Telemetry, table-top taps and terrific cups: our ECE highlights - William Murray

European Coffee Expo (ECE) is the new show on the block. Its inaugural event took over Olympia, London on 22-23 May, bringing some of the biggest names and brightest players in the coffee scene together.

As coffee and trade show addicts, we just had to visit. There was a lot on show, but we’ve narrowed down our highlights below – the most innovative and interesting tech-based takeaways that may shine a light on the future of the coffee scene.

Telemetry gets targeted

It may not be the newest idea but talk of telemetry led the way at this year’s event. While to some, the idea of seeing spreadsheets and discussing data may be as appealing as eating left over coffee grounds, to a lot of operators, it’s fantastic.

Coffee equipment is upping the telemetry game, delivering more on-the-spot data to operators than ever before. Highlighting faults, showing productivity, detailing time-per-espresso – this data can do it all.

While the machines are providing operators with more numbers, the next step is turning that information into something valuable. Numbers, without a strategy on how best to use them, are pointless. So, we can expect to see more machine manufacturers getting clever with data and providing an actionable response to telemetry to help operators get the most out their machines and their coffee.

Coffee’s biggest commodity: space

Just like our phones, coffee machines try to get smaller and more impressive each year. The main benefit of a small coffee machine is clear – you’re left with more space. Whether you use it for a grinder; to store your coffee closer to service; or just to keep a minimal look; having spare space is always handy.

But what if you had infinitely more space? What if you didn’t even have a coffee machine on display? The team at TopBrewer brought their impressive table-top coffee serving tap from their base in Denmark to ECE. Despite there not being much to see, it sure caught the eye.

The automatic coffee machine sits hidden away under the table, with a thin, sleek tap coming up from it. Using a tablet, phone or smartwatch, you can order your coffee of choice with a tap. And we really mean your coffee of choice – the app allows you to personalise everything from the amount of coffee to the type of milk used.

Sleek, personalised and beautifully minimal. In a world where saving space is everything, this could be one to watch out for.

The sustainable solution is twofold…

There’s been a lot of discussion about coffee cups in 2018, mainly on their environmental impact. With most cups combining paper and plastic, they are tricky to recycle, meaning millions of cups going to waste each year.

One quick fix approach has been to encourage consumers to use a keep cup, with some sites cutting coffee prices to anyone wielding their own cup from home. But, while many have invested in a ‘cup for life’, not everyone has. So, more needs to be done to make cups sustainable and eco-friendly. Luckily, the solution is twofold.

Oh, we don’t mean there are two steps. We literally mean the solution involves two folds. Butterfly Cup has designed a 100% compostable takeaway coffee cup that removes the need for a plastic lid by using a foldable paper top. No spillage, no lid-age (let’s pretend that’s a word) and an all-round eco-friendlier way to drink coffee.

We’re not alone in praising the Butterfly Cup. It won ECE’s Innovation Path & Awards, beating some of the finest traditional, super-automatic and cold brew machines on the market.

Not all innovation has to be riddled with tech. Sometimes the simplest changes can have the biggest difference.

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