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If you’re trying to select a commercial coffee machine for your office, the choice is something you’re definitely not short of. There are several types of machines, and each lends itself well to different situations. Each can deliver the quality of coffee you’re looking for with the convenience and ease of use you need.
So how do you choose?
That’s where we come in. We compare the four main types of the commercial coffee machine and their pros and cons. Hopefully, by the end, you’ll have a clearer idea of the best type of coffee machine for your situation.
Commercial coffee machines
Commercial coffee machines are ideal for almost any kind of workplace. They are built to last and are designed for constant use in order to deliver delicious coffee over the long term.
As well as the robust machine itself, a commercial coffee machine will often come with a maintenance contract, perhaps regular servicing and cleaning and regular deliveries of fresh coffee beans.
Many machines will be able to deliver a range of coffee types as well as other drinks such as tea, hot chocolate, decaffeinated drinks, cold drinks, milk and other refreshments.
Types of Commercial Coffee Machines
Bean to cup coffee machine
The bean to cup coffee machine is the ultimate for any workplace. It takes fresh roasted coffee beans and turns them into delicious fresh coffee at the touch of a button.
They can be contactless too!
Bean to cup machines usually require a little more upfront investment, but deliver efficiencies and savings over the longer term. They come in all shapes and sizes and can serve anywhere between 50 and 550 fresh cups of coffee per day.
The main advantage of a bean to cup coffee machine is efficiency. There’s no waste, coffee is quickly prepared and delivered, and there’s nothing for staff to do except choose their drink, wait and take their coffee.
Certain bean to cup coffee machines can provide a number of bean options and up to three different types of milk to cater to everyone’s requirements in your office.
It’s about as simple as coffee gets, yet delivers a superior coffee experience.
Pros of bean to cup coffee machines
- The closest you can get to the coffee shop experience where you have a skilled Barista using a traditional machine
- Very easy to use
- Robust and reliable
- Able to satisfy the needs of most workplaces like office or home office and people
Cons of bean to cup coffee machines
- Requires upfront investment (if buying, but you can also lease or alternatively rent a refurbished machine)
- Daily maintenance requirement for optimum performance (but there again every coffee machine needs a bit of tlc on a daily basis)
Filter coffee machine (Drip machine)
In the commercial marketplace, filter coffee machines usually fulfil one of two roles.
They can come as smallish machines with a glass jug where coffee drips and is kept warm on a hot plate.
Fill the tank with water, fill the filter with coffee and let the machine do its work. Filter coffee machines are simple, low maintenance and can deliver a credible coffee experience. They are a relatively cheap way to provide a small team with a step up from instant coffee.
There are also very large versions of the filter coffee maker, usually called a bulk brewer. They are perfect for when you need significant volumes of filter coffee quickly. You generally find them in kitchens where the coffee is prepared for large meetings, conferences and the likes.
Overall the quality of the coffee isn’t usually up to bean to cup standards, but as long as you buy quality filter coffee, and use the coffee soon after preparing, staff should still be reasonably happy.
The downside is that you can’t have all the speciality coffees we have all come to know and love. Just filter coffee, with or without milk.
If some staff don’t drink coffee at all, you’ll need to provide a hot water solution for hot drinks and the option to provide cold drinks too.
Pros of filter coffee machines
- Simple to set up and use
- Cheap to buy
- The quality of filter coffee can be very good
- In its bulk brewer form for when you need 100s of coffees in one go, this is the only solution
Cons of filter coffee machines
- Can only serve one type of coffee at once
- Black or white coffee only
- Warm, not hot coffee
- More fiddly than bean to cup machines
Traditional coffee machine (Espresso machine)
A ‘traditional’ coffee machine is the manual version of a bean to cup machine in that you need a trained Barista to operate it.
A traditional espresso machine works differently than a bean to cup machine and more closely resembles the coffee shop experience. You’ll typically find traditional espresso machines in coffee shops, bars and restaurants.
The Barista will use the machine by grinding the beans separately and then compressing the ground beans into a handle, this is then placed in to the machine and hot water is passed through it at a high pressure to create the espresso.
As the machine is manual, you will also need to prepare the milk separately, unlike the bean to cup machine which carries out this process for you. This is done by using the frothing wand on the side of the espresso machine that passes hot steam through the milk to create the desired consistency.
Using a traditional espresso machine is truly a labour of love and produces some high quality drinks if used correctly. This is unlikely to be ideal for an office working environment, where you would most likely need to hire a trained barista to operate the machine for your employees.
Pros of traditional coffee machines
- Authentic barista experience
- Can deliver high quality delicious fresh coffee on demand
- Very little waste
Cons of traditional coffee machines
- Can be large and require lots of space
- Regular cleaning required
- Requires a barista to operate it correctly
- Takes longer to deliver coffee
Capsule coffee machine
A capsule coffee machine uses coffee pods or capsules to deliver single servings of coffee. They are very popular in homes, but you can use them in the workplace too.
Commercial capsule coffee machines are very similar to those you see for homes, just on a larger scale. They are made of more robust materials and are capable of constant use throughout the day. Some also come with a milk frother so you can froth the milk for a particular coffee.
The machine can use a wide range of drink types depending on the manufacturer. As each brand uses different shaped pods, you’ll need to identify what drinks are available for what brand before making a purchase decision.
Otherwise, using a capsule coffee machine is a very simple way to provide coffee in your workplace. Expensive, but simple… but not necessarily the best thing for the environment.
Pros of capsule coffee machines
- Very easy to use
- Takes up modest space
- Very low maintenance requirements
- Wide range of drink types available as pods
- Machines are relatively inexpensive
Cons of capsule coffee machines
- Lots of single use plastics and waste
- Capsules are not very cost-efficient
- Capsules are unique to their brand and won’t fit competing machines
- Drinks quality isn’t up to the same standards as bean to cup or traditional machines
What commercial coffee machine should you choose?
As you can see, each type of commercial coffee machine has its pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses.
If we were to fit out our own office with a new coffee machine, we would invest in a bean to cup machine.
It does cost more up front if you buy it, but you can lease, or alternatively you can rent a refurbished machine. It will provide a great coffee experience, you’ll have lots of drink options and a quality machine will last many years.
The traditional coffee machine comes a close second as it has similar capabilities as the bean to cup machine, but these machines aren’t really an option for an office setting as you need a trained barista to operate them.
Filter coffee is a cheaper option, but falls short on being able to deliver the diversity of drinks to cater for all employees needs. Neither are filter coffee machines easy for individuals to use.
Coffee pod machines can work out to be very expensive and are far from environmentally friendly!
Hopefully now, you’ll have a much clearer idea of the different types of commercial coffee machines available.
Visit the experts at Roast & Ground to see our extensive range of commercial coffee machines, and choose your perfect machine today!