Picking the Best Brewer for Any Business

Start a Coffee Program Anywhere

No matter what type of foodservice program you run, whether it's a convenience store snack kiosk or a hotel breakfast station, you can offer your guests gourmet coffee that rivals what they can get at the café down the street. With the coffee equipment available today, it's never been easier to provide good coffee in places besides specialty coffee shops. This guide will help you find the best coffee maker based on your business model.

The Best Brewer for Your Business

Table Service Restaurants

Table-service restaurants are generally best served by traditional drip brewers. These brewers are sometimes called "pourover brewers," but don't get that confused with the manual brewers that go by same name. The most popular of these automatic machines brew coffee into 64-ounce glass decanters that sit on electric warmers. This is the best type of equipment to use when staff will serve coffee within half an hour or so of it being brewed. Coffee held on a burner for longer than that tends to develop a burnt taste.

Continental Breakfast Stations

Another popular type of drip brewer brews coffee into insulated airpots. This is the type of brewer to choose if you're looking for a hotel coffee maker for a breakfast station or in a similar self-service concept. Portable servers are insulated to keep coffee hot, and they dispense coffee with the press of a button or the pull of a lever. These servers provide the safest method for allowing guests to serve themselves.

Conference Centers & Event Venues

When you're in charge of serving hot coffee to hundreds of guests at conferences or similar events, you need a coffee brewer that can brew in gallons, rather than cups. Coffee urns and percolators are the right choices for these big jobs because they're capable of brewing in batches from a handful of gallons to dozens of them.

The speed and convenience of urn and percolator brewers may come at the price of the coffee's quality, at least compared to drip brewers. This brewing method involves recirculating brewed coffee through the coffee grounds, which can sometimes over extract the coffee and leave it with an acidic taste, something that more particular guests may notice.

Convenience Stores

If you run a convenience store that sells a fairly steady volume of coffee, then the most appropriate coffee maker may be the thermal dispenser brewers we mentioned above, since most convenience store programs are self-service concepts. Make sure to train employees to keep a fresh supply of coffee on tap. Insulated servers can generally keep coffee hot and tasting fresh for a few hours after it's brewed.

Your store's demand for coffee may be too infrequent to necessitate a fresh coffee brewer. In that case, you may consider a coffee concentrate machine that brews coffee and other hot beverages from liquid or powdered concentrates. Understand that these convenience store machines produce a brew that's more akin to instant coffee, a fact that may not fly with more discerning clientele. Customers who just need a quick jolt of caffeine may appreciate the convenience that these machines provide.

Doctors' Offices, Hospitality Suites, & Low-Volume Establishments

If you only need to serve the occasional cup of coffee for the odd guest request, or if you're outfitting a doctor's office, reception area, or similar environment, the best coffee maker for the job might just be a single-cup brewer. This category includes commercial versions of the pod brewers that are popular in the residential market. A unique entry in this lineup is Bunn's Trifecta Air Fusion Brewer that uses a unique air infusion brewing method to maximize the extraction of flavor from coffee, one cup at a time.

Should You Invest in a Coffee Grinder?

Coffee experts unanimously agree that freshly ground beans make the best drink. That's because coffee begins to lose many of its complex flavors the moment it is ground. If you're serious about offering the best coffee service to your customers, you should invest in a grinder.

There are many grinders on the market to fill this need. Low-cost blade grinders will get the job done for grinding small volumes, but a burr grinder is essential for grinding in high volumes and achieving the ideal texture. You can learn all about this equipment in our coffee grinders buyers' guide.