Coffee machines for the office and workplace – how to choose your perfect coffee pot

Hasn’t it been a challenging couple of years? With the global pandemic sweeping the earth, everything we once knew about our day to day lives was changed in that instant the politicians told us to stay home.

Thankfully across the world things are slowly beginning to get back to normal and in most places we’re now being encouraged to return to the office, factories and shops and try to return to a sense of normality.

While it might take a while for things to start to feel completely normal, there’s one thing that we can all agree on; pandemic or any other world crisis we need that mid-morning cup of coffee when we return to work.

But it is likely that the office coffee machine has been out of action for some time, not to mention, it could be out of date. Or maybe you’ve never had one in the workplace to begin with but now bosses are beginning to appreciate their staff a little more. It’s time you got one.

So, what to do? Buying a new coffee machine for the office and workplace is a great way to welcome back employees and give them a way of enjoying the essential caffeine boost throughout the day. But since there are so many different types out there, you might be left wondering how on earth you’re going to choose.

Not to worry. Whether you work in an office, a workshop or a retail space and whether there are 3 colleagues or 20 cubicle dwellers gasping for a cuppa we’ve got you covered. We’ll look at all the options and even give you some recommendations. Let’s crack on.

Which is the best type of coffee machine for the office?

If you’ve ever investigated buying a coffee machine before now, you will have noticed the huge number of machines out there. You can purchase something as simple as a drip machine, or filter coffee machine right through to a fully-fledged commercial coffee machine. Although, this is probably a little too much for the workplace unless your workplace is Starbucks or your boss is happy for you to spend most of your time making coffee for the rest of the office.

So, one of the most important things to think about is the type of machine you will use. During the working day, the last thing that people want is a machine that is overly complex or that takes too long to brew the perfect cup (which is why you shouldn’t be thinking about a barista machine).

So, let’s look at some of the most common types of coffee machines for the office or any other workplace for that matter. Whether that’s a staff room at the back of a store or a workshop or garage.

Pod machine

For me, if you’re buying coffee machines for the office you don’t want to be looking beyond a pod machine. They are super easy to use, make great cups of coffee, are simple to clean and, importantly for the workplace, they are very fast at dispensing coffee.

Great coffee equals happy staff. Fast great coffee equals a happy boss. A Pod coffee machine equals a happy staff and a happy boss. Everyone’s a winner.

Best pod coffee machines for the office

When it comes to pod machines there are plenty to choose from but for me two brands really stand out. And yes I know there are some outstanding machines out there but for me Lavazza and Nespresso are the best of the best. The crème de la crème as it were.

For a small office or a group of colleagues who have banded together the pod machines we’ve highlighted below who will make coffee breaks something to really look forward to and enjoy. A brief overview of each machine follows but for larger offices a more robust machine will be required (more on that shortly).

Nespresso Professional Zenius Coffee Machine

  • 2 litre capacity.
  • Heats up in 25 seconds.
  • Three coffee sizes; ristretto, espresso or lungo.
  • Ideal for the office, meeting rooms and reception areas.
  • Delivers perfect coffee every time.
  • Includes starter pack of 50 coffee capsules.

Two things about this coffee machine immediately stand out. One it’s by Nespresso and two it’s a professional grade pod machine. As such it’s perfect for the office and it’s designed for workplaces with ten or more staff.

If you’re looking for a coffee machine that can be used in the office, by guests, or at meetings being held anywhere from reception areas to training rooms, then this is the machine for your business.

This innovative model by Zenius has a large two litre capacity and can make three different sizes of coffee – ristretto (small), espresso (regular), or lungo (large).

It features a 25-second heating time meaning it takes only a matter of minutes before your freshly brewed drink will be ready to go down. This means faster, perkier productivity hours which is what every employer wants to know.

It delivers perfect coffee every time. The Nespresso Professional Coffee Machine is for anyone who adores great coffee, even when you’re busy at work. And who doesn’t?

It’s even delivered with a starter pack of 50 capsules so you can enjoy a Nespresso quality experience straight out of the box!

Check its latest price on Amazon.

Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie & Milk Coffee Machine

  • Choose from classic espresso or lungo.
  • Authentic Italian coffee at the touch of a button.
  • Slow extraction to maximise flavour.
  • Integrated milk frother.
  • Elegant and quiet.
  • Used capsules drawer alert.

