Dublin company brews up solution to water problem facing coffee shops

Boiler system from Marco Beverage Systems delivers water at three temperatures

Marco Beverage Solutions operations director Paul Stack with the Mix boiler system. Photograph: Conor McCabe

Marco Beverage Solutions operations director Paul Stack with the Mix boiler system. Photograph: Conor McCabe

 

The rapid proliferation of speciality tea and coffee shops has led to a particular technological challenge. Not all teas are created equal and different blends need to be made with water at different temperatures for the best results. This has led to coffee shops installing two or three separate boilers on their countertops or under them – taking up valuable space and adding considerably to costs.

Dublin company Marco Beverage Systems has come up with an ingenious solution in the form of the Mix – a boiler system which delivers water at three different precise temperatures.

“We have been manufacturing hot water systems for more than 30 years,” says operations director Paul Stack. “They have mainly been used for black tea and coffee, but the trend now is towards speciality teas and other drinks. Black tea should be made at a temperature a little below boiling, around 96 degrees or above. Filter coffee should be made at between 92 and 96 degrees, while green tea requires water in the mid-80s. This involved the use of a lot of different pieces of equipment.”

The Mix utilises a single boiler and an innovative mixing system which takes high-temperature water and combines it with cold water to provide water at a precise preset temperature. The machine can deliver water at three different temperatures at the touch of a button.

Energy efficiency

Another advantage of the device is its energy efficiency. “We have taken the principle of the Thermos flask and applied it to the Mix,” Stack explains. “It has a double-walled vacuum-insulated tank which almost eliminates heat loss. The Mix is 66 per cent more energy efficient than its top five competitors. One of our US customers will save $100 (€87) a year in energy costs per machine. We estimate it could save them $4 million over five years across their 8,500 outlets.”

The product has been very well received on the market since its launch in 2017, not least for its aesthetic qualities. “It is beautifully designed,” Stack points out. “The boiler is moved under the counter with the water dispensed through a stylish and space-saving fount. Customers come into the shops for the overall experience and this allows staff to spend time talking to them rather than turning their backs on them while dispensing water.”

Market response has been very positive since its launch in 2017. “About 86 per cent of our sales are to export markets – 40 per cent to the UK, and the rest divided between the US, Europe and the rest of the world. The Mix already accounts for 10 per cent of our business and is growing strongly. Starbucks has specified it for their Starbucks Reserve concept. This will have a hero effect and will help with global sales. It also cements our reputation for the development of innovative beverage systems.”

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