Website design By BotEap.comJust as no two vehicle models are the same, neither are coffee vending machines, and the old saying that “you get what you pay for” is very true. So what should you look for when buying a coffee machine? Should you buy the “Rolls Royce”, the SUV or the Mini Cooper? What are the differences anyway? Website design By BotEap.comThe first thing to identify is what drinks you want. Coffee vending machines come in various configurations and generally these are: Website design By BotEap.como Bean-to-cup: machines that use coffee beans that are only ground when you make your selection. The coffee is extracted using the espresso method of hot water and pressure. This provides a great tasting “real” cup of coffee. Website design By BotEap.como Instant coffee: machines that use an instant coffee such as Nestlé Nescafé or CIRO Pure Instant. Website design By BotEap.como Tea and instant coffee: the tea machines have a coffee machine that provides a quick brew and a cup of tea in about 15 seconds. They also dispense instant coffee. Website design By BotEap.comSecond, identify the scope of the beverages provided. This will depend on the number of ingredient cans inside (for example, for coffee beans, sugar, powdered milk, hot chocolate, etc.) and the number of selection buttons. A machine with two canisters can only provide coffee and milk or coffee and sugar … and a machine with five select buttons can only provide five options. These options can be espresso, black coffee, latte, cappuccino, and hot water. One with ten selections could add drinks with or without sugar, moccachino, latte, etc. A good quality machine will allow you to set any combination and concentration of the drinks. Website design By BotEap.comThird, look for “shortlist” options. These include the ability to have options such as “No Sugar”, “Regular Sugar” or “Extra Sugar” or similarly a number of milk or strong drink options (eg “regular coffee” and “strong coffee” ). This is useful because everyone has a preference … and in a corporate setting or one with lots of people, staff satisfaction increases with a greater variety of options. Website design By BotEap.comFourth, identify how many people will be using the machine. Don’t be fooled by a sales rep who wants to put up a large standing machine for an office of 20 people! Tabletop machines are small, attractive, and capable of serving up to 120 cups a day (typically an office of up to 60 people). If you have more staff, consider two small machines instead of one large machine; the second can not only reduce queues, but also act as a backup in case a machine undergoes routine maintenance. Website design By BotEap.comFifth, decide whether you want to use porcelain cups or disposable cups and, in the case of the latter, whether or not the machine should sell them. Using porcelain glasses saves money and provides better drink quality as there is no cost beyond the initial purchase and the material retains heat well and does not “stain”. The glasses sold are usually plastic and can be hot to the touch, so care must be taken if you want the machine to sell your glasses. Another alternative, if you feel that washing porcelain cups or having hot plastic cups are not options, is to stack paper or plastic foam cups next to the machine. Website design By BotEap.comSixth, please understand that the quality of the drinks and the actual machine may differ greatly. You certainly don’t want one that breaks down weekly, does this happen? Oh yeah! In a coffee machine there is hot water, heating and many moving parts, a nightmare for engineers. Select a reputable brand and watch out for cheap no-name brands from places like South Korea and China. Website design By BotEap.comSeventh, you need to consider after-sales service. If things go wrong, or if you need (as you will need) maintenance for your machine (such as a service for your car!), You will want reliable and efficient service. No two vending machine vendors are the same, and service levels differ dramatically across the industry. There are some major brand companies whose service is known to be exceptionally poor and there are smaller companies whose service is excellent. Be very careful here – it’s always the difference between a pleasant experience and a wasted investment. Website design By BotEap.comSo in conclusion, decide what you need, get the right machine from a reliable supplier, and make sure they provide the service you need. When in doubt, ask for a reference from a major company. If they can keep large, demanding customers happy, they are likely to grow into a credible company.