What is the best coffee machine for an office?

Choosing the best office coffee machine is as vital as choosing the right office furniture and technology; people will often work harder and feel better with a cup of something warm on their desk. Whilst a commercial grade coffee machine can be a hugely valuable thing to buy for your workspace,  it can be hard to work out what the best coffee machine really is, as there are so many different competing products on the market.

That’s why we’ve come up with this guide to help you choose the best coffee or hot drink machine for your office, whether you’ve got a huge workplace with hundreds of staff or just a few people, you’ll find something to suit you here.

Types of machine available

There are three types of coffee machine available for use in the office.  Below we’ll take you through them and their advantages and disadvantages:

Traditional Espresso Machine

This is the kind of machine usually used in a café or coffee shop.  They make coffee in the traditional way, by forcing water through coffee grounds at pressure to extract the best flavour.  The user first grinds coffee using a coffee grinder, then adds a shot of coffee to the espresso machine handle, pushes it down with a tamper and then puts the handle on the machine.  After selecting the size shot required the espresso machine will provide a perfect shot of espresso, which can then be used to make a latte, cappuccino, americano and a range of other coffee drinks.

Whilst this option is the preferred one for coffee shops, the disadvantage for an office is that staff need to know how to use the machine.  There are many smaller offices that opt for this option as they value high-quality coffee and training staff to use the machine is not too onerous. 

Another option is to use coffee capsules in a traditional espresso machine.  Coffee capsules are compatible with most traditional espresso machines, all the user has to do is insert a capsule converter basket into the espresso machine handle, insert a capsule and then use the handle in the usual way. This eliminates the need for a grinder and is much easier for the user to operate.

Bean to cup coffee machine

Bean to Cup Machine

Commercial bean to cup coffee machines are where the coffee beans are put into the top of the machine, in a hopper, and all the user has to do is select the coffee desired from a touch screen.  The machine then grinds the beans fresh, makes a shot of espresso and some models can even mix this with freshly frothed milk, or allow the user to froth their own.  Some models use powdered milk and hot chocolate with fresh beans, so a whole range of drinks can be made.

There are smaller bean to cup machines available for the home market, however in a busy office environment they often don’t have the capability to deal with the volume of coffee required, and can start to break down.  Commercial grade bean to cup machines are built to deal with large volumes and are the best investment for an office looking to serve quality coffee.

Coffee Vending Machine

Vending Machine

These machines use freeze dried or instant coffee and powdered milk to make a range of drinks.  The user selects which coffee is required and the machine adds hot water to the powders to make a drink, which is dispensed in a takeaway cup. Whilst this might be the most convenient solution, they don’t use fresh coffee beans so the quality of the drinks produced are never going to stand up to a machine using fresh coffee beans. 

What characteristics should I look for in an office coffee machine?

Output/time:

  • How many people and cups of coffee does the machine need to support daily?
  • How many cups can you brew at the same time?
  • What kind of cup size options are there?
  • How long does it take to brew?

Cost:

  • What is your budget?
  • Do we have to start small or can we hire a full-time barista?

Taste/quality:

  • What do your staff think of the taste and quality of each option?
  • Or does the machine use capsules, pods, instant or fresh coffee beans?
  • Do people want a variety of coffees available? This is a big consideration, because if you skimp on quality then you’ll see employees constantly leaving to get coffee and miss the mark on the benefit before it's even used.

Convenience/Process:

  • What is the process for one person to make a cup of coffee?
  • Is it complicated or pretty straightforward?
  • Does the machine grind beans or do you need a separate grinder?

Maintenance/cleaning:

  • Do all employees or a designated person have to clean the machine?
  • How often do you have clean it?
  • How long does it take to clean?

Environmental impact:

  • Are you looking for the most sustainable option?

Water:

  • Do you want it to have a hot water tap for the tea drinkers?
  • Do you want it to be water line compatible so no one has to refill a tank?

 If you need help choosing your office coffee machine we can help! Fill in our contact form and we'll get in touch