By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: A cold and wet day in Sydney was not enough to dampen coffee lovers’ enthusiasm for the latest coffee making gadgetry on Sunday, with espresso machine suppliers reporting unprecedented interest in their products at the weekend’s Aroma Coffee Festival.

Espresso machine brands including Breville, Sunbeam, Saeco and Krups joined over 100 exhibitors at this year’s event held in The Rocks.

According to Sunbeam  marketing manager – kitchen appliances, Damian Court, crowds were definitely up on last year, despite the variable weather conditions.

“We noticed a vast improvement on visitor numbers compared to previous years,” said Court. “We still had capacity crowds streaming by our stand at 4.30 pm.”

Sunbeam had its biggest stand ever at the festival and entertained visitors with demonstrations by world barista champion, Paul Bassett, plus former latte art champion, Dominic Majdandzic, as part of the event’s Domestic Coffee Machine Expo.

“The knowledge levels of consumers continues to surprise us, too. People are genuinely using these types of events to try before they buy,” said Court.

Saeco’s Andrew Kremmer also commented that crowd numbers appeared to be stronger than last year.

"The crowds were definitely very good and in fact I would suggest it is the strongest festival they have had," said Kremmer.

"Consumers are more aware of automatic machines, which is where we are positioned. We used the event to launch our new Primea Touch Plus machine. People seem to be more clued in as to what automatic machines do – they want good coffee quickly and efficiently without having to become a barista at home or put on an apron."

Krups product manager, Marie Canet, said the Aroma Festival is a must-attend for the brand because it provides an opportunity to speak directly to serious coffee enthusiasts.

Krups focused on demonstrating its flagship fully automatic machines, including the new Espresseria range.

“I think the whole event was very positive, the crowd turnout was pretty good considering the weather we had and there was a lot of interest in the machines,” said Canet. “People who came along to the show were generally very serious about their coffee machines.”

Canet also noted that there was greater focus on coffee making products this year, whereas coffee beans and gourmet food had featured more prominently in previous years.

Breville demonstrated its Professional 800 Collection Espresso Machine (800ES) and the award winning Ikon Series Espresso Machine (BES400) at its stand at the festival.

Breville also supported the event with a consumer promotion offering a free BCG450 coffee grinder with the purchase of either the 800ES or BES400 espresso machine. 

“We have a proven track record of utilising live demonstrations at events to support in-store promotions and we are confident that our involvement in the Aroma Festival will once again boost sales in the coffee category,” said Breville general manager marketing, Cameron Searle.