de Jong Duke: sustainable coffee machine innovation

WATT is always on the lookout for unusual entrepreneurs, concepts and ideas that deserve a bigger stage. This time we’re meeting with Mechteld Petersen.Mechteld is Commercial and Technical Director at the family-owned company De Jong DUKE, and is responsible for sales, marketing and research & development.

Photo: Yara Dragt

What does de Jong DUKE do?

De Jong DUKE is a Dutch family business founded in 1897. We specialise in making innovative, reliable and user-friendly professional coffee machines for the out-of-home market. Our RD department includes its own engineers and software developers who are constantly innovating our ConnectMe connectivity tool and coffee machines. This allows us to offer our customers the most user-friendly coffee machine experience. Our branches in the Netherlands and the United States supply customers all over the world.

A family business, founded in 1897. How did de Jong DUKE start 125 years ago?

On 1 September 1897, Johannes Marinus de Jong Azn. set up a farrier business on Kerkstraat in Alblasserdam. That moment marked the start of the company, which still exists today, 125 years later. Its core activities are metalworking (de Jong TECHNICS) and, since 1957, the development and production of coffee machines (de Jong DUKE).

What defines de Jong DUKE?

We pride ourselves on our four core values: stewardship, reliability, cooperation and innovation. Through stewardship, we aim to take good care of people as well as the environment and act responsibly, sustainably and with environmental awareness. Our products are reliable and consistently high quality. We draw on everyone’s knowledge and experience to achieve our goals together. We are also constantly working on innovation and improvement. Our coffee machines have won numerous design awards in recent years. We’re also continuously innovating with our own ConnectMe tool, where data plays the central role.

What sets de Jong DUKE coffee machines apart from other machines?

We believe in intuitive design that makes our products user-friendly for customers, consumers and technicians. Sustainable and designed in keeping with circular guidelines. On top of that, we also produce machines that are connected to the internet, thanks to our in-house developed ConnectMe software. This allows our customers to view and solve problems remotely, enabling better service at lower costs. They also have insight into usage and consumption data. These insights allow cleaning to be scheduled during off-peak hours and machines to be put into energy-saving mode when not in use. ConnectMe can also be used for communication statements, branded videos and advertisements. Our latest coffee machine ROSA even has a poll function. Polls can be easily created and set up in ConnectMe, with the results displayed directly on the machine’s screen.

de Jong DUKE develops its own brewing systems, such as the patented CoEx brewer and the newer CoEx XL brewer. The CoEx is the first brewer for professional coffee machines that can handle a brewing process using both low and high pressure. This makes it suitable for preparing coffee as well as espresso in just one brewing system, without any compromise on quality. Thanks to the self-learning software, CoEx XL offers perfect control over the brewing process, achieving barista-quality coffee.   

de Jong DUKE places sustainability high on its agenda both in its production facilities, the manufacturing process itself, as well as its products. Explain…

We manufacture our machines in an energy-neutral and CO2 neutral production environment in Sliedrecht. Our machines are designed according to our ACT2 circular guidelines using high-quality and partially recycled sustainable materials. This ensures that machines are easy to repair, refurbish and recycle. This reduces their environmental impact throughout their life cycle. When our machines are connected to ConnectMe, additional energy-saving benefits emerge. Customers can save up to 30% energy through an adaptive power saving mode, on top of the normal pre-programmed power saving setting. ConnectMe analyses user trends on the machines and automatically activates energy-saving mode. This keeps equipment operational when it’s needed.

There’s even a coffee machine with a front made of coffee. Tell us about that.

We’ve developed an eco-friendly coffee machine based on our ACT2 programme. The door is made from 100% recycled materials and the front design is made from coffee waste. It contains 30 cups of coffee. The innovative coffee front design was a first step towards experimenting with the use of biodegradable components in equipment design. The material comes from a Dutch startup that is experimenting with coffee waste to develop and make different products. This is the material that is then formed. The front can be laser inscribed with a logo. This means that the front is biodegradable. So, the V’Éco provides a sustainable coffee experience at work.

Innovative technology plays an important role in the development of coffee machines. Can you mention some examples?

Our ConnectMe application enables remote service for all your coffee machines. This makes it possible to adjust recipes or the menu remotely. That saves on trips to the premises and ensures cost-efficient maintenance of the coffee machines. The great thing is that you can do this for all your coffee machines at the same time. We can also use ConnectMe to understand the coffee machine’s behaviour. For example, when a part needs to be replaced or when servicing is required.

What is the biggest challenge you face?

We love coming up with creative solutions for all of the opportunities and challenges where data plays a huge role. This is how we’re striving to become the best in our coffee market. In Europe, America and – just between us – the rest of the world.

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