What to Consider When Purchasing Coffee Brewers

To better compete in the coffee arena, a number of restaurants have upped the ante in terms of this beverage’s quality and number of offerings. Purchasing the appropriate coffee brewer and accessories can be critical to a business’ success.

Here, Laura K. Lentz, senior designer at Ellicott City, Md.-based Culinary Advisors, provides insight on what operators should consider when purchasing this equipment.

Identify which type of coffeemaker is desired. Specific to brewed coffee, there are pourovers, satellite systems, thermal systems, single-serve and liquid dispensed coffee. Pourovers are often used in à la carte service where there is a lower capacity requirement per machine and a desire to ensure the coffee is freshly brewed. This type also is more affordable and doesn’t require a water line. Satellite systems are used in higher-capacity outlets and have the ability to be shuttled to multiple locations using one brewer. Thermal systems are more attractive servers that are similar to satellite systems but are more often used in self-service locations or front-of-house service areas.

  • Operators should determine what type of dispenser is needed, which will often dictate what type of coffeemaker is purchased. This may be either self-service or full-service.
  • Dispensers will either be purchased insulated or designed to be kept on a warmer.
  • Operators should determine how much coffee production the design requires, taking into account the size of the cup that will be used, the number of people to be served and the time frame in which the service will take place. For example, a banquet for 500 people will require coffee service at once, whereas a restaurant will serve coffee over the course of a night.
  • Some brewers will allow for brewing into different size dispensers for added flexibility. A half-batch brew option is often recommended to allow for smaller batches when needed.
  • Choosing the right power option when multiple types are available can be a critical decision. Higher voltage options, particularly three-phase, offer better, faster recovery.
  • The most critical element is water quality. It is important to be familiar with the water quality of the foodservice outlet and provide the appropriate filters for scale, taste and odor control.
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