How to choose the right coffee machine for your office

There are many benefits to making fresh coffee readily available to your employees. Not only was it recently reported that drinking several cups of coffee per day can actually improve our health, but there are also the advantages of increased productivity, improved team morale and time and cost savings.

If you’ve come across this page, then you are probably already in the process of deciding you want to rent or buy an office coffee machine. But with so many options out there, the task of deciding exactly which type is right for you can prove rather daunting. Luckily, we have put together this handy guide in order to help you to choose the perfect machine based on your specific business requirements.

What types of office coffee machine can I rent or buy?

You can, of course, always buy instant coffee and add hot water, but if you want to reward employees and impress guests with delicious on-hand beverages, a kettle will simply no longer suffice! That being said, a high-quality, professional machine is certainly the way to win over new clients and foster a happy workforce.

 The most common types are as follows:

  • Instant coffee machines
  • Filter coffee machines
  • Capsule/Pod
  • Bean-to-cup
  • Barista-style

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and its suitability will depend on what matters most to your business. For example, are you on a tight budget and want something cheap and easy? Or is the quality of the coffee being made more important?

Key factors to consider

Company size

The number of staff and visitors you have is probably the most important factor to take into account when choosing which type of machine to lease or buy, since you will need to make sure you pick one that can realistically meet consumption volume needs. There are several alternatives, so whether your office has 20 or 200 people, there’s a machine out there for every business size.

Our useful little table below can help in giving you an idea of suitability based on company size. Generally speaking, for small offices we suggest using instant or filter. For medium-sized businesses, any machine tends to be sufficient, and for large enterprises, bean-to-cup is recommended.

Coffee suitability based on company size

Cost and quality

Cost is obviously a key factor when deciding which machine to buy. While bean-to-cup and barista-style machines might set you back a pretty penny, they will also last longer than cheaper options, which is why good quality machines are certainly worth the investment. Although pod machines are relatively inexpensive to buy, the fact that you must keep buying pods means that the individual price per cup works out to be rather dear.

Most professional commercial coffee machines are available on lease which helps to cover overheads. Cost and quality of machine varies considerably from brand to brand, so it’s worth doing your research and asking for expert advice before making the dip.

Convenience

Nobody wants to wait around for their coffee or spend hours cleaning up after themselves, so two other important factors to take into account are the ease/speed of use and how much effort it takes to keep the machine ship-shape and shiny.

  • Instant coffee machines– The clue is in the name – just press a button and you’ll have a brew in several seconds. They are also fairly simple to maintain.
  • Bean-to-cup machines – Very easy to use as you simply fill, press one button and a coffee-shop-worthy hot beverage will be with you in no time. Straightforward to clean but this should be carried out regularly to keep well maintained.
  • Capsule – Easy to use with just one button to create coffee, but requires inserting and disposing of pods each time.
  • Barista-style – Relatively fast but many can be tricky to use for the uninitiated amongst us. You will not, however, have to clean these very often which is a bonus.
  • Filter machines – coffee needs to be placed in the filter and then brewed which takes a little longer. They require regular cleaning though this is quite straightforward.

Environmental impact

It’s now more significant than ever to take accountability for our impact on the environment, which is why many businesses are putting on their Corporate Social Responsibility hats and trying to be as eco-conscious as possible. If environmental impact is important in your enterprise then some machines are certainly a better choice than others.

Machines which use capsules are the least sustainable, since coffee pods are generally non-biodegradable. Most will be thrown straight in the bin and up end up in a landfill, though others can, in part, be recycled. However, this involves sending off or physically taking the used pods to specific places (e.g. Nespresso stores) and only you know whether someone at work will be proactive enough to do this regularly.

Bean-to-cup and instant machines use the same amount of water and electricity as pods, but can be switched off when not in use. As for filter machines, these are typically only switched on when a member of staff is brewing up a pot, though the filtering papers need to be disposed of. It’s important to note that all of these points are moot if one is failing to purchase Fairtrade, ethically-sourced coffee in the first place.

InstantFilterCapsule/PodBean-to-cupBarista-style
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You should now have an idea of the type of machine you want for your office, based on business size, quality, cost, ease of use and environmental impact. It’s up to you to weigh up these factors and decide which is best for your specific needs. Below is a quick break-down of the key advantages and disadvantages of each machine.

InstantFilterCapsule/PodBean-to-cupBarista-style
  • Good for small offices
  • Easy to use
  • Fast installation
  • Quality not as good
  • Good for small offices
  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Quick, easy to use
  • Decent quality coffee
  • Pods are expensive
  • Not eco-friendly
  • Large, busy offices
  • Fresh, quality coffee
  • Fancy beverages
  • Easy to use
  • Pricey
  • Large, busy offices
  • Fresh, quality coffee
  • Fancy beverages
  • Easy to use
  • Pricey