Thermoplan discusses its Black&White4 CTS espresso machine

Black&White4 CTS

Coffee machine manufacturer Thermoplan unveils the Black&White4 CTS super-automatic espresso machine with a bespoke steam wand combining precision, performance, and power.

It’s not every day Swiss coffee machine manufacturer Thermoplan launches a new fully automatic coffee machine. But when it does, it ensures the occasion is one of celebration for the hours of dedication its engineers and research and developers have endured to product a model that looks good, performs well, and delivers a solution and need for its customer base.

Thermoplan Head of Area Sales Management Martin Ulrich says the new Black&White4 CTS, short for coffee, tea, and steam, can be used in environments where quality combined with high performance, consistency, and innovation is required.

“These include restaurants, hotels, catering, bakeries, convenience stores and quick serve restaurants. Thanks to the numerous configuration and equipment options, it meets every customer need. A true multi-talent,” says Ulrich.

Unveiled at Host Milano 2023, the machine is designed for medium to high daily demand of up to 500 cups.

“Fully automatic machines guarantee continuous in-cup quality, regardless of the barista’s skill level,” says Ulrich.

The Black&White4 CTS comes with a new patented multifunctional steam wand that offers three different functions, each providing a consistent foam that is compatible with alternative or dairy milk.

“The AutoSteam function is for conventional milk frothing in a pitcher, and AirSteam is for fully automatic milk frothing. The Purge function is for steam lance cleaning [which opens the valve and blows steam through it to purge the nozzle before it has a chance to harden]. The cleaning is thus guaranteed. This expands Thermoplan’s product range with a coffee machine that allows skilled or untrained staff to create perfect milk foam without the need for barista experience. With the CTS, Thermoplan introduces a forward-thinking steam solution to the market,” says Ulrich.

“The Black&White4 CTS is where coffee excellence meets innovative steam wand technology paired with top performance. It stands out with its clear design and high-quality materials.”

“Around 40 per cent of the Black&White4 CTS is made of high-quality stainless steel.

“Our stainless steel consists of more than 90 per cent recycled material, resulting in recycled content of over 35 per cent of the entire machine,” Ulrich says.

Thermoplan machines are assembled with 100 per cent renewable energy, producing more than 10 per cent electricity with its own photovoltaic system.

“The rest we get from hydroelectric power plants. To heat our buildings, we are connected to a nearby district heating network, which is 100 per cent powered by wood chips. Through continuous improvements, we strive to use energy as efficiently as possible,” says Ulrich.

Depending on the customer’s needs, Thermoplan’s CTS machine is available with one or two grinders. Each bean hopper holds around 1.7 kilograms.

All Black&White4 configurations can also be equipped with both single and double spouts. These can be automatic or manual.

Ulrich says the specially developed intelligent shot quality (ISQ) technology ensures the perfect taste of the coffee despite possible deviations, such as a decline in bean quality due to storage for too long.

“With ISQ technology, sensors continuously measure certain parameters and compare them with a previously defined reference product. Then the settings of the machine are automatically adjusted to match the values of the reference product,” he says.

“This means that you can always enjoy your coffee in the highest quality, regardless of the time of day.”

All machine functions are combined in modules. Ulrich says this enables quick and easy replacement of machine parts which reduces downtimes to a minimum, a decisive advantage in the hectic everyday life of a coffee shop.

“Maintenance and service work on the Black&White4 CTS is carried out exclusively on the respective modules. Within a few minutes, a complete machine module can be replaced, leaving the housing untouched throughout. This means that every machine is back in operation in no time at all,” he says.

“To make our tried and tested modules even better, we are consistently working on further developing this system.”

The Black&White4 CTS is compatible with ThermoplanConnect, a digital solution that offers live monitoring, remote access, and device and platform security.

“ThermoplanConnect allows you to find out in real time about current product withdrawals and error messages from your machine. You can easily apply new drink recipes and software updates to individual coffee machines or an entire fleet, regardless of location or time. You can also inform your customers about current promotions with the help of customisable screensavers and thus realise additional sales,” says Ulrich.

“Sales peaks can be analysed, trends predicted, and seasonal offers evaluated. With just a few clicks, you can install software updates, make changes to recipes and prices, or switch individual promotions to the touchscreens. ThermoplanConnect offers a standard interface that enables connections to other cloud solutions or apps, allowing you to integrate your data into an enterprise resource planning system and automatically reorder outgoing coffee beans or milk when needed.”

Ulrich adds that two criteria are paramount in the cleaning and care of a fully automatic coffee machine: hygiene and safety.

“Thanks to well thought-out technology and an automatic cleaning system, all our fully automatic coffee machines can be cleaned easily and quickly. We supply specially produced tabs for cleaning, guaranteeing the exact dosage of cleaning agent,” he says.

“With the Black&White4 CTS, the cleaning intervals are pre-programmed, which simplifies the process and ensures beverage quality. The machine automatically recommends cleaning after 48 hours. A complete cleaning process takes a maximum of 10 minutes.”

Despite its many technological functions, Ulrich’s favourite feature is the ease of creating and perfecting milk foam without necessarily needing barista experience. The design and simple handling are added benefits.

“I love the look and feel of the CTS. It’s very chic and modern while still maintaining Thermoplan’s classic machine design. We can also manufacture the side and rear panels in any colour, making it customisable to suit every customer,” he says.

According to Thermoplan, the enjoyment of producing high-quality fully automatic coffee machines and premium coffee is a privilege that can connect people and create special moments and, ultimately, jobs. Ulrich says Thermoplan is doing its part to ensure future generations enjoy these same privileges.

“Building on three pillars, we are respectful towards each other, optimise and reduce resources where appropriate, and improve our products for the benefit of our customers and the environment with the help of latest technologies. This way, we learn a lesson every day to keep our footprint on earth as small as possible,” he says.

Its headquarters may be in Weggis, Switzerland, however Ulrich says Thermoplan, together with more than 200 certified sales and service partners, is close to its customers in over 80 countries and devotes its full attention to their needs.

“Excellent service plays a central role for us. Our service partners are more than just a sales channel, they are the direct, local contact for our customers and therefore the global face of Thermoplan. In regular product training courses on site or in Weggis, we ensure that our service partners always have the latest product and company know-how,” he says.

“We guarantee to always meet individual customer needs and rapidly growing market requirements. Whether technical questions or individual requirements, we take every concern seriously and are always there for our customers.”

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This article was first published in the November/December 2023 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.

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