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Achieving ideal coffee taste with the help of telemetry at petrol stations and convenience stores

Achieving ideal coffee taste with the help of telemetry at petrol stations and convenience stores

When it comes to coffee taste, everyone has their own preferences. Some can't drink it without cream and sugar, others need their drink to be tar-black. Some like light roast, others prefer dark roast.

But nobody likes watery coffee or coffee with some grime floating in it, or even worse – coffee with a hint of milk-gone-bad. Bad coffee can ruin someone's entire day and for this reason, coffee business operators need to ensure their machines are brewing top-quality drinks to keep their customers happy and returning for more.

This is doubly as important if the coffee is tied to additional sales, such as pastries in bakeries or gas in petrol stations.

Beyond the beans and the recipe itself, there are a lot of factors that impact coffee quality and taste. Maintaining consistently good coffee means keeping track of everything from water and milk temperature and quality to ensuring regular and thorough maintenance of the machine.

As such, a telemetry solution, such as Vendon IoT, is one of the most important tools in the coffee business operator's arsenal for ensuring customers get consistently high-quality coffee. With the help of telemetry, operators can follow and control milk temperatures, foam and water quality, preparation times, as well as track maintenance events and get notified about technical issues the moment they arise.

Let's take a look at how coffee business operators can make use of telemetry to craft delicious coffee that customers will love.


 

Ensure great foam quality

Milk temperature  is important for taste and texture. Milk heated above 70℃ will lose sweetness and that perfect microfoam, but anything below 50℃ can fail to melt the fats in the milk and make the entire cup lose its richness and appeal. Of course, the milk must also be properly refrigerated to ensure it doesn't go bad before even making it into the brew.

When foaming the milk, the machine mixes air and vapor into the milk. To ensure that the foam is uniform and holds stable, it is important that the milk is at the correct temperature and the right amount of air is forced into it.

Telemetry can help keep you in the know about what exactly is going on in your machines — has the temperature changed? Did someone forget to close the milk container doors? Has preparation time changed?

Accordingly, employees can quickly rectify any issues to make sure every coffee is made with perfect quality foam that's as pleasing to the eye as it is to the taste buds. 

Follow water quality

If coffee comes out a bit bitter or tastes off no matter what beans you use or temperatures you try, it might be the water itself that's the problem. After all,  a cup of coffee is 98% water.

Some coffees work well with soft water, others taste better with hard water. In either case, it is generally recommended to avoid distilled water, as the minerals found in most waters can actually enhance the taste by bringing out stronger flavors and unique notes.

Make sure to run some tests and analyze the water before using it to see whether your drinks could benefit in taste from fully or partially filtering the water. By connecting Vendon IoT with the coffee machine and integrating a water sensor it is possible to stay in the loop of water quality and respond to any unwelcome changes.

Track extraction time

One of the factors impacting coffee taste is how long the coffee beans and water are in contact with each other. There are a variety of brewing methods—filtering, pressurized, steeping, brief boiling—and each has its own recommended brewing time. For instance, when making espresso, the water-to-coffee contact time should only be  a brief 20-30 seconds. Anything more or less than that, and the coffee won't taste quite right.

Once again, Vendon IoT can reveal what's happening behind closed doors. In your  Vendon Cloud, you can see whether extraction time is in accordance with best practices and get notified if any deviations occur. Do note that this is available only for compatible coffee machines.

Control water temperature

The temperature of the water directly affects the coffee taste and extraction rates –  the hotter the water, the quicker it is to extract compounds such as oils, acids. Lower temperatures might fail to bring out the full taste of the coffee, whereas higher temperatures can make for a bitter taste as too much oxygen is stripped away.

As a coffee operator, you're probably well aware of this and know exactly what temperatures you want to maintain to create perfect drinks for your customers. As such, there are solutions on the market that can help operators keep the water temperature consistent by notifying you or the nearby employees if the temperature is too high or too low, so adjustments can be made immediately.

You can integrate such solutions via API with your Vendon platform. In Vendon Cloud, you can then observe how intentional or unintentional changes in temperature impact sales numbers in the long term. If you fail to fix any issues, you'll likely see a decrease in customers as people choose to get their coffee elsewhere.

Enforce machine cleaning

You can find the perfect recipe, have the perfect temperatures, create perfect foam, and it will all be for nothing if the machine isn't maintained properly. If some milk stays in the pipes overnight or some grime makes its way into the cup – the coffee is ruined.

Typically, the responsibility for maintaining the machine falls on the shoulders of on-site employees, but the coffee business operator needs to take their word on whether cleaning and maintenance are conducted according to whatever agreement is in place.

Vendon IoT introduces much-needed transparency - operators can see when and for how long cleaning and maintenance events take place, thus ensuring machines are always in tip-top shape, producing the best coffee they can.

Receive technical alerts

Machine uptime is as important as good coffee if you're looking to achieve a consistently good customer experience. Sometimes the entire machine will stop working. Other times a part of it may break. But if something like the milk refrigeration system goes down, that can significantly limit the drink offering, or worse yet - coffee quality, if the machine keeps making drinks with the now-warm milk.

If something goes wrong with your machine, Vendon will notify you instantly and automatically, allowing you to respond to any issues quickly and efficiently.

Of course, notifications aren't just limited to technical failures. Employees can receive alerts the moment the milk or coffee runs out, so they can top it up immediately and keep downtime to zero.

Add new recipes remotely

In Vendon's IoT platform you can follow what drinks are being made, which can help you catch new trends and respond to consumer preferences. For instance, if you notice that people are crafting their own drinks, by, let’s say, adding some boiling water to espresso in order to make an Americano, then it makes sense to add such a drink to your selection if you haven't already.

Similarly, it can be profitable to adapt to seasonal trends. Drinks such as cold brews explode in popularity during warmer months, whereas such usual favorites as Lattes and White Coffees see a dip in demand. 

Best of all, it's possible to add the recipes remotely through the Vendon platform either via cloud or an API. Within it, we advise you to also manage your display menu to show the season's most popular drinks on the front page so your customers don't have to search long and hard for their favorite coffee.

If you have found the perfect recipe, you can implement it remotely to all your machines to ensure consistent and reliable drink flavor.

Conclusion

IoT and telemetry solutions empower operators to be in full control of the entire coffee-making process and let you tweak various elements to ensure the final brew is the best it can be.

Perhaps even more important is that it helps achieve a consistent taste. In petrol stations, offices, and other locations where people are likely to be repeat customers and where coffee is a part of their routine, consumers seek a reliable experience that they can count on day in and day out.

Vendon's IoT solution will help you achieve consistently high-quality drinks by giving you the insights you need to do just that. 

To learn more about Vendon's IoT solution for coffee businesses get in touch with us at  grow@vendon.net or with your local distributor.

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