Looking for suitable business coffee solutions for your workplace… how do you know which coffee machine is best suited for you. Let’s start with the basics, the core role of a coffee machine is simple – to dissolve the desirable soluble compounds from coffee beans into water to create a tasty drink. This is called extraction and there are broadly three methods, which are:
Full immersion or steeping
Course-ground coffee is immersed in a set volume of hot water and left to stand for a period of time. Then the used grinds are separated from the coffee. The most common method is a cafetière or French press where a metal gauze pushes all the grounds to the bottom. Or Turkish coffee where the grinds simply drop to the bottom of the cup.
Pour-over or filter
In this method, hot water moves through a bed of medium-ground coffee using gravity. The speed at which it moves is controlled by the grind consistency. A filter system is used to separate the suspended solids from the coffee solution exiting at the bottom.
There are pour-over machines and tools available that will brew a single cup through to 20 litres although, although they all broadly work in the same way. Many people use V60 or Chemex filters for small hand-pouring volumes at home. Filter machines start at around 1.5 litres and automate the process. The filter is most commonly made from paper but more people are starting to use re-usable hemp or metal filters to reduce waste.
Here, fine-ground coffee is packed tightly into a small space where hot water is quickly forced through under pressure. This method was pioneered in Italy in 1884 and is the basis for the ubiquitous espresso machine.
Which of the business coffee solutions are right for your business?
Let’s start with the simple pros and cons of each method…
Cafetières are cheap to buy and extraction is simple to control – pour water and leave to steep for about 4 minutes. The downside is that the coffee can be a bit full-bodied and gritty and the grinds are fiddly to clean out in a professional environment. Glass cafetières break easily.
Hand-pouring filter systems are small volume only and need a practised technique and specialised pouring kettles to get the taste just right. But there’s an art and satisfaction in creating your perfect coffee.
Automatic filters a very simple to operate and create a great-tasting coffee. However, poor quality machines with hotplates have given them a bad reputation and your choice is limited – either black or white coffee.
Espresso produces an exciting and wide variety of drinks but the machine are expensive to buy and need continuous attention plus training is required to make a tasty drink.
In the rest of this article, we’re going to focus on the two methods of making coffee that are most suited to businesses, which are filter and espresso. If you are ready to discuss your business coffee solutions, get in contact here.
Filter Coffee for business
There is a new generation of filter coffee batch brewers that should encourage you to re-consider filter coffee as they really do showcase the attractive characteristics of a great coffee. The key differences with these new machines is that they brew using temperature controlled water so the beans aren’t scorched. They brew into a vacuum flask which keeps the coffee hot and fresh for long periods, without using a hotplate, which quickly kills the fresh taste of coffee. Aside from an out-dated perception problem, really the only downside to filter coffee is that it is only available as black or white options. A range of contemporary frothy milk options aren’t available. However, here are the reasons filter coffee is great for business:
- Lower purchase cost than bean-to-cup machines. Prices start at £655 for a superb machine of the quality that you might find in a specialty coffee shop
- Less maintenance required and greater reliability because there are no moving parts
- The filter extraction process allows you to use a wider variety of coffee than might be suitable for espresso. The individual character of beautiful single-origin coffees shines when prepared using a gentle pour-over extraction
- Coffee can be pre-brewed at scale so you have plenty available for large meetings when delegates arrive. Espresso-based coffees are usually prepared one-by-one which can take time for meetings
- Coffee can be served at meetings in beautiful double-walled glass carafes that have a ‘wow factor’
- Operationally simple. 1.9L + (depending on machine model) brewed in just 6-8 minutes
- Flexible – either manually fill smaller brewers with filtered water from a measuring jug. Or if you have a mains water tap, plumb in via an in-line filter for even easier operation
Espresso coffee for business
Espresso coffee mixed with frothed milk has driven a global coffee revolution and powered growth of all the major high street coffee shop chains. The good news is that this style of coffee can be served within your business. We’re seeing more businesses, not traditionally associated with coffee, installing professional barista machines and grinders. For example care homes and car showrooms. There’s no doubt that an espresso based drink prepared by a well-trained barista provides theatre, art and a delicious drink. But the problem is that a manual barista machine is tricky to use and maintain without some quite intensive training and a continual focus on quality. The good news is that bean-to-cup technology has massively improved – indeed two out of the three largest high st chains now use semi-automatic bean-to-cup machines to improve consistency of serve. These types of machines and fully-automatic machines are available to businesses and represent one of the most practical business coffee solutions. amamus does supply and fit professional quality manual barista machines but here we’re going to focus on the benefits of bean-to-cup machines for business.
- Costs have come down for fully-automatic machines and provided you choose one that meets your volume needs, it needn’t be prohibitively expensive
- Many ‘plug and play’ machines are stand-alone in that they just need power. Water, beans and milk are topped up when required. This means that coffee hubs can be created in spaces within an office with no access to water, drainage or refrigeration
- Machines are available that use powdered milk, further reducing daily maintenance and operational requirements
- These machines offer the full range of espresso based drinks at the single touch of a button including the popular frothy milk options including flat whites and cappuccino. This means employees can get coffees of a better quality than those available on the high street if you use Specialty coffee beans
- Some machines also serve hot chocolate drinks adding more choice
- Freshly ground and prepared coffee provides a warm welcome for visitors to any office environment, setting a quality standard at the moment of arrival
- Most machines guide you through their maintenance requirements using real-time on-screen prompts that removes much of the operational complexity
If you are looking into your business coffee solutions and are considering a new coffee machine then please do contact our team or call us on 0330 133 0281 who can discuss your requirements and make an appropriate recommendation. amamus are official distributors for most of the major machine manufacturers and can provide a full machine service including supply, fitting and on-going maintenance/spares. You can learn more about why you should choose amamus in this article here. Plus we will supply superb Specialty grade coffee beans that allow your business to serve espresso or filter coffee that will surpass your client or team’s expectations. Discover more from amamus by following us on Linkedin.