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You've decided to offer your staff coffee? You are a beautiful person! It can be a bit of a minefield sorting out which type of commercial coffee machine to get (and, therefore, what sort of coffee), so we've created a handy guide for you. The device you use to make your cuppa will directly affect the coffee's taste, so it’s important to go through some checkpoints prior to purchasing.

Choose Your Style

The most common commercial coffee machines found in offices are:

  • Bean to Cup
  • Barista
  • Filter
  • Pod

Click here to browse our most popular office machines.

Pros & Cons

Bean to Cup Filter Barista Pod
✓ Wider selection of beverages ✓ Quick to make drinks, ideal for larger meetings or events ✓ Very good drink quality ✓ Low maintenance and easy to use
x Tend to be slower than other types x Can only make americanos x Training is required to use them x Have a higher cost per drink
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Read on to see what the most important aspects of choosing the right coffee machine are. We've looked at short and long-term costs, what the benefits of each type of machine are and the importance of planning ahead before buying a coffee machine.

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Asking the Real Questions

1. How Many People in Your Office Drink Coffee?

You’ll need to make sure the commercial coffee machine you pick can meet your office’s needs, volume-wise. Failure to properly do so can cause issues, such as voiding the machine’s warranty. The most simple way to do this is a staff count. Consider how many people will use the office coffee machine every day and how many cups the average employee drinks. Many office workers drink two to three cups a day, but you have to account for those that drink more or none at all. We’ve found it is a fair bet to assume around one mug per day per employee. Add a bit if you have frequent client meetings.

2. What is Your Coffee Machine’s Impact on the Environment?

If your business is aiming to go green, you may want to consider the environmental impacts of different commercial coffee machines. In addition to the power requirements for the machine itself, coffee pods are non-recyclable and non-biodegradable, which means they might not be the best option. Bean to cup coffee machines will use the same amount of electricity and water, but many include energy efficiency functions to turn off when not in use. Cafetieres just need a kettle full of boiling water, while filter coffee machines are typically only turned on when brewing up a pot. You will need to dispose of filter papers when you’re through, though. Think about how important is it to your business and your employees.

3. How Durable is Your Coffee Machine?

Quality commercial coffee machines are investments that are usually leased over a few years to help defray costs. Therefore, you don’t want a cheap machine you’ll need to replace after a year or two. Make sure your office coffee machine is made by a trusted brand, and the model is well-built. And check the warranty, both parts and labour. Many commercial coffee machines only come with one year as standard, and you’ll need to pay for subsequent cover.

4. How Convenient is it to Make Drinks and Clean?

There are two sides to the convenience coin:

How easy is it to make a cup of coffee?

  • Bean to Cup coffee machines and Coffee Pod machines are one-touch machines. Press a button, and you’ve got coffee 20 – 30 seconds later
  • Filter coffee machines need the, well, filter filled with coffee before brewing
  • Cafetieres need you to add water and wait a few minutes, and
  • Barista coffee machines, while quick, can be fiddly

How much of a pain is it to clean the office coffee machine?

Cleaning commercial coffee machines can vary quite a lot within each category, and it’s something you want to ask the vendor about before buying your office coffee machine.

Consider how many people will use the office coffee machine every day and how many cups the average employee drinks.

Costs & Benefits

How Much Does the Coffee Machine Cost?

Front and centre for many decision-makers: cost. Cost is a key factor when you're buying an office coffee machine for your office, however not all costs are immediately apparent. For instance, some commercial coffee machines come with an eco-power saver mode, meaning they will help to save you money over time, while others use milk powder that has a long shelf-life and can be affordably bought in bulk. Keeping an eye out for these kinds of special features will help you make the most cost-effective long-term decision.

Is Your Company Going to Grow Out of its Office Coffee Machine?

Most commercial coffee machine leases run across a 3 - 5 year period. Make sure you think about how much your business might grow over that timeframe when you do your sums to make sure you don't outgrow the machine. If you expanded quickly, could the office coffee machine cope with the increased capacity? Would you be happy to buy or lease another commercial coffee machine if you have to? There's a relatively linear relationship between machine cost and volume capacity, which means you want to max out the machine if possible. That is, if you need 100 mugs a day, you'll want 1 x 100 mug machine rather than 2 x 75 mug machines.

Do You Care About Coffee Quality?

One of the advantages of offering good coffee in the workplace is the amount of time it saves an employee leaving the office to grab a drink. The taste will vary dramatically depending on the coffee used and the machine you use to make it. The big difference here is between pods and coffee beans / filter coffee. Whereas the coffee you'll use for a bean to cup coffee machine, cafetiere or filter coffee machine will / can be freshly roasted and ground, the coffee in pods could be up to a year old. It's also far easier to discover the coffee's provenance and sourcing methods (Fairtrade, etc.) if you buy it directly rather than using a pod.

What's the Point?

Lastly, think about what you want to achieve by offering employees coffee. Do you want to improve productivity? Do you want to reward staff? Do you want to improve morale? Once you know what you are aiming to achieve, it’s a lot easier to get started.

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