A juggling act
It’s been five years since The Juggler first made its mark on the coffee industry, and it shows no sign of abating.
The year 2011 was significant in many ways. It was the year that Game of Thrones first aired on HBO in the United States, and New Zealand beat France in the seventh Rugby World Cup. But for Six Simple Machine’s Ross Nicholls and Adam Preston, it will always be remembered as the year The Juggler was born.
“It was incredible just to have The Juggler out on the market, but what’s been most rewarding is that The Juggler has proven that the milk on tap concept is not only viable, we hear it being described as ‘the way of the future,’” Ross says.
The Juggler is the first milk dispensing system designed specifically for use in a busy café environment. Milk is stored in 10-litre bags that can be loaded into the system, such that 80 litres of milk can be dispensed from the taps without the need to reload the fridge.
In the early days, Ross says the business was very fortunate to have a few forward-thinking milk producers agree to fill bladders for The Juggler, but now most of the country’s milk companies are on board with the concept.
“When we started, there was no valid benchmark for what the product should be, so we had to trust that the decisions we were making would result in a product that business owners would invest in, that baristas would prefer using over bottles, and that milk producers would trust. There were way more opportunities for us to fail than to succeed,” Ross adds.
Thankfully, success was the only option for Six Simple Machines. While Ross says orders for The Juggler are at an all time high, the team has worked extremely hard to be in this position.
“We take our product development and testing very seriously,” Ross says. “Initially we spent 15 months in R&D, testing and achieving compliance and certifications before we were ready to publicly show and sell our first machine. Even now, we test components to at least one million cycles on specially-designed testing rigs before extensive field trials begin in operating cafés. Only then do we consider making a permanent change.”
One of the most significant changes to The Juggler in the past five years includes an entirely redesigned bladder tray and rack system inside the fridge. The new system uses tough moulded plastic trays, which are kinder to bladders (and fingers) than the stainless steel trays used prior. The new racks are far easier to clean and promote better airflow around the bladders. The 2016 Juggler model also features a more robust tap, and redesigned pump and control modules that are better suited to a harsh café environment.
Charles Cameron, Co-Founding Director of Brewtown Newtown in Sydney first caught a glimpse of The Juggler when he worked at Single Origin. Five years on he too is amazed at how The Juggler has become a permanent café accessory.
“The Juggler has helped revolutionise milk usage in the café and specialty coffee industry. I believe The Juggler will one day become a universal standard, which will drastically reduce milk wastage and ensure milk produce is delivered consistently,” Charles says. “Any business I am ever associated with going forward will have a Juggler installed as a non-negotiable.”
From personal experience, Charles says the Juggler not only helps improve workflow, but provides a much cleaner environment for busy café staff.
“It’s the complete package. It’s a drain and pitcher rinser that keeps everything clean, dosed consistently, maintains temperature, and is in line with environmental values,” Charles says. “The Juggler is evidence of how the industry has evolved.”
For more than 300 cafés across the country, The Juggler provides savings opportunities that are easily quantifiable in dollar terms, but also adds value to businesses in many ways that are difficult to quantify. This includes positive comments from café customers, and improvements in the speed of service, resulting in more coffee sales.
“We often have customers tell us that their Juggler has paid for itself in well under than a year,” Ross says.
The hard work for Six Simple Machines doesn’t end there. The Juggler has proven to be an accepted piece of café equipment, but there’s still a constant push to improve the machine.
Ross is excited about the potential for The Juggler to find its way into the restaurant market, with the likes of Neil Perry’s Burger Project using the machine for its high rate of milkshake orders.
“Our orders have dramatically increased and I put this down to the reputation The Juggler is gaining for being technically reliable and a smart investment,” Ross says. “I never tire of walking into a café and watching a barista in full flight using The Juggler, and seeing first hand how it has become a seamless and integral part of their workflow.”
For more information visit sixsimplemachines.com.au