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Commercial Beverage Machines: Buying Guide

6 Mar 2023, 12:59 PM

commercial Beverage Machines
Buying Guide

Beverage machines are some of the most important pieces of cafe and restaurant equipment that you can invest in, so it's important to spend plenty of time researching them before buying. The types of beverage machines you have on your premises dictates the drinks you're able to serve, so consider what your business already has on the menu and what you might add in future if you're considering expanding your range of products. In this guide we outline different types of commercial beverage machines, what types of businesses they're suitable for, and factors to consider when buying them.

Water boilers and kettles

Water boilers and kettles are useful for making a wide variety of hot drinks including tea, instant coffee, and instant hot chocolate. They can also be useful in kitchens for when chefs want fast access to boiling water to speed up food preparation. Kettles are small appliances that boil relatively small amounts of water - usually between 0.5 and 3.5 litres depending on the size. They're best suited to very small catering businesses that don't need access to boiling water very often.

Water boilers are significantly bigger appliances which are designed to boil and maintain the temperature of very large volumes of water. Some of them are automatic and designed to be connected to a water supply. This means they constantly refill themselves and heat water as users draw boiling water from them. This is ideal for businesses that need a continuous supply of hot water. When choosing an automatic boiler look at not just capacity but the hourly output of hot water. For example, a 10 litre boiler may be capable of dispensing up to 30 litres per hour. Look also at rapid draw-off capacity, which is the amount of boiling water that can be drawn at one time without the boiler losing temperature and needed time to heat back up.

Manual fill boilers are those which are manually topped up with water. These are significantly cheaper than auto models, but less convenient when you want a continuous supply of hot water. They're best suited to medium-sized cafes or restaurants. The benefit of manual boilers is that they're portable. This makes them a great option for banqueting halls or mobile catering businesses. Most manual fill boilers are powered by standard 3-pin electric plugs, but some are gas-powered. The latter are ideal for businesses that operate outdoors and don't have access to an electricity supply. When considering the capacity of manual boilers, look for volume in litres and in cups so you can get an idea of how many beverages it can produce. Ideally, you want a boiler big enough that it will last through an entire service without being refilled.

Drinks dispensers

Drink dispensers are catering appliances that allow you - or customers - to draw a readymade hot or cold drink from them directly. Some of them are refrigerated and designed for cold drinks, such as juices or ready-mixed cocktails. They're manually filled and drinks can be drawn from them via a tap. Slush machines work in a similar way, except that they have the additional function of freezing liquids into frozen drinks. Slush machines are popular with cafes and takeaway restaurants because they look great when put on display.

Milk dispensers are designed specifically for cooling and dispensing milk and can be a great time-saving feature for businesses that use lots of milk and don't want to continuously go back and forth to the fridge. However, their main function is for self-service use in hotel buffets and canteens. Diners can serve themselves milk for cereal, tea and coffee or simply for drinking. If you want to give customers more choice, you can get dual-container milk dispensers to serve two different types of milk at once.

Hot drinks dispensers are designed to be filled with pre-made hot beverages, such as tea, hot chocolate and mulled wine. They maintain the liquids at an optimum serving temperature and are operated with a simple tap. Sometimes they can also be used for things like sauces, gravy and smooth soups. They're ideal for canteens or buffets where diners serve themselves, but they're also a great way to up-sell hot beverages when set out on display in cafes.

Coffee machines

There are a few different types of coffee machines to consider. Some are designed to make a range of different coffees instantly. They have simple computer interfaces to allow users to choose from a range of beverages. The machines are usually filled with ground coffee and other powdered ingredients, and they draw water from a manually-filled reservoir or the mains water supply.

Bulk coffee brewers are large catering appliances that produce very large volumes of coffee. They're designed to be connected to mains water and electricity supplies, and they have removable urns to allow brewed coffee to be transported to serving areas. Often these urns are plugin electric so that coffee can be kept warm during serving. These appliances are suitable for very large catering businesses and canteens. Bean-to-cup coffee machines are similar but they have a reservoir for whole beans which are automatically ground and brewed to give a fresher, better-tasting cup.

Filter coffee machines and coffee percolators are suitable for small to medium-sized cafes and diners that want a convenient way to serve freshly-brewed coffee. These appliances usually have hotplates to keep the coffee warm as it is gradually served. Espresso machines are another popular way to make freshly brewed coffee. These produce individual portions of strong black coffee that can be combined with hot water, milk and syrups to produce a wide range of freshly made coffee drinks. Espresso machines are best suited to coffee shops, cafes and restaurants that want to serve very high-quality coffee.

Check out our range of commercial beverage machines

Now that you have a better understanding of the types of restaurant equipment available for dispensing and producing drinks, be sure to check out our full range of commercial beverage machines to find the right catering appliances for your business.

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