Are you wondering which coffee machine to choose for your home or restaurant? Find out about the most popular types of coffee machines and what features to pay attention to in order to choose one according to your needs.
Types of coffee machine
There are many different types of coffee machine available on the market. This should come as no surprise, as many people couldn’t imagine starting the day without a good morning coffee. In response to the high demand, manufacturers have created various devices for people who appreciate the speed, quality or amount of coffee brewed. What are your options?
Filter coffee machines
One of the overall cheapest options are filter coffee machines. They come equipped with water tanks with heaters, filter baskets and glass jugs. Boiling water from the water tank is dispensed into the ground coffee in the filter. The ready coffee then ends up in the jug.
A big advantage of this type, apart from the relatively low price, is the possibility to prepare a large amount of coffee, even for several people. This can come in handy if you have guests, or at the office. In addition, some models have a special hot plate located under the jug, which lets you to keep the coffee warm for a long time. With more advanced models you can also adjust the strength of the coffee.
The taste of filter coffee is often compared to that of Turkish coffee, but without the coffee grounds floating in the cup. Coffee prepared this way also contains much more caffeine than, for example, coffee from an espresso machine. If the model you choose does not have a built-in grinder, then you will need to buy one separately or purchase ground coffee. Filter coffee machines are not such a good idea, however, if you only want a small amount of coffee, as they use as much energy to prepare one cup as a whole jug.
Capsule coffee machines
Modern capsule coffee machines are becoming more and more popular. Due to the use of pressure to brew the coffee, it can be included in the group of pressure coffee machines. They stand out mainly by the fact that they use special coffee capsules, which allows you to quickly brew coffee, without coffee grounds and fully automatically. It is enough to place the capsule in the designated chamber, press the button and the machine will set the appropriate parameters.
An undeniable advantage of this type of machine is its simple use. In addition, there are many different capsules on the market with various flavours and types of coffee, hot chocolate or tea. Capsule coffee makers usually also have a more attractive design than other types of coffee machines.
Although the use of capsules makes the entire process much simpler, it can also have a number of disadvantages. First of all, its price. Compared to coffee beans or ground coffee, capsule coffee is quite expensive. Another aspect is the need to buy capsules from the manufacturer of the coffee machine. Many capsule machines only work with capsules from a particular brand, so you may have a limited choice of capsules you can buy.
Hydro-pressure coffee machines
A very popular choice of home-use coffee machines for coffee lovers are hydro-pressure coffee machines. Just like professional espresso machines, they also use ground coffee, which you can prepare yourself or buy ready-made.
It should be poured into a special basket in the portafilter and then thoroughly pressed with a tamper. The more pressure you apply the better, as the water will funnel through the channels more slowly, giving the coffee more aroma during the brewing process. The boiling water comes from a built-in tank with a heater. It is dosed under pressure (usually 9 bar) and flows through the spout into the cup.
Hydro-pressure coffee machines are popular with coffee lovers thanks to the possibility of brewing high-quality coffee from freshly ground beans. They give you the chance to control the strength and taste of the brewed coffee. Depending on the model, you can prepare 1 or 2 cups at the same time. In addition, you can also find coffee machines with a mechanical milk frothing nozzle, ideal e.g. for making a cappuccino.
A disadvantage is the fact that the entire brewing process is quite time consuming. Measuring, tamping and cleaning the coffee from the portafilter could take too long if you only have a short break at work. The small amount of coffee that can be prepared at one time is also considered a disadvantage.
Automatic coffee machines
Automatic coffee machines are among the easiest type to use. All you need to do is select the appropriate programme pre-set in the machine. Of course, you will also need to remember to refill the coffee, water and milk.
Automatic coffee machines also have built-in grinders, which grind exactly the right amount of beans. They can have steel or ceramic blades. Steel can withstand greater loads and is suitable for many years of intensive use. Ceramic blades, on the other hand, are much quieter during use.
