Despite not turning a profit in the UK, Starbucks recently buckled to public pressure and agreed to start paying more tax here. Rather than hiking their prices, the retailer is slashing employee benefits to recoup some of the cost.
But while three quid still ain’t cheap for a cup of hot milk and sugar, that’s nothing compared to what London venture capital firm Accel Partners has splashed out on their new coffee machine, installed in the firm’s St James’s offices a few months ago.
Behold the TopBrewer Pro, a near-silent “innovative world novelty” that has created “an entirely new category within coffee brewers”, according to manufacturers Scanomat.
This luxury iPhone- and iPad-compatible coffee machine is designed “to create coffee of exemplary level to satisfy the most discerning of baristas”. It’s an elegant built-in solution whose tap emerges from the counter-top to create a more “interactive coffee experience”.
“With a simple touch of your iPhone or iPad, the TopBrewer brews your favourite coffee drink using freshly ground coffee beans,” boasts Scanomat’s website.
“Control multiple machines with one single iPad. With the favourites page, you have access to all machines in one view for blazing fast selection of desired drinks.”
There’s also a finger touch keyboard provided, in case a smartphone is unavailable.
Speaking to The Kernel this morning, a spokesman for Scanomat in the UK explained how granular the machine’s settings are: “You can choose 9g of coffee, 9.2g, that’s how fine it goes,” he said.
The TopBrewer makes an espresso in just 25 seconds, which will doubtless be a boon given the heavy footfall in Accel’s London offices. Equally reassuring is the manufacturer’s guarantee of “beautiful foam”, yielding an “exquisite texture” for lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos.
The TopBrewer Pro has two coffee grinders, one for espresso and one for coffee. Prices start at $15,400 (£9,500). The Compact model, understood to have been installed at Accel, starts at $12,100 (£7,500).
Modular enhancements such as luxury liquid chocolate and secondary swan necks can drive the price of the TopBrewer up to $21,000 (£13,000).
Coffee must be purchased from the manufacturers, and, owing to its integrated design, should the TopBrewer develop a fault a licensed engineer must be despatched to repair the machine on-site.
A request for comment placed with one of Accel’s LPs this morning went unreturned.