Latte Art Factory discusses its award-winning milk-frothing technology that is turning international heads.
Latte Art Factory (LAF) captured the curiosity of many at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo this year, drawing in crowds to witness the milk-foaming technology before them.
The origins of Latte Art Factory
Latte Art Factory came onto the scene when Founder Frank Epping, a German-based roaster wanted to find a solution to a common problem in the coffee sector.
“The main concern was around how to make staff training easier,” says Latte Art Factory Sales Director Franjo Kis. “We wanted to somehow automate the milk-texturing process, but still have a traditional touch and feel.
“[The company] needed to create something to solve this because milk texturing takes the longest [to perfect] when training a barista. For a standard training course, it’s two full days of just steaming, while in cafés, the first month is focusing on just getting the milk right.”
Franjo says another early concern was making sure automation did not fully subtract from the customer’s experience.
This is what led to the creation of two Latte Art Factory flagship automated milk foaming models: the LAF Classic and the LAF Bar. Both machines utilise the same internal technology, with the main differences being storage space and design. The LAF Classic has everything in one conjoined unit while the under-counter LAF Bar offers a more minimalistic approach by separating the fridge, and modem from the dispensing outlet.
How the Latte Art Factory works
According to Franjo, what makes the technology behind the LAF unique is that it can produce the ideal texture without steam, using dry foam technology.
“Milk is pulled from the tank and pushed through a pump where it’s textured, before passing into the flow-through heater, bringing it up to the ideal temperature” Franjo says. “The milk never passes 75°C, meaning we never damage the natural proteins and fats, which ensures the best flavour.”
The flow-through heater has adaptable settings, meaning the temperature can be adjusted to best accommodate the texture of plant-based milks, allowing the final product with latte art to be indistinguishable from dairy milk. The heater can also turn off, allowing for the dispensing of cold foam.
According to Franjo, the customisation possibilities with Latte Art Factory are endless. Users can alter any stage of the milk texturing process, including milk density and temperature, through the settings tab on the interface touchscreen.
“[Changing settings] is very quick and easy” he says. “Overall, once you spend a bit of time with it, you start to get how it works. It’s that intuitive.”
Franjo says having a variety of milk options in the one machine opens a range of possibilities for a café.
“In our machine, you can have two different kinds of milk, with one tank of dairy and another tank of oat, for example,” he says. “Experimenting with different milks gives you a larger variety to provide customers, and it decreases the workload of baristas.”
The secret weapon for baristas and café owners
Franjo says Latte Art Factory is an ideal accessory for baristas that is meant to make their workflow easier rather than replace them. The name is derived from the concept that the machine allows baristas to focus more on latte art rather than achieving the right milk texture.
“You’ll have an extra 15 to 20 seconds, and you can use that time to build customer relationships or even up-sell,” Franjo says. “Fifteen seconds, when you’re rushing, is a long time.”
Latte Art Factory has also been effective in reducing milk waste in cafés through its accurate pouring volume, which can be set in advance by the user according to their preference.
“You could be wasting 15 to 25 per cent of milk per steaming session,” says Franjo, something which can add up to thousands of dollars per year. “The machine gives you the opportunity to control precisely how much milk is used.”
Innovation beyond milk foaming
Franjo says cafés so far have been very impressed with the machine and, that its technology is a valuable support to operators.
“Each machine in the market can connect to the cloud. It also has a VPN and IP address, which means the machines can be accessed remotely from anywhere around the world,” he says. “If something is wrong with the machine, [a Latte Art Factory technician] can log on to the system and jump into the settings to figure out the issue without having to come and visit.”
“This cloud technology is the first of its kind. We can also review statistics to analyse trends, allowing us to create more recipes, and conduct sales forecasts.”
The success of Latte Art Factory has been recognised worldwide. It won the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) award for Best New Product at the SCA Expo in Portland, as well as the World of Coffee conferences in Milan and Dubai over the last two years, a first in SCA history. The awards have allowed the company to establish itself as a key tool for cafés in today’s rapidly demanding environment.
“We see our machines as a solution that will soon be a necessity for every café, not just a product,” says Franjo.
For more information, visit www.latteartfactory.com
This article appears in the October 2023 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.