This is a professional-grade machine that brews authentic Italian coffee. Which is what you would expect as it’s made by Lavazza.

Choose from classic espresso or lungo for a perfect cup of anything, anytime. And all at the touch of a button. This fantastic machine will make your favorites without the wait.

The slow extraction (don’t worry it’s not so slow the boss will start to fidget) means maximum flavour is intensified for exceptional taste. And it’s all done for you so you don’t even have to worry about any hands-on work. Except for popping your chosen pod into the holder.

This sleek and elegant machine has an integrated milk frother too – perfect for creamy hot drinks in winter that will help keep you warm on cold mornings or for that added touch of luxury on a busy day. The frother itself has three settings; hot foam, cold foam or heat milk.

You don’t have to use the frother of course as you can simply use the capsules. But frothing your own milk will add an extra dimension to any coffee break.

If you’re interested in this machine we’ve written a full review elsewhere on the site. You can see it here: Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie & Milk Coffee Machine review.

Or Check its latest price on Amazon.

Dualit Cafe Plus Coffee Capsule Machine

  • Espresso or lungo functions.
  • Nespresso compatible.
  • Ready to use in 40 seconds.
  • Simple push button operation.
  • Ultra-fast heating system.
  • Tea function.
  • Very compact.

Making a perfect cup of coffee, never used to be this easy. The Dualit Cafe Plus Coffee Capsule Machine is about as compact as it gets without sacrificing the quality of your coffee experience.

Simply push a button on the front (once for espresso or twice for lungo) and let this sleek machine do all your work for you with its ultra-fast heating system and simple push button operation.

This is a very compact machine (it’s perfect for reception) but its size doesn’t compromise performance. The product also doubles up as a tea maker for when you want to change it up a little.

One of the appealing things about the Dualit Cafe Plus is that you can use a whole variety of pods with it including Nespresso, Starbucks, Dualit’s own and a wide variety of other capsules you’ll find in your local market.

Check its latest price on Amazon.

Why you need a pod coffee machine for your office

The pod machine first became popular in the late 80s and early 90s. Since then, it has become one of the most convenient and affordable ways to make a decent drink. Capsules are inserted into the machine and high-pressure hot water blasts through to make a variety of different drinks.

This is one of the main advantages of the pod machine, the sheer amount of choice you have when it comes to the different capsules and drinks. If you are in an office full of people, some of whom love a classic espresso while others love to indulge in a creamy cappuccino then the variety of coffee pods is enough to sate every taste.

What’s more, these machines are extremely quick, so you won’t have a large queue for coffee at break time. Not to mention that they are very affordable and there is an option to subscribe to a monthly coffee pod delivery. Which reduces the cost of your daily cuppa when you split the cost of this with your co-workers.

Drip machine

The drip machine, which is sometimes referred to as a filter coffee machine, uses a filter into which you place ground coffee. Water then drips through this slowly before falling into a pot below. This type of machine typically takes longer than a pod machine and will also only make so many cups of coffee per pot. While this might be suitable for a smaller office of up to four or five people, larger workplaces may find that this doesn’t produce coffee quickly enough.

One of the great advantages of the drip machine is the taste and quality of the drink. You can use either pre-ground coffee or grind your own beans giving you a wonderful flavour. However, there isn’t the versatility of the pod machine unless you want to take in a milk frother and other equipment, which can be a little too much in the workplace.

Of course the big advantage of drip coffee machines is that they are so cheap. They can be picked up at your local supermarket for less than £20 ($26) although the larger capacity machines will cost more.

Personally, the biggest drawback is that filter coffee can often turn to ‘bitter sludge’ if left too long, and it is so much more messing around when compared to the clean simplicity of a pod machine.

Ok, while all that is fine for small offices with few staff what about larger offices and workplaces? A pod machine like those I’ve already talked about just won’t cut it. So what are the options?

Espresso or bean to cup machine

When there are more than just a few staff a robust espresso machine will be just the ticket. Able to cope with heavy use, these will keep turning out excellent cups of coffee.

The trade off here of course is cost. Yes, they are more expensive than the pod machines we’ve already discussed but they are far more robust. For the employer who wants to look after their staff and offer more than a kettle and a jar of instant coffee powder, an espresso machine is a great option. Even if it does mean dipping into the bank account.

