Cafe Coffee Machine: Buying Guide
There are a range of things to consider when buying a cafe coffee machine.
Don’t fall into the hype of sales pitches and empty promises. This is the information YOU need to know before making a decision.
- Do I buy outright, do I rent, do I lease or do I finance?
- Selecting the right machine for YOUR needs and environment or business model.
- Machine Aesthetics
- Size and Weight
- Settings and features
- Insurance, warranty and repair costs
- Automatic, manual or semi-automatic
- The best commercial coffee machine brands
Finance / Purchase / Rent / Lease.
Selecting your method of finance for a cafe coffee machine is the first step. Whether you buy outright finance through a broker or a bank or use a rental company like Silver Chef, you need to work out which method is best for YOU.
Buying outright means you own the equipment 100%. This becomes an asset and may have depreciation benefits or tax advantages if you have cash at your disposal.
However, you must also know that you tied to this equipment and are liable for any costs outside of the warranty period. If the business needs an upgrade or fails you may need to sell the equipment, possibly at a considerable loss.
FINANCE or LEASE
Purchasing equipment upfront may not be possible for new businesses, so company’s like Silver Chef offer equipment leasing as another alternative under a “rent, try, buy” method. Many business owners opt to lease a cafe coffee machine, rather than buy one for the ability to upgrade and reduce service and repair costs. Leasing also allows for lower monthly payments and stops you from having to hold onto a depreciating asset.
Using an Equipment rental company, like Silver Chef or Buddy Capital;, is usually what we recommend for new businesses and start-ups.
You can learn about Silverchef here.
You can learn about Buddy here.
Imagine you open up a small bakery and purchase a two group coffee machine outright. After 6 months, if your coffee sales are taking off, you will need to upgrade. This leaves you stuck trying to sell a second-hand machine, while also coming up with the money for a larger, more expensive machine.
Renting, means you can upgrade your equipment at any point that you need. Additionally, you can always remain within the warranty period of your machine by upgrading to a newer model at the 12-month period, for no additional cost, meaning less costs for repairs and maintenance.
- Firstly, give yourself flexibility – Upgrade at any time, purchase at any time, keep renting or return after 12 months should you wish. You can work with your equipment provider to ensure you always stay in the warranty period of equipment you hold. As a result, if you need repairs, it’s under warranty! Likewise, you can also upgrade your equipment as your business grows.
- Secondly, reduce your risk – the flexible options mean that you will only purchase an asset when your certain it is the right time, and the asset is working for your business.
- Thirdly, preserve your valuable working capital – Build your cash reserves to run your business and ensure you have comfort should any unexpected expenses or circumstances arise.
- Fourth, get what you need today – finance the business-critical assets you really need rather than having to compromise on quality to work within your cash budget.
- And Lastly, reduce your tax bill – All rental payments are 100% tax deductible.
Selecting the right Cafe Coffee machine for YOUR needs
There are so many variables when it comes to cafe coffee machines. How many groups do you need? How many steam wands do you need? Do you need a high group for large keep cups? Do you need automatic shot timers or have power limitations? Do you need the Commodore, the BMW or the Ferrari of machines? What is the Aesthetic or demographic of customer you are looking to attract?
We have been working with South Australian businesses for over 10 years, helping them find the right coffee machine for their needs. Most cafes don’t need to spend $17,000 on an elite coffee machine to get the most from their coffee. At Complete Cafe Services, we are fully independent, meaning you won’t hear sales pitches trying to get you to purchase one particular brand. We believe your success, is our success. Because of this, we want you to get the most out of your money.
Believe it or not, cafe coffee machine aesthetics is a big deal. Cafe coffee machines are a focal point for any business. Your machine will represent your brand, your coffee and pave the way for perceptions on the quality of your product. If you know the style of your cafe is pink, why not get a customized pink machine like our customer below. You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a machine made to suit your business, but it should, suit your business. A custom colour, mirror polished chrome finish or wooden accents can set you apart from other cafes and make your business the place to go. You can also add your logo onto many machines or have custom paint work done, to match your venue. If you want your machine to be a focal point that impresses your customers, talk to your machine provider about customization options before you buy.
Imagine buying a cafe coffee machine that can only make 200 coffees a day, when you have 350 customers each day.
This is an unfortunate situation that many people find themselves in, both in cafes and offices. It’s important to consider your highest possible customer flow and cater to that. This is why we recommend SilverChef, giving you the ability to upgrade your equipment as your business grows.
The amount of time it takes for your staff to care for your coffee machine should be a consideration. If you have baristas without years of experience, your coffee machine should be easy for your staff member to clean without needing supervision. A machine with a heap of complicated accessories, might not be the one for you. If you have highly experienced baristas, cleaning a gadget filled coffee machine should be no problem. The company you buy from, should also provide you with training on your machine, to help save you expensive repair and maintenance costs!
