Commercial coffee machines for small cafes and offices

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Commercial coffee machines come in many guises and can cost up to £15,000 ($20,000) if you want to compete with Starbucks. But small cafes and businesses who want to offer their staff something extra don’t need (or want) to pay that much. A commercial coffee machine can be purchased for a fraction of the sum a Starbucks franchise would have to shell out.

Which will no doubt come as good news to small cafe or food truck owners who need a reliable and versatile coffee machine that can cope with demand while not burning through the bank account.

The same can be said for an office environment. Team members want to be able to grab a delicious hot cup of coffee without walking over to the local Starbucks and spending a good proportion of their salary on coffee they could have made themselves.

However, when people think about commercial coffee machines, they can be overwhelmed. There is something of an assumption attached to these machines that causes people to think that they are super expensive to buy and a nightmare to operate. But we are here to tell you that this isn’t necessarily the case.

What is a commercial coffee machine?

Unsurprisingly a commercial coffee machine has a higher capacity, more functionality and is far more robust than the machine in your kitchen. Of course, it has to be. It must keep up with the demands of a cafe or environments where more drinks need to be made on a faster and more frequent basis.

Typically, much larger than a regular domestic coffee machine, these appliances usually have everything you need in one rather than having to use separate pieces of equipment that could make the brewing process more time consuming.

It’s tempting for small or micro cafe owners to believe they can use one of the more expensive home barista coffee machines or perhaps even a pod machine. However, these appliances are not designed to withstand the kind of heavy use a machine sees in a commercial environment.

Best-selling commercial coffee machines

Bestseller No. 1
Bravilor Novo Light Commercial Filter Coffee Machine
  • Dimensions: H 42.4 x W 21.4 x D 39.1 cm
  • Brand: Bravilor
  • Type: Coffee Machine
SaleBestseller No. 2
Sage Barista Express Espresso Machine - Espresso and Coffee Maker, Bean to Cup Coffee Machine, BES875BKS, Black Sesame
  • The Sage Barista Express delivers third wave speciality coffee at home using the 4 keys formula...
  • DOSE CONTROL GRINDING: Integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on demand to deliver...
  • OPTIMAL WATER PRESSURE: Low pressure pre-infusion gradually increases pressure at the start and...
Bestseller No. 3
Ariete 1313 Metal Espresso Machine, Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Maker With Grinder, Barista Style Lattes Cappuccinos Americanos, Powder or Pods, Stainless steel
  • Bring the taste of authentic Italian barista style coffee to your kitchen with the Ariete...
  • With 1600W power and 15 bar pressure create rich, full bodied coffees with café quality...
  • The integrated coffee grinder has 11 grinding settings for you to find your perfect blend of...
SaleBestseller No. 4
Breville One-Touch CoffeeHouse Coffee Machine | Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte Maker | 19 Bar Italian Pump | Automatic Milk Frother | ESE Pod Compatible | Navy [VCF145]
  • One-Touch Technology: One-button controls for easy selection of your favourite coffee drinks
  • Your Coffee, Your Way: Single and double shot espresso filters put you in control; compatible...
  • Barista-Quality Coffee at Home: 19-Bar Italian pump delivers the perfect pressure to extract...
SaleBestseller No. 5
De'Longhi Eletta, Fully Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine, Cappuccino and Espresso Maker, ECAM 44.660.B, Black
  • VARIETY OF COFFEE CHOICES Enjoy a wide variety of espresso based drinks at the touch of a...
  • AUTOMATIC MILK MENU Make your favourite milk drink with one touch - Cappuccino, Caffee Latte or...
  • LATTECREMA SYSTEM This machine will allow you to achieve the perfectly creamy milk foam with...

What features should a commercial coffee machine have?

Not all commercial coffee machines are made equal and so it is important to think about the features of a machine before you hit the ‘buy now’ button.

If you’re running a small café, things can get busy so you need a machine that can keep up with the needs of your customers (or staff if the coffee machine is in the workplace) while still producing a delicious cup of coffee that has them returning time and again.

The most basic feature of any commercial coffee machine is the number of group heads. This tells you how much coffee can be made at once. For smaller businesses, you may only need a machine with two group heads, whereas larger cafes and offices might benefit from a three or four group head machine.

You would also expect a good commercial coffee machine to come with a grinder. These may be either a blade or a burr grinder but the burr grinder is often considered to be the better option as it produces more uniform results. This is important as you want your cups of coffee to be consistent for every customer.

Your new coffee machine should also have a tamper which is used to press the coffee grounds into the puck which is essential for producing a quality cup of espresso.

commercial coffee machine tamper

Commercial coffee machines also come with a steam wand or milk frother. This allows you to create foamed milk for drinks such as the cappuccino or latte. While these devices can be purchased separately, it can speed up the coffee-making process by having one built into your machine.

What does a commercial coffee machine cost?

One of the things that puts a lot of people off buying a commercial coffee machine is the fact that many of them come with a considerably high price tag. But this doesn’t have to be the case; there are plenty of commercial coffee machines out there that won’t break the bank. There really is no need to spend thousands.

You can pick up a compact and very efficient commercial machine for a few hundred pounds. But to be honest for heavy and sustained use you want to be looking at the other end of the market – anywhere from £600 to a couple of thousand will get you a good quality commercial machine packed with features and are made to withstand heavy use.

What to look for when choosing a commercial coffee machine

Reliability

This is an absolute necessity. The machine must be robust enough to cope with heavy daily use. Carefully read reviews and don’t be tempted by cheaper machines which will prove a false economy in the long run. Remember – as with most things you definitely get what you pay for.

Ease of use

If you’ve ever watched the baristas in Starbucks or artisan coffee shops, you will know that there is an art to making the perfect coffee and that starts by getting to know your machine. But that doesn’t mean that you need to get a machine that requires a degree in coffeeology!

Look for a commercial coffee machine that offers simple controls that can be easily learned. This is especially important if you’re buying a machine for an office where several different people will be using it.

Cleaning and maintenance

Keep in mind that your coffee machine should undergo a descaling every few months. However, if it is getting a lot of use, you may need to up the frequency.

Day to day cleaning is also just as important so you want to make sure that there aren’t any fiddly bits that make this more challenging than it needs to be. Purchasing an automatic machine will almost always mean that you get a self-cleaning feature. If this isn’t the case, be sure that parts are removable for cleaning.

You’ll also need to make sure that the coffee machine is durable and hard wearing. In the case that any damage does occur, is it easy to fix or to get hold of spare parts? It’s also definitely worth looking for a machine with an extended warranty.

Running costs

While you may be willing to invest a decent amount when buying your commercial coffee machine, the last thing you want is for the running costs to be sky high. Look for a machine that is reliable so you aren’t having to pay for repairs, and as mentioned above, a good warranty is essential.

You’ll also need to consider the day to day running costs of the machine such as how energy efficient it is and the cost of purchasing coffee and other items.

Speed

In a busy cafe or office, people won’t be willing to wait around for their drink. This means that you need to find a machine that will produce coffee quickly without compromising on quality. It’s vital to check out reviews online before committing to any particular machine as this will give you a real insight into its performance.

As we mentioned earlier, it’s also worth looking at the capacity of the machine and how many drinks it can make at once.

The final word

A commercial coffee machine gives you a viable way of making several cups of coffee within a short space of time. These machines are designed to withstand the pressing demands of a cafe or a busy workplace. While they may be a little more of an investment than other types of machines, they don’t have to break the bank. The most important thing is to look at all aspects of the machine to ensure it is up to the challenge.

 

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