These machines could do service in a small cafe so they should be more than robust enough for an office environment. Our recommended coffee maker is the Sage Espresso Touch but others include:

Melitta F85/0-102 Barista TS Smart Coffee Machine

  • Makes 21 different coffees.
  • TFT colour display.
  • Super-quiet grinder.
  • Brews two coffees at once.
  • Touch and slide operation.
  • Control from your phone.
  • Built-in milk frother.

This coffee machine is the last word in technology for brewing and convenience. It grinds beans to perfection, has a touchscreen with 21 options, brews two coffees at once, can be controlled from your phone, and it’s super-quiet operation makes it perfect for the office.

You want that perfect pre-meeting coffee? Just tap away on your phone and the Melitta Barista TS Smart Coffee Machine will do the business for you.

This awesome machine makes 21 different coffees, including espresso, cappuccino and latte macchiato, flat white, americano, and espresso doppio. It also includes a milk frother so you really can make amazing coffee in the office.

For the office or workplace which has more staff this is a great coffee machine. You’ve got loads of flexibility as it can be used as a bean-to-cup or pre-ground coffee machine or as a water heater for tea.

Check its latest price on Amazon.

De’Longhi Eletta, Fully Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

  • Touch button control.
  • Dual cup output.
  • 13 adjustable settings.
  • Choose from espresso, ristretto and long coffee.
  • Memory function which remembers your favourite drinks.
  • Integrated coffee grinder.
  • Built-in milk frother.
  • Two litre capacity.

This is such a great coffee machine for the office. It’s a fully automatic bean to cup machine and is an incredibly powerful, fully automatic bean-to-cup coffee maker. It has all the features you need for the break room, training room or reception.

With touch button control, two cup outputs and 13 adjustable settings you can enjoy espresso, ristretto and long coffees just the way you want them with no hassle. The integrated coffee grinder ensures rich tasting coffee at the touch of a button.

And, once you discover a coffee you love, store it in the machine’s memory and you can enjoy it any time you wish. The built in milk frother adds creamy deliciousness without too much effort.

With a huge two litre capacity and the ability to dispense two cups of coffee at once this machine can comfortably cope with busy break times and an office with over ten team members.

Check its latest price on Amazon.

De’Longhi Magnifica S, Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

  • Simple touch operation.
  • Brew two cups simultaneously.
  • 13 setting integrated grinder.
  • Makes intense, aromatic coffee.
  • Super creamy milk frother included.
  • Automatic cleaning function.

The De’Longhi Magnifica S is the perfect automatic bean to cup coffee machine for the office. It’s simple, easy-to-use touch screen makes it a breeze to brew two cups at once and its adjustable 13 setting integrated grinder will make sure you get an intense, aromatic coffee taste in every cup.

Don’t worry if you’re rushing to that important meeting. You don’t have to use the grinder. Instead you can use pre-ground coffee. But, if you can take a minute to grind the beans it’s well worth it.

There are so many different coffees you can make with this machine and with the built-in milk frother you can brew up a traditional Italian cappuccino in your morning coffee break.

The automatic cleaning function should keep those office arguments about the washing up to a minimum.

Check its latest price on Amazon.

Other choices

The above machines are the three most suitable for the workplace and if we had to choose, we would go for the pod machine over the drip machine unless the number of people in the office demand a more robust espresso machine.

If however there are only one, two or perhaps three people in the office or workplace then you have far more flexibility. You could even use a cafetiere or French press. These are perfect for making a few cups of coffee at a time, they don’t take up any room and are super -easy to use even while you’re sat at your desk

The downside of course is that they are very manual but if the pace is a little slower than a French press may be the ideal solution for you. Apologies if you’ve had to read all the way down this page just to discover this.

Can’t I just buy a kettle and instant coffee?

Well, yes of course. ‘Instant’ is appealing for any employer and many will be of the opinion that the faster an employee can grab a cup of coffee and get back to their desk the better. So, yes a kettle and instant coffee powder is a convenient and easy option for the office from both the employers and employees point of view.

But, and it’s a big but, it’s important to keep staff happy. And lousy coffee isn’t going to cut it. If you’re a boss – keep your team happy with a good cup of coffee. And if you’re a member of staff insist on your basic human rights – a decent cup of coffee and a nice working environment to enjoy it in. Sorry – rant over. Let’s move on.

