The future of coffee is here. Or at least an idea of what the future of coffee—and beverage-dispensing machines—might become.

During a year when Coca-Cola is testing its interactive Freestyle dispensing machine, Douwe Egberts, the coffee brand owned by Sara Lee Foodservice, is showcasing its own interactive dispensing machine: BeMoved.

Greg Immell, director of marketing for Sara Lee Foodservice’s beverage division, says BeMoved is a sort of “concept car” for the future.

“It’s a platform for our R&D group in the Netherlands to experiment with technology and [use] interactive design to … dispense hot beverages,” Immell says. “And also a way to look at coffee and this technology and how we can enhance the interaction between machine and consumer.”

A Douwe Egberts R&D staff member in Utrecht, The Netherlands, developed BeMoved over the course of a year and a half, modeling it on his son’s video games.

The machine features several interactive functions, including a drag-and-drop method of choosing desired coffee flavors; an option to save preferred beverages and choose them again in the future; and even an interactive game that requires a user to jump around in order to earn a beverage.

Watch Immell showcase all of BeMoved’s functions at the 2010 National Restaurant Association Show below.

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But, unlike the Coca-Cola Freestyle, BeMoved is not intended for commercial use—and only one machine exists.

“Right now the intent is just to have this one and really sit on it and see where it goes,” Immell says.

“This particular machine really is the showpiece on how we can leverage technology. The R&D people are using the individual components within our real dispensers.”

Immell says the drag-and-drop and save-your-beverage functions of BeMoved are two that Douwe Egberts believes it can include in future machines.

Interactivity, Immell says, is more relevant to consumers today, and Douwe Egberts is trying to combine the “emotion around coffee” with “the excitement and interactivity of some technologies that consumers are already seeing and using in other industries” in its upcoming dispensers.

“Some of the machines that are out there are four or five steps you have to go through, so how do we bring that thought process from ‘what coffee I want’ all the way to dispensing in a quicker format,” Immell says.

“If we could make it fun at the same time, then we’ve scored on two levels.”

By Sam Oches

Menu Innovations, News