New Product Focus: The Knock and Tamp
We Think Differently
At Inventor, we don’t see problems. We see opportunities. Every time we hear someone make a complaint about a product or a service, our minds instantly jump to ask ourselves ‘How do we fix it?’It’s this kind of thinking that has given us so many of humanities great triumphs in history. It’s a well-known fact that the wheel was actually invented because someone wouldn’t stop complaining about having to carry their groceries home from the market. And so, the wheelbarrow was born. Don’t quote us on that one though.
The Modern-Day Gladiators
Fast forward to the modern day, and problems and complaints are still around us every day. Yet where most people see inconveniences, we see opportunities to improve our modern environment.
New ideas and problem solving are at the heart of what we do. And our work with the struggles of a barista is no exception. Baristas are the unsung heroes of the modern world. Every day, they wake up hours before the rest of us, prepare the machine and begin making coffees at the speed of light. And we all know that most of us would barely have made it out of bed without the promise of that delicious, life-saving soy cappuccino. It’s safe to say that we’d probably all fall apart if our local baristas went on strike.Yet too often, baristas don’t get the credit they deserve. Shifts are often longer than the average work day, breaks are hard to come by and the pace can be breakneck for hours on end. All this, while standing on their feet and repeatedly tamping your coffee with just the right amount of pressure to extract the perfect shot of espresso for you.
So, we thought we’d help the troops out by making their lives a little easier. Our client set out to tackle the tamping and extraction process with a basic idea to streamline it. We explored and built upon that idea and then turned it into a reality.
Our Design Process
To start out, we deeply explored the current state of the market and the café industry as a whole. We found that there were two main players in the knock-box game and they’ve been a duopoly over the market since the market was created. And for good reason; their products are reliable, durable and are functional enough to do the job up to standard.
But we thought there was room for improvement. So, we looked at what drives decisions about coffee equipment. We discovered that tamping efficiency and aesthetics were the two main factors that underpin the decision to buy equipment for café owners. So, what did we do? We brainstormed ways to make the tamping process more efficient for baristas. And how we could make the product a little sexier.
Hours turned into days and rough scribbles turned into CAD designs as we broke down the process into a calculated set of steps. We turned the process on its head, then turned ourselves on our heads to look at the problem from every possible angle.
At first, we went down the path of attempting to completely redesign the product, but that began to feel like we were trying to reinvent the wheel. So, we looked to existing designs and explored ways to modify those to improve its functionality, until finally we struck gold with a design that combines the tamping and knocking processes in one place. Our thinking was simple; condense the amount of space used and the complexity of the equipment. And most importantly, we could solve one of our biggest problems; wrist pain. We found that by moving the ‘tamping station’ to the knockout bin and consequently lowering the height that tamping is done at, we managed to reduce the strain on the baristas wrist in the process.
It’s All in the Wrist
Applying 15kg’s of pressure doesn’t seem like it would do too much damage to your wrist. But applying it hundreds of times a day, five days a week (at least), is enough force to do some serious damage to your wrist if you’re not doing it at the right angle. Unfortunately, many baristas don’t; particularly those on the shorter end of the spectrum. So, the traditional method of tamping coffee on the bench top can have disastrous effects. By lowering the ‘tamping station’ down to the height of the knockout box, baristas can now have a straighter wrist when tamping their coffee.
Where Did We End Up?
So here it is, the Knock and Tamp; our solution to the variety of issues we identified that plague our local heroes on a daily basis. Our baristas complained of wrist pain, so we lowered the ‘tamping station’. Our baristas complained that the bench top was too cluttered, so we combined two stations into one. Our baristas complained that their current knockout boxes were too shaky, so we integrated a foot mount into the base for stability.
In the eyes of an inventor, no end result is ever truly finished; there’s always room for improvement and development. So, we’re working with our client to develop the product and make it more functional in the café. We’re exploring the potential for non-slip mats and using different materials to optimise the experience.
For now, feast your eyes on the Knock and Tamp; equal parts innovation, creativity and problem solving. Not only does it look sexier than the competition, its functional elements have streamlined the extraction process and made the lives of baristas that much easier.
If you’ve got a great idea but you don’t know how to turn it into a final product, get in touch with us!