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Commercial coffee machines: the cup winners

Commercial coffee machines for bars, pubs and restaurants come in many styles, at very different prices. The many models available can be grouped into three broad categories: filter coffee machines, traditional espresso machines, and bean to cup coffee machines.

While upfront price in the case of direct purchase can be quite high, leasing contracts can be arranged.

 Commercial coffee machines

Commercial coffee machine types

Commercial coffee machines usually fall into three broad categories: filter coffee machines, traditional espresso machines, and bean-to-cup machines.

Filter coffee machines

Filter coffee machines for restaurants or pubs are not the same as household machines - they just can serve many, many more cups much faster.

- Larger models can serve as many as 40 pints of coffee at a time, and brew 20 pints in less than 5 minutes.

- They also have the advantage of being more versatile, and make tea as well.

They will be preferred by canteens and fast-food stores where quantity matters more than coffee quality.

Manufacturers of large coffee machines include:

- Bunn,

- Magrini,

- Grindmaster

 

Traditional Espresso machines

These machines serve espresso-type coffee with pressurised water - and heated milk for cappuccinos. Their boilers can keep as much as 16 litres of water, and they come in single group, 2-group or 3-group models.

Manufacturers include:

- Elektra,

- Rancilio,

- Expobar,

- Astoria,

- And many, many other Italian brands...

This type will be more commonly found in quality restaurants and pubs.

 

Bean to cup machines

Bean to cup machines have an integrated grinder so that full roasted coffee beans can be used. Manufacturers include:

- Nuova Simonelli,

- HLF,

- Jura,

- DéLonghi

These top-quality machines will be more commonly found in specialized coffee shops. They are covered in detail in another article in this guide.

 

Features of commercial coffee machines

Filter coffee machines

Scalability is the most important factor for these heavy-duty machines, so prospective buyers will more likely look into such features as:

- One or more warmers included to keep the carafes hot?

- Hot-water take-off to fill jugs of tea?

- How many urns?

- Capacity per urn

 

Espresso machines

Espresso machines will be evaluated with regards to more technical features such as:

- Number of groups,

- Number of boilers,

- Pre-infusion chamber,

- Descaler,

- Warning features

 

Bean to cup machines

Key features of bean to cup commercial coffee machines include:

- Canister capacity,

- Canister types

- Cup warmer,

- Number of heating systems: 3 heating systems 30 litres in an hour

- Number of programs for different coffee strengths

 

Pricing

Depending on the model, prices of commercial coffee machines can go anywhere between £200 and £6,000. But don’t forget the option of leasing.

Filter coffee machines

Bunn twin urn brewers cost upwards of £2,000, and more than £30 per week to lease.

 

Espresso machines

Mid-range models from Astoria or Expobar cost between £1,000 and £1,500, or less than £10 per week to lease, and top-of-the line models around £4,000 or £30 to lease.

 

Bean to cup machines

Jura Impressas cost around £2,000 and £20 a week to lease, and Gigas around £3,500 and £25 to lease. 

 

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