baristas time through the ability to both prepare the espresso shot and froth the milk simultaneously.
“By allowing baristas to manually froth and texture their milk, we are allowing greater levels of quality and customisation because these baristas can control the air they want to inject and the temperature of the milk,” says Heidemann.
A sensor in the wand can detect when the milk has reached the perfect consistency and temperature. With this technology, users can create endless customised milk textures on top of coffee options offered by the dual milk systems. Instead of frothing manually, users of the automatic Top Foam System are able to create up to four different milk and milk foam types in a single recipe, with customers able to recreate this high-quality coffee at the touch of a button.
“This means businesses can create high volumes of coffee that are consistent in milk quality and texture, every time,” Eikelmann says.
Heidemann adds that whether one uses the Steam Control Plus or Professional Milk System, they are left with perfectly textured milk which helps baristas at any level produce beautiful latte art.
“These milk systems help baristas and customers who don’t necessarily have latte art training to produce a high-quality cup of coffee, saving businesses training costs and time,” she says.
To match Melitta’s technologically advanced milk systems, the XT7 and XT8 have an automatic Clean in Place system for cleaning the machine without any disassembly, and an automatic coffee quality system to ensure each coffee meets a consistent pre-set recipe.
With data driven decisions another trend on the rise, these models are attached with the option to use digital solutions, offered by the web-based online portal Melitta Insights. Through its ability to check the functionality of coffee machines, monitor operating times, analyse usage, compile comprehensive reports, call up prepared serviceably statistics, and more, Melitta Insights can optimise business operations.
“The quality of our machines is really there, and these systems make a world of difference with influencing the consumers choice of machines,” says Oliver Welschar, Head of Melitta’s Global Key Account Management and Exports.
“Everything for us is about coffee, and as one of the only manufacturers with more than 100 years of experience, we have the knowledge, the understanding, and the empathy for the coffee lover, which to me, is something you can’t compare to others. It is what defines and drives our systems.”
Welschar predicts milk foam quality will only become more important, especially from automatic machines with hygiene concerns and self-service on the rise.
“And at Melitta Professional, we plan to be here, once again, to meet this industry demand,” says Welschar.
For more information, visit www.melitta-professional.com
This article was first published in the November/December 2021 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.