Coffee is quickly becoming Britain’s number one choice of brew – isn’t it time you got in on the action? Whether you’re looking to keep your office happy or you need a fleet of new machines for your cafe, you can trust our massive selection backed by thousands of independent reviews to make the right choice.
If you’d like to talk through which coffee machine is right for you, give us a call on 0800 955 2129.
Essentially, all coffee machines work in the same way, regardless of the type of brand. Water and coffee are put into the machine. The water is boiled and then filtered through the coffee grinds, picking up coffee oil along the way, leading to the tasty, black frothy liquid in a cup that’s going to wake you up in the morning and give you that extra boost during the day.
However, there are many variables to consider throughout the coffee-making process. The water temperature, the steam quality, the fineness of the ground coffee, and how tightly the coffee is packed are just a few factors to consider for a barista making coffee, no matter what device is being used.
Thankfully for non-professionals, there are now a myriad of commercial coffee machines that take care of all this for you so that you don’t have to worry about them. You just need to make sure that the machine has enough coffee beans and hot water and you’re good to go.
Commercial coffee machines are often used by cafés, restaurants, and hotels that hire skilled baristas, but if you’re hiring for a business that doesn’t have barista-trained staff, or you want a coffee machine to use in the office, an automatic coffee machine is your best choice. A bean-to-cup coffee machine takes care of all the steps along the way.
Types of Coffee Machines:
If you’re considering investing in a coffee machine for your business, it’s essential to know what your choices are. There are four basic types of coffee machines used by the commercial market.
Manual Coffee Machines
These machines are best left to the skilled baristas. They are seldom used these days, and when they are, it’s by somebody who knows what they are doing with coffee. Manual machines take some real knowledge and skill to use since the barista needs to use a lever to ensure that the correct pressure is maintained, ensure that the correct amount of coffee is used for the drink being made, and to ensure that the water is at the correct temperature. If you try to use one of these without the right training, your coffee is likely going to taste disgusting. However, if you want a far superior coffee compared to anything else, it’s worth learning.
Semi-Automatic Coffee Machines
These are often used in high-end restaurants, cafés, and hotels because they speed up the process thanks to automatically controlled pressure. However, the water flow and other operations, such as the weighing and packing of coffee, are still controlled by the barista. They require skill and training to be used properly and like manual coffee machines, provide coffee worth savouring when used right.
Automatic Coffee Machines
Automatic machines are the most commonly used for commercial purposes.
They operate in a similar way to semi-automatic coffee machines, however, there’s the addition of buttons that control the water flow. The barista will still need to make sure that the coffee is correctly ground and packed before making the cup, but most other factors are taken care of by the machine.
They still require some barista training to use correctly, but leave the barista with one less thing to worry about, which makes them an ideal choice for busy cafés, restaurants, and bars, since baristas are able to better focus on the flow of customers.
Super-Automatic or Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines
These are the next generation of coffee machines and they do pretty much everything except for washing the cups afterward.
Bean-to-cup machines can be operated by literally anybody and do everything automatically with the use of buttons. They are the ideal choice for an establishment with no trained baristas, or for use in the office if you want to have barista-standard coffee without all the messing around.
Bean to Cup Commercial Coffee Machines
Most bean-to-cup coffee machines take care of the entire coffee-making process, from grinding the beans to texturing and frothing milk, behind their plastic, metal and chrome exterior.
All you need to do is push a button and out comes a cappuccino, latte, or whatever kind of coffee you like.
And, today’s bean-to-cup machines are far superior to what they were in the past; as demand has risen for them, some of the better brands and models are producing higher-quality coffee than ever before. If you like Starbucks, you should know that their baristas use bean-to-cup coffee machines – and you can even get the same coffee beans that they use to make in the office without having to take that trip out in the morning once you arrive at work.
Bean-to-cup machines these days are particularly good at texturing milk, so they are an especially good choice for companies that sell a lot of milky drinks like cappuccinos, flat whites, and lattes. All of them are easily able to texture any kind of milk from skimmed milk to almond or soya milk; but bear in mind that in general, full-fat milk is the best kind to texture, and that’s using any kind of machine. But if you’re vegan, avoid dairy, or prefer drinking your coffee with lower-fat milk, bean-to-cup coffee machines are your best bet.
Barista Coffee Machines
If you are operating a business that hires baristas, you might want to skip the bean-to-cup machine and go for something that takes a little more skill to use; after all, you don’t want to put their training to waste by giving them buttons to press on a machine that does it all for them.
The same goes for if you’re running a high-end food establishment and want to make sure that the coffee you’re providing to your patrons is only the best.
The types of coffee machines that you’ll choose will depend on the skill of your baristas – or the type of money you’re willing to pay a barista to operate them. Generally speaking, you’re going to pay higher wages for somebody who’s highly skilled in using a completely manual coffee machine as these people tend to be coffee connoisseurs and can be fairly hard to come by.
