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Best office coffee machines for any office
Coffee and tea are the lifeblood of every office, sure there might be some people who don’t have caffeine but everybody else needs a jolt of caffeine in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon as well. While tea is easy to sort out, just buy yourself a kettle and a few different brands of tea, coffee is a bit more involved.
According to this article by the Harvard Business Review, free coffee is one of the top in-office benefits employees appreciate, being slightly edged out by free snacks. So if you’re wondering if you should provide coffee, the answer is an unequivocal “Yes”. That being said, coffee is a bit more complicated than tea, especially when it comes to equipement.
Not all coffee is created equal, there’s free coffee and Great Free Coffee. The British Coffee Association reports that in the UK, people drink over 95 millions cups of coffee a day and 80% of us visit a coffee shop at least once a week.
With most people’s tastes in coffee having moved on from the jar of instant coffee next to the teabags, what can your business do to provide a good perk for all the coffee drinkers out there.
Size of office
While you can of course buy any coffee machine for your office we’re going to split this article into good coffee machines for small offices and good coffee machines for large offices.
The reason for this is simple, coffee machines are expensive, so if you go with a large, all singing and dancing machine that can make a lot of coffee quickly, but you only have a small office it’s going to be a waste. It will also come with added maintenance costs that will make it a cash drain quickly.
On the other hand if you get a small coffee machine that can’t keep up with the demands of your employees, they’ll probably get frustrated and stop using it, as nobody wants to queue for 15 minutes to get their coffee in the morning.
Best coffee machines for medium and large offices
If you’ve got a larger office there are a few questions you should consider:
- Do you have one kitchen or multiple kitchens?
- Would it be a better idea to purchase multiple smaller machines and distribute them around the office or get a larger bean-to-cup machine?
- Should you buy or lease from a specialty vendor?
Based on your answers there are a few ways you could go from buy to lease.
Go with multiple coffee machines
Even if you go for the best bean to cup machine, it can only make one or two coffees at a time. While people have coffee all day, there will probably be a morning rush, if you can only make one or two coffees at a time it doesn’t matter how good the machine is, there’s going to be a queue.
A good option would be to go for multiple smaller machines like the ones recommended for small offices. That way instead of spending £500 on one machine you can get three.
You could even distribute them around the office so your employees don’t have to go to the kitchen to make their cup of work-juice. Coffee pod machines are a great option here as they are lower mess than other machines so you can put them almost anywhere there is power.
If you’ve got a variety of coffee drinkers in the office you could also go for a combination of filter and espresso machines so everyone can get the kind of coffee they want.
Nespresso for the larger office
It should come as no surprise that Nespresso has a solution built specifically around the office use environment. These machines are larger and slightly faster than domestic machines. They are also designed to handle the high volume that an office environment demands, after all, most home machines were not built to handle dozens of uses a day.
- Same, no fuss, push button Nespresso experience
- Access to all nespresso varieties
- Automated disposal of pods to larger hopper – no need to empty it out as often
- Uses different pods than the consumer version so you can’t mix and match and you can only use first party pods
- On the more expensive side
Bean to cup machines
Bean to cup machines vary in prices and features from a few hundred pounds to over £1500 so to make this easier we’ve picked three different options at three different price points to recommend.
The De’Longhi Magnifica has been around for some time, and it’s one for the best selling bean to cup machines in the UK, while you can sometimes get hold of it for under £300 pounds but you’ll have to wait for a sale.
- Real bean to cup experience
- 7 grind settings with half step increments
- 1.8L water tank (front loading)
- 2 years warranty
- Milk frother wand
- Push button operation
If the De’Longhi is a bit too basic for you, try the Sage Barista Express. This model has been around for a while so it’s tried, tested and well liked by coffee drinkers. One thing to note is that this machine isn’t exactly bean to cup as you have to move the portafilter from the grinder to the brewing head yourself and froth your own milk (unlike the De’Longhi) but that is the price you pay for a better brew.
- Integrated burr grinder with auto-dosing
- Digital temperature control for price water temperature
- Push button operation
- Stainless steel construction
The Sage Oracle is the machine for true coffee connoisseurs. Bridging the gap between domestic and barista coffee makers it offers every feature you could possibly want, though these features come at a rather steep price.
- Auto grind and tamp grounds into portafilter
- Professional temperature controlled brewing
- Automated milk texturing
- Brewing and milk frothing at the same time
Lease a coffee machine
If you’re looking at larger coffee machines you should consider leasing instead of purchasing. Catering-style coffee makers can go into the thousands of pounds for all-in-one solutions with touchscreens and drinks menus, so your best option here is leasing instead of buying one.
The Jura X3, which isn’t even that expensive for a catering unit starts at £3650 + VAT depending on the retailer, but can be had for £27 a week from Clumsy Goat Coffee, making leasing a less risky approach in case the machine doesn’t go down well in the office.
Sourced Coffee even has this interactive machine selector tool that will help you pick the right machine for your office.
Go for better beans instead of or in addition to a machine
No matter what option you choose, a machine is only part of the equation. The beans matter as much, if not more than the machine brewing the coffee. Sure, you can’t have a good espresso without a machine that can generate enough pressure, but if you have bad beans you’ll have a coffee that looks right but tastes bad.
The good news is that you don’t have to become a coffee expert overnight. A lot of the direct-to-home coffee subscription services have started offering an office coffee package, where they send you tailored, freshly roasted beans every week, two weeks or month depending on your use. This makes it a bit of a set and forget option, so you no longer have to remember to stock up on coffee.
Most will tailor your deliveries to your office coffee drinking tastes – i.e. do your employees like darker or lighter roasts, more or less acidity etc. They will even send you a variety of beans so everyone is happy. Best of all, they don’t send you the same coffee every month, after all office coffee doesn’t have to be boring.
Check out Pact Coffee, Origin or Chimneyfire Coffee as a start, but there are many more roasteries that offer this service, so don’t be afraid to experiment or let your coffee drinkers experiment.
Speaking of beans, if you don’t go for a coffee capsule solution or a machine that has a built in grinder you should absolutely buy a separate grinder and order coffee in bean form. They will stay fresher longer and there’s no packing method that will preserve the flavour of freshly ground coffee.
Coffee grinders are small and most have an easy dispensing mechanism that minimises mess so you don’t have to worry about getting ground coffee everywhere.
Both the Krups Expert Burr Grinder and the De’Longhi KG79 are great inexpensive options at £39 and £43 respectively and will make all the difference in your office coffee drinking experience.
There are a lot of options available to you if you’re considering getting a coffee machine for your office. You could use filter, pod, ground DIY, ground bean-to-cup or even all-singing, all-dancing touchscreen solutions if that’s what you want.
People’s tastes in coffee are personal though so if you don’t currently have a coffee machine it might be a good idea to talk to your employees about what they’d want out of a coffee machine perk. There’s no point in investing in a solution that people think is mediocre, especially since coffee machines are not cheap.
If your employees prefer a local coffee shop that makes great cappuccinos or flat whites, you could even consider talking to the owner and getting a subsidised price for your employees. You could pay them a fixed fee each month to offer your employees a preferential rate. It will guarantee some income for them, and make coffee less expensive for your staff. You can support a local business and give your employees the coffee they already love at a cheaper price, talk about a win-win.
If you do go for an in-office machine, remember that whichever machine you do end up getting, the machine is only half the solution, getting the right coffee to go with it can make all the difference.
Even if you currently have a coffee machine you’re considering replacing ,think about trying better beans before investing in a better machine, you might find that the machine was fine all along, but that the coffee was the problem.