Five criteria for choosing the right commercial coffee machine for your business

The WMF espresso machine

The WMF espresso machine - Credit: Archant

Did you know that there are around 24,000 coffee shops in the UK and more than 150 in Islington alone? And they’re succeeding because demand is growing.

At the current trajectory, cafes are set to be more popular than bars. And it shows, because in 2019, coffee contributed approximately £17.7 billion to the UK economy. All of which means that if you're a small eatery, the quality of your coffee matters. That's why choosing the right equipment for your business matters.

Here coffee machine manufacturers, WMF, take a look at five things you should think about before choosing a coffee machine for your business.

The size of your business

If you are working in a relatively confined space, you probably won't have room for a traditional commercial filter coffee machine. With built-in grinders and all the other accoutrements, they make theatre - and take up the size of one. Pod coffee machines have the smallest footprints, but may not provide the functionality you're looking for.

You also need think about the number of covers you serve. Not all coffee machines are able to work at speed.

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The character of your business

The type of coffee machine you install can really influence the personality of your business. Slick bean-to-cup machines will never look cosy. Pod machines will never create the impression of professional knowledge.

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The coffee you want to serve

Commercial coffee machines come in four main forms:

Semi-automatic pressure-pumped traditional filter machines From grinding to tamping, these machines allow the user control over most aspects of coffee making. Known for delivering outstanding flavour, models like the WMF 9000 F are the choice of the artisan establishment.

Bean-to-cup machines Once viewed as the poor relation of the filter coffee machine, fully automated bean-to-cup machines like the WMF 1500 S+ are now a serious consideration, consistently delivering full flavour at speed.

Hybrid machines Hybrid machines, like the WMF espresso, allow for both complete user-control and full automation. If you're looking for the best of both worlds, this is it.

Pod machines Coffee pod machines are fast, efficient and require very little service time. But they can be limiting, expensive to run, and create a lot of non-recyclable waste.

Your budget

Regardless of your needs or expectations, your budget matters. The most expensive isn't always the best. It just depends upon what you need. It's also important to be aware of any associated ongoing costs - spares/consumables/servicing. Look for a unit with a service contract to help protect yourself from future expense.

Ease of use

The whole point of having a swanky coffee machine is to use it. You don't want to have to send every new member of staff on a training course just to keep the thing operational. But, equally, it can be useful to have additional functionality. So, find out if the company you're buying from provides staff training, if it's necessary, and how much it costs (WMF provide free staff training for all purchases).

Finding 'the best' coffee machine is really about finding the best for your business. Don't be swayed by high prices or quirky accessories. Shop around, research, and ask questions. As long as you can deliver what your customers want, you've made the right decision.

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