TOP 5: How to choose the right commercial coffee machine


The UK’s coffee consumption has sky-rocketed in the last decade. 95 million cups a day[1] are consumed nationwide and that number keeps growing. All of which means that in hospitality, coffee has become a serious business. And choosing the right commercial coffee machine has become a surprisingly important decision.

Why does your choice of coffee machine matter?

It’s not just logistics – will it fit? – that matter when selecting a coffee machine for your business. The equipment you use will affect the ambience of your establishment, the flavour and quality of your beverages, the control you have over production, and the speed and quality of service, as well as the time required to maintain it.  So, how do you find ‘the one’?

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5 things to think about before investing in a new commercial coffee machine

  1. The demands of your business.

The number of covers you serve and the type of service they expect should be your most important consideration. If you’re working at volume, speed is of the essence. If you’re offering a more artisan service, you need control vs. capacity.

2. The type of coffee you want to serve.

There are four main options:

  •         Semi-automatic pressure-pumped traditional filter machines allow the user to control most aspects of the process, from grind to tamping. Associated with superior flavour, for a craft deli, this is the way to go.
  •         If you’re looking for consistency and speed, the fully automated bean-to-cup machines still produce quality but offer no flexibility.
  •         For the undecided, a fantastic middle ground would be a hybrid unit, like the WMF espresso. This machine automates the entire coffee making process, but also allows complete control, should there be a call for it.
  •         Offering variety and ease, pod machines are also growing in popularity, but they’re expensive to run, impossible to tailor and have very poor green credentials. 

3. Budget

Although a machine that creates destination-coffee can be a great investment for a business, a lower budget can still deliver high quality. Stretching yourself financially is never a good idea, so look for the compromise.

4. Your service space.

Pod machines can be tiny – they can even be self-serve in a separate location. Bean-to-cup coffee machines are typically smaller and quicker than filter models. Traditional filter coffee machines require space, but really look the part. Your decision is between functional space and theatre.

5. Brand service.

Will your team need training to use and maintain the machine? And if so, will the manufacturer provide it? How much do consumables cost? How easy is it to get replacement parts – and do the spares cost as much as the machines? Is there a service contract available? Boring but essential information to ascertain.

There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all coffee machine. Your best option might not work for your competitor. The key is to find out what your business needs – then find the coffee machine that will deliver it.

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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