Factors to Consider When Selecting a Commercial Coffee Machine
The first thing to consider when choosing a commercial coffee machine for your office, car dealership, restaurant or café is who will be operating your machine.
Restaurants and cafés will generally want to serve the best quality coffee available and will invest time in training their team to prepare the perfect cup, so may opt for a traditional coffee machine.
If however your commercial coffee machine will be used on a self-service basis, such as in an office or canteen, then you will need a machine that is extremely easy to use, such as a bean to cup or instant coffee machine.
The next factor you’ll want to consider is the volume of coffee your commercial coffee machine will be required to brew per day. An easy way of working this out is to look at the number of users the machine will be catering for. In the case of a workplace, this will be the number of employees. On average we drink about 2 cups of coffee per day in the UK, so if you have 50 team members you would need a coffee machine capable of brewing 100 cups per day.
For those requiring a self-service option, there is a huge range of both bean to cup and instant coffee machines that can prepare anything between 20 and 250 cups per day.
In very high volume catering environments, such as conference venues or breakfast buffets, a filter coffee machine may be more appropriate, brewing and storing large volumes of black coffee that the user can then personalise to their taste with milk and sugar. Some filter coffee machines even feature a hot water boiler, so tea can be prepared alongside the filter coffee.
If you’re looking for simple black coffee then a filter coffee machine will be just the ticket. If however, you’re looking to offer a more diverse range of drinks, then you’ll want to consider a traditional espresso machine, bean to cup machine or instant coffee machine.
There are literally no limits with a traditional espresso machine as the espresso dispensed can be used to create any speciality coffee, with whatever milk you prefer (cows milk, oat milk, soy milk etc.) and then personalised further with whipped cream, syrups and more.
For those without a professional barista on hand, a bean to cup machine offers similar quality speciality drinks, though the level of control is more limited. Most machines offer between 6 and 15 different types of speciality coffee, including americano, latte and cappuccino. Models such as the Schaerer Soul Bean to Cup Machine, however, offer much higher levels of personalisation, which you can design and store on the coffeeMYstation smartphone app.
The quality of a cup of coffee is dependent on several different factors, most importantly:
Freshness of the coffee beans
Once roasted, beans start to go stale due to exposure to oxygen. Therefore, if you’re using a bean to cup machine or grinding your own beans, it’s important not to overfill your bean hopper as the beans will deteriorate over time.
Freshness of the grind
As already mentioned, once beans are ground they start to release the aromas that create a great-tasting cup of coffee. Therefore, a bean to cup machine, filter coffee or traditional espresso machine will produce a better cup of coffee.
Pressure in the coffee machine
Bean to cup and traditional espresso machines use pressure to force hot water through the coffee grounds, which creates a better final cup. A filter coffee machine relies on gravity, so the brew takes longer and the taste deteriorates.
Many bean to cup machines feature a built-in water filter that extracts any minerals or impurities from the water. It is important to replace this filter and to descale the machine regularly to maintain water quality.
Which coffee machine produces the best tasting coffee?
The best cup of coffee will always come from a traditional espresso machine, prepared by a fully trained barista. However, a top of the range bean to cup coffee machine will produce a speciality coffee that’s not that different to one produced by a barista. Instant coffee machines produce the poorest quality cup, but they do offer other benefits in terms of being low cost, quick and convenient.
All commercial coffee machines will require a certain element of cleaning and maintenance to keep them in tip-top condition, though this does vary depending on the make and model of the machine.
In addition to maintaining basic hygiene standards like you would any other kitchen appliance, it is of vital importance that you descale your machine, especially if you’re in a hard water area.
Most bean to cup and instant coffee machines include self-cleaning and descaling programmes whereby you add a tablet or solution to the machine, push a button and it carries out the process itself. Filter coffee machines and traditional coffee machines require more manual cleaning and maintenance.