The TopBrewer feels quite futuristic—in all the right ways. An elegant, bean-to-cup coffee machine, it enables people to seamlessly order their favorite coffee drink from a phone, walk a few steps across a shared workspace and pick up their drink.
Developed by GCUC UK sponsor Scanomat, the TopBrewer serves custom drinks through a swan-neck tap, under-counter design and app-controlled technology. We connected with Simon Bracken, co-founder and managing director of Scanomat UK, about the inspiration for the TopBrewer, trends in workspace tech, and how data gathered from the machine can help workspace operators better serve their members.
GCUC UK: What was the inspiration for the TopBrewer?
Simon Bracken: The TopBrewer has been created with the consumer’s experience in mind. We wanted to create an experience we enjoyed ourselves and that was personal to each of us—to have the freedom to make coffee the way each of us likes it.
At the same time, the idea was to turn the traditional bean-to-cup coffee machine design completely upside down so that the bulk of the hardware is hidden under the counter. Typically, coffee machines are ugly, metal boxes that make a lot of noise, so instead we wanted to create an aesthetically beautiful and minimal concept that architects and designers in all sectors would want to incorporate into social spaces to encourage collaboration and social encounters, without compromising the design of the space or the quality of the coffee experience. The stylish TopBrewer swan neck disrupts conventional design and the design possibilities are endless in terms of the spaces that can be created around it.
The CoffeeCloud platform, which manages the TopBrewer coffee machines, gives workspace operators data and insights into how people use the machine. What data does it serve up to space operators and how can they use it to improve the experience of their members?
CoffeeCloud, powered by TopBrewer, provides us and our clients with access to key real-time operational and performance data. This live data enables clients to make informed data-based decisions, improve efficiencies and react much more effectively.
Getting down into the detail, CoffeeCloud provides our clients with insights into their coffee machine performance and member behaviour on a simple to use dashboard. The type of data it serves up includes the number of drinks being served, the types of drinks being served, peak times of day, the amount of hours since the machine was last cleaned, any operational errors and much more. For operators this is extremely valuable information for the day-to-day management of the coffee experience and ongoing reporting to identify trends and maximise performance.
A really smart feature is the ability to set notifications and reminders within CoffeeCloud, for example, when the coffee beans are running low, or when the machine needs to be cleaned. This is a fantastic tool which allows operators to work in a smarter, more efficient and proactive way to ensure the TopBrewer is never out-of-service and members are receiving a first-class coffee experience throughout the day.
From a technical service perspective, our team of baristas and technicians also have access to the CoffeeCloud, allowing them to identify potential errors early and work proactively to rectify technical issues, sometimes before the client has even had chance to realise there is a problem and pick up the phone.
CoffeeCloud works cross-platform which is great for accessing data remotely from any smartphone, tablet or laptop. Very importantly, we offer a secure RESTful API which means that TopBrewer data can be integrated into our client’s own apps or ERP systems to ensure data and insights are not held in a silo.
The TopBrewer is an interesting addition to the smart workspace trend. Where do you see tech in workspaces going?
Technology is already such an integral part of our lives, and in the workspace it is no different. Ultimately, technology allows us to be more productive and efficient, fast-paced and personalised—we see TopBrewer as extremely relevant in this context.
We believe workplaces will increasingly look for more ways to introduce new smart technologies into every area so that employees and members can have more control over their individual workplace experience, from lighting, to temperature control, to personalised coffee.
Smart workspaces are becoming more commonplace, so ensuring you’re using the most relevant and up-to-date technology throughout your space will help you stand out from the crowd. Technology is evolving more quickly than ever, and it’s important that workspaces adapt to reflect this or they risk being left behind. Having a super-fast Wi-Fi network is key to getting it right.
According to a recent report, smart buildings can reduce operating costs by 30-40% and increase productivity by up to 50%. That is huge, and over the next few years we expect to see more and more connected products entering the market as the internet of things grows, with the main objectives of improving efficiencies and enhancing the workplace experience. A connected asset such as TopBrewer is far more durable, flexible and dynamic, making for great long-term investments.
What kind of response have you had to the TopBrewer? Are people in workspaces quick to adopt and use the technology?
The response we have had since launching in 2011 has been incredible and enduring. It’s quite humbling for us to receive such enthusiasm towards the TopBrewer Experience. This drives us to respond with new ideas and perspectives…there is a lot more to come in the future.
TopBrewer’s interface has been designed with the user in mind to deliver premium, barista-quality coffee with an intuitive and innovative user experience. We wanted to ensure TopBrewer could be used by anyone, whether they’re tech-savvy or not, so the app interface is super simple to use. The response has been fantastic, and several clients, such as Zaha Hadid Architects and MoneySuperMarket have commented on how easy to use and intuitive the app is.
Steve Arnold, Facilities Manager at Zaha Hadid Architects said: “Everyone loves the TopBrewer. The app makes it so easy to use and customise drinks and we have seen a massive increase in staff staying on-site, rather than leaving the office in their coffee breaks.”
Chris Bailey-Jones, Group Office Manager at MoneySuperMarket said: “Our staff are really engaged with the TopBrewers at MoneySuperMarket; they love the premium quality drinks and the interaction using the app, which is so intuitive.”
Aliki Georgiou, Facilities Manager at London & Partners comments: “We want all visitors to London & Partners to have a truly memorable experience and the TopBrewer provides an extra wow factor. It’s so intuitive and easy to use for visitors and staff, looks great and delivers quality drinks.”
Does TopBrewer offer any tea options?
Though TopBrewer is a coffee machine, it dispenses hot, filtered water for any tea drinkers in your space.
All TopBrewer drinks can be completely personalised to meet your exact taste. Only you know how you want your coffee. Fancy a stronger latte first thing in the morning? Simply increase the grams of coffee in your drink. Want a bit more milk in your cappuccino? No problem, adjust the amount of milk in your drink according to your taste.
Thank you, Simon. Is there anything you’d like to add?
Make sure you stop by the TopBrewer stand at GCUC UK to meet the team, sample a delicious premium coffee and learn more about how TopBrewer can complement your workspace.