How do I decide where to buy my machine?
You should look for a company you feel comfortable dealing with who is looking to build a relationship with you lasting for many years and who therefore won’t be looking to ‘make a fast buck’ selling you a machine that’s wrong for you and your business.
If you buy your machine from the same company who supplies both your coffee and your service, you can be more confident that any problems you may encounter will be dealt with efficiently because it’s in all parties’ interest to get the problem sorted quickly.
How do I decide what machine I need?
This will largely depend on the site you have and the number of coffees you need to be able to serve. The machines range from a traditional espresso machine to fully automated bean-to-cup machines to pour and serve filter machines.
What’s the difference between espresso machines, bean-to-cup machines and filter machines?
Espresso machines produce espresso coffees, cappuccinos, lattes – in fact any espresso-based product can be made on a traditional ‘espresso’ machine. They also all use coffee beans which are ground before use, usually in a grinder located to the side of the machine. They are available with 1, 2, 3, or 4 ‘groups’, theoretically allowing you to make between 1 and 8 cups of coffee simultaneously.
They use fresh milk which is steamed manually using a steam arm.
There are 3 types of espresso machine to consider: manual, semi-electronic and electronic. Most businesses find that a 2 group electronic is best for their needs.
Coffee pods can also be used on any of these machines with a minor adaptation.
Bean-to-cup machines are fully automated and do everything for you: they grind the beans, dose the coffee, tamp the coffee and dispense a programmed amount – all at the touch of a button. They can also heat and froth milk at the same time, again at the touch of a button, allowing you to produce a wide range of coffees.
Bean-to-Cup machines make great use of new technology and have many moving parts involving steam, water, coffee and grouts so they do require a greater level of maintenance and servicing to keep them producing a consistently high quality product. However, they require little operator skill and for busy sites, can dramatically reduce labour costs.
Bean-to-Cup machines are a very good way of achieving a consistent product if you have a busy site with a number of different operators and their quality and reliability has greatly improved over the years.
Filter machines produce a 3-pint jug or flask of filter coffee from ground coffee supplied in pre-portioned sachets. The machine is compact, does not require plumbing in and is easy to use and maintain. It is generally supplied on free-loan with the purchase of coffee.
Should I free loan, lease purchase my machine?
If you decide to free loan you will know exactly what your costs are each month as everything you need is included in a fixed price (usually equivalent to selling as few as 2/3 cups of coffee a day). New machines come with parts warranty but do not include service cost. Buying is not cheaper than leasing, buying is using your money, leasing is using the profit of your business to pay for it.
If you lease a machine, you make regular monthly payments to a leasing company and at the end of the term, you own the machine and become responsible for the service and maintenance of the machine.
Outright purchase requires a capital outlay but is cheaper than renting or leasing. All servicing and maintenance is your responsibility from the outset and should be factored into the overall cost of the purchase.
How do I get a free-loan machine?
Free-loan machines are available for all customers.