Size and Weight
The size and weight of your machine should be a big part of deciding on a cafe coffee machine.
You need to consider your available bench space for not just your coffee machine, but grinder and barista accessories too.
Settings and features
Understanding the features, settings and functionality your business requires is crucial to delivering the best coffee for your business. Your machine dealer will discuss the difference between single and double boilers with you to help you decide what is best for your business. As a general rule of thumb, double boilers are optimal for cafes as they provide separate boilers for steam and coffee, meaning your coffee temperature won’t fluctuate. You will need to consider baskets, groups, steam wands, shot timers, scales and grinders. Having a fantastic coffee machine doesn’t alone guarantee great coffee, you will need to get a grinder that provides consistency to ensure your recipe stays the same. You will also need to discuss volumetrics, volume, heat exchange and gravimetrics.
You will also need to consider water filtration. In South Australia for instance, we have “hard water”. Water that isn’t filtered properly causes limescale build up in your machine. This causes blockages and corrosion, and as a result can require costly repairs. The scale lines the boiler, water pipes, valves, solenoids and more. This can cause issues with your machines steam arm, pressure, flow rate and temperature. Improper sediment reduction can result in a build up that encourages scale growth. High levels of chlorine and chlorinates can cause corrosion to stainless steel while impacting the taste of your coffee. Because you consistently heat up your coffee machine, it is more likely to form scale than other appliances.
Water filtration plays a BIG part in taking care of your coffee machine. Proper filters do more than improve the taste of your coffee! There are four main things that dictate filter performance.
The PH balance of your water should ideally be as neutral as possible.
- Hardness Reduction
The hardness of your water is dictated by the level of calcium salts and magnesium in the water. These can cause limescale and corrosion inside a coffee machine. However, we do need some level of solids, in order to get a nice mouth, feel and for the machine electronics to work correctly.
- Sediment Reduction
Different filters remove different levels of dirt, algae spores, rust and other harmful sediments.
- Chemical Reduction
Most water contains levels of chlorine. High chlorine and chlorinates can cause corrosion to stainless steel.
A good coffee machine supplier will discuss your filtration options with you, that is optimal for your businesses water supply.
Cafe coffee machines often require more power than what comes from a standard wall outlet. You should speak with your supplier about the wattage of different cafe coffee machines to determine the best one for your business. Coffee vans specifically, usually require a lower wattage machine compared to venue cafes. If you are working from a generator, e a dual fuel, Gas fuelled machine. We recommend working with a coffee machine supplier who can also assist you in determining your power allowance. At Complete Cafe Services for instance, we have a workshop full of qualified technicians who can work with you to find a machine that suits your needs.
Cafe Coffee Machine Insurance, warranty and repair costs
While your cafe coffee machine should be covered under your business insurance for major acidents, it will also need general repairs and maintenance servicing.
Your machine supplier should discuss these options with you, including finance partners who enable you to stay within the warranty period on your coffee machine.
Your machine dealer should discuss general service schedule recommendations with you, which may vary from 2 to 4 times per year depending on the volume of coffee your business goes through.
Automatic, manual or semi-automatic Cafe Coffee Machine
You will need to consider how you need your machine to function, in order to optimize service or use in your environment. There are three options you can choose from for cafe coffee machines. This includes automatic, manual or semi-automatic.
Automatic coffee machines, while not that popular in cafes, are usually the first choice for commercial machines in the office. Automatic coffee machines give your coffee at the push of a button. Automatic coffee machines don’t usually require a barista, nor can most of them provide latte art.
Manual Cafe Coffee Machines give the barista full control of the coffee extraction and milk stretching. Manual cafe coffee machines require a barista to operate, but can supply your business with the most control over flavour and coffee dosing. Fully manual coffee machines however, require a lot of effort to produce coffee.
Semi-automatic cafe coffee machines are more hands on than an automatic machine, but less hands on than a manual coffee machine. They still come with seperate steam wands for stretching milk and require a seperate grinder. The feature of a semi automatic machine is that you still push a button the begin the extraction process. Your buttons should be fully programmable so that you have full control over your recipe. Semi automatic machines are most commonly used in Australian cafes today, as their automatic features allow for increased efficiency and consistency.
The best Cafe coffee machine brands
There are a range of quality manufactures of cafe coffee machines. We recommend buying from an independent supplier when selecting a machine to avoid bias pitches for one brand.
Some quality brands include
- La Marzocco
- La San Marco
- San Remo
You can browse our range of cafe coffee machines HERE.
As always, you can contact our friendly team for an obligation free chat about different options for your business HERE, or alternatively, call us on (08) 8338 0600.