The Juggler and beyond

Empty bag

We consider ourselves to be lucky, but luck implies chance rather than being the result of one’s own hard work, perseverance and insight. We have created a product that has forever changed the way milk is used in Australian cafes. We were never in doubt of our ability to identify a genuine and unmet market need or to offer a great solution but to make a lasting and positive impact beyond the limits of what we can control, surely luck must be a factor.

The Juggler cafe milk tap system was the first product we offered to the market back in 2012. With busy cafes using many 10’s and some using 100’s of litres of milk each day, the need to create a more practical and environmentally sustainable solution than 2 litre milk bottles was obvious. What was not so obvious was what the solution should be.

At the time there were no other pieces of equipment that were designed to cater for the specific needs of a barista in full flight, that could withstand life in a harsh cafe environment and that would be easy to clean and sanitise at the end of the day. So we set about conceptualising a product that would meet these needs. Not only did we find ourselves embarking on a project to design a new product, we were conscious that we were creating a new product category and a new brand entirely from scratch. So we figured we had better come up with something good. No pressure!

But the creation of The Juggler was only part of the challenges that lay ahead. The real challenge was to create an entire system that would be acceptable not only to cafe staff and business owners, but also to the dairy industry at large who we would be relying on to fill something else instead of 2 litre milk bottles.

We tried buckets lined with bags, larger format bottles and even custom designed returnable kegs but each created concept killing problems somewhere in the supply chain. We knew that we needed to use a packaging format that was affordable, acceptable to dairy processors and that would not be resisted by anyone else between the filling line and cafe counter. We settled on a form of bag-in-box packaging or more specifically 10 litre bags that could be easily filled, transported and handled. Most importantly though for us was that the bags we chose represented about an 80% saving in the amount of plastic being used to package milk destined for the cafe.

We presented an early prototype of our concept to a local dairy producer, Country Valley. As luck would have it we learned that Country Valley have always been on the forefront of low impact dairy farming so they immediately agreed to purchase the filling equipment needed to become the first suppliers of milk in Juggler Bags!

Other dairy producers followed and over a period of about 5 years we managed to establish milk supply for The Juggler from just about all dairy producers from small independent dairies to the largest mainstream producers in Australia.

With The Juggler now being used extensively throughout Australia and also on just about every continent around the globe, we now feel lucky to be in a position where we can branch out and apply our skills and passion for change to other unmet needs in cafes, restaurants, bars and just about every other area of food service.

Our product line now includes the Freepour line of dispensers which we have designed to make Juggler Bags a practical solution for hotel buffets, staff kitchens, retail and other high volume food service applications. We noticed that in each of these segments the aesthetics of the dispenser, user experience and operational efficiencies are often of equal importance as the need to reduce plastic packaging and existing products were often unsuitable.

We designed Freepour Batch to make the act of serving filter coffee as special as the sensory experience that filter coffee promises. Freepour Batch can also make filter coffee more accessible to customers and in some applications can even replace an espresso machine for a business wanting to offer coffee but perhaps who is not a traditional cafe. Digital screen and contactless payment options create endless education, branding and self-serve, self-pay opportunities.

If our luck continues, we hope the products we design into the future will always carry the hallmarks of our product line so far. They will be the first of their kind, beautiful and practical. They will be designed to last and they will solve genuine needs for our changing world.

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