Which is the fairest of them all? Choosing a coffee machine for your office

How do you choose an office coffee machine when there are so many boxes to tick and so many people to please?

If you do it properly, an office coffee machine that is top of the notch should last for many years with a warranty and maintenance option attached. This is no easy task, as there are so many different types of office coffee machines to choose from, ranging from fully automatic to fully manual. Each should be considered carefully and researched thoroughly before a decision is made.

The first thing to consider is how much coffee your staff actually drink. When it comes down to it, there are lots of people who talk about coffee and going out for coffee and needing coffee breaks. But if you actually sit down and ask them how much coffee they drink, as opposed to tea or chai latte, you may be surprised. After years of dealing with offices and their coffee machines around Melbourne we have estimated that approximately half of the office actually drinks coffee. About one third of the people who fall into the coffee drinking category drink more than 3 cups per day.

If your office is small, as in 50 people or less, it is most likely you will only require a good, sturdy, automatic coffee machine at the basic level. Some people are surprised when we refer to an office of 50 as small, however in terms of coffee beans and kilo quantities, 500 people in an office will outdrink your office of 50 no matter how seriously you take your coffee beans. We often encounter people who work in smaller offices who insist that the automatic coffee machine will simply not live up to their expectations. In recent years technology has come leaps and bounds in this area and now the newest automatic coffee machines on the market make such good coffee that for the undiscerning it is impossible to tell the difference.

The next aspect to consider on your checklist when choosing a coffee machine for your office is budget. Every now and then we meet people who work in an office of 20 people who all out insist on having an expensive manual group handle coffee machine at their workplace. This is all very well, but if your budget is in the hundreds of dollars and not the thousands then it is not going to work. At this point we often find that people try to bring in a domestic level coffee machine into the mix, which makes matters even worse. Domestic coffee machines are called domestic coffee machines for a very good reason – they are supposed to be used in small kitchens and manage about five or ten cups of coffee per day. Even if they look fantastic and are manually operated – if they are called domestic then please leave them at home.

The next area to think about is what you expect from your coffee machine. There are a growing number of people around tow who associate coffee with a whole gamut of hot beverages, including chai latte, chai soy latte, hot chocolate, mocha latte, mocha soy latte etc etc etc. Most automatic coffee machines these days come with a separate hot water function, which means that drinks such as hot chocolate and tea can easily be made using the milk frother. We have noticed that people are becoming increasingly fussy when it comes to the other ‘coffee’ beverages and a scoop of hot chocolate mixed with hot water will not cut it for them anymore. In this case you might want opt consider a coffee machine that falls into the ‘vending machine’ category that comes with a whole lot of extra buttons to push and funnels to fill with chai powder, hot chocolate and even soup of you so wish. There is an excellent machine on the market, called the Saeco Phedra Fresh that uses fresh milk to do all these things mentioned above. Most vending machine types still use powdered milk which is a major draw back in our eyes.

The last area to ponder is how to choose a coffee machine that pleases everyone. The simple answer is you won’t. If you do your research properly there are enough excellent coffee machines on the market today to ensure that all your requirements are met. However the chances of pleasing every single person in the office are low, no matter which coffee machine you choose to go with. Just remember that the coffee machine you do choose should be user-friendly enough so that every single person in the office knows how to use it and clean it sufficiently. There is no point in investing in a coffee machine that requires a trained barista to operate it. So do not be pushed into anything that looks too fancy and too good to be true – coffee machines have a way of tempting people into troubled waters!

Good luck on your pursuits and remember if you do need any further advice our friendly staff can assist you in all things caffeine-related.

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