5

I'm advocating for my office to purchase a bean-to-cup coffee machine to replace an auto-drip machine. What factors should I consider before suggesting a particular bean-to-cup machine? I'd be happy to hear anything from general warnings to full-fledged product recommendations.

My primary hope is for this to be as pleasant and pain-free as possible, both for consumers of the coffee (e.g., produces a good cup), and for maintainers of the machine (reasonable to service/maintain). This is for a small office, "medium duty" -- perhaps 100 cups per day. I'm hoping to avoid pod-based machines, for less waste and better freshness.

I'm primarily interested in drip-strength machines, but perhaps this is a terrible idea for this kind of machine. I hoped that there might be a small number of obvious choices, but I'm seeing a dizzying array of offerings. I fear that I'm missing something crucial. Noise? Quality? Ease of cleaning the hopper? User-empty-able bin? Quality of grinder? ...?

I see a few reviews that were decent, but not entirely what I'm looking for:

  • This one, which seems really to be super-auto espresso machines;
  • This one with similar offerings;
  • This one that is all over the map but is for small-scale / home market;
  • This one, with some office-oriented questions to ask, but is more heavy-weight than I'm seeking ("is tech support going to site-visit before the under-caffeinated masses revolt?")

Does anyone have experience with particular machines? If you've used these machines, what is the worst or best feature about the machine in your office? Are there other important considerations that I'm missing?

  • I am trying to keep away from writing an answer as I don't actually know anything about those machines. However, I may advise you to try to understand if they grind well at first place, then check whether they have nicely tamp and apply appropriate pressure for the cup. Actually, I think the brands will hardly explain those details we really wonder. – MTSan Apr 19 '16 at 15:09
  • Not sure if you are asking about espresso or regular drip coffee. My local Honda repair shop/dealer has a bean-to-cup machine that I was skeptical of at first but pleasantly surprised that it makes really good coffee. It's physically much larger than the ones reviewed in your links and I'm guessing probably serves more than 100 cups/day Good question, I hope you get some good answers. – PJNoes Apr 19 '16 at 15:57
  • This question seems not popular! Perhaps I wasn't clear or targeted enough. Help me improve the question? :) – hoc_age Apr 20 '16 at 11:12
  • @MTSan Yes -- certainly grind is very important... And also seems unlikely to be in manufacturer description (not likely to be of significant marketing benefit) or in a review (hard to gauge). – hoc_age Apr 20 '16 at 11:14
  • @PJNoes Sure, there are also drip machines that prepare bean-to-cup! I didn't think about that at first, good point. The problem about these machines is that they make everything hidden. You hardly see any part of the problem and it isn't explained in manuals or elsewhere. As I mentioned before, grind is probably one of the key factors but you hardly know how the machine does it. Everything happens magically. Maybe this is what people want. Coffee-as-a-Service. I think I just invented a term here: CaaS. – MTSan Apr 20 '16 at 11:43
2

Some major factors for consideration: 1) Manufacturer and warranty - with more integrated parts I've had to return or replace my fair share of these (and finally moved to separate machines for better taste and performance at the cost of convenience). 2) Capacity - how much are you brewing and for whom? 3) Adjustability - ability to vary the grind based on the bean / strength of coffee you desire. 4) "Cleanability" - how easy is it to disassemble the machine to clean it - with these integrated machines it is essential that you break them down and clean them frequently to maintain good taste and performance.

1

You should also consider the manufacturer. We have had excellent support from Capresso. Our CoffeeTeam GS died after 12 years of daily operation and we purchased an CoffeeTeam Pro from Sur La Table. The Pro was a disaster, but they stood behind it, and after the second repair we asked if they would trade it out for a GS. They did, no questions asked. (We had purchased it from an authorized dealer).

As to the grinder, avoid the propeller grinders and go for the burr grinder as it doesn't heat the beans up during the grinding process.

You should try roasting your own beans if you really want a good cup!

  • Welcome to Coffee SE, please feel free to take the tour. – MTSan Apr 24 '16 at 20:27

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.