Case study

Brewing Success: How Maro Coffee built its award-winning Swift Espresso Machine in less than a year

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Category: Case study
Vertical: Appliances
Est. read time: 4 min

Brewing Success: How Maro Coffee built its award-winning Swift Espresso Machine in less than a year.

The customer:

Embarking on a journey to redefine the coffee experience, Maro Coffee, an emerging manufacturer of coffee equipment, introduced its flagship product, Model 1, a portafilter machine (espresso machine). A prosumer product designed to reduce the frustration of brewing the perfect cup of coffee at home. The idea was simple – faster heat-up, reduced energy consumption, and a product designed from a user experience perspective – to create a product that provided less user frustration.

To accomplish this goal Maro Coffee had to seamlessly integrate a custom-designed thermodynamic system with a user-friendly Human Machine Interface (HMI) design. Together this innovative solution would not only enhance the product usability but also minimize user frustration.


Part of Maro Coffee’s visionary goal for the Model 1 was for its graphical user interface (GUI) to provide users with a top-notch, modern vibe that mobile devices like Apple’s products offered their users. These products emphasized the importance of a sophisticated and user-centric GUI, while acknowledging the need for flexibility based on specific functionality.

This approach aimed to empower collaboration with the designer, ensuring that the UI's intricacies aligned seamlessly with Maro Coffee's vision of intuitive, user-friendly interactions.

As they set out to uncover how they could build this aesthetically pleasing, streamlined, user-friendly GUI, they concluded that it would either require a foundational background in programming or a tool that enabled them to develop like they did for them to achieve it.

Since the Maro team were building the prototype using Toradex hardware and Torizon OS, the goal was also to discover a tool that not only provided flexibility but also simplified the optimization of the creation process for the coffee machine prototype.

The challenges:

For Maro, the main challenge lay in integrating their unique thermodynamic system along with the embedded hardware and its user-friendly UI experience. The complexity of UI development posed a significant hurdle, especially for a company with limited resources and no prior experience in UI design and development.

🔎 Developing a working Prototype with limited resources and no prior experience of working on such a project.
🔎 Designing multiple screens with multiple elements that seamlessly worked together.

The solution:

After having tried to prototype using different hardware and embedded UI development solutions the Maro team discovered Crank’s Storyboard which they found while researching ‘tools for developing exceptional GUIs easily.’ Crank’s Storyboard Designer emerged as a transformative solution, providing the key to helping Maro Coffee unlock their UI development challenges and for making their prototyping process faster.

With Storyboard it's quite easy to start with no experience in Crank and get things to a working stage. The most important thing when starting development is to have a working prototype quickly because you can always improve from there.For us, achieving this was simple and fast with the Crank’s Storyboard, once we got started, we were able to create the first working prototype of the Model 1 in less than a year.
Robin Kuprat

Managing Partner - Maro

Storyboard’s designer-friendly framework enabled graphics designers to easily understand and work within Storyboard's workflow and design capabilities while also facilitating a smooth learning curve for software developers to add functionality via Lua scripting. Storyboard’s native support for importing different design tool files, like PSD, Sketch, or Figma, was quite helpful for Maro as their designers were using Photoshop for creating their product’s UI elements.

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The prototype developed using Storyboard's designer-friendly framework seamlessly integrated innovation and functionality.

During the developing stage of the Model 1 the UI went through frequent design changes. To streamline this process, controls were created directly in Storyboard. This approach proved faster for the team than- the traditional method of going back and forth with the designer, creating a Photoshop file, and then reimporting everything as the team had limited resources. Storyboard emerged as the go-to solution for swift and efficient UI adjustments, allowing seamless collaboration between the developer and the designer.
Robin Kuprat

Managing Partner - Maro

Creating an Effective Working Prototype

Creating a GUI prototype quickly was crucial to Maro so that they could ensure that the GUI experience they envisioned could handle both the system load and heavy processing that would occur in the background.

Through Storyboard’s Lua scripting API, a scripting language known for its low memory usage and high performance, making it ideal for embedded systems, Maro’s developers were able to quickly create the connections required to retrieve and send data, trigger events, and manipulate the UI controls efficiently and effectively.

The training and support documentation provided by Crank were essential to the success of our project. The clear instructions for container creation and seamless hardware integration were instrumental. The comprehensive documentation spans a wide range of topics, making it a dependable and valuable resource. I particularly found the Lua API documentation to be immensely helpful throughout the project
Robin Kuprat

Managing Partner - Maro

Together, Maro's talented team of developers and Storyboard's capabilities significantly accelerated the development timeline, empowering Maro Coffee to transform their conceptual ideas into a fully functional and user-centric coffee machine prototype in under a year.

What made Maro Choose Crank?

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1. Compatibility with Torizon and containers:

Maro decided to go with Torizon platform powered by Torizon OS. Torizon OS is an open-source Linux-based operating system with a containerized platform via Docker hub and plenty of ready-to-use containers. With Storyboard container integration is pre-installed in Torizon, thus reducing extra efforts to create a new integration.

2. Time to Market and Prototyping Speed:

Accelerated their time to market. For Maro having a working prototype quickly was crucial for attracting interest, building supplier relationships, and securing investments. Storyboard's efficiency in speeding up the development of the first working prototype aligned perfectly with this priority.

3. Collaboration with Designers:

Another key consideration was the ease of collaboration between developers and designers. Storyboard helped them to quickly implementing changes without prolonged back-and-forth iterations. Storyboard's capability to swiftly create controls and make adjustments in-house proved more efficient than relying on traditional methods involving designers and Photoshop files.

4.  Customization and Flexibility:

Storyboard provided a higher level of customization, allowing him to tailor controls to specific needs. This flexibility was essential for implementing their unique design ideas seamlessly.

5. Financial Aspect:

The financial aspect played a crucial role in the decision-making process. Securing a deal with Crank and Storyboard was financially viable for Maro, especially in the early stages when budget considerations were paramount.

Successful Coffee Machine delivery

The Maro team delivered a functional and integrated product “Maro Model 1”, into a new category of portafilter machine.

The sleek graphical user interface (GUI) of “Maro Model 1” developed using Crank’s Storyboard Designer, recently got a special mention in the prestigious German Innovation Award for its outstanding performance, quality, reliability, and user-friendliness and innovations in thermodynamics, electronics, material selection, and operating concepts.

With just three minutes of heat-up time, advanced pressure and flow controls, and its intuitive touch controls, the Model 1 stands out from the competition and makes the experience of brewing the perfect cup enjoyable.



Where do you start?

How much is ineffective UI design and development costing you? Join thousands of developers and designers using Crank to create rich, UI applications for multi-market embedded devices.