Simonelli leaders talk about the Eagle One and a new era of espresso machines where less is more, and simplistic design meets big innovation.
The Apple iPhone is identified by the tech giant as “the world’s most powerful personal device”. Each day users utilise their smartphone to coordinate their day. They check the weather, emails, pay bills, and look up road directions thanks to square icons no bigger than a thumbnail. On the outside, the iPhone is simplistic, stylish, and user friendly, evident by the 46.89 million sold in the fourth quarter of 2018. On the inside, however, is a complex web of technology, just like the new Victoria Arduino Eagle One coffee machine.
With Eagle One unveiled to the world at HostMilano 2019, Simonelli Group CEO Fabio Ceccarani says he was pleased to see such a positive reaction from expo attendees seeking products with “sophisticated yet hidden” technology.
“In today’s digital era, less is definitely more, and the market is looking for it. The key word we are really focused on is ‘simplicity’, one of Victoria Arduino’s core values that we believe will drive our products, including Eagle One, into the future,” Fabio says.
Marco Feliziani, Simonelli Group Vice-President, says the idea for the Eagle One was pitched five years ago with company consultant and 2007 World Barista Champion James Hoffmann. The pitch, however, went in a different direction, resulting in the launch of the Black and White Eagle machines. When the opportunity to revisit the Eagle One arose, Victoria Arduino reassessed how it could create a machine that would help people invest their time and money into the specialty coffee industry. The result was a strong push towards a machine that was easy to use, compact, and sustainable.
“This machine is about the democratisation of the special coffee industry,” Marco says. “We don’t want our customers to be scared of our technology. Rather, they need to be comfortable in their workflow and operation, like they are with the Mythos One grinder. If they can retain this level of comfort, then there’s a greater possibility for more people to approach specialty coffee and grow its community.”
What’s needed, Marco says, is a starting point for the new generation of baristas to approach coffee making without needing a mechanical engineering degree. What they’re also looking for is the most sustainable models.
“What’s interesting is that 70 per cent of customers look at a machine and they ask about its sustainability and energy efficiency. We can see that matters to them. No-one asks us about the price,” Marco says.
Price may not be as top of mind as it once was 10 years ago, but Marco says what’s important now is producing a machine that’s both economically and environmentally sustainable.
“You only have to look at the foodservice industry to know that manufacturers are adapting their products to fit more modern shops with tighter spaces. The compact Eagle One is a response to this trend, with smaller dimensions that meet fully automatic demands but still delivers high output,” he says.
“The real value in the Eagle One is its consistency. It gives the customer the same quality cup again and again. You don’t need to readjust the grind or recalibrate it because the machine is so precise and reliable. Reducing the variables is what allows the machine to work in an efficient way.”
One of the most important considerations was an update of technology and the need to reduce energy consumption that would give the machine a low lifecycle assessment.
“This is a machine that embraces sustainability in the full sense of the word, meaning energy use, space saving, new materials, and accessibility,” says Lauro Fioretti, Victoria Arduino Product Manager.
“Designing Eagle One was a big challenge for me because it meant rethinking the [entire] engine and the frames to create the best user experience for baristas.”
A new instant water heating system called NEO (New Engine Optimisation) includes a new boiler made entirely of stainless steel, and thermal insulation made with a material that guarantees extreme isolation and reduces heat dispersion.
NEO operates in the extraction phase with its role to reduce energy consumption. Only the required amount of water needed for extraction is heated to the right temperature, thus reducing energy-related costs.
The dispensed water is insulated because the machine’s electronic system also controls the internal temperature of the device to obtain the desired temperature.
A smaller steam boiler also made from stainless steel and with new insulation ensures the correct amount of steam produced contributes to a lower energy consumption.
The patented technology in the Eagle One is the Temperature Energy Recovery System (TERS), aimed at further reducing the need for thermal energy. This system uses the thermal energy of the discharged water to preheat incoming water. This results in an 8 per cent saving on total machine consumption. Before being expelled through a coil, the wastewater recirculates its heat in favour of the incoming water, which needs less energy to reach the required temperature.
A lifecycle assessment of Eagle One’s new technologies found this model to have 23 per cent less environmental impact and fewer CO2 emissions compared to other devices of the same category machine.
“A one-third energy reduction of total energy consumption is a lot,” Marco says. “Every time we thought how we could recover more energy we looked at Formula One racing cars and how they recover their kinetic energy [a model to recover the car’s kinetic energy under braking]. Recovered energy is stored and used later to power the car, and we’ve adapted the same principle.”
Beyond the machine’s technology, Victoria Arudino engaged in core collaborations including that of designer Giulio Cappellini, who said in a statement that Victoria Arduino “has picked up the needs [of baristas] and transformed them into technologies”, with the result “a symbol of espresso machine modernity”. Victoria Arduino also enlisted the help of architect Carlo Viglino to design the shape of the Eagle One, and UK Barista James Hoffmann who voiced the needs of baristas and coffee shops who wanted a high-performing, ergonomic machine but not at the expense of energy efficiency.
As such, Eagle One’s height is lowered, and its dimensions are more compact to free up bench space.
There is also a strong focus on personalisation, with the backside of the machine customisable in aluminium, steel, or wood. The side panels can be simply removed for easy technician access to the machine’s internals.
“Everything has been designed to be more compact, generate high performance and with greater respect for the environment,” Lauro says.
The Eagle One will soon be linked to the My Victoria Arduino app, an e-platform that will connect users via Bluetooth to share information on their machine’s usage and energy consumption and access recipes with other Eagle One users. In addition, Simonelli has also unveiled a new digital platform called iSACK (Simonelli Advanced Coffee Knowledge).
“It’s a place to host all our services and manage our interaction with our clients,” Fabio says. “We still think that the physical interaction with our clients is very important but we would like them to share information about their machine in a digital platform so we can collate it, assess it, and help improve our machines and our ways of doing sustainability. The value of the data is what we do with it. We hope, in time, we can use it to add value for our clients. Then knowledge really will be power.”
Via the app, users will also have access to technicians who can monitor the progress of their machines across a range of stores. It is hoped that when a problem is detected, technicians can study the machine and parameters of data one month prior to the failure to identify any correlation. Based on findings, Fabio says the goal is to deliver a simple message back to the market.
“We are at the stage where you cannot impact the market with big technology to break the industry, but rather we want to focus on harnessing data and platforms that put the focus on the end user – be it a manager of a coffee chain, a technician, or a barista – and deliver exactly what they want and need,” he says. “We must always be thinking how we can make the experience better for them.”
For Victoria Arduino, the future of coffee begins now, with Eagle One.
Eagle One will be on display at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo from 4 to 7 May and will be available via Australian importers Espresso Mechanics www.espressomechanics.com.au