Caffia Coffee Group have written this blog to help with choosing a commercial coffee machine; there is a bewildering variety of coffee equipment and of course significant cost so it is important to be guided along and have a detailed understanding of the types, performance and workings of coffee machines.
Caffia Coffee Group offer the full range from a filter coffee brewer to a heavy-duty bean-to-cup machine and we’d be pleased to work with you. Call us on 01324 617618 to discuss any aspect.
Filter Coffee Brewers
These work by percolating hot water over ground coffee of the correct mixture of grinds (finer than cafetiere, coarser than espresso grind) which normally passes through a filter paper into either a glass jug or a thermos flask. The resulting brew is pleasant and thin on ‘body’ (‘thickness’ if you will) due to the fineness of the filter paper; aromatic and very drinkable, filter coffee is very useful for office meetings, hotel breakfast and conferencing. Filter coffee, prepared in batches, is the fastest form of servable coffee – simply pour it and enjoy.. I am delighted to see filter coffee’s popularity make a well-deserved comeback in recent years.
Commercial filter coffee machines or ‘brewers’ or ‘pour-overs’ start at the rugged Caffia CX-2 machine with 2 glass jugs and go up to the monster Bravilor B40 with twin 40 litre urns; these latter are known as bulk-brewers – for obvious reasons – and the sheer speed of brew means achieving a delicate and flavoursome brew is quite challenging with these machines.
Several companies have made brave efforts – for example the Bravilor Aurora which we have trialled and has quite amazing programming parameters – but still I can’t help thinking smaller batches and slower brew like the classic 3 pint (1.7 litres) that many machines brew is the best option for taste.
Cafetieres belong under coffee machines in some ways because having a machine to dispense a carefully measured dose offers an easy and consistent way to make great coffee. You remember the point about a filter coffee machine’s filter paper taking body out of the coffee?
With a cafetiere this is not the case and a very enjoyable cup (which still does not have the extraction or punch of espresso or it’s diluted form as an americano) can be enjoyed (or maybe 2 cups).
Traditional Coffee Machines
There is one key element across over 150 manufacturers of espresso machines that are out there, and that is pressure.
The concept of an espresso machine originated in Italy and the key point is high-pressure extraction of intensely flavoured and concentrated coffee in short measure. This strong brew has spread from Italy to the entire world as a favourite coffee fix – with the Caffia range of beans it comes in a variety of taste styles but should always have a good ‘crema’ – the emulsion of coffee oils that floats on top of the drink.
Have a look at a popular 2 group espresso coffee machine called the Esprezzi Ultra in our video here; this is paired with a Macap MXA heavy-duty coffee bean grinder:
As you probably already know, the coffee beans are ground to a fine consistency and ‘tamped’ (pressed firmly) into a strong handle which is known as a group handle, this is not unlike a small and strong saucepan cast in brass and chrome-plated. Once the group handle or ‘portafilter’ is secured in the group head on the coffee machine by means of a quarter of a turn the machine’s pump is triggered to force water through the ground coffee at around 150 psi which results in intense extraction characteristic of espresso.
Milk heating, foaming and texturing are undertaken with the machine’s steam arms – this is a skill that takes practice but don’t worry – we train you on all of this. Strong points of espresso machines are smart looks, good cup warming storage, good ‘theatre’ as customers can see the drink being crafted for them, good prices and robust performance.
Also consider that these coffee machines machines like the beautiful Synchro T2 above do take time to make a drink as well as skill acquired by practice – also with a human operator (s) there can be a degree of inconsistency in the end product.. it’s fair to say that traditional espresso machines are rare in the office setting as they are not really automated enough to be convenient.
Caffia Coffee Group offers a range of both low-cost and luxury espresso coffee machines, grinders and barista training which you can see by clicking to our website here. If you run a high-pressure outlet where coffee is not the main focus, have high staff turnover or are in a self-service situation (eg: an office kitchen) you might be better off with an automatic bean-to-cup coffee machine.
Bean to cup coffee machines are basically automatic coffee robots. With a bean-to-cup you have either FRESH MILK or POWDER MILK integrated into the machine as well as fresh coffee beans.
From this combination these machines produce a full range of drinks at the touch of a button like espresso, americano (a diluted espresso), caffe latte, cappuccino and in some cases flat white, mocha (includes chocolate as well as coffee and milk) and espresso macchiato. The automation in bean-to-cup machines is extremely useful in offering a consistent drink and with zero skill on behalf of your staff or in an office or self-service situation maybe by you yourself.
A bean-to-cup using fresh milk does produce a better quality drink and the latest generation like the Jura Giga series (above) and Franke A600 are also easier to clean than previously. There are situations where a bean to cup with powder milk and often with hot chocolate powder as well offers a neat ‘vending’ type option that is ideal for offices or showrooms – like the Necta Koro Max for example.
It should be noted that in recent years on the one hand, powder milk for touch button bean to cup machines has hugely improved, it is often 100% pure skimmed milk in agglomerated form and on the other hand, the myth that powder milk bean to cups are a lot easier to clean than fresh milk bean to cups is not really credible.
The purchase prices on our range of bean-to-cup machines goes from £1250.00 to £15,000+ – there is a wide range and something for every site situation, volume and quality requirement. Have a look on our website or call us to discuss on 01324 617618 or 0203 096 7233
Instant Coffee Machines
use soluble (instant) ingredients like freeze-dried instant coffee, cappuccino topping powder (around 70% milk) and powder hot chocolate.
One of these machines – often called ‘dispensers’ – offers a compact and low-cost machine which is generally plumbed to the mains water supply – the principle benefit is very high speed dispense or a very hot beverage (all powder, no fresh milk to cool the drink, or to go off either), low cost machines and low cost drinks in high volumes. See a Matrix Mini Magnum Machine here: >>
In a factory or office with a short coffee break these machines can be a real queue buster without breaking the bank but the fact is that generally people are more and more seeking better quality coffee such as a bean-to-cup machine would give.
With instant coffee machines, the machine cost is generally lower than espresso machines or bean to cup in some ways with less to go wrong as well. See here for more information.
We hope this short introduction to coffee machines has been a help with choosing a commercial coffee machine, Caffia Coffee Group is a friendly family run company and would be glad to discuss your needs. Our principle sales contacts are Ben Hardwick and Russell Hardwick
We have 2 showrooms – one at our Falkirk head office in central Scotland and one in central London; these are very useful for viewing equipment and trying coffees.
Caffia Coffee Group
Tel: 01324 617618 | Email: [email protected]
Caffia Coffee Group
Design Hub Clerkenwell
47 Gee Street
Tel: 0203 096 7233 | Email: [email protected]