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How to Choose An Office Coffee Machine

Keeping your customers and staff happy is a recipe for business success and providing quality coffee in your business is an effective way to achieve this. Coffee not only provides enjoyment, but also perks up attitudes and energy levels and all three are what you want in a successful business environment.

So how do you choose your office coffee machine?

This decision tree will help you:

A decision guide to choosing an office coffee machine

Decision 1: Decide what kind of drinks you want in your office

Coffee machines can make filter coffee from ground coffee; coffee from instant coffee like Nescafe; or coffee from coffee beans that are ground by the machine when you select your drink.

Instant coffee drinks are quick to prepare and less expensive than coffee made from coffee beans. However, they are of lower taste quality.

Ground coffee for filter coffee machines and coffee beans for use in automatic coffee machines like the Mythos Duo Touch (often referred to as bean-to-cup machines), may cost a little more per cup, but transmit the coffee shop quality straight into your office.

If you want to serve cappuccino for example, then you will need an automatic coffee machine that first prepares an espresso and then either you or the machine add steamed and foamed milk to it. 

Decision 2: Decide if you want fresh milk or powdered milk in your coffee?

Fresh milk brings coffee shop quality coffee to your office and not only gives staff and customers a feeling of being appreciated, but it will also stop staff taking time off to get coffee at the coffee shop down the road!

It does come at a cost though. First, fresh milk needs to be bought and stored in a fridge and it is more expensive than a powdered milk topping that is shelf stable as well. Of course, you can use UHT milk and that removes the storage issue but does add cost.

Fresh milk is often used by staff in cereal or as a drink and this “loss” can add cost to the coffee budget.

Finally, any fresh/UHT milk system must be cleaned daily to keep it hygienic and safe to use. The use of a milk rinsing agent is suggested every few days to ensure there is no build up of fat on surfaces.

Powdered milk comes in two forms, a 100% skimmed milk powder and a milk topping made from skimmed milk powder and other ingredients that promote foaming and creaminess. Milk toppings are less expensive than 100% skimmed milk and often taste better as they are formulated to blend well with coffee.

Cleaning of the mixing bowls is also needed, but less often as most coffee vending machines have auto cleaning cycle programmes.

So the decision revolves around cost and convenience versus taste but before deciding, have a look at our Best Coffee Machines in 2022 article to get a sense of the differences between these coffee machine options.

Decision 3: Decide if you just want coffee drinks or if you want other drinks like hot chocolate or a flavoured cappuccino (e.g. caramel, hazelnut)

If you want to offer drinks like hot chocolate or a flavoured cappuccino, then you need a machine with additional canisters to hold the powders needed to make them. For machines that use powdered milk, this will add to the cost because they will have to have addition canisters and mixing bowls where these powders can be mixed with hot water. A good example is the Dr Coffee Coffeezone with two powder canisters, coffee beans and fresh milk (also look at the broader range of Dr Coffee coffee machines here)

For an automatic coffee machine that uses fresh milk, this will typically come at a much greater cost. The reason being that coffee vending machines that use a powdered milk or milk topping, already have the ability to mix powders with hot water, whereas a fresh milk system must add in both the powder canisters and mixing systems.

If cost is the major consideration, then a coffee vendor that uses powdered milk is the better bet. Then a coffee vending machine may be a good choice over an automatic machine.  The difference between an automatic coffee machine and a coffee vending machine, is described here.

Decision 4: Decide if you want to buy or rent your office coffee machine?

Buying an office coffee maker will give you full ownership. Over time this may work out to be the most economical option but renting an office coffee machine gives you more flexibility and less management issues.

The reasons are straightforward: someone else looks after the maintenance of the machine and should it malfunction, you do not have to worry about repairs, or the costs involved. You can also upgrade and downgrade as your business needs dictate with most rental companies. You also benefit from having access to newer technology over time if you rent, whereas buying will keep you locked into your machine for years and innovative technology like touch screens and individual coffee settings may pass you by.

Decision 5: Decide who you can trust to supply your office coffee machine and its consumables?

All the above becomes academic if you choose a reputable company to either sell or rent you an office coffee machine, because they will work with you to determine what you really need. Furthermore, the more established companies will allow you to change your mind if a solution really is not a solution!

For consumables, a good company will offer you a choice of quality products so that you can find a coffee blend that you, your staff and customers can enjoy. Ensure that products are hygiene certified under a recognised food safety accreditation system.

Then ensure your coffee machine, whether bought or rented, is covered by a warranty that can be met. It is easy to offer a one-year warranty, but if you must wait 4 weeks to have it repaired, you are going to be a grumpy coffee drinker. Ensure your supplier can meet their promises.

A final consideration that covers all five points above, is to make sure your supplier knows just how many staff you expect will use the machine daily. There is nothing worse than having a machine that is too small to manage the volumes needed because it will need constant refilling and may break down if over-utilised. There is something worse, paying for a massive coffee machine that is under-utilised! Again, a good and reputable company will guide you as to what type and size of office coffee machine you need for your office.

So there you have it – 5 decisions you need to make to ensure your office coffee machine meets your needs.


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