What to Look for in a Good Commercial Coffee Machine

While coffee consumption has been with us for ages, it is only recently that coffee shops became popular. Usually, people were comfortable with filter coffee or instant coffee. Today however, you can open a restaurant and have coffee as your main selling item. But that may only happen if you have a good coffee maker at your restaurant. For this reason, read below to learn how to select a commercial coffee machine.

Size of the Machine

good commercial coffee machineA commercial coffee machine should make coffee at a pace that fits the demand on coffee at your restaurant. If your business is busy, you will probably need a big machine. However, your budget will probably also play role in the type of machine you buy. Something else that may affect your coffee machine decision is the size of your coffee stand or shop.  With that in mind, select a coffee maker that can increase output at your restaurant as you would want it to be. For coffee shop owners, buy a machine that produces more coffee than you sell in a day. It may be cost you more, but then you won’t need to buy an extra machine later when your customers increase. Don’t feel pressured to buy a big machine if coffee is not your main selling item however.

Water Dispensing System

Most of the coffee machines in the market today either dispense water automatically or through a pour over system. The automatic models are usually connected directly to a water source. Their biggest advantages is the fact that they allow water to flow into the right coffee machine compartments, as such minimizing your need to monitor water flow. When connected to a good machine, you also get to configure how much water should be dispensed at any given time. The pour over coffee makers on the other hand are like most home use machines. You have to personally pour water into the appropriate compartment. For busy commercial restaurants, an automatic dispensing coffee machine might be the better choice. It allows you to concentrate on serving customers instead of get distracted while you monitor water.

Specialty Features

Any good quality commercial coffee maker should have convenience features. It should come with such features as a digital panel, warming options and hot water faucets. For a coffee shop especially, having a machine with a hot water faucet saves you hassle of investing in an extra water heater. And in restaurants, such a machine will come in handy when you want to prepare meals that require hot water. A digital panel on the other hand is important for various reasons. For instance, you get to preset when the machine should start making coffee. And with the presence of warmers, you get to prepare latte, cappuccino, espresso and other coffee variants faster and in a more convenient way.

Types of Coffee Machines to Consider

  • Thermal Coffee Machines – A thermal coffee machine is designed to brew coffee directly into your serving device. They also come with racks to help hold several servicing devices. For small coffee shops, a commercial thermal coffee machine might serve your needs better than other makers.
  • Decanter Coffee Maker – A commercial decanter brews coffee the traditional way but has the capability to make coffee fast in order to suit the needs of a commercial setting. With the machine, you get to decide how much coffee you brew. As such, the machines are mainly designed in a pour over water dispensing system even though they may have modern looks and other specialty features in them.
  • Pod Coffee Maker – They work like traditional coffee machines, with the limitation of making one cup of coffee at a time. Again, you have to insert a brewing specialty in the machine before it brews coffee for you. With its slow brewing system therefore, you can hardly find the pod commercial machine in a real coffee shop. Instead, it is bought by companies for employees to brew coffee at will.

Costs

How much money do you want to spend on your coffee machine? Technically, you could get a commercial coffee maker for less than $1000, or spend triple the money for a better machine. In some cases, restaurant owners spend up to $40,000 in the hopes of finding an exceptional coffee maker. With that in mind, your budget and your needs are probably the best determiners of what coffee maker you end up with. However, make sure that you look for a machine with the best value. Look for the presence of advanced specialty features to determine this value. In most cases however, such machines will cost more.

Finally, consider the after sale service a company offers before you buy from them. Consider if they offer repair services, because in many places you almost can’t find a mechanic for a commercial coffee machine.

Keeping your Coffee Shop Clean with a Pressure Washer

For many people, and this includes most of your customers, a coffee shop clean on the outside is also likely to be clean on the inside. The health department is also less likely to pay you frequent visits if your shop sparkles from a distance. But how can you make your coffee shop appear like a five star hotel when you probably don’t have a big budget? Invest in a good pressure washer. But of more importance, maintain a high level of sanitation at your shop by doing the following.

Pressure Wash the Floors

keep your coffee shop clean with a pressure washerMost coffee shops steam clean floors at their businesses regularly. In any case, customers tend to be keen on the cleanliness of the floors at your business. Unfortunately, most of the mops and cleaning solutions you probably use don’t eliminate grime and stains 100 percent. Due to this, your floors are left with certain areas stuck with smelly grime. However, a pressure washer is effective at eliminating almost any type o stains from a restaurant. Pressure washing is also faster, which ideally saves on your time. But as you take care of the floors, don’t forget to clean the dumpsters. They easily get dirty and hold bacteria that could cause diseases to you and your employees. Dumpsters also get smelly fast, but fortunately a pressure washer can clean them to eliminate every stain or grime in them.

