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At The Table With: Millie Chan, Regional Director, Asia & Pacific, Gruppo Cimbali

23 September 2020

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Please tell us about Gruppo Cimbali and what (the art of) coffee means to the company

Gruppo Cimbali and its market leading brands (La Cimbali, Faema, Slayer, Casadio), have always been actively building knowledge and recognition for one of the most beloved drinks in the world and its very vibrant communities. Our commitment, dedication and teamwork, combining the range of skills and passion has helped us write the story of coffee.

Through coffee, people meet, spend time together, build relationships, develop cultural interests and this for us, is the art of coffee.  We strive to deliver top notch quality products to be able to push beyond the innovation boundaries and be ahead of the game.  In 2012, for the centennial of its foundation, Gruppo Cimbali opened the MUMAC Museum (at our HQ in Binasco near Milan), home of the Coffee Academy, of the Art Gallery and of the archives. MUMAC plays a key role in the coffee industry thanks to its various events such as art exhibits, press tours and is home to some of the most iconic coffee machines, often lent to the best museums, such us Milano Triennale Museum of Contemporary Art, The Louvre in Paris and the Deutsche Museum in Hamburg.

Gruppo Cimbali has a code of ethics. How does the code make a difference to how the company is run?

The Gruppo Cimbali Code of Ethics is the vademecum, the guide, for the Group’s Values and Purpose, that is it guides how the organisation behaves and how its people conduct themselves in the achievement of the strategic goals.   It was prepared according to the most important national (Italy) and international standards, guidelines and documents on human rights, corporate social responsibility and corporate governance.

The rules of conduct extend to and cover how we interact with our staff, our clients, our partners, our suppliers, the community and environment, the public administration sector and our financiers.   It ensures that the Company is run and operates with the utmost integrity, transparency, credibility and accountability. This is the link to our Code of Ethics: https://www.gruppocimbali.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/CodeOfEthics-1.pdf

Has COVID-19 changed anything for the business? What are the lessons learnt?

Like for all businesses, COVID-19 prevented us from meeting our clients, distributors and international colleagues face to face.   As Gruppo Cimbali had implemented the digital platform for regional/international meetings and internal trainings long ago, there were no bottlenecks when countries went into lockdown and people had to work from home. Our business partners, clients and suppliers likewise very soon found meeting in this way seamless and productive.  Whilst meeting online can never replace meeting in person, we realised that we could still conduct a global business remotely at the same level of effectiveness and efficiency.

COVID-19 made us acutely aware that it was important to keep in touch more often with our partners, not just to keep tabs on the business but to let them know we were here to hear how they were doing and to discuss general matters and be interested.  In other words, it was important for us especially during this time to continue to build and maintain the relationships.

Besides this, we learnt we had to be extra flexible, vigilant and reactive…meaning to be able to reorganize and reallocate resources quickly and re-think and recalibrate decisions and plans according to the respective situations in each market.

COVID-19 has allowed Gruppo Cimbali to become stronger and given us clarity in many aspects of our organization and business.

In what ways has the company integrated technology to build better coffee machines?

Technology is key for a coffee machine to be on top its performances. It is part of our research & development process, it facilitates flows and quality during production, it plays a fundamental role in the after sales services and it enables some of the features that make a product unique.

Gruppo Cimbali coffee machines are a combination of craftsmanship and technology; the Internet of Things is now part of our DNA, it allows, for instance, the ability to monitor the machine’s performance, prevents possible issues and helps to build a predictive quality check plan.

The Group’s stand also focuses on the innovative Internet of Things solutions that make it possible to analyse the parameters of every drink dispensed by the machines connected via WiFi (fully-automatic and traditional), to monitor the performance of the models and business trends, and to improve the day-to-day management of the business.

A distinctive feature of the IoT system developed by Gruppo Cimbali, one of the first companies in the sector to use telemetry, is its bidirectionality, which makes it possible to remotely adjust machine settings (e.g. temperature, infusion and extraction times, etc.), analyse consumption data, customise icons and menu layouts and display special offers, advertising banners and promotional videos.


