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Choosing the Right Bean to Cup Coffee Machine
Bean to cup coffee machines enable the caterer to serve superb tasting fresh espresso coffee drinks and speciality coffee variations at the touch of the button with the minimum of fuss.
Customers demand quality and choice. Gone are the days of offering a choice of a black or white coffee. Nowadays it is important to offer the very best coffee and coffee variations in different cup sizes together with a decaffeinated option.
The most convenient way of supplying this insatiable demand is with a bean to cup machine.
Bean to cup machine capacity (usage) is usually divided into three criteria.
Light volume - serving between to 30-80 cups a day
Medium volume - serving 100-200 cups a day
High volume - serving 250+ cups a day
If your expected number of cups per day is close to the overlap of volume then we recommend that you go for the next model up.
Perhaps the most important thing to consider when choosing a machine is whether to go for a model with a 'built in' milk frother'.
Cheaper models will not have a built in milk frother, but may have the option of an 'add on' unit that froths the milk. The more expensive models have a fully automatic milk frother built into the machine which is also refrigerated to keep the milk cool.
Since a high percentage of drinks served will likely contain frothed milk it only really makes sense to go for the fully automatic built in versions unless your budget is very restrictive. Add-on milk frothers can be clumsy and not function to a consistent basis. There is nothing more frustrating to a busy caterer than a shop full of customers and milk that won't froth!
If your budget is tight it is best to compromise on some other features rather than the fully automatic frother option. If you are happy for you or your staff to froth milk by hand then you might as well go for the more traditional espresso machine instead and froth the milk whilst waiting for the coffee to come through the group head.
Recently there have appeared on the market bean to cup machines which incorporate a canister of powdered milk for those who do not want the inconvenience of fresh milk, although this is a trade off with sacrificing overall drink quality.
Bean to cup machines are big business. There are now a large number of manufacturers of bean to cup machines and the number is growing all the time.
It is best to choose a model from a manufacture that they have been producing for a number of years so that any initial problems have long since been ironed out. Now is not the time to be a guinea pig with a brand new model however fantastic it may seem.
Most manufacturers produce a series of models with different functions and features suitable for low, medium and high volume coffee production.
This is where you pays your money and takes your choice!
Machines are available with one, two, three or even four bean hoppers. This gives extra capacity for busy periods and / or the option of a decaffeinated coffee.
Auditing facilities are also available on the top models where information about the drinks served over any given period can be obtained and maybe downloaded onto a computer for later analysis.
Digital displays, visual looks should also be considered before making your final choice. Note that many of the top models are available in a choice of colours to match the decor of the establishment.
However as already mentioned the two most important things to establish are that the machine can cope with expected demand and that it has a built in milk frother. All other features can be considered secondary.
Before contacting a potential supplier make sure you have decided which size and what features you would like from your machine with reference to this report. That way you will not be persuaded to upgrade or pay for things you do not really require.
Don't forget to pay particular attention to the servicing costs and water treatment systems.
Remember that without a built-in milk frother you will have to froth the milk by hand and that may cause problems.
However a reliable and well maintained bean to cup machine should give many years of profitable service and provide excellent quality delicious drinks to your customers.
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