Coffee Machine Guide

Which type of commercial coffee machine would best suit your business?

There are many different varieties of coffee machines available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Consumers often feel overwhelmed by the choices available and confused by the terminology used to describe the coffee machines.

In this blog post we will focus on the differences between instant coffee machines and bean-to-cup machines. By looking at the individual strengths and weaknesses of each type of equipment — instant machines and bean to cup machines — you can you make an informed decision on which type is best for your unique requirements.

An instant coffee machine uses soluble products to prepare its drinks, whereas a bean-to-cup machine grinds coffee beans to prepare its beverages. For this reason a bean-to-cup coffee machine has more moving parts, such as a grinder, brewer, waste basket, bean hopper, etc. An instant coffee machine has less moving parts and therefore easier to clean and maintain.


Saeco Phedra Evo bean-to-cup coffee machine with fresh milk
Saeco Phedra Evo bean-to-cup coffee machine with fresh milk

Benefits of bean to cup coffee machines

A bean to cup coffee machine does what it says on the tin. All you have to do is fill up the hopper with coffee beans and the machine does the rest. You are able to offer a wide range of delicious coffee using a variety of fresh coffee beans. With bean to cup, you will also benefit from the fresh aroma of coffee, something that is lost in instant coffee. In turn, these fantastic aromas will stimulate the senses and the sales: when people smell the coffee they are reminded of it’s presence and prompted to buy a cup.

It is sometimes said the first taste is with the eyes, and with a bean to cup coffee machine you can make delicious, visually impressive beverages. Because the beans are freshly ground, you get a nice crema on top of your espresso. You even have the option of serving fresh milk which can be textured and foamed to make beautiful layered latte’s. The extra freshness and presentation means you can also charge a premium price for your drinks and extract more profit from each cup of coffee you serve.

Drawbacks of bean to cup coffee machines

The only real drawback to a bean to cup machine is that they have a low drinks serving speed. This is to be expected as the beans must be ground and extracted for at least 25 seconds to get the most flavour out of the bean. The average serving time for a coffee is between 35 to 50 seconds which means they may not be suitable for self serve premises where usage is really high for short periods of time such as a stadium.

The other drawback is that they require slightly more cleaning than an instant machine because the bean hopper and grinder must be kept clean. Most bean to cup machines have a cleaning cycle of roughly 5 minutes but if you’re using a fresh milk machine it can take up to 15 minutes to ensure the best hygiene standards. The cleaning cycle can be carried out before or after opening hours to minimise disruption.

Benefits of instant coffee machines

Instant coffee machines require the least amount of maintenance as all of the ingredients are dry. A typical cleaning cycle on an instant coffee machine takes as little as 30 seconds. It also serves more drinks per hour than any other type of machine, which makes it great for really high demand locations where speed of service is essential. The Terra Nerva instant coffee machine can prepare 5 cappuccinos per minute.

Todays instant coffee machines have the ability to whip and froth the milk for cappuccinos and lattes. Powdered chocolate can be added to make hot chocolate and mochas. Our instant coffee machines has 4 x 1kg canisters that can be filled with coffee, freeze dried milk, sugar and hot chocolate. This allows control over the consumption of office consumables.

Drawbacks of Instant Coffee Machines

The biggest drawback to an instant coffee machine is the quality of the end product. Although the technology being used in the creation of instant coffee is becoming more and more advanced to try and lock in the flavour and aroma, it’s still no substitute for the real thing.


The main things to consider when choosing between a bean to cup machine and an instant machine is the quality of drink you want to serve, the amount you want to charge and the speed at which you need to serve drinks.

Investing in a good coffee machine is also an investment into customer satisfaction which has a direct impact on customer loyalty. The better the drink you are able to serve, the more memorable the customers experience will be and it’s for this reason that a bean to cup machine is always preferable over an instant coffee machine.

If you want to control your office consumable usage and increase productivity, an instant coffee machine is your best bet. Consumable products can be purchased in bulk from wholesalers, allowing you to make the most affordable cappuccino at the fastest possible time. We have found that customers who upgraded from an urn/kettle setup saved on average 55% on their total monthly grocery bill.

If you’d like to know more about the options available when choosing a coffee machine why not give us a call. We have over 20 years of experience and can help you choose the right machine for your business.

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