The 200-employee company has 10 specialty stores scattered across the country and a five-year plan to be present in every major city in Saudi Arabia with an efficient business model of serving only coffee.
“Camel Step is unique in the market because of our passion for coffee and the passion of our employees. Our baristas are called coffee ambassadors, and they talk to customers about direct trade, our relationships with origin farmers, and the work we’re doing to improve our relationships. Coming to our store is an experience,” says Alharbi.
Camel Step was first introduced to Eversys in 2020. As a market leader, it saw an opportunity to manage the rapid growth of the specialty market through automation.
“We saw that Eversys offered the technology the market needed. It is always developing new tools and advancing its technology to make life easier for baristas, and we use Cameo and Enigma machines for some of our locations, called WAY branches,” says Alharbi.
Camel Step is also an Eversys distributor, where sales have exceeded Alharbi’s expectations.
“This year (2022), we have seen a significant increase in sales compared to last year, which is mainly attributed to the Enigma machine, because of its excellent use of automation. It provides a wide variety of drinks, has excellent milk frothing technology and an espresso consistency. For shops that want to minimize training but still maintain their quality, this is the machine they need,” says Alharbi.
“We were initially afraid that baristas would resist the concept of automation, but they’ve really embraced it and love using it. They know it not only helps their workflow and manage volume, but also reduces errors and increases quality output. Now our customers have access to the best quality coffee, and that’s something I’m excited about.”
Other popular specialty coffee makers partnering with Eversys in Saudi Arabia include The Coffee Address, Bebax Coffee and Caffeine Lab. Eversys’ Ortile says they all used traditional machines before falling in love with Eversys’ Enigma line of machines, which can produce up to 350 espressos per hour. Customers also enjoy the Eversys 1.5-Step, he adds
milk foam distribution, which helps keep up with the market’s high volume of milk-based coffees, which Ortile says make up 70 to 80 percent of customer orders.
“In 2021, Eversys sold only a few cars to Saudi Arabia. By the end of 2022, orders have exceeded 200 cars. That volume is exponential,” says Ortile. “After COVID-19, coffee companies tried to catch up on their growth. This trend may continue into next year and then normalize, but there is a strong movement away from traditional to ultra-traditional or automated machines like the Eversys offering.
“People who work in specialty coffee can be very skeptical of automatic machines, but when we demonstrate with them, they get to a point where they see no difference in cup quality between a traditional machine and an Eversys. Their eyes widen, they get excited, and then they tell their friends.”
The first Eversys Shotmaster machine landed in Saudi Arabia in November 2022, with strong uptake expected in 2023.
“Innovation is very well received in Saudi Arabia. They really love it and strive for the best, including their coffee equipment,” says Christian Hauter, Commercial Director of Eversys.
“Saudi Arabia is investing heavily in technology, innovation and new industries, with the country building solar parks, new urban ecosystems and investing in electric cars. The government of Saudi Arabia strongly supports the growth of the country’s coffee culture at the shop and farm levels, with the aim of investing in coffee production.”
Huge growth is also expected in the Indian coffee market, a country where Eversys had zero presence in 2021.
“In just one year, it’s become our second largest market, and we’re only scratching the surface. We work with the most important specialty coffee shops out there, from just a few shops they are now opening hundreds. Compared to Saudi Arabia, India’s coffee scene is much less developed, so the potential is incredible,” says Ortile.
He adds that population growth in the Middle East is likely to continue over the next five years, as the majority of the population in Saudi Arabia is under the age of 34, according to Euromonitor reports. As such, it’s a prime opportunity for Eversys to tap into an expanding market.
“It’s a really exciting time for coffee in the Middle East. I truly believe that the growth of the region will accelerate Eversys’ presence here. I believe that in the future, everyone will see the Middle East as an exciting opportunity to develop their business,” says Ortile.
“We want to help young coffee professionals, encourage their passion and continue to develop the future of the coffee community.”