Wega is set to launch the WBar, a compact and intuitive espresso machine to allow baristas to work quickly, smoothly, and vertically.
When we think of ‘smart baristas’, a sophisticated knowledge of coffee, origin, craft and equipment come to mind.
When we think of a ‘smart machine’, however, it’s about an intelligent device that allows a barista to brew and serve coffee easily, and that’s exactly what Italian espresso machine manufacturer Wega has created with the WBar.
“WBar recognises the needs of everyday baristas who work in small environments and are faced with high volume and the need for an intuitive machine,” says Cinzia Pietrobon, Brand Manager of Wega.
“Coffee can be complex, but preparation should not. That’s why the WBar is designed for baristas to use it in an easy and fast way.”
First glance of the machine attests visual and operational attributes that cater to these needs.
Cylindrical groups provide a distinct point of difference with their orange colour. Each group features vertically-arranged control consoles. The button panel is back-lit and offers the option of programming up to four doses. The combination of two navigation keys gives access to the automatic wash cycle. A spot LED is positioned between the groups, creating an elegant strip of light on the work area.
“We collaborated with Delineo Design, looked at the shape of traditional coffee machines and thought about the way a barista uses a coffee machine. Our designers studied the barista’s hand configuration as they work around the machine to see how they could speed up their workflow,” Cinzia says.
“Eventually, it was decided that vertical configuration on the cylindrical group heads could be an exciting new feature that improves barista workflow.”
This new vertical configuration is set to allow baristas to interact better with the machine and could set a new standard for control panels.
For a company with 35 years of manufacturing experience, Cinzia says the completely new design is “extremely innovative” and “dynamic” for the Italian brand, but is something that drives Wega to stay relevant in the market.
“The barista and their needs are always at the centre of our decision making on machine development. We consider their feedback seriously and it’s important for them to know that we take this barista-eccentric approach. At the end of the day, they are the end user of our machines. It’s necessary to involve baristas in the development phase and study their ergonomic needs, their design opinions, and functionality requests,” she says.
Another request was to avoid additional clutter on the group control panels. As such, Wega’s Riccardo Ferrari says four function service buttons are positioned separately to the principle control buttons, on the sides of the groups. These include two emergency keys, a cup warmer button, and a hot water dispensing button.
“This way, the barista has direct control over the doses they wish to serve on the main vertical control panel and can still access the additional features when they need,” Riccardo says. “This is a very new strategy for Wega. All our other machines use classic horizontal control panels, so we’re excited to hear about its reception on the market.”
The WBar is considered a traditional machine, with its technology attributed to “the best parts of Wega’s professional models”.
“The technology inside the WBar is from our expert know-how. In this way, baristas can set the perfect temperature for each group head,” Riccardo says. “It’s not a multi-boiler but it is a machine for busy professionals and is very adaptive.”
With continuous workflow in mind, even the space between the group head and steam wand has been enlarged for a barista’s hand to easily transition between devices. What’s more, only two fingers are needed to activate the traditional steam wand for continuous flow of steam, or single stream on-demand.
“Once again, ergonomic use and ease of operation are considered even in the smallest of details. Our audience is one that loves milk-based coffees like the classic cappuccino or flat white, so we’re confident this will be a popular and functional machine in Australia,” Cinzia says.
With its headquarters in Susegana, Treviso, Wega currently operates the largest single factory in the world producing traditional espresso machines at 40,000 square metres. To date, more than 70,000 units of Wega’s professional coffee machines have been made, with each one promoting the company’s passion for excellence and in-cup quality that captures the authentic essence of Italian espresso.
Australians are set for a further taste of Wega’s professionalism when the WBar makes its debut mid-2021.
Natalie Kollar from Coffee Works Express, Australian distributors of the WBar, says this model is just what the Aussie market needs.
“Australian cafés have experienced a challenging year, but what it’s proven is that café lovers treasure their barista-made coffee, the environment in which they get to consume it, and the quality that’s delivered in their cup,” Natalie says.
“The WBar is an efficient model that will not only deliver this quality but give baristas the control and consistency they need to move promptly when times are busy and engage more with consumers.”
Wega is eager for Australians to put the machine to the test and is looking to obtain market feedback so that it can continue to do what it does best: understand the needs of the market, improve its offering, and make “new and better machines”.
“The development of new machines is always about collaboration,” Cinzia says. “In the case of WBar, it’s a novelty design which we think will be popular, but also because of its functionality.”
The WBar will be sold through Australian distributor Coffee Works Express.
For more information, visit www.cwe.com.au
This article appears in the February 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.