Bunn Decanter Brewer Buyers' Guide
Even with the rising popularity of specialty coffee, there will always be demand for traditional hot coffee in restaurants, offices, and businesses. Bunn has led the way in supplying equipment to satisfy this appetite for more than 50 years with a variety of brewers that make it easy to keep up with any volume in an efficient and consistent manner. The most common type is the decanter brewer, which brews coffee into glass decanters used for serving. Your specific setup and needs can help you determine which Bunn coffee maker will work best for you.
How much coffee you plan to sell is one of the first considerations to make. There is a Bunn brewer to suit nearly every volume need, from 2.9 to 15 gallons per hour. The highest-volume brewers have two brew heads, meaning you can brew regular and decaffeinated coffee at the same time or double batches of either. Bunn coffee makers with double brew heads will take up more counter space, and it's always important to choose a model that will fit into the space you have available to dedicate.
Another factor to keep in mind when choosing which volume of coffee maker will work best for your operation is the equipment's voltage requirements. While voltages will vary, one way to get a read on a machine's production potential is to look at its wattage rating. Typically, models that have a higher number there can recover to brewing temperatures more quickly when fresh water is added, which means more time spent brewing.
Because coffee is roughly 98 percent water, the water source is another factor to consider when purchasing a Bunn coffee maker. The water used in making coffee can have a major impact on its flavor, and how the water comes into the machine can have a big impact on the workflow in your kitchen or serving area.
A pourover coffee brewer has a water tank that must be refilled manually. The frequency with which that task must be completed will be determined by the size of the tank and the volume of coffee being made. This type of Bunn coffee maker is ideal for kitchens where it is not convenient to plumb a water line into the unit, and is also great for uses where the unit may need to be moved around, such as for a catering operation. Because production is limited by the size of the tank and its need to be refilled, this type of brewer has a lower production potential, with the highest-capacity brewer producing 3.9 gallons per hour.
An automatic coffee brewer connects to a water line and is automatically refilled whenever it brews coffee. This lets the brewer constantly heat water for the next batch, allowing it to produce much higher volumes than similarly-sized pourover brewers. This brewer cannot be moved once it is installed, as it will be connected to a water line and cannot function without that connection.
The number and configuration of burners you need will be determined by your counter space and the number of Bunn decanters you will be using. Pourover brewers are available with two or three warmers, while automatic coffee brewers can have as many as six. A low-volume operation may only need a couple warmers, but if you plan on brewing both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, you may benefit from having a second warmer. For higher-volume operations where several servers may need to use several decanters simultaneously, multiple burners allow you to keep a number of batches of coffee warm at the same time. Multiple burners are also great for operators who wish to offer a variety of brew flavors.
Special Features and Accessories
There are several special features and accessories that can make your Bunn coffee maker more convenient and easier to use. Keep the following options in mind when shopping for your brewer.
- Bunn Decanters: Bunn decanters are available in all-glass models and models constructed of glass with a stainless steel bottom. All-stainless-steel thermal carafes are also available for restaurants that may have the carafe away from the warming plates for extended periods of time. All carafes are available with either black or orange plastic tops and handles to make it easy for your servers to distinguish decaffeinated from regular coffee.
- Paper Coffee Filters: Bunn makes paper filters that are specially-designed to fit their machines to give you the best results and prevent overflows. Fast-flow filters are also available for when time is of the essence.
- Hot Water Faucet: A hot water faucet allows you to take advantage of the brewer's hot water to make other drinks, such as tea or hot chocolate. This feature is not available on pourover brewers due to their limited water supply, but can be found on most automatic brewers.
- Water Filter: If you are purchasing an automatic coffee brewer, you may want to consider adding a water filter. Filters can help improve the flavor of the incoming water and can also help prevent hard water buildup on the inside of your coffee maker.
- Digital Controls: Some Bunn coffee makers feature digital controls with an LCD screen. These controls allow you to determine the brew temperature, pre-infusion time, and pulse brew options, giving you finer control over the flavor of your final product.