Schaerer Coffee Art has given a “London institution” the ability to offer high quality coffee day in day out
London is a true 24 hour city, no matter the time of day there’s a demand for food and drink. Few companies know this better than Beigel Bake. Since 1974 it’s been serving hungry Londoners with its famous bagels, as well as pastries and sweets, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from its home in Brick Lane.
“Many people call us a London institution,” says Eli Cohen, one of Beigel Bake’s directors. “As we’re open 24 hours a day having reliable staff is very important – many of them have been with us for decades, and it helps us work very effectively.”
But if you’re looking to offer high quality coffee that can require specialised barista skills, and with a business as busy as Beigel Bake every second counts. The time it takes to create traditional coffee can be too long. “Every day we’re serving at least 3,000 customers,” says Eli, “But it can be as many as 8,000 or 9,000!”
And it is increasingly important to be offering your customers great coffee. “I’m a coffee lover myself,” says Eli. “Everyone wants the boost it gives you when you’ve just woken up, but being able to enjoy the taste rather than just drinking it for that buzz is essential. There’s a lot of places here in East London offering bespoke coffee, and we wanted to offer something just as good, but as we have such a high footfall we needed something that could serve our customers quickly.”
Which is why Beigel Bake recently got a Schaerer Coffee Art Plus Supersteam espresso system from Caffeine Limited. This is a simple to use bean to cup machine that can create a range of high quality coffee drinks automatically, and quickly. One thing Beigel Bake doesn’t have is space, so it’s a compact countertop unit. Nevertheless, it can produce up to 350 drinks every hour, with up to 40 different drink recipes that can be programmed and instantly called up from the simple to use touchscreen control system. “We just need to press the button and within a few seconds you’ve got the drink,” says Eli. “The customer’s got what they want and we’re able to serve the next person!”
This speed doesn’t mean the quality of the coffee is compromised. The Coffee Art Plus features two separate grinders which process the beans according to the precise requirements of each drink, while the integrated brewing system makes espresso, Americano and latte to name but a few. “The coffee is excellent, I drink it every time I’m here,” says Eli. “Our staff seem to love it too – sometimes I think they drink more of it than the customers, which is saying something!”
One of the big challenges of operating 24 hours is limiting downtime. Equipment needs to be cleaned, but if it takes too long then that can really slow things up. Luckily the Schaerer Coffee Art is is a cinch to clean. “It takes about five minutes for the automatic cleaning system to work,” says Eli. “It’s a very easy and accessible machine to operate.”
Joe Stockwell, Caffeine’s business development manager, advised Beigel Bake to ensure they got the equipment they needed. “I’ve been coming here for years, anyone who’s anyone in London knows and loves their beigels,” he says. “They’re busy throughout the day and night. Come here at breakfast, lunch or dinner and there’s a queue. They’re busy at 5am! They wanted to be able to offer high quality coffee, and I knew they needed a system that wouldn’t distract from the core of their business.
“One of the biggest potential headaches with bean to cup coffee machines is the internal milk systems blocking and the challenge of machines being cleaned regularly,” he says. “This is why we opted for a machine without the milk system. Instead, the automated steam wand steams milk at the push of a button to the specific drink you require whether it be a flat white, latte or cappuccino.”
“It was really nice working with another family run company,” says Joe.
Eli agrees. “It’s great working with Caffeine, we got on immediately and they’re always willing to go the extra mile to give us the service we need,” he says. “They got us the right equipment and the customer service is pristine, I know we’re going to be working together for many years to come!”