Like all coffee machines, the process of making a coffee through extraction causes a build-up of coffee fats and oil residue. Left to accumulate, these by-products will affect coffee taste and ultimately can block machines completely. As a result, there is a new and fast growing market for cleaning products that can be added to the water in the form of liquids, powders etc. For the Capsule Coffee Machine market, there are more than 20 unique configurations of Coffee Capsules, each specifically designed to suit each machine.
Cafetto are manufactures and suppliers of coffee machine cleaning products. Coffee capsule machines have become a feature of most homes and increasingly offices globally with the largest brands including are Nespresso, Caffitaly, Expressi, Lavazza a Modo Mio and Keurig. Worldwide sales of coffee capsules machines have more than doubled from 11 million units in 2009 to over 30 million in 2013 (according to market research firm Euromonitor). This is set to climb to US$18.3 billion by 2019. Due to the large uptake of Capsule Coffee Machines, Cafetto recognised a need to develop a cleaning product specifically for this market.
The entire project was a collaboration between Cafetto marketing, in-house chemists and laboratory staff, and external industrial design (Fingo). Given the large number of machines/brands we began by isolating the largest Coffee Pod brands and how each machine worked. We considered different methods of introducing cleaning chemicals including liquids, powders gels etc. Based on user observation and other product requirements, we concluded that a single compressed tablet formulation with a customised carrier would be the best option. We produced a series of prototype carriers and tablet formulations for testing. Over time the shape and chemical formulae was optimised for effectiveness and speed of dissolution.
The tablet was developed as a unique 'quatrefoil' shape firstly to increase surface area to the hot water and secondly so that it could become a recognisable form leading to a 'Registered Design' to protect it from third party copies. The Branding was developed looking at opportunities for IP protection, packaging combinations and optimising for shelf presence whilst consulting with retail suppliers and end users.
The unique shape of each carrier is specific to the requirements and configuration of each machine. The form, diameter, height, guide fins and 'flow' apertures are critical to the function of the automated machines, optimising flow of water over that tablet and into the brewing chamber. The Carrier is designed for easy insertion of a Clean Bean tablet with subtle interference ribs to hold the tablet in place whilst being inserted. The Carriers are colour coded for ease of recognition and matched to the corporate colour of each brand. The packaging is also colour coded to assist with carrier identification. Clean Bean recently one the DIA SA Gold Design for Object and also the overall Sponsor's Award.
The Clean Bean tablets are sold in either a retail 'Starter Kit' or a retail 'Refill Pack'. The Starter Kit includes 3 reusable holders which in turn suit 4 machines being Nespresso, Caffitaly, K- Fee and Lavazza machines. These 4 Machines currently cover around 75% of the Australian, US and European market. The Holders are designed to be retrieved from the unit once ejected and can be reused multiple times. The tablets are packaged in foil for ease of use and eliminate moisture ingress in humid environments. Other holder variations are being developed for another 9 machines with production to be rolled-out over the next 2 to 3 years.
• The product, brand and packaging design, chemistry formulation, injection moulding tooling, part moulding, tablet manufacture, printing and packaging was all completed in Australia • The product range provides good sales margins for both the manufacturer and the retailer with market take up exceeding expectations. • In its first year, sales figures exceeded AU$1m, including export to Europe, and Asia. • Clean Bean is protected with a Patent Pending in Aust, NZ, Europe, Asia and the US. • The 'Clean Bean' tablet carriers and tablet shape are protected through patent and design registrations throughout the world. • The "Clean Bean" brand name and the tablet shape are protected by registered trademarks.