The Moment of Coffee

How many times have you heard colleagues complain about the coffee at work? Some think the coffee is just terrible, other claim it isn’t coffee at all. Besides the point that listening to their complaining isn’t what you could call a joy, it is even more annoying that they’re actually right. The coffee from those vending machines is just terrible compared to your espresso at home. Luckily, this is about to change.

Redbeans, a roaster that is part of the Dutch Neuteboom roasters, has taken up the mission to deliver real coffee to the employee. While most suppliers tend to target the chiefs of staff within companies, Redbeans focusses his efforts on those that actually have to drink the coffee. That’s right, the employees. They state that good coffee is an employees right, implying of course that a good boss will supply only the best coffee; Redbeans coffee.
Redbeans has big ambitions, but is still small compared to its competition and has an even smaller budget. For this reason they use machines that are used by other coffee suppliers. Redbeans asked the Industrial Design students of the University of Twente to design a vending machine that fits Redbeans, the best coffee supplier.

During the design process the team discovered two major things about coffee vending machines:
The first thing is that the machines themselves are very inconvenient. They are bulky, need tubes for water supply and their design does not represent the quality you expect. The curious thing is that the household appliances for coffee are designed to represent top quality, but that no notion to this is given when it comes to the design of the office machines.
The second thing the team discovered is that the coffee the vending machines produce isn’t that bad, its the additives that are horrible. When we asked why this is so all coffee suppliers answered the same: milk is powdered to keep it conserved, the same goes for chocolate to keep its flavor. But when we asked the milk and chocolate suppliers we found out that there are alternatives. Yes, milk corrupts and chocolates loses its flavor, but if the system is designed correctly this can be prevented.

The final design takes care of the bulkiness and the horrible additives. While a coffee vending machine normally takes a lot of valuable space, this wall-mounted vending machine can be placed anywhere, even at a hallway or in the office. The water hoses can be led away into the wall, removing them from sight. The bulkiness, which is mainly caused by the inner parts, has been further minimized by the shape of the front panel. The additives are served from a separate module. This module guarantees the freshness of the milk and lets the employee enjoy real latte macchiato, caffe latte and chocolate milk.

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The new concept of the Bean Machine.


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The interface gives no room for errors. It even leads you from one module to the next!


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The tray can be lifted out of the machine to remove spilled and used coffee.


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The inner workings of the Bean Machine.


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An office impression with the new wall-mounted Bean Machine to show its minimal use of space.


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The model for presentation of the concept.


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An overview of our products during the final presentation.