World of Coffee Milan is behind us. Everyone is back home. And have finally been able to catch up on email. We reached out to the Best New Product winners to understand more about the journey they went on to develop their award-winning products.
Latte Art Factory by Frank Buna won the Commercial Coffee Preparation & Serving Equipment category for their Latte Art Factory Bar Pro which positions itself as the ultimate automatic milk frother for coffee shops. The SCA judges were impressed by its small footprint and the fact that its patented system can foam 1.5 liters of milk in just 60 seconds, while maintaining the perfect temperature for your beverages.
We spoke to the team to get more background.
Tell us more about Latte Art Factory?
Latte Art Factory is a solution under the brand, Frank Buna. Frank Buna is part of the Cup&Cino family, which was founded in 1995 by Frank Epping. Above all, it is Frank Epping’s ambition to drive forward a constantly changing market as an innovation leader.
It was precisely this attitude that led him to the idea of merging the high art of the barista with IoT technology and automation. Frank Epping always said that milk quality is the key to good coffee and it makes the most difference in a drink. And that is how the milk solution found today in the Latte Art Factory was born.
What inspired you to create the product?
Latte Art Factory was inspired by the need to help baristas of all levels create the highest quality café beverages consistently – day in and day out. The quality and consistency of a drink that you get served at a coffee shop is very dependent on the barista. Now, even more than ever before, it’s hard to find and keep skilled baristas. That’s why we decided to lend them a hand.
Existing milk frothing solutions couldn’t produce cold milk foam or offer the variety of beverage options that coffee shop owners require to compete in today’s market where customers prefer more menu assortment with new trend drinks. From a technological perspective, we also saw a business need to add telemetry and real-time consumption data, which was missing from traditional equipment.
There are machines that do only one of the very many things that the Latte Art Factory Bar Pro offers. Competitors can steam hot milk and hot foam, while our LAF Bar Pro can also extract cold milk and cold foam. At the exact same time, the customer can also use up to 4 different phases of extraction in just one receive!
But that is still the tip of the iceberg to expand more unique drinks, you can also use any plant-based milk and extract the same quality and perfection as dairy milk. There’s no need to worry about cross-contamination of milk types either because we have a manual and automatic fresh water flush after each recipe. Beyond that, our machine also lets you use chocolate milk, you can make it Ice chocolate or hot chocolate at the push of a button, you can also use other liquids like cold brew and even create espresso martinis!
Our machine also comes with IoT technology with remote support, real-time consumption analytics and a patented automatic cleaning cycle.
Tell us about the process of developing the product?
The development of the technology used in the LAF Bar Pro started 7 years ago. We developed our own milk system as part of our hybrid coffee machine (BaristaOne Twin). Already then, we received patents on the technology that apply to the Latte Art Factory Bar Pro today. We started the countertop version of the Latte Art Factory as a standalone milk frothing unit. The Latte Art Factory Bar model started development two years ago and on June 1st 2022 we launched the Latte Art Factory Bar Pro in Europe, Asia and Australia.
We developed our own milk frothing solution because we wanted a higher-level quality of milk foam without using steam. For improved hygiene and longevity of the product, we added a water flush to the system and a patented automated cleaning cycle.
Furthermore, we added technological features such as the remote functionality and modularity. We’ve continued to improve and evolve the Latte Art Factory over the years to match current market needs. That is actually how the LAF Bar Pro was born.
The combination of a smaller countertop footprint with enhanced speed of milk delivery were top requests from our customers, so we listened and delivered a product that is nearly twice as fast as our existing model.
What does it mean to you that you won SCA Product of the Year at WOC in Milan?
It’s great to be recognized after 7 long years of development. Winning the SCA Product of the Year award, is recognition for all the work that our team has put into this solution. There are many people behind the LAF Bar Pro – from development and R&D to operations and technical support. At Frank Buna, we are always striving to offer the best customer experience, so the innovation doesn’t end here with the LAF Bar Pro [award].
What’s next for you?
We’ve got something up our sleeves that we can’t reveal just yet. We stand for innovation so there will always be something new and exciting ahead at Frank Buna. Our main goal now is to make this great product available to businesses across the globe. We launched in June and now we want everyone to have the opportunity to benefit from it.
Subscribe so you don’t miss the next interview with a Product of the Year winner.