Clean the Outdoor Seating Places

Once you are done cleaning the floors, work on the outdoor seating area. Customers who often come to drink or dine at your coffee shop’s dining area are often loyal customers. They could skip several other restaurants just to your coffee shop. As such, make your outdoor seating place the best for them. Clean this area with a pressure washer regularly and customers will always come to your coffee shop. Besides the seating area, take care of every other outdoor section at your shop. The parking lot for instance, the signage and windows for instance can all be made to appear dazzling with simple pressure washing.

While you work hard to ensure the floors, kitchen and outdoor areas are thoroughly pressure washed, never underestimate the need to keep your dishes and coffee equipment clean. They are the most important tools at your coffee shop after all. Fortunately, you almost can’t have problems maintaining the small tools and espresso makers. The major problem however lies in eliminating the hard stains that continuously give you headaches even when you have a good steam mop. And maybe, buying a pressure washer may not help you much given your busy schedule. So, is hiring a professional cleaner a good decision for you?

Reasons For and Against Hiring a Professional Cleaner

Benefits

  • Professionals have better Pressure Washers – Buying a good pressure washer isn’t an easy decision. Fortunately, pressure washers already know how these machines work, and they will come with the best at your coffee shop. With good pressure washers, professional cleaners can then clear grime and stains.
  • They have Access to Appropriate Cleaning Solutions – Another advantage of hiring a professional is that they will come with the best solutions for your coffee shop. You probably don’t know the solutions that clean faster without leaving unwanted odors. But fortunately, a professional knows everything about such solutions.
  • They are trained and Experienced – While you may be a good business person, you are probably not good at cleaning with a pressure washer. By contrast, professionals are trained and earn their living through pressure washing. They know how to control the pressures, how to use heating elements and how to eliminate all grime from your coffee shop.
  • They are convenient – If you spend most of your time dealing with customers, finding time to pressure wash can be difficult. Hiring a professional cleaner therefore saves you time, and allows you to concentrate on the money making aspect of your business.

Why you don’t have to hire a professional

  • Pressure washing a coffee shop takes less time – If you own a coffee stand, it is not necessary to hire a professional. Investing in a cheap, but good quality pressure on the other hand can have more value to someone like you. This is because you can always pressure wash late in the evenings in less than fifteen minutes and save the money you would have spent on a professional for other purposes.
  • It is easy to pressure wash – If you can afford a pressure washer, you will always find it fun to pressure wash. Again, you can use your coffee shop washer at home whenever you want to. This way you save more money and have both your home and your work place clean at all times.

Despite of what option you settle for, make pressure washing at your coffee shop a regular activity. After all, a clean shop is always an attractive place for customers.

How to Open a Coffee Shop

The coffee business has been growing steadily over the years.  In fact, there are almost 60,000 coffee businesses across the US compared to just over 50,000 five years ago. But while the industry continues to rise, one thing has become apparent. People are now more concerned about the quality of coffee they take. Customers are shifting towards independent coffee shops that offer quality but affordable coffee. As such, there is probably no better time to open a coffee shop like now.  But how do you go about it? Stick with me in the next few minutes as I guide you on how to start a successful coffee business.

Who Can Start a Coffee Shop?

how to open a coffee shopWhile successful coffee brands like Starbucks make millions of dollars every year, most coffee startups actually fail. The industry is quite competitive, and profit margins for small businesses often stay tight for years before getting a breakthrough. If you are really not after a lot of money however, a good coffee business can get you a modest income. But even then, you don’t get your money easily in this industry. Running a coffee business demands a lot of hard labor. For one, you stand for the vast majority of your working days. You have to clean the shop and equipment often and speak to many people.  You can accustom yourself to the business however by interning at another coffee shop for a few weeks. This way you gain vital experience that will help kick start your business with fewer challenges.

Research

If you are certain that a coffee shop is the only business you want to open; invest in learning about the industry. Talk to coffee shop owners whose businesses are successful. Don’t ignore to consult people who are still struggling to run their shops. In most cases, the advice you get from people in the industry can turn out to be the best advice you ever got. They will soon be your competitors after all. Besides speaking to pros; research through magazines and online journals. There are factors that make businesses succeed or fail you only learn by digging deeper into research. For instance, you may want to learn about the legal permits, relevant regulations and laws governing businesses around your city from a professional.

Create Your Business Plan

A business plan helps you plan about your financial needs. It also helps you outline the tools and equipment you need to buy based on your budget. But of more importance, a good plan helps you plan about your expenses and how you will manage to run the business for the first few months. Some businesses actually take up to one year to register profits. And you need a plan to help you know how to navigate through challenges for as long as possible. But as you make your plan, have goals and a vision for your business.  Smart goals and an achievable vision are some of the things that motivate business people to succeed.