A semi-automatic or automatic machine is your best choice if you’re looking for an espresso machine to be used by a barista. They require some skill to use and provide great coffee, but won’t slow the service down in your establishment since baristas can focus on getting great coffee out quickly rather than messing around with water pressure or flow.
Coffee Machines for Businesses and Offices with 50+ People
If you want to provide coffee to a business or office with a lot of people, then you’re going to need to choose one that’s up to the amount of work it’s going to be put through every day. Large, bean-to-cup coffee machines are going to be your best option here – unless your staff also happen to be barista-trained.
A bean-to-cup machine can handle pretty much every type of coffee that anybody would want to drink; not to mention the different types of milk that they can easily texture. When you’re catering to a large number of people, keeping everyone happy is paramount, and these machines are the best for that.
Coffee Machines for Smaller Offices and Professionals
If you’re looking to buy a coffee machine for a smaller office, you have several options available. Again, bean-to-cup espresso machines tend to be the best option, since they require no training, are easy to use without getting accidentally broken, and are easy to fix on your own if anything goes wrong. Plus, you don’t have to waste any time teaching your staff how to use the machine; they’re fairly self-explanatory.
On the other hand, if you’re a bunch of coffee buffs, you might want to invest in an automatic coffee machine for the office. This will require some time to train staff on how to use it correctly, but if you invest in a really good one, you’ll probably get a higher quality of the drink.
Coffee Machines for Restaurants, Pubs, and Cafés
For restaurants, cafés, bars, and hotels, the type of coffee machine that you invest in will depend on the staff that you can afford to hire to operate it. Smaller restaurants might find that a semi-automatic machine is the best option as they can afford to spend time training staff on how to use it, and prefer to provide a slower yet more personal and higher-quality experience to their patrons.
On the other hand, if you run a small yet very busy establishment, you won’t want to waste time making sure that the water pressure is bang on; you want to get drinks out to customers with no time wasted. If this is the case, go with the trusty bean-to-cup model.
Similarly, if you run a pub or bar where your employees are trained for making alcoholic beverages and you don’t tend to sell coffee a whole lot, investing in a high-end manual coffee machine probably isn’t the best idea. A bean-to-cup device should be more than suitable for your needs. And the good news is that these days, bean-to-cup coffee machines are providing better quality coffee than ever before.
Should You Buy, Rent or Lease Your Commercial Coffee Machine?
Once you have chosen the best type of coffee machine to suit your business and checked out the different suppliers, the last question to answer is how you’re going to finance it. You have three options: Buy, rent, or lease.
What’s the Difference Between Renting and Leasing?
When you lease a coffee machine, you do so for a finite period of time. With this agreement, you’re able to use the device as if you owned it, but it still belongs to the leasing company. You will pay in monthly instalments and at the end of the lease, there’s the option to purchase the machine outright for a small fee or upgrade it. It’s an ideal option for businesses who want to invest in a good machine but are on the fence about buying it outright or don’t have the funds to purchase it in one go.
On the other hand, renting a coffee machine differs slightly. You contract directly with the supplier, renting the machine for a fixed term that can often be renewed. But unlike leasing, there is no option to purchase your coffee machine at the end of the term. Renting a coffee machine tends to be more flexible – as you can decide at the end of the term whether the particular machine you’ve chosen is the best option for you, or rent for a short term to determine whether it’s the right move for your business. However, it’s more expensive in the long-term, so probably not the best option for businesses who are certain that a commercial coffee machine is the right option for them.
Advantages of Hiring or Leasing Your Coffee Machine:
Any good coffee machine supplier will offer a flexible range of renting or leasing contracts. These range from hire-only, to fully-managed services including repairs, which can often work out to be the best effective option.
Renting or leasing coffee machines offers several advantages, including:
- You can choose the level of service that you need.
- Your coffee machine will be professionally installed and all maintenance, service, and breakdowns will be covered.
- Some suppliers even offer barista training for staff, to ensure that the machine is being used correctly.
- Account management can be streamlined with predictable monthly payments.
- Parts and labour warranty will usually be included as standard.
- You can have the freedom to upgrade your machine as part of a leasing or rental deal.
- Short-term agreements are ideal for one-off events where purchasing equipment would be too expensive.
- Renting or leasing will free up cash flow for other investments.
Advantages of Buying a Commercial Coffee Machine
One the other hand, it might make sense to purchase your new coffee machine outright. This is especially true if you only need a small, inexpensive machine and don’t want to be tied into a contract. A benefit of purchasing outright is that your coffee machine becomes an asset. However, you’ll need to cover all the maintenance, servicing and stocking costs.