Schaerer Coffee Skye:
The new Schaerer is all about freedom and lightness.
The Schaerer Coffee Skye. The newest member of the family from the Schaerer product range is designed for mid-level demand with an hourly/daily output of up to 180 cups, which is why it’s the perfect fit between the Schaerer Coffee Club and the Schaerer Coffee Soul 10 and 12. It features numerous equipment options as well as three different operating modes that allow it to be ideally configured to fulfil individualised customer requirements, for example in restaurants, convenience stores, bakeries, for coffee service in companies or catering at events. Product Manager Paulina Rüegger and R&D Project Manager Mathias Meyer report on where the idea for a new machine model came from, what milestones there were during development, and how these milestones were celebrated.
Let’s start from the very beginning: How did you decide to develop the Schaerer Coffee Skye?
Paulina Ruegger: The idea behind the Schaerer Coffee Skye was to cover the demand for mid-level output between the compact Schaerer Coffee Club and the very powerful Schaerer Coffee Soul. As early as in 2019, while announcing the new Schaerer Coffee Soul with the “Select” concept, it was already clear that we wanted to introduce a new machine in this performance class at the end of 2021. That was certainly an ambitious schedule, but we managed it well with the launch at Internorga 2022.
Mathias Meyer: Up to now, we have been able to cover the mid-level performance class with the Schaerer Coffee Prime, which offers a daily/hourly output of up to 150 cups when equipped with a Powerpack. However, as this device will be discontinued by the end of this year, it became all the more important to develop a new machine for this segment. The Schaerer Coffee Skye is another model that is state-of-the-art in terms of its design and technical equipment and fits perfectly into our range of coffee machines.
What is the design philosophy behind the Schaerer Coffee Skye?
Paulina Ruegger: Both in terms of design and technology, the Schaerer Coffee Skye is a perfect complement to our family of machines. From its external appearance, this is particularly evident in the striking asymmetry that also characterises the new Schaerer Coffee Soul. A coloured design element on the right side creates additional visual accents, making the machine an real eye-catcher with an elegant look. The light elements on both sides of the central spout attract attention, but they also fulfil a specific purpose by lighting up in a specific colour to provide information about fill levels or technical problems. This interplay of design and technology is found throughout the entire Schaerer Coffee Skye. Another example of this is the display, which is deliberately set apart from the housing. This lends the machine a sense of lightness, while at the same time the eight-inch video screen is quite large for this machine category, ensuring simple operation.
Mathias Meyer: The order was assigned to the design office at around the same time Schaerer’s brand relaunch was being carried out and our brand profile was being perfected. The goal was to create a common look for the machine range that visually underlines our brand values. The Schaerer Coffee Soul with the “Select” concept was then the first machine with our new “family design”. However, this was a advancement of the existing Schaerer Coffee Soul. This meant the design also had to be based on the existing technical components. The Schaerer Coffee Skye, on the other hand, is a completely new device and the degree of freedom the design office had in creating its own look within the family design was therefore much greater. Our designers then found the perfect balance between design and functionality.
What challenges did the team face?
Paulina Ruegger: The roadmap for the project was very ambitious, I have to say. A bit more than two years from the launch to the official presentation of the machine is not much time. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic did not make it any easier for us. At times, practically our whole team was working from their home offices, which of course made some things more difficult. I really have to compliment Mathias here, who coordinated this difficult situation in the best possible way. He worked in a very structured manner and always made sure that all team members knew which tasks were due and when. This is what has made it possible for us to present the machine now.
Mathias Meyer: I have to pass this praise on to the whole team. Everyone was highly motivated, worked great together and took on responsibility to achieve the goal. I also want to emphasise how important it was that our team was hardly affected by short-time working measures. These would have really delayed the development process. As a result, we were able to use a prototype of the Schaerer Coffee Skye in our office for field tests as early as the summer of 2021. What was special about this test machine was that its components were mostly created using the 3D printing process. However, it was fully functional and you could easily make good coffee with it. That meant we were able to show the machine to employees from other departments for the first time and ask for their opinion. This input was extremely important, because our colleagues are ultimately the ones who have to build and sell the machine. One exciting finding was that the sales department in German-speaking countries tends to want a smaller range of features, while more are in demand in the rest of the world. In concrete terms, the internal feedback resulted in the functional lighting elements on the front of the machine: These were initially not planned at all or were only optional. However, thanks to the advice of our colleagues, they are now integrated by default because they really improve the customer experience.
Were these types of milestones celebrated during the project phase?
Paulina Ruegger: Definitely — this is extremely important for team spirit. Due to corona, it was not an easy time to celebrate as a team, but we made the best of it. It doesn’t take much; the main thing is just to have fun. For instance, on one occasion, we drank “Wściekły pies” (translation “Crazy Dogs”), a Polish drink made of vodka, raspberry syrup and Tabasco. As a native of Poland, I of course brought the vodka for it myself. Mathias and I then came up with something special for Christmas. We wanted to give all our colleagues who were involved in the project a small gift. Since we are both big fans of colourful socks, we bought a total of 37 pairs with a matching Skye design. We presented them personally to thank the employees again for their hard work.
Now that the machine is complete: What are the strengths of the Schaerer Coffee Skye and what does it stand for?
Paulina Ruegger: The Schaerer Coffee Skye is a young, modern machine that embodies lightness and an open mindset. This is what makes it a perfect expression of the Schaerer brand. In the design, you see this for example in the deliberately highlighted display, which seems to be almost detached from the machine. On the other hand, the individually configurable equipment of the machine makes for very free, flexible use. In specific terms, the strengths of the Schaerer Coffee Skye can be summed up in four key phrases: “Easygoing”, “everywhere”, “entertaining” and “environmentally friendly”. By “easygoing”, we mean that uncomplicated handling was an essential factor when developing the Schaerer Coffee Skye. For instance, operation is very intuitive thanks to large symbols and user guidance. In addition, all connections required for installation are accessible from the front, a real plus when it comes to servicing the machine. Thanks to the integrated tank, the three “Staff”, “Self-service” and “Office” operating modes as well as its slim dimensions, the Schaerer Coffee Skye can also be used virtually “everywhere”. The high beverage quality and variety in combination with a modern, appealing look, the 8-inch video display and its lighting also make sure the Schaerer Coffee Skye is the star of any coffee concept — “entertaining” in the truest sense. Since we were able to reduce water consumption with the new “Pure Foam” milk system and optimised cleaning processes and also use plastic-free packaging materials, the machine is sustainable or “environmentally friendly”.
Mathias Meyer: Similar to the Schaerer Coffee Soul, the “Select” concept is also the basis for the customised machine configuration of the Schaerer Coffee Skye and offers a selection adapted to the mid-range price segment. A wide range of configuration options and features are available, including a second grinder, espresso grinding discs, single or double powder options, brewing accelerators, the Powersteam steam wand, networking with Coffee Link and much more. In small bakeries, for example, the water tank means it can be used anywhere and the milk cooler can be placed not only to the left or right of the machine, but also under the counter to save space. The new Pure Foam milk system provides hot or cold milk and creamy, fine-pored milk foam for a wide variety of beverages. For use in offices, for example, the Twin Topping container for stocking two different toppings is also a great way to expand the range of beverages. The mobility of the machine and its high performance, which ensures fast preparation even in busy periods, speak in favour of its use in trendy catering applications such as food trucks. The optional “Powersteam” steam wand is also a great way to create authentic barista flair with manual milk foaming. The functional light element is also perfect for all areas of use, as it indicates early on that cleaning is necessary or that the container is empty.