Let’s take a look at a wide variety of coffee makers and products, perfect for your small–or medium or large–business.
Traditional Coffee Makers
How many employees and potential customers are coming through your doors on a daily basis? If you’re on the smaller end (a small business environment of approximately 15 people or fewer people) the traditional drip coffee makers found in homes and offices across the country can work well. While there’s upkeep involved with these machines in terms of making the coffee, cleaning up afterward and doing it over again when the coffee pot is empty, you’ll be spending less money (many times, far less money) than you would for some of the higher-end commercial models listed below.
Top models can cost $200; depending upon your specific model and needed amenities, they can run a bit higher. These models may include:
- Interactive displays.
- An automatic timer.
- Thermal carafe.
- Adjustable brew strength.
- Automatic shutoff.
- Extended warranty.
- Extra carafe.
- Built-in grinder.
- Temperature adjustment
- Durable and lasting construction.
By skimping on some of these features, however, you’ll be able to find a product that still provides high-quality output for as little as $40.
Commercial Coffee Makers
What if you have a medium to large office with employees clambering over one another to get their morning coffee fix? Fortunately, there are commercial coffee makers on the market meant to serve many people in a quick and efficient manner. Commercial pour-over drip coffee brewers, which you fill with water from the top, allow for rapid drink creation, a steady flow and an ease of use to boot.
Pour-over and larger brewing capacity systems are products such those that you might see in your local restaurant or diner. Many of these products cost between $200 and $600, with certain brands moving past the $1,000 price threshold. There are a variety of options and many include multiple warmers (and coffee pots) to go along with larger brewing capabilities.
So, how many cups of coffee can these models brew? Certain varieties can brew around four gallons (eight pots) of coffee per hour. You can probably serve 16 to 20 people per gallon of coffee (with each person having one cup of coffee), depending on cup size. Thus, with these commercial products that make approximately four gallons per hour, you can serve between 64 and 80 people per hour.
Fully Automated Plumbed Coffee Systems
Fancier plumbed fully automated coffee systems are built-in and connected to your water line by a plumber. They automate the process with no need to add any water and are good options if you will be making a ton of coffee: many models have dual spouts which allow two cups of coffee to be poured at the same time. If you’re on a budget, these aren’t the models for you, however, as they will usually set you back several thousand dollars.
Coffee urns are vertically elongated pots with handles near the top and a spout near the bottom. They are great for large gatherings because they can make coffee quickly, keep it warm and allow drinkers to serve themselves at their leisure. For meetings, conferences, showings and beyond, they can work wonders. Quality can be an issue when coffee sits for a while in the container, however.
These urns range in price from $30 to $150 and include 40-cup, 60-cup and 80-cup brewing capacities. Coffee urns tend to make approximately 10 to 20 gallons per hour. Using six-ounce coffee cups (one per person), you’ll be able to serve 200 to 400 people per hour.
Coffee Vending Machines
These vending machines, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes and with numerous features, can be great ways to serve large groups of people. Drink choices run the gamut: lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, tea, hot chocolate and beyond. To get these options, you may need to spend thousands of dollars to purchase one of these machines; a cheaper initial alternative is to go through a supplier or vendor who delivers, restocks, maintains and repairs the machine.
Freestanding machines are those large machines you’ve likely seen in hospitals and schools. Customers/employees insert coins or bills and get a hot, ready-to-drink beverage. Some of these vending machines are bean to cup machines, which offer users the chance to grind whole beans into great-tasting coffee on the spot. Place these machines in your high-traffic areas to offer a seemingly endless number of drinks.
Smaller table-top vending machines save space and money and can fit perfectly in a kitchen, meeting room and other such potentially cramped office location. With these, you’ll also get a variety of drink choices and the ability to serve a large number of people.
Coffee Delivery Services
Coffee can be delivered? Yes. A coffee delivery service will keep coffee products in your office stocked and ready to drink. Well-known national companies and certain smaller ones just getting into the delivery game will ship supplies right to your door on a schedule that works for you. This eliminates the hassle involved in buying coffee products, keeping items in stock and cleaning coffee makers.
If you’re a small company, providers may offer a simple package of coffee-only shipments. Prices per shipment will vary according to the company and coffee product, but a standard figure for the cost of coffee is approximately $50 to $125 per employee per year. If you’re a larger organization with more employees and customers, these delivery providers may offer a bigger package which could include shipments of coffee along with a new machine or machines, supplies and servicing options to make it a full-service deal.
Quality Considerations for Coffee Connoisseurs
Pod Coffee Makers
Pod coffee makers take the measuring, grinding, cleaning (for the most part) and hassle out of making coffee. They use single-brew pods to make single, tasty cups of coffee. If you’re working out of anything other than a small business, however, these machines may not make enough coffee and may also end up costing you more in the long run. (Buying more and more single-cup cases to satisfy drinkers can add up.).
For those looking to add a little spice to their brewing, espresso machines can quickly make a frothy and strong beverage. There are a variety of espresso machines, including steam machines (steam pushes hot water through the coffee grounds), manual stovetop models and electric pump versions (which can be partially manual or completely automatic). Prices range from $50 for a basic machine, up to $3,000 for a top-of-the-line espresso maker.
There are different variations of espresso machines meant to work for small, medium and large businesses. Super automatic machines can work for offices of under 10 people; commercial espresso machines can work well in medium to large offices.