Choose Services to Offer Based on Your Strength

Most businesses fall into the trap of wanting to attract all sorts of people into their business. They for instance attempt to impress college goers with free Internet and great coffee shop designs. They add a plethora of beverages and alcoholic drinks to attract more customers. Others simply make good decisions like trying to open an extra shop, but they do it at the wrong time. Instead, be smart and capitalize on your strengths. Attract your customers with something exceptional at your shop. With time, you will identify the people who love to drink at your place. And for such people, attract their loyalty with continued good services at all times.

Choosing a Location

In the big cities, finding a location for a coffee shop can be quite a difficult thing to do. Almost all the best locations to start a shop are filled with businesses. And the only places you seem to get almost always don’t look appealing. However, never lose hope in selecting a good location to start your business. In fact, you better hire a good broker to find a coffee shop space at an ideal location. Usually, a place with student housing, normal residences, businesses and buildings could be a great location to open your shop. The idea is to start the business, a distant a way from competitors but close enough for customers to spot your business and come your way.

Open the Shop

After you identify an ideal location, apply for a work permit from the local authorities and open your coffee shop. Ensure you have all the licenses and certificates needed however, so that you can run your business smoothly without any fear of any kind.

How to Make a Good Cappuccino

How good you make cappuccino depends on two things; your experience and the coffee machine you usually use. If you are a professional chef with background training in Italy for instance, you probably make better cappuccino than most people. On the other hand, if you have a machine that does an exceptional job, you can make good cappuccino even when you hardly received any training in making the beverage. But what if you don’t know how to make cappuccino? The following article contains a guide for you.

Select a Suitable Machine

how to make a good cappuccinoResearch about different espresso makers before you buy one to help you prepare cappuccino. Some of the machines in the market for instance can barely brew any good espresso. As such, you wouldn’t expect the machine to make cappuccino for you either. Fortunately, there are cheap espresso makers in the market you could comfortably rely on. On the other hand, the type of coffee beans you prefer probably work well with a particular espresso maker. If you love using fresh ground beans for instance, be prepared to invest in a bean-to-cup machine.

Prep the Machine Properly

Prepping a coffee maker is an important step that helps making a beverage with weird tastes. It also helps check that everything is okay and prevent spills that could potential happen as you make your cappuccino. Fortunately, you can prep the machine in less than one minute. Simply fill the reservoir with clean, cold water. Place at empty cup at the other end of the spout and switch on your coffee maker. If you do it right, you can expect to see last time’s coffee grain leftovers coming out with water. If it is a new machine, you at least get to clean it and probably eliminate any smell that could spoil the taste of your cappuccino.

Make Espresso

cappuccinoYes, espresso is an essential component of cappuccino. And it works great when you prepare it before prepping the remaining components; frothed milk and coffee. Fortunately, making espresso isn’t difficult when you have the right machine and coffee beans. Usually, already ground beans are ideal when the end goal is to make cappuccino. This is because finely ground berries go through the machine faster and bring out a better flavor than other berries.

Once you have the coffee, measure them out depending on the amount of espresso you intend to make. For a single person, a 7g spoon of coffee is usually enough. For two or more people however, add enough coffee as you wish. After that, check the instructions for making espresso from the manufacturer’s manual or do it as you prefer. It takes less than thirty seconds to make a cup of espresso, and you can note if you did it right by checking for a golden creamy appearance at the top.

Prep your Coffee Maker for Cappuccino

The second component of cappuccino revolves around milk. You prep it by using a coffee machine’s steam pipe. Here, the milk undergoes a series of changes from smooth and light to an airy appearance. After that, switch your machine to a cappuccino setting if it has one. As you will observe, the water temperatures increases and steam is created. Turn on the control tap to expel this excess steam

Froth the Milk

The foam in cappuccino certainly comes from frothed milk. But how do you do it? Add your desired amount of the heated milk into a jug. Turn on the machine’s steam pipe and control the jug for great frothing. Usually, you should observe bubbles forming from the milk while the milk expands in size. Let the frothing continue as you are fully satisfied at the size. Note to overstay as the milk may reach a boiling point and go flat.

Add the Froth to Espresso

For a fine cup of cappuccino, add the froth milk you made to your previously made espresso. If you had also made coffee, add all three components in equal proportions.

Tips to Use for Better Cappuccino

  • If you want to decorate the cappuccino, you can add cocoa powder on top. Be cautioned however that it may hide the original flavor of cappuccino.
  • When frothing, steam continuously to ensure all the milk is frothed.
  • When pouring the espresso, pour it in a circular motion, for a professional iconic look at the top. In fact, let the pour be singular, so that it can form whichever shape or design you want at the top.
  • For the best frothed milk, lower the steaming wand lower and lower as more froth is being made. However, keep calm and allow the machine to froth the milk on its own.
  • Use whole milk for ultimately thick, creamy froth. Using non-fat milk on the other hand produces froth that dissipates quickly.