Why instant coffee in the office is ugh

Apart from that fact that it tastes awful and people working their butts off deserve far better? There are other reasons that we would advise against using a kettle and instant coffee in the workplace. Primarily, you must consider the quality of the drink. Let’s face it, there is no comparison between a cup of instant coffee and the exceptional brew you will get from the high-quality capsules used in our recommended pod machines.

A flavoursome, refreshing and creamy drink isn’t something you can achieve when using instant coffee. While many accept the taste for what it is, the same people would agree that it is far more bitter and not as smooth as good quality roasted coffee. This type of coffee also contains higher amounts of acrylamide which is released during the roasting process and has been linked to certain health problems.

In addition, you should think about the health and safety aspects of using a kettle. There is a far greater risk of scalding or accidents when using a pouring kettle than there would be when using something like a pod machine.

There was a lot of confusion surrounding the law about kettles in the office relating to health and safety, with some office workers being told it was prohibited. However, the government has cleared up this myth. But regardless of this, there is no denying that a pod machine is vastly more safe.

What about a vending machine?

Some employers might believe that installing a coffee vending machine in the office is a good idea. And on some levels it is.

If you have a large staff then yes a vending machine makes perfect sense. These machines will dispense drinks on an industrial scale and they do it very quickly. Most coffee vending machines will also offer a good variety of drinks ranging from regular coffee to cappuccino to hot chocolate.

Another benefit is that the vending machines are safe for employees to use.There is virtually no way accidents can happen except from braindead misuse of the machine. And of course there is another big plus from the point of the employer.

A vending machine will not only reduce costs of supplies but it will also raise revenue. Either from selling the licence to operate the machine to a supplier or from the direct cash deposited into the machine by thirsty employees.

So, yes from an employer’s point of view the best coffee machines for the office and workplace are coin-operated vending machines.

But hang on. From a staff member’s point of view and from my personal viewpoint there are two very good reasons why this isn’t the case.

The first is the quality and taste of the coffee. Without putting too fine a point on it – it’s rank. And if you’ve read anything on this website you know that we’re all about good quality coffee.

But vending machine coffee is widely renowned as one of the worst types of coffee in the world. OK, it might suffice when you’re desperate for a cup as you stop at a roadside cafe or service station after a long drive but having to drink it every day at work is a different story.

The coffee inside the machine is far more exposed meaning that it loses much of its flavour right from the off. Moreover, these vending machines find it difficult to reach the correct temperature (195ºf to 205ºf) meaning that your coffee will often be under-extracted and taste awful.

And of course there is another reason why coin operated vending machines are just a slap in the face for employees. They have to reach into their own pockets every time they want a drink. This is hardly good for morale and would likely put a lot of people off taking a drink in the first place. Why on earth should hardworking staff members be expected to pay for a cup of coffee?

Now, I must admit I know there are many employers that install free coffee vending machines into their offices. Well – good for you. But the coffee is still horrible so all you’re doing is giving your staff free crap. Don’t do it.

Should we pool together for the coffee machine and supplies?

Ok let’s move on. There is no legal requirement for employers to provide their staff with tea and coffee supplies. Although many do it as a goodwill gesture and to boost staff morale.

However, there is a limit that most employers will impose on this and in a few rare cases, your employer may not provide anything at all. If they provide fresh drinking water, they are well within the confines of the law.

Your employer may provide you with coffee supplies and expect them to last for a certain amount of time and this is very reasonable. They may also only be willing to provide certain items, such as the kettle and instant coffee. Should staff want something different, such as a pod machine, they may have to reach into their own pockets.

Now, if you work in a well populated office, you could pool together to buy both the coffee machine and the supplies and still not have to spend very much at all. You can do this in one of two ways.

● Those who want to make use of the coffee making facilities are required to contribute a predetermined amount each week/month/quarter etc in return for use of the equipment and supplies.
● Those who want to make use of the coffee making facilities go onto a rota whereby each person takes it in turns to bring in the relevant supplies.

Coffee machines for the workplace

Having a coffee machine in the workplace is an excellent way of ensuring that everyone gets their daily caffeine hit without the need to walk down the road to the nearest cafe. It’s quick, convenient, and often very affordable.

Of course, staff and employers may have a lot of questions regarding the best type of coffee machine for the office as well as who is going to fund it.

We think that a pod machine is by far the best option thanks to its convenience and ease of use. Whether your employer is happy to provide this for you or your team will club together to foot the bill, there isn’t much else that will bring you as much coffee happiness for your afternoon break.

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