President GTI coffee machine

Gruppo Cimbali will be showcasing coffee machines in the upcoming virtual coffee auction organised by the Singapore Coffee Association and FHA. Can you tell us about the machines and what is special about them?

We will be showcasing a new model from our Faema brand called the President GTI.  This model was developed in collaboration with the Industrial Division of Italdesign and is a RedDot Award 2020, a prestigious design award.  The President GTI is the reinterpretation of an absolute icon from the 60s.

This will only be launched in Asia Pacific in end November so customers will get to see it for the first time at the virtual coffee auction.

There are many special and new features about the President GTI.   The ergonomic filter holders, adjustable-height basin, touch screen, or three-button settings all customisable by group, are just some of them.  It is also the only model where we offer customisation of the back panel kits in tempered glass that are shock resistant in different graphics for different styles of coffee shop and it has a pewter basement finish, handcrafted exclusively.

What do you love most about working in the coffee industry?

First of all, coffee after water is the most widely drank beverage in the world.  Coffee is social and coffee has no barriers, everyone can appreciate coffee and can relate to it.  This is one aspect I enjoy in the industry as there are no limits to having a conversation about coffee either professionally or personally.  The industry is not limited to machines or baristas but there is a wide world consisting ranging from origin of coffee to farming methods, roasting, grading, history, economics, environment, training, education, culture, art, music … the coffee industry is extremely complex and is filled with passionate and artistic people from all walks of life.

I also love that the people who work in this industry are down to earth and approachable and have a genuine interest to push boundaries.  It is also an industry that allows a young person who simply has a passion for coffee to enter the industry with few barriers.   It is an ever evolving industry which means it will always be interesting and never dull and static.

It is a very dynamic industry to be in with many players and a lot of passion and innovation.   I love the fact that I get to participate with the best company and team in the industry and stay challenged every single day while getting to taste and enjoy good coffee every day!

Pro Tips to choosing the right coffee machine?

These are the questions you need to ask yourself when deciding on which professional coffee machine is right for your establishment:

  1. What size machine do I require?  

-The answer is related to how many kilos of beans per week expected to be used
-Which determines whether the machine is 1, 2, 3 or 4 groups, or maybe, 2 independent 2 group machines
-Space is a factor too in case it is a limitation to the size of the machine

  1. Will I only be serving 1 type or different blends of coffee?

-If YES, then a traditional heat exchange machine (a non multi boiler) is more than adequate
-If NO, then a Higher end Multi Boiler is the way to go as you can run each group at different temperatures to suit the type of coffee you are serving.

  1. Will I be serving Specialty Coffee/or Coffees?

-If YES, then a Multi Boiler machine is the way to go as this will allow the Barista to get the best out of each coffee / origin being served.

  1. What is my Budget?

-Most time a mid – range machine (non multi boiler) like La Cimbali’s M26 range with Thermodrive (ability to run different temperatures at each grp) will perform as good a Multiboiler machine

  1. Will I be serving a lot of milk-based beverages?

-If YES, a machine with an adequate Steam Boiler capacity can be important. However, these days manufacturers do place large elements in boiler for quick recovery.

  1. What is the latest technology that I should be aware of that is important in my decision making?

-Check if the coffee machine has superior milk frothing capabilities. E.g. Gruppo Cimbali machines have Turbosteam, a patented milk frothing system wand to maximize the productivity of milk during peak hours
-Check what kind of boiler technology is used, how advanced is it and does it provide the necessary consistency to avoid a drop in pressure and temperature when the machine is running at high productivity and under heavy stress.   E.g. Gruppo Cimbali machines have the patented Smart Boiler Technology

  1. What about Grinders?

-A good grinder to provide consistency in coffee extraction and easiness of operation for the baristas is very important.
-Our grinders come with Perfect Grinding System (PGS) Autotamping to support this

Join Gruppo Cimbali at the upcoming Singapore Specialty Coffee Auction, 1st October 2020.

Register to be a bidder here: https://lnkd.in/dS9e6Z4
Join the webinar, Effects of Climate Change on Coffee Production in ASEAN here: http://ow.ly/4qZt50Bxphi