A good machine is what makes good coffee. For nearly 70 years, Animo has developed premium quality coffee making systems and coffee machines for those who understand the value of a great cup of coffee.
“Dedicated to every cup.” With the same dedication Animo puts into each cup of coffee, Lightyear is committed to their mission to make clean mobility accessible for everyone, everywhere. The dedication and passion shared by the two organisations came together this past summer when Lightyear found the perfect machine for their daily brew - Animo's OptiMe.
The Lightyear One is a modern, futuristic vehicle that is expected to become the new standard in electric family cars in the not so distant future: comfortable, attractive design, ample baggage space coupled with extensive range. The former Solar Challenge winners presented their first prototype this past summer. The target? Bring the most efficient solar car to national and international roads by 2021.
While the Lightyear team eliminated the need for fossil fuels in their first product, coffee remains the team's core fuel throughout the creative process. After all, the engineers need the focus and concentration required to devise smart solutions they face day in and day out. When Jet Rubingh, Lightyear's Facility Manager, was put to the task of selecting a new coffee machine, she took the job seriously. The coffee machine project was a minor, yet essential, component of a much larger project: Lightyear's relocation to a new office building.
That project is now as good as complete and the team has moved into a brand new four-floor building at the Automotive Campus in Helmond. Each floor proudly boasts a compact Animo OptiMe machine. A choice that, under Jet's supervision, was made with careful consideration. The Facility Manager invited various regional coffee suppliers to stop by for a round of questioning aimed at sustainability, maintenance, price, scalability and service. Several suppliers noted the match between Animo's OptiMe and Lightyear, thanks to the machine's adjustability, the tasteful design (awarded the prestigious Red Dot Award), the compact size, the significant ease of use and maintenance and the extensive lifespan. The party which succeeded in combining the OptiMe with the best selection in service, price and maintenance was NICI Koffie and Automated from Mill. Randy van Tienen, director of the family company, can now proudly refer to himself as Lightyear's coffee partner and explains: "With more than forty years' experience, we do our utmost to provide a complete service package with high-quality machines, good coffee products, a 24-hour service and preventative maintenance. Animo's coffee machines are a perfect fit within our total concept and with Lightyear. ”Where the average coffee machine has a six-year lifespan, we are still servicing Animo coffee machines with ten years under their belt, or even more."
A superior coffee machine is one thing, but it takes two to tango: The coffee also needs to be of the highest quality. Especially within an organisation where Italian and Spanish coffee connoisseurs are clocking hours. "Don't underestimate the Dutch, though. They're no stranger to what it takes to make a great cup of coffee", laughs Jet. To make a well-founded decision, NICI Koffie en Automaten organised a coffee tasting. A delegation of five Lightyear representatives were given the opportunity to taste coffee from various types of beans. Amongst the 'guinea pigs', opinions varied greatly regarding which coffee was best-suited to the Lightyear community. Eventually, the test panel went with an Italian Slow Roast Coffee Melange. “Unfortunately, you can't please everyone but with the tasting, we were able to select a bean that appealed to the majority of employees.”, states Jet. "More importantly, the OptiMe allows individual adjustments to coffee strength for each cup of coffee. With most Lightyear employees preferring strong coffee, the machines are programmed to the strongest setting. I personally prefer the double espresso. Those who prefer a milder coffee can manually reduce the number of beans per cup."
Alongside coffee strength, other elements such as menu order and language settings can be adjusted. Jet really gets the 'Just my type' slogan. “The OptiMe has truly become our coffee machine.” The Lightyear team has since set the display language to English and adjusted the menu order for beverages. The start screen now includes not only a standard coffee but also the option to brew two cups of coffee simultaneously and, with a single touch of the button, users can get an espresso, double espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiato, hot chocolate or hot water. The tea lovers within the organisation prefer to drink their hot tea from large mugs, which is why the standard 160-millilitre setting has been adjusted to 320 millilitres per cup.
What about OptiMe's award-winning design? "The modern machine was a great match for our interior", explains Jet. "We will soon personalise the display with our Lightyear logo, then it will be perfect."
Lightyear employees collectively tap some 60 cups per machine each day. This is a long way off the maximum output of 125 cups. Jet purchased the machines with the future in mind to ensure enough coffee to go around as the team expands. While most choose regular coffee or tea, there are also those who opt for the perfect latte macchiato, cappuccino or hot chocolate. "We previously used powdered beverages but, taking a healthy working environment to heart, I knew that we could do more", explains Jet. Powders contain more sugars than regular milk. On the ground floor, the coffee machine includes the option of adding a fresh milk cooler for perfectly steamed milk every time. Milk alternatives can also be used, such as soy or oat milk products. Jet: "The module for fresh milk requires a bit of additional cleaning, but does help to reduce sugar intake. Coffee with fresh milk, of course, also tastes much better. It's something we're working toward. Coffee is an essential component of the total Lightyear experience. I'm very pleased that we're able to offer our guests a great cup of coffee with the OptiMe."