Upgrading Your Commercial Coffee Maker Business

Already have a successful small coffee business? Ready to take it to the next level? Purchasing a better, more efficient espresso machine and a grinder will ensure that you can produce a brew that will allow you to keep up with the trends and demands of a mid-level coffee endeavor. Today, single-source, sustainable farms are making their high-quality beans more readily available. You might also choose to move from a national, high-volume roaster to one that is more local to your business. Beyond the machine, the grinder, and the beans, there are many other considerations that go into upgrading your business’s commercial coffee maker.

The Machine

When stepping up to a mid-grade espresso machine, you’ll need to consider the volume you can expect and how trained your baristas will be. There are four styles of espresso machines: manual, semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic.

Many of the most popular coffee chains have machines that are super-automatic, so it’s an easy task to put out consistent results without much training. For a mid-level establishment, however, a semi-automatic or automatic machine will probably suffice. These machines will require some training on the barista’s part, so it may be a good idea to send your staff for training or invest in an online service to teach the basics of coffee crafting using the precision machines.

These machines will have one to four groupheads, and typically one with two or three heads will work for an establishment with medium volume. If you’re on a budget, you may want to choose one with two heads, while one with three heads would be great if counter space isn’t an issue. When moving up to this step, you can expect to spend from $5,000 to $20,000, depending on the features you need. Not matter how much you choose to spend, espresso machines can be expensive to maintain, so it’s important to make your purchase based on brand reputation as well as service and support options.

The Grinder

With the upgrade in the machine, you’ll no doubt want to upgrade your grinder as well. In fact, you may find it beneficial to buy an extra grinder or a double grinder to accommodate decaf brews. While these can set you back anywhere from $2,000 to $4,500, you really will get what you pay for. Most experts agree that burr grinders are best suited for mid-level operations, as they will give a more even grind more quickly than a blade grinder. Blade grinders don’t typically grind beans finely enough to make passable espresso.

The Beans

Today, it’s a simple task to trace a cup of coffee from its origin all the way through to the cup. Many coffee distributors are making conscious efforts to fill the market with coffee that comes from sustainable sources. This ensures you get pure Arabica beans, and it helps aid in quality control.

In times past, coffee beans used to be roasted before they ever left their country of origin. Today, there are local roasters that can provide precise roasting for a given house blend. You may wish to choose this route if you’re attempting to appeal to customers with a more refined coffee palate.

The Additions

No matter how skilled your barista or how precise your equipment may be, there will always be patrons who want to customize their coffee experience. This will make it necessary to provide them with plenty of condiments. You’ll also need a place to display and store those. There are racks and stands to provide that. You may also need to add pumps to add special flavorings to the coffee.

Beyond the Counter

If you’re moving beyond counter coffee service, you may wish to upgrade to non-disposable cups and incorporate saucers and other tableware, flatware, and other tabletop items. If this is the case, you may opt for an espresso machine that will warm the cups to the optimal temperature for service. If you go this route, you will also need to consider the added costs of labor and equipment, like dishwashers and storage methods. You may also wish to offer baked goods or sandwiches, which will require heated, refrigerated, or ambient display cases.

Creating Atmosphere

Ambiance will also play a key role in getting your coffee business off the ground. This can be achieved with proper lighting and seating. Wall art, photographs, and antiques are great options for decorations. You might also opt to include live or recorded music, but keep in mind that the level of the music may interfere with conversations. It’s also important to have dependable wi-fi and plenty of well-spaced electrical outlets.