Automatic coffee machines also have milk frothing nozzles, and water filters are also often connected to the water tanks. Special pumps generate pressure, which varies depending on the coffee machine. Stronger ones provide a pressure of 12-19 bar, with weaker pumps around 9-10 bar. Such machines also have many additional practical features, such as double grinding, automatic cleaning, and even the possibility of wireless remote control using a smartphone.
Although convenient and practical to use, they are also very expensive. The purchase of the automatic coffee machine itself is not cheap, and then you need to remember about replacing the water filters, regular descaling and additional detergents for cleaning the frothing system.
What type of coffee machine should you buy for commercial use?
With the differences between the above-mentioned machines in mind, you should consider which one will work best for commercial use in your case. Such knowledge will help you prepare a more realistic business plan, with detailed information about your investment needs.
Coffee machines in cafes
What type of coffee machine should you buy for a cafe? When trying to answer this question, you should consider the profile of the cafe you intend to open. Will it focus on a quick take-away service for customers in a hurry on their way to work, or on an overall specialty coffee experience for sit-in customers meeting with friends? Both the volume of coffee you will be serving and the serving time itself are key aspects when choosing the right machine.
If your main focus will be on very quick service, then automatic coffee machines might be a better option. One click is enough to start preparing the chosen type of drink. During preparation you can then focus on other customer service activities, without needing to supervise the coffee preparation process.
If you and your staff are skilled at preparing coffee, then of course a professional espresso coffee machine will be better. However, it will be safer in a venue which main focus is not only the speed of service. Such machines let you serve aromatic and freshly ground coffee according to the preferences of each customer. In addition, specialised cafes often serve fancy coffee drinks that a barista would not be able to prepare with an automatic coffee machine.
It is worth noting that the professional espresso coffee machines intended for commercial use are much more advanced than those intended for home use. They are designed to brew several or even a dozen or so coffees in a very short time. They also have a wider pressure and temperature regulation range.
Coffee machines for a restaurant
The choice of coffee machine for using in a restaurant depends on similar factors as in the case of a cafe. Here, too, the speed of service and number of coffees prepared at the same time play an important role. However, it is not as important as in the case of a cafe, because coffee is not the main offer of restaurants, where it is often served as an addition to desserts, so it doesn’t always make sense to invest in an hi-tech professional coffee machine.
Simpler and cheaper models short be more than suitable. Of course you still need to choose a reputable brand, as you don’t want the machine to break down after a few weeks of use. As a restaurant manager, do not forget to train your staff how to properly prepare coffee using a professional espresso coffee machine, otherwise your customers may complain about poorly prepared coffee. If the above issue sounds risky in your case, then it might be safer to go for an automatic model. After all, not many customers will be expecting specialty coffee in a restaurant. You will usually be serving a traditional espresso or americano.
Coffee machines for offices
When choosing a coffee machine for your office, you definitely need to consider the preparation time of each coffee. Professional espresso coffee machines are out of the question. Preparing each coffee will take too long, and they are much too complicated to use for most members of staff.
In the case of small offices, filter coffee machines should be sufficient. You can prepare several portions of coffee at one time, and they are relatively simple to use. If your employees request more sophisticated options, then an automatic coffee machine would be better.
In larger offices an automatic coffee machine is a must. However, the model you choose should be adapted to the amount of coffee you intend to prepare, and it should be simple to look after in the case of ongoing maintenance. When it comes to cleaning or servicing, you should consider using the services of a specialised company. More advanced automatic coffee machines are often connected to the water supply, making them much more convenient to use. Thanks to this, they also work more efficiently.
Which coffee machine should you choose – summary
Coffee machines are a basic requirement in restaurants and cafes, but also in offices and private homes. They let you prepare the perfect coffee to start the day or after lunch. However, it is important that you choose the right equipment that will not only prepare delicious coffee, but will also function according to your needs and possibilities.