There was a time, not so long ago, that when you went into a restaurant or cafe the only type of coffee being served was filter coffee. The waitress would come over with the jug of coffee, which had been left standing on a hot plate, and refill your cup.
People's perception of coffee has changed a lot over the last fifteen years with companies such as Starbucks arriving on the scene. The average American's love affair with coffee had been stepped up a notch.
So when people ask for coffee these days, they expect to get something much more refined that filter coffee. In every modern office there are machines providing a variety of coffee drinks at the touch of a button.
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Commercial Coffee Machines: What You Need to Know
There are many commercial coffee machines available. Choosing the right one for your business can be confusing. The one that you buy will depend on how big your business is and what your needs are.
For example, do you intend to sell coffee in a restaurant or cafe? Perhaps you need a coffee machine for your office that will serve many staff members.
The important equation will be how many cups of coffee per day you would need the machine to dispense. Work that out before you contact any suppliers as this information is crucial. Some machines will not cope with high volumes while others will be temperamental when not being used enough.
The cup/day ratio is based on an 8oz serving. Low volume coffee machines are recommended for just fifty cups per day. Medium volume coffee machines are recommended for 150-200 cups per day. High volume would be 200-500 cups per day.
Here's a look at some of the terminology associated with commercial coffee machines. This is important when it comes to understanding the various products.
Bean to Cup
Bean to cup machines can be found in many self serve environments such as offices and cafeterias. You don't need training to use them. Usually it's just the touch of a button that makes them work.
Bean to cup machines have the ability to grind coffee beans which then move into a brewing chamber where they are mixed with hot water in a similar way to a cafetiere. They have built in milk foamers to dispense frothy milk for cappuccino. They usually have somewhere between eight and twelve drink options.
Combination Bean to Cup
These machines provide freshly ground coffee but also offer freeze dried instant coffee, powdered milk and hot chocolate powder. These are usually found in offices rather than coffee shops and restaurants.
Coffee hoppers look like blenders on top of a coffee machine. This is where the beans are placed and will eventually connect with the micro grinders that grind them to a thin powder.
Steam wands shoot steam out from the machine and this froths the milk in the coffee by adding air. It also adds heat to the milk. However, the temperature of the milk should never exceed 70 degrees Centigrade or the milk will start to change.
This is a drawer that sits under the grinder to catch the waste from the coffee beans being ground.
Popular Commercial Coffee Machine Retailers
Wega USA are sellers of espresso machines which are designed and made in Italy. Their Gemini bean to cup coffee machine has two coffee hoppers on the top of the machine which grind and dispense fresh coffee into the machine. It can produce espresso, double espresso, cappuccino and latte drinks at the touch of a button. It has two steam wands and also provides decaf and flavored options. It costs just over $6,000.
Jura offer the Impressa range which consists of stylish and compact coffee machines. The Jura Impressa X9 can dispense up to twenty different drinks. It is great for self-service areas, has two coffee hoppers and grinders and costs around $7,000. However, the cleaning cycle takes almost an hour, so you have to take care that this is not going to interrupt your business.
Unic have been manufacturing espresso equipment for almost one hundred years and have a wide range of commercial coffee machines to suit varying business sizes. They can cost anywhere between one thousand and $5,000, depending on the machine.
De-Longhi have a wide range of smaller coffee machines which are more suited to small offices. They cost around $1,700.
How Much Does A Commercial Coffee Machine Cost?
Commercial coffee machines range from the simple to the scientific. They can grind, brew, steam and even add syrups for flavor.
The cost of these machines range from around $1,000 for a basic commercial machine to to over $40,000 for the top models on the market.
There are many different options available, so it's best to compare several different models and manufacturers before making a purchase.
The price will depend almost entirely on the tasks the machine is expected to complete, and the number of cups of coffee it can produce in an hour or day. A machine with lots of advanced features that's capable of producing enough coffee to keep even the busiest of coffee shops running will cost more than a machine with fewer features and a slower output.
Commercial coffee machines can also be leased which often includes maintenance, servicing and the option to upgrade during the lease or own at the end of the agreement.
Costs to lease depend on the type of machine and range from around $12 per week to over $100 per week.
Questions to Ask Before You Buy
- What happens if the machine breaks down?
- Are there out of hours service and repairs available?
- What are the costs for service and repairs?
- What is included in the service?
- What is the returns or exchange policy if you are not happy with the machine?
- If you have to run any cleaning programs on the machine, how long will they take?
- How much will it cost to change the name of a drink on the screen, if needed?
- Can you change the strength or the temperature of the coffee?
Knowing the answers prior to purchase should help ensure the buying and subsequent running of your commercial coffee maker goes without a hitch!