text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation
  1. Home
  2. Lockhart Catering Blog
  3. Coffee Machine Buyer's Guide
coffee machines main

Some of the best profit margins in catering come from Hot Beverages, and for this you need a high quality coffee machine...

The advantages of beverage service

The ingredients are very cheap, usually costing only a few pence, and the selling price is usually in excess of one pound. Margins like this allow caterers to invest more money in better equipment such as larger, automatic coffee machines, thus improving the quality of their product and increasing the selling price. There are various methods and machines for making a cup of coffee, and caterers need to understand these and decide which is best-suited to their business.

Read more about how to Turn Coffee into Cash on our Blog. The various types of machines are outlined in the following section.

Types of coffee machine

• Pour and serve- This usually comes as 2 jugs per unit, one being filled slowly by hot water running through the ground coffee held in the filter. The other jug is kept warm by being placed on a heat pad on the top of the machine. The only drawback with pour and serve coffee machines is time constraints, with the prepared jug of coffee usually having a limited time to stew on the heat pad before it spoils (approx. 1 hour as a general rule). These systems are good for businesses such as cafes & small pubs where there is steady demand.

• Cafetiere - The most simplistic and low cost of coffee machines. They can come in a high-grade plastic, but most are made of heat-resistant glass. The size of cafetieres is measured in the number of cups it can deliver. Due to this limitation, a wide range of sizes is usually needed, with a 3-cup size needed for 1 or 2 customers, and potentially up to an 8-cup size for groups of 4 or more. With regards to cleaning and maintenance, most cafetieres are hand wash only, as common dishwasher detergents may be unsuitable.

• Automatic Machines- The more expensive option, coming in semi-automatic or fully automatic varieties. Manufacturers sometimes offer training packages with the sale of these type of machines, and even the fully automatic machines still need staff with adequate training. The main advantages of automatic coffee machines are:

• Consistency
• Quality
• Speed

• Soluble - Using freeze-dried coffee, they are convenient and quick, but maybe not the highest quality. Ideal for low-demand businesses who want to offer a quick, cheap hot beverage, they are most often found in Motorway services, airports and any places that have a fast turnaround of customers.

Looking after your coffee equipment

Pour and serve coffee machines are fairly minimal on the maintenance front, but hard water can be an issue and de-scaling regularly is essential.
Automatic coffee machines require more involved maintenance, due to some appliances having steam wands and frothing systems.
Milk is a breeding ground for bacteria and steam wands should be sanitised at least once every six hours during constant use.
On top of this, in popular coffee shop´s with front of house coffee making, the heavy-handed display of barista´s can often require premature part replacements, which can be expensive.

Things to remember

• Always think about a water treatment system and remember to sanitise anywhere that has had contact with milk.

• Drip trays should be cleaning regularly and machines should be cleaned daily.

•  Staff training is paramount to ensure the longevity of the more expensive automatic coffee machines, such as rough handling dispenser heads, leaving sugary spills and ingredients in soluble machines.

A coffee machine to suit you

We supply a wide range of heavy duty coffee machines from commercial brands for catering businesses of all sizes. Whether your small office needs an affordable coffee machine, or your restaurant requires a large capacity catering kettle, we have the beverage machine to suit your needs.

As one of the UK's leading suppliers of catering equipment, our beverage machines are of a professional quality, made to a robust standard, and are made for the commercial environment.
Our commercial coffee machines from trusted brands such as Gaggia are available in a variety of sizes and designs, catering to a wide range of requirements and budgets. 

The dual hot plate manual coffee machines lend themselves well to small pubs, hotels and buffet events, whilst our selection of automatic machines are ideal for cafes and busy restaurants. We also offer several Pour and Serve coffee machines which are well-suited for serving up a beverage or two in small offices.


Lockhart Catering on 22 August 2016 3:30 AM

Latest Blogs

preview image
8 May 2024
preview image
25 April 2024
preview image
24 April 2024
preview image
4 April 2024


Buyer's Guides
Buying Guides
Continental Chef Supplies
Guest Articles
Hints & Tips
Industry News
London Innovation Centre
National Chef Of The Year
New Products