Dale Harris, World Barista Champion 2017, was invited to the CMCR Barista Academy in Singapore last Monday to share his experience as ambassador for Eversys. He started off with a thought-provoking question for the audience, which was whether consumers are paying for a moment, a product, or an experience?
One would argue that an automated machine would remove the theatrics of a barista, while the coffee produced may not taste as good as a semi-automatic or fully-manual machine.
The Eversys Cameo was featured during the sharing and participants from different parts of the industry, including baristas, roasters and technicians had the opportunity to try out the Eversys and brew some espressos to taste. The responses gathered from the participants were largely positive. One of the biggest takeaways for the event was participants having a renewed look towards the quality a fully automated machine is capable of producing.
If the coffee tastes great and it is so easy to operate, what is the hurdle that deters the industry from adopting the use of an automated machine?
Dale shared that it is the assumption from consumers through their first impression of the machine. The current designs of most automated machines are boxy and do not have the “classic” aesthetics of a machine associated with “artisanal crafted” espresso. Coupled with the fact that most consumers, probably at one point of time, had coffee made with an automated machine either at home or in the office and the results were not the most desirable. That first impression is one of the bigger contenders that deters consumers from wanting to try coffee from an automated machine. If the future designs of fully automated machines can have its components built into a more “traditional” looking machine, maybe, the consumers’ perception towards automation would change.
The second take away from the event was the shift from automated machines in coffee chains into semi-automating machines seen in specialty coffee shops. Where baristas have more control over the brewed coffee. With consumers associating quality with the barista taking over the machines for better control, it is not surprising to see consumers being wary about seeing a fully automated machine in a specialty coffee shop. The main driver has to come from businesses and baristas, sharing with consumers how automation does not equate to a loss of quality but rather value adding to the coffee’s improved taste experience through consistency.
Having a fully automated machine does not necessarily remove the barista from its role of being an ambassador of coffee. It actually increases the value of a barista because the machine is not able to adjust to taste. A fully automated machine also takes away the repetitive work of a barista, allowing them to connect with consumers by things that matter more through making recommendations; interacting with the customer; checking on service; sharing coffees; and the many other possibilities yet to be discovered.
We extend our gratitude to all individuals who attended and dedicated their valuable time to participate in this engaging discussion. Events of this nature exemplify our commitment to fostering meaningful interactions within the coffee community, facilitating the reciprocal exchange of insights and expertise. Our sincere appreciation goes to Dale, Fabian (of Eversys) for coming down, as well as to Carmen, You Quan, and the CMCRi team for orchestrating the event flawlessly. Our hope is that this session sparks a real interest in exploring the world of automation in the specialty coffee industry.
If you’re interested to find out more about how the Eversys can support you in reaching your business goal, please reach us here.
Photography and words: Ker You Quan
From Team CMCR