This Help With Deciding On A Coffee Machine article is to assist you when acquiring a commercial coffee machine call us on 01324 617618. With the bewildering variety of coffee machines available and the significant cost it’s very important to have a detailed understanding of the types, performance and workings of modern speciality 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.

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’  due to the fineness of the filter paper; aromatic and very drinkable, filter coffee is very useful for office meetings, hotel breakfasts and conferencing. Filter coffee, prepared in batches, is the fastest form of coffee for service – simply pour it and enjoy.. we are 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 programing 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.

Cafetiere Coffee Dispenser

These 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).

The Bravilor KMD unit is one such coffee doser in service with many hundreds of outlets filling cafetieres quickly and easily.

Traditional Espresso Coffee Machines

There is one key element across over 150 manufacturers of traditional espresso coffee 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 (it’s a good idea to stir your espresso to blend this in).

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 saucepan. Once secured in the group head on the machine by means of a quarter of a turn the machine’s pump is triggered to force water through the ground coffee at around 140psi with the result in this intense extraction.

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.

See some latte art being performed on an Esprezzi Ultra 2 Group coffee machine in this video here:

These coffee machines do take some time to make a drink as well as needing 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.

If you run a high-pressure outlet or quick service restaurant 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

Bean to cup coffee machines are basically automatic robots performing the functions of a barista at the touch of a button. With a bean-to-cup you have either fresh milk or powdered 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.

Small Office Coffee Machines

A bean-to-cup using fresh milk does produce a better quality drink and the latest generation like the Jura Giga series and Franke A600 FoamMaster are also quite a bit easier to clean than previous models. 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 Prime 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

These 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.

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 commercial and office coffee machines has been helpful to you, 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
Lomond House
Russel Street
Falkirk
FK2 7HS

Tel: 01324 617618 | Email: sales@caffia.com

Caffia Coffee Group
Design Hub Clerkenwell
47 Gee Street
London
EC1V 3RS

Tel: 0203 096 7233 | Email: sales@caffia.com

Help With Deciding On A Coffee Machine is an article from Caffia Coffee Group Ltd intended to guide you through the complex choices of coffee machines that exist.

Sales offices also at: Aberdeen, Glasgow, Barnard Castle, Manchester, Birmingham, Hatfield, Gloucester and Bodmin.