Sometimes, those waiting in hospitals or medical facilities–as well as those who work there–can’t exactly head out to their local coffee shops to get their favorite blend. From the birth of a child to treatment after an accident, those in the waiting rooms of these facilities often remain close at hand, for obvious reasons.
What are some of the top coffee solutions that will allow your hospital or medical facility to provide fast, great-tasting coffee, not only for those in waiting rooms, but also for doctors, nurses and cleaning and office staff,? Let’s find out.

Automatic Drip Coffee Makers

Traditional automatic drip coffee makers can brew fresh and tasty coffee for small to medium hospitals, or for a single department in a larger facility. For facilities with 20 or fewer employees, these can be great machines: simply open the top, pour in water, insert a filter, add your favorite coffee and brew. There is, however, a certain amount of upkeep involved and an employee may need to be designated not only to make coffee, but also to clean the machine on a regular basis.
Lower-end models retail for around $40, while more advanced models with more features cost approximately $200. Models may include options such as interactive displays, an automatic timer, automatic shutoff, adjustable brew strength, temperature adjustment and more.
At slightly larger medical facilities, it may be practical to buy more than one machine in order to meet the higher demand. Even some of the lower-cost models make good or even great-tasting cups of coffee.

Pod Coffee Makers

Growing in popularity in recent years, pod coffee makers can work well in offices and break rooms. They’ make one single-serving cup each time and the coffee will taste great and be easy to brew. However, to get this ease of use and great taste, you’ll have to pay more: the cost single-serve cups used in these machines really adds up when compared to buying traditional ground coffee.
There are office and commercial versions of these single-serving machines; some are plumbed, which means they hook into a water line. As a result, these machines fill with water automatically, saving you (or one of your employees) from checking the water level and refilling the machine each time the reservoir is low.
In short, you’ll have to consider your budget and employees’ tastes in addition to the ease-of-use factor. In addition, you may want to take into account the appeal that one of these pod coffee makers might have to workers who are busy dealing with other time-consuming and life-saving endeavors.

Coffee Urns

For medical conferences, gatherings or public events, coffee urns can provide coffee for large groups of people. These elongated pots, which generally have two handles near the top and a spout near the bottom, range in price from $30 to $150; however, commercial-oriented urns can cost approximately $2,000. Sizes run the gamut and include 30-cup, 40-cup, 50-cup, 60-cup and 80-cup brewing capacities.
The urn that can best serve your needs depends upon the specifics of your event and the number of people who will be attending; however, let’s take a look at a one simple example to see how many people you could serve with one of these urns. On average, these machines make 10 to 20 gallons of coffee per hour. Using a six-ounce coffee cup and assuming one cup per person, your hospital function will be able to serve 200 to 400 people per hour. Of course, not everyone drinks coffee (and some will drink more than one cup) so trial and error will be par for the course as you try to master the perfect brew cycle for your larger events.

Coffee Vending Machines

Coffee vending machines are prevalent in hospitals around the country as they provide quick and convenient coffee for those waiting for loved ones, as well as for medical and office staff. Freestanding machines are frequently seen in medical facilities, as they’re capable of turning out a large number of drinks in heavy traffic areas. Table top vending machines are smaller, more compact versions of these larger machines.
With both types of vending machines, customers insert bills, coins or credit/debit cards to purchase a steaming cup of coffee or another hot beverage. In addition to ordinary cups of joe, these machines offer an array of drink choices, including lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, tea and hot chocolate–certain models even serve soup.
Coffee vending machines come with a variety of features; options include:

  • In-cup machines, which drop the cup and fill it for you.
  • Bean to cup machines, which grind coffee on the spot, providing a fresh cup.
  • Machines designed for premium and specialty brands.

Hospitals can go through a supplier or vendor who will place the machine, restock products and take care of repairs when necessary. This vendor may offer a small percentage of profits from the machine (normally between five percent and 15 percent) as an added perk to entice hospital officials to work with them and not another vending company.

Coffee Delivery Services

Going with the overriding theme that people working in a hospital are often focused on their jobs rather than going out, purchasing coffee and maintaining and cleaning coffee machines, let’s take a look at coffee delivery services, shall we?
Companies like Starbucks, Green Mountain Coffee and Peet’s Coffee and Tea, along with certain smaller coffee brands, offer services which deliver coffee (and sometimes new machines) to your facility. Plans vary, and these companies will work with you to find good options for your size, coffee requirements and budget. You can choose to have only coffee delivered or select a more full-service option which may provide new machines, installation, repairs, maintenance and more, on top of coffee and coffee supplies. This can save time and allow you to focus on the more important aspects of hospital work.
Prices per shipment vary, but the average cost for delivered coffee is $50 to $125 per year for each employee. Equipment can cost more–from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars–but a few of these companies will waive the product fee, either through promotions or a rental period.