Egro’s new QuBe fully automatic coffee machine is making its way Down Under, and it’s a real size solution for small businesses and the office coffee sector.
In any office building, the coffee machine is a place of community gathering. It gives people permission to take a break from their work and invites conversation with colleagues. The only downside, however, is how much coffee quality can vary based on the person making it. Do you really trust Mary with your first cup of the day? Could Alex texture the milk a little better? Or if left in the hands of Jack, do you find yourself using the excuse to “miss this round and grab another later”?
In 2022, Rancilio Group Australasia General Manager Paul O’Brien says there should be no apologies or excuses for a bad cup of coffee, including from an automatic machine. As such, the new Egro QuBe fully automatic coffee machine, under the Rancilio Group umbrella, is the solution that Paul says will make bad office coffee a thing of the past.
“Everyone is getting back to the office in some capacity, and we want to support that by ensuring businesses have the right equipment. Egro’s Zero machine was our previous entry level machine, and now Egro has taken the technology from our high-volume machines and applied it in a much smaller, compact format,” he says.
“COVID-19 has done a lot for coffee education. Australians are spoilt when it comes to coffee quality, and now we’re transitioning that education from home to the office and small business market, and we’re closing the gap between automatic and barista machines, and what’s acceptable.”
QuBe is available in three versions – Pure Coffee, Quick Milk, and Pro Milk – and a total amount of seven configurations. Pure Coffee is suited to volumes of 80 cups per day, Quick Milk to 100 cups per day, and Pro Milk to 120 cups per day.
Paul says due to Australia’s high volume milk market, customers will have access to the Pro Milk version, which uses a milk pump system to digitally control the milk temperature and texture/aeration of every dose.
Unlike most old-school push-button office machines, Paul says the QuBe produces a “true long black” with hot water bypassing the solenoid valve through to the group head an onto the coffee for a distinct crema.
“The devil is in the detail,” Paul says. “Coffee quality always speaks for itself and with QuBe, that’s the focus. We’re not overcomplicating it. It’s about simplicity, choice, and ease of operation so anyone can use QuBe and produce a great result.
“The Apple iPhone is the benchmark of high-end technology in a small unit. It’s a simple, clean, easy, and robust device from the outside, with highly advanced technology on the inside, and that’s what we have here with QuBe.”
Egro has been part of Rancilio Group for almost 15 years and as a company, it’s shared the same philosophy for quality since 1927.
Rancilio Group Export Sales Director Andrea Lucchini says QuBe is a product the market has been demanding, and something the Italian-based company was able to achieve in just 2.5 years.
“Egro always invests in quality and top-of-the-range products. But the key with QuBe was to reduce the size capacity of the machine and thereby price point, and provide a machine with flexibility. In this way, we can give the user different options according to their needs, keeping in mind that quality drives choice,” Andrea says.
The main consideration, however, was not to sacrifice the coffee quality output despite developing a lower volume production and more compact model.
According to configurations, QuBe features up to two coffee grinders, up to two built-in powder hoppers for chocolate or powder milk, and an optional external fridge for fresh milk.
Its adjustable brewing chamber from nine- to 16-gram capacity allows users to customise each coffee recipe during programming.
The seven-inch digital touchscreen makes it easy to navigate and select the drink to be dispensed. Through the interface, users can program up to 27 drinks, adjust the dosage and temperature, and set many hot water doses.
The QuBe interface is designed with three different menus depending on the operational role as a manager, barista/operator or technician. In the tech menu, all the different parameters can be set. In manager mode, users can modify menu recipes, and in barista/operator view is the list of products to be selected.
“When we develop a machine, we really think about everyone in the chain – our technicians, engineers, designers, customers and operators – to see how we can develop a solution that is really accessible, easy to maintain, and makes an overall improvement for our users,” Andrea says.
The machine boiler, thermoblock, water tank, and waste basket all fit into the compact space, which is 58.5 centimetres tall. With carefully placed internal components, the QuBe’s compact size is ideal for fitting in most commercial kitchens or under kitchen cupboards with minimal workspace required.
The arrangement of QuBe’s internal components, assembled in modules, is also designed to speed up maintenance and cleaning operations.
The front panel of the machine allows easy access to QuBe’s internal components, including group head and circuits, for maintenance, while intuitive, easy-step instructions guide users to clean the machine properly with pre-dosed cleaning detergent for the brewing unit and for the milk system. Once the cycle is complete, all the user needs to do is empty the container of waste and refill with fresh water.
Just as QuBe is a size solution, it’s also a solution for venues, such as offices or small businesses without an experienced barista, and with minimal training required. Through Rancilio Group Australasia and the support of Moffat Group, all machine set-ups will take place with a specialised technician in Australia as per the Egro commercial range, as will ongoing training, maintenance, and ongoing support.
During installation, customers can choose to have the machine connected directly to a mains water supply, or can simply use the optional four-litre water tank inside the machine.
The QuBe also connects to Rancilio Group’s Connect telemetry system. As a powerful IoT solution, Rancilio Group Marketing and Communication Manager Simona Sordelli says the Connect system helps customers gather and easily analyse value-relevant data and key performance parameters.
“Users can track and measure consumption of the machine, its performance at various stores within a group, and be notified should an element not be working and is need of attention, further preventing lost downtime and anticipating the need of spare parts if required,” says Simona.
For offices considering diving into the world of coffee machines and using QuBe as an incentive to drive staff back in and satisfy their daily coffee cravings, Paul says the cost per cup saving is also worth considering.
“Efficiency in the office has always been a consideration, and whether the company is putting free coffee on for all its staff or at a discounted price, it’s good to know the Egro range can be set-up for cashless payment solutions,” he says. “Wouldn’t you rather keep staff within your building for a tasty coffee rather than leaving the premises for 20 minutes each time they go for a coffee break to another venue down the road?”
QuBe is just one of many Egro and Rancilio products that will be on display at the 2022 Melbourne International Coffee Expo in September, which will also feature the Rancilio Silvia Pro X, new Classe 20 multi-boiler espresso machine, and Specialty Coffee Association certified Rancilio Specialty RS1 with pre- and post-infusion and optional wooden portafilter and steam lever handles.
“There’s so many exciting projects on the way. We can’t wait to receive QuBe in Q3,” Paul says. “MICE will be a big celebration of the broad range of products that embrace Rancilio Group’s commitment to quality offering solutions for every market need.”
For more information, visit www.ranciliogroup.com/egro/qube
This article appears in the June 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.