Barista Technology Australia explains how a suite of innovative appliances can alleviate the cost pressures still affecting the café industry post-pandemic.
As shifting costs impact the profitability of coffee shops, business owners across the country are facing a choice: keep prices stable or raise prices to protect margins and account for rising inflation?
Barista Technology Australia CEO Brett Bolwell says it’s not as simple as altering prices to suit the market. It requires a strategy to reduce workflow and increase efficiency.
“A business like a roaster, for example, can’t just decrease the price of its beans per kilogram from $25 to $23 because reducing margins isn’t an option in this climate,” Brett says.
“Neither is increasing prices because that will deter customers. What they need to do is maximise the efficiency of their customer service chain.
“I recently spoke with the owner of a large Sydney coffee roaster who told me employing three to four sales representatives a year was costing him $90,000 annually, plus car expenses to visit cafés to maintain bean quality and business relevancy. I asked him, ‘is this sustainable with rising industry prices?’ His answer was simple: ‘No, it’s not.’”
Brett says the solution is automated equipment such as Flow telemetry software, distributed through Barista Technology Australia. The software attaches to a volumetric coffee machine and records each shot pulled on a shot clock.
“Flow captures and analyses data from the machine and gives the user visibility and immediate feedback on whether the recipe is being met or not, eliminating the need for those sales representatives to visit stores so often, allowing them to focus on growing your business,” he says.
“You can use Flow to tell you so many things about your company, an individual café, or a barista. Roasters can use it to help scale-up their clients, and franchises can use it to scale-up their franchisees and maintain a level of consistency.”
Brett says this technology plays a massive role in sustaining a company’s customer base, equally supporting consumers and hospitality workers with consistent quality and the ultimate workflow.
“We’ve received direct feedback from roasters such as Pablo and Rusty’s, Seven Miles Coffee Roasters, and the world’s largest fast-food chain, that Flow has facilitated massive company growth. Customers are happy because they’re getting a great coffee, and baristas are happy because they can take advantage of the functions of automation,” he says.
“We’ve also reduced our monthly Flow subscription fee by nearly 50 per cent to expand its impact and drive volume. This includes the Flow hardware, onboarding, installation and shipping, a total saving of over $800. We want to reach 5000 subscriptions in the next 18 months.”
To continue that level of consistency, Barista Technology Australia released Puqpress and grinder variations in Q1 2023, including the Puqpress under-grinder coffee tamper.
“We know these two products go hand in hand with consistency and quality, so we’ve combined the two and reduced the price point by 30 per cent,” Brett says.
“It’s developed in Australia, but it really is a global project. We’re trying to keep the manufacturing here in Australia.”
Brett says the Puqpress automatic coffee tamper frees the barista from the repetitive and, at times, laborious task of manual tamping. It ensures perfectly compressed coffee grounds and a precisely level tamp every time that improves overall espresso consistency.
“The automatic tamper is an important tool because if you’re not an expert barista, it helps you tamp evenly. It’s useful for proficient baristas, and great for trainees,” Brett says.
“If you want perfectly tamped coffee every time, if you have lots of staff who are tamping inconsistently, or if you only have one or two staff who are tamping hundreds of times a day, then you need a Puqpress.”
Combined with the Puqpress is a range of grind-by-weight (GBW) automated grinders, available in the Mahlkonig E65S and E80S, and Markibar Izaga W.
Brett says the GBW technology offers real-time scale-controlled dosing, allowing for precise individual grinder settings that were previously never available.
“Until only a few years ago, coffee grinders mostly operated on a timed basis, such as 11-second intervals. This rarely guarantees identical weight outputs and often gives inconsistent results over continued use,” he says.
Now, with built-in scales, Mahlkonig and Markibar Izaga GBW grinders will grind to an adjustable pre-set weight, reducing wastage and helping ensure consistency of coffee flavour.
“The grinders take away that process of having to weigh every shot, which is quite time consuming,” Brett says.
“The shift from timed grinding to GBW are just further examples of evolving standards within the industry that are helping baristas maintain consistency in every cup of coffee.”
Barista Technology Australia also released a Flow, Puqpress and Perfect Moose milk steamer bundle in Q1 2023.
“The idea is that the technology is a combined solution to aid busy baristas and increase efficiency by at least 30 per cent,” Brett says. “We want to maintain consistency without the training costs.”
Brett looks forward to another big year ahead. Barista Technology Australia is currently manufacturing an innovative new product in Australia, set to be released at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo. The expo will take place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from 17 to 19 August 2023.
“We’re currently working on an additional automated milk system called Milk IQ, designed to foam up to five milks at once, including dairy, oat, almond, even cold brew,” Brett says. “It’s also self-cleaning and will be able to produce silky textured foam every time. It’s the next big thing.”
The ultimate goal, Brett adds, is to use automation to expand a business and customer base in a manageable way.
“The goal is to grow as a leading roaster. If you don’t offer the tools to your cafés, you then run the risk of making mistakes and that’s the reality,” he says.
“It all comes down to workflow efficiency and ease of operations. Every product we bring in improves the way baristas work or increases productivity in the café.”
For more information, visit baristatechnology.com.au
This article appears in the April 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.