Unic unveils a new brand identity and super automatic coffee machine, demonstrating the company’s past, present, and future commitment to creating unique coffee experiences.
Everything that Unic does, is about creating an experience. It’s resembled in customer interactions, its range of traditional and super automatic machines, the name of its products, and the quality of coffee it delivers.
“What I really love about coffee, is that it creates a different experience for everyone,” says Tommaso Fontana Rava, General Manager VP at Unic.
“When I was a kid growing up in Milan, my father would take me to little coffee bars where the coffee was served in different ways. At one bar, the espresso was served with a spoon of ice cream on the side, and another with a dollop of cream on top. Even at home, my mother would make a huge moka pot for the family, and it was a moment we shared together. Every time, coffee is a different experience, and it’s the same touchpoint at Unic we want to transmit to our customers – that coffee is about creating your own experience.”
When it came time to unveil Unic’s new brand identity to select customers earlier this year, the French-based manufacturer created its own unique experience. It provided guests with virtual reality goggles to take an immersive view of Unic’s production facility, values, mission, and vision.
Part of the company’s brand transformation, now under the banner of the Electrolux Professional Group as of April 2019, has been the identity of the company logo to evoke a more contemporary feel.
“We wanted to give more credibility to the brand, respect the heritage of the brand, but also allow our customers to experience Unic in a new, modern way,” Fontana Rava says.
“The logo hadn’t been touched for a long time. It was heavy and bold, reminiscent of both the brand’s traditional and fully automatic machines back then, which were solid and reliable. But now, the logo has evolved to be lighter, smaller, slim, elegant, and contemporary, which is reflected in the evolution of our machines.”
The new-look branding is evident across the company’s website and social media channels. Underneath it all, is a commitment to showcasing a range of machines that embrace Unic’s values of quality, precision, passion, and elegance.
This includes Unic’s new Tango XP Duo super automatic espresso machine, an evolution of the original Tango machine that first launched in 2000 as an alternative to the common traditional two-group machine.
Before redesigning the new model, Unic undertook a market study and interviewed baristas, roasters, distributors, and other industry experts about their wants and needs from a new machine.
Reoccurring take-outs included a desire for easy access to internal components, consistent and quality output, easy cleaning, and environmental footprint consideration.
Based on the feedback, Unic designed the Tango XP Duo with intentional updates while retaining original features that celebrate the essence of the brand.
Maintained in the machine is the Tango brew group, which Fontana Rava says is the “heart of the machine” and one of the key reasons for temperature stability and quality output thanks to its metal material. This stability enables the machine to make up to 440 espressos, 300 lungos, 240 cappuccinos, and 180 lattes or 100 latte macchiatos per hour. Unic has also kept the internal operations of the machine, including heavy-duty components such as its 83-millimetre flat burr grinders.
What is different, however, is the weight of the machine thanks to the use of lighter materials, the width of the machine at 500 millimetres, and a user interface that is much easier to navigate.
“All of these changes tie back to the experience we want our customers to have, but also for the technicians who service the machine,” Fontana Rava says.
As such, the dual output machine was built from the ground-up with easy access to the electronics, located on one side of the machine, and the hydraulics, on the other. A pivoting front screen also gives technicians full access to the brew group.
“The experience is therefore 360 degrees for everyone that interacts with the product. It’s about the product taste and result in the cup for the end user. It is about the accessibility for technicians, and the user interface for the people who are in front of the machine,” Fontana Rava says.
Regular software updates are continuously made and communicated, just like a mobile phone software notification.
Instructions for daily cleaning are intuitive with step-by-step illustrations to make the task simple for operators.
To put the Tango XP Duo to the test, select customers visited the Electrolux Professional headquarters in Pordenone, Italy, to share any early viewing of the machine and its revised features.
Unlike a typical product launch, Unic sat down with each of its guests to assess their thoughts on the best features, and overall impressions.
“People were really astonished by the work we managed to do. Some of our customers had been interviewed in the initial market study, so they had a good understanding of what we were trying to achieve. I think many were positively surprised when they saw the outcome,” Fontana Rava says.
“It was well accepted by everyone, and we look forward to presenting the machine to customers in other small events in Asia and the United States throughout the year.”
The Tango XP Duo is the first release in a new product series, and the first fully automatic machine co-developed by Unic and the Electrolux Professional Group. This model is suited to specialty coffee shops, chains, and quick service restaurant (QSR) outlets. Additional models in the Tango line-up are in the works, with the full range presented at Host Milan in October.
For more than 100 years, Unic has identified with the tag line of being ‘Unique in coffee’. It has a proud history producing traditional and super automatic machines. In 1919, engineer Mario Levi invented his first coffee machine, the Idrotermica, in Turin.
“The Idrotermica was definitely a pioneer in fully automatic coffee machines. It was a machine that roasted, ground and brewed coffee. But the first official fully automatic coffee machine for Unic was the Contact CT, released in 1968, followed by the two-group Tango in 2000,” Fontana Rava says.
He adds that while the company sees a strong place in the market for traditional machines, which it will continue to support and evolve, Unic recognises the importance of producing fully automatic machines to respond to current market needs.
“We believe the market is growing quite fast in this direction. In the last few years there has been a democratisation of specialty coffee. You can find very good coffee in most places, even from a petrol station, QSR or convenience store. As such, customers have become acquainted to drinking a better-quality coffee, and they are willing to pay a higher price for it,” Fontana Rava says.
“Looking into the future, we believe coffee will become a more premium item – in price, and therefore the expectation for high quality – and that’s why we believe fully automatic machines will receive greater attention from the market.”
With Unic’s combined support from Electrolux Professional, Fontana Rava says a new era of customers now gets to experience the qualities Unic has always embraced.
“Unic had and still does have a strong presence in the French market. Now, thanks to the collaboration with Electrolux Professional Group, we are supported by a big international and industrial group that has strong competencies in manufacturing professional equipment. It also means being discovered by more people and more customers in different parts of the world,” Fontana Rava says.
“It’s an exciting time. The market is buzzing.”
For more information, visit www.unic-espresso.com/en/
This article was first published in the May/June 2023 edition of Global Coffee Report. Read more HERE.