Choosing the right kind of coffee machine for your hospitality business
These machines are ideal in a situation where you want self-service. A lot of hotels, for example, will have an automated machine in their lobby or buffet area so that even if they have a higher-quality, barista-run machine in their cafe or restaurant, customers can still get a coffee 24/7 even once the barista has gone home for the day.
Coffee machines made by WMF, a german company, are made for both high capacity and high quality. These machine will grind fresh beans for every single cup, and they also use fresh milk that produces a very high-quality result, so that automated machines no longer has to equate to low quality.
These machines can also churn out up to 250 cups per day, so they are suitable for even high-volume output situations. These machine are very simple to operate and can be used by any untrained employee or even by the customers themselves.
These machine can either be hooked up directly to your plumbing, or include a tank for storing water. The first option means less maintenance since you never have to refill the tank, whereas the second option has the advantage of portability.
Commercial vending machines
If your establishment is in a remote area or left unattended for long periods for some other reason, without having the staff to re-fill or maintain the machine regularly, then powder or freeze-dried milk machines are most likely the best fit for you.
Brands like Necta make vending machines which come in both floor and counter models depending on the capacity you need and the space you have. These machines use powdered milk and chocolate, but can still grind fresh beans in order to give a superior cup of coffee. The floor machines will dispense cups as well, but the counter models only provide the drinks. The daily capacity ranges grom 120 to 600 drinks in order to suit the needs of any organization. You can also choose between a tank version and a plumbing version to reduce the maintenance needed. These machines also have a coin or pay-pass option if you want to charge for your coffee without an employee standing by.
Partly-Automatic Espresso Machines
In the past 5 years alone coffee machines have come a long way due to manufacturers coming to understand the various kinds of coffee needs for a diverse range of businesses.
WMF makes a machine that is somewhere in between your traditional bean to cup espresso machine and an automated one. These machines look and function just like a traditional espresso machine, except for the fact that they measure the brewing parameters, grind, tamper, and brew the coffee all automatically and with perfect consistency. Accordingly you can make excellent espresso based coffee without the need for a trained barista.
If you do have a trained barista in your employ, then an espresso machine will always be your best bet for quickly serving up the best coffee in the most varieties.
If you are looking into espresso machines but are not already savvy, it is recommended to talk to a coffee roaster. Roasters like Little Owl can provide you with a wealth of advice, and will even loan you a machine in exchange for making an agreement to buy a set amount of beans per week from them. A good roaster will also train your staff to operate the machine properly, as its in their interest just as much as your own for you to get the most out of their beans.
If on the other hand you prefer to purchase your machine outright, the most common brands people generally use right now are Pierro, Nuova Simonelli, Rex Royal, and Carimali. You can also find rent-to-own packages with companies like Silver Chef if you don’t have the finances to buy outright but prefer not to make a deal with a roaster.
Do take the time to explore all of your options, and ask your suppliers to be very specific about the kind of support that they offer. You don’t want to be left hanging with a non-operational machine without the means to repair it yourself and without the ability to call someone knowledgeable about your machine to help you out.