Aremde brings design and theatre back to the coffee making experience


Australian manufacturer Aremde is breaking down walls and opening a window of opportunity to bring design and theatre back to the coffee making experience.  

Aremde Technical director Geoff Michelmore is in a fortunate position. When he presents Aremde’s flagship product, Nexus One, to new audiences around the world, he gets a front row seat to the most entertaining reactions. People look, do a double take, forget what they were doing or where they were going, and come closer to further inspect where the body of the coffee machine has gone.

“I get the same ‘wow’ reaction at trade shows and from technicians and new customers when they unbox a machine. They just want to touch it, walk around it, and take pictures of it. The satisfaction of that experience all over the world is incredible,” Geoff says. “We designed a beautiful machine so that customers can be part of the coffee-making experience.”

Aremde launched to market in 2019. It was a time when the undercounter movement was picking up speed, and Aremde’s breakthrough coffee machine, Nexus One, was turning heads.

While the Brisbane-based manufacturer and design company wanted to play in its own backyard, it was the international market that first opened its arms to the Nexus One. Korea, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Vietnam, and Europe all took interest in the wall-less machine.

“These places just loved what we were doing so we spent our energy reaching out to those markets. They really embraced our research and design, and the overall experience we were trying to create. In our first year, we travelled around the world, trained our distributors, and ended up in 23 countries,” Geoff says.

The United States was next on the hit-list, but with COVID-19 pausing overseas travel, the company used the time to consolidate and pull back on its expansion efforts. Market feedback told the team that while the Nexus One was beautiful, its price point was putting it in a bracket that wasn’t meeting its potential.

“When we built our machines, everything was customised from Brisbane and shipped to the customer, which would take up to six weeks, meaning that we had to sell individual units. Customers kept asking how they could customise the machine in their own backyard,” Geoff says.

Aremde took the feedback on board, looked at how it could improve its manufacturing techniques, and redeveloped its top unit to allow for greater customisation. The result, is Stylus One espresso machine, physically launched to the Australian market at the 2022 Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE).

Rather than using a single frame, the Stylus is built with a hanging frame on an internal chassis that allows the front and outside panels to be fully customised to reflect a business’s own colour theme or design aesthetic, from graphics to different textured materials, such as wood, recyclable standard plastics, even glass.

Geoff says this design change means that distributors can stock many Stylus machines in their warehouse, make the customisation, and reduce lead time to customers to as little as two weeks. By improving how the machine is assembled, the price per machine has also been reduced by 30 per cent.

“Changing the panels is really, really quick, to the point that you could change the panels of the machine in the morning versus the afternoon. It takes just five minutes on a benchtop,” Geoff says.

With the quality and technology of espresso machines already at a high capacity across the market, Geoff says he’s not trying to compete on that level, but rather focus on appealing to buyers who have a strong appreciation for coffee quality, and design. As such, Aremde’s products have already caught the attention of six-star hotels in Korea, five-star hotels in Japan, specialty cafés in Saudi Arabia, as well as venues in Canada and the United States.

To help take the brand further into the US market, is Aremde’s Raymond Kelland, who will be connecting with key distributors in Boston, Texas, California, and New York.

“Working with Aremde has been an amazing experience so far. I’ll be working with the distribution network throughout the world, showing the support our customers need, and sharing the love for our products. It’s a pretty exciting time,” he says.

Ray will also focus on developing Aremde’s presence in the Australian market, and convincing users that it’s more than just a machine, but about the experience it creates.

“One of the hardest things to convey in Australia is the importance of design because our industry is so tech driven. Someone has to dip their toe in the water first before it takes off, but now that we have over 250 machines worldwide, we’re out there, the machine is doing its job, and hopefully that will get us more credibility in the Australian market,” Geoff says.

With Australia already pushing the envelope on coffee quality, Geoff hopes Australian cafés will start to embrace the espresso machine as one of the first considerations when planning the design of a venue, rather than one of the last.

“People need to think early on about how the coffee machine fits into the café and how it changes the experience at the café. Business owners are starting to think about the interactions they have with patrons and how the role of a machine fits in. It’s not just about making coffee now, it’s about the value it brings to the café,” Geoff says.

“What you get when you put our machine on the bench, is an experience. Our machines change the way your café looks and feels. Everybody appreciates it and the patronage as they come in the door just want to be a part of that. That’s why design is key to what we do.”

Also key to Aremde’s success is its commitment to adapting to the needs of the market and barista community. When the Nexus One was in prototype phase, Aremde invited baristas to share their user experience. On the back of that interaction, Geoff re-engineered parts of the machine to be more visual. He changed the buttons, steam arm design, drip tray, rotated the group heads 180-degrees, and moulded the external of the machine to fit around the group valve so that the barista could see the group head crown.

“That was really important to the usability of the machine. It made the functionality better,” Geoff says. “There’s lots of cool little things we’ve tweaked that you wouldn’t know that we did, but it’s this attention to detail from a design aspect that flows through to functionality and flow of the barista’s usage.”

It also includes re-directing the direction of steam through the machine’s steam arm.

“Our steam capability was already high, but it’s gone up again,” Geoff says. “We’ve used bigger, medical grade tubbing to give us steam without any drop in flow or heat loss. We’ve gone from 10-millimetre diameter of the tube to 12 millimetres, which is pretty critical when you’re feeding steam arms that have a seven-millimetre diameter and have only four steam holes. You’ve got to make sure you have heaps of flow at that point, and our thermal cycle helps to keep the steam dry and hot.”

While high-end technology and design are important to the brand, Geoff says Aremde’s strength is in its research and development, which in time, will support the creation of new products that are not only coffee machines, but devices that will change the way cafés operate.

“We’re a different kind of company. We’ve got many tricks up our sleeve and many other toys coming soon,” Geoff says. “We’re not just an espresso machine company. We’re about efficiency, flow, and design in your café, and making the most of the space, which is why the business exists.”

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This article appears in the October 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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