How to Choose the Best Espresso Maker

Is a rise in demand for espresso at your coffee shop putting you at a risk of losing coffee customers? Do you simply love espresso more than coffee? Invest in an espresso maker. Buying an espresso isn’t an easy decision however. This is because most of the machines in the market are primarily built for coffee, making them less effective at making the best qualitfy espresso. Don’t’ worry though, as the following guide can help you identify the best espresso machine.

Types of Espresso Machines

types of espresso machines

  1. Manual Espresso Makers

    If you love controlling every aspect of the espresso brewing process, a manual machine may be what you need. Yes, you work more than when you have a modern machine, but then you get the exact taste of espresso you probably savor. Isn’t that good? It doesn’t end with ease of control actually. Today, there are highly convenient espresso makers that are designed to run the manual way. You dial a few buttons in the process, but end up getting the sublime espresso you love with a machine that doesn’t look out of date.  On the downside, these machines are rather expensive. And worse still, you may endure several cups of horrible espresso if you aren’t good at making the drink.

  2. Semi-Automatic Machines

    While not fully automatic, semi-auto espresso makers are much easier to use than their manual counterparts. They are run with the help of electric pumps for ease of use, and are fast espresso makers as well. They may not offer the best control like manual machines, but you could still make good quality espresso with them. With many of the modern semi-automatic machines in the market, you still get to control how you brew espresso. Another advantage with the machines is their popularity. They are very common in almost every store, even though the very best semi-auto makers are more expensive.

  3. Fully Automatic Espresso Maker

    As their name suggest, fully automatic espresso machines operate digitally in almost every aspect. They for instance automate the amount of water used and delivered during the brewing process. As such, the machines are some of the easiest to use. Unfortunately, fully auto espresso machines are not suitable to someone who likes to control how their espresso will taste. Again, the machines aren’t cheaper, making them only an option if you don’t any specific tastes with your espresso or latte.

  4. Super Automatic Espresso Makers

    If you dearly love a machine that does all the work for you, invest in a super automatic machine. The espresso machine is designed to do almost every aspect of brewing espresso, while you are left with serving the drink with no messes to clean up. It is a good choice for someone who drinks quite a lot of espresso per day or someone who owns a coffee shop. With their many specialty features such as programmable settings however; expect to pay a fortune for the espresso machine.

Factors to Consider When Buying an Espresso Maker

espresso maker buying guide

  • Ease of Use – Whether you love to control every aspect of brewing espresso or you want the machine to do all the work; check for a machine’s ease of use. The best espresso for instance comes with a programmable panel, so that you select how you want your espresso or cappuccino made.
  • Quality of Construction – One of the most important aspects of a good espresso machine is its quality. Look at its construction therefore and decide if it is worth investing in. If most of its parts are made of plastic for instance, you should probably doubt its durability. Check for its design on the other hand and judge if it suits your personal preference.
  • Cost – An espresso machine is often as good as its price. However, the cost of a particular machine may have been based on certain factors. For instance, most of the high end machines cost more because they are more durable. On the other hand, you may find a cheap machine that whose only flaw is a lack of digital specialties.
  • Size – The size of an espresso you choose to buy can be based on the number of people it is meant to serve at your home. A double shot espresso maker for instance might be a better machine for a family, because it makes more espresso at a shorter period of time.
  • Extra Features – Sometimes it pays off to spend more on coffee makers because of its additional features. If it comes with a built-in coffee grinder for instance, a water filter and a tone of programmable settings, buy it instead of a cheaper model that lacks these features.

In the end, the goal should be to buy the most convenient, flexible and durable espresso machine your budget allows.

Equipment Needed to Open a Coffee Shop

One of the biggest decisions you have to make as you plan to start a coffee shop will be about equipment to buy. Most people get it wrong, and it often haunts them in the form of debts they get into before the shop can run comfortably. So, what equipment should you buy? Well, it all depends on the menu you setup. The variety of beverages and drinks you intend to sell will pretty much guide you on the tools and equipment needed for your type of coffee.

Besides the menu, the space you have and your budget can also guide you on the equipment you should buy. Fortunately, you don’t have to buy everything all at once. Instead, a good business invests on the most important equipment and adds more tools as it grows. Below are some of the absolutely essential tools to buy.

Coffee Equipment

equipment needed to open a coffee shop

You can’t claim to own a coffee machine if you lack the appropriate commercial coffee machines. You will need a couple of espresso machines for instance, special grinders and jugs for holding milk. Note however that you will need more powerful machines than the Mr. Coffee maker you have at home. You will need a machine that can hold large amounts of coffee after all. When it comes to mugs, buy the best. You may want to buy mugs equipment that represents the unique aspect of your business. Buying the right type of grinders is also important, mainly because customers expect nothing but the best quality when it comes to coffee and espresso. Buy at least two professional grade grinders therefore. The first grinder is important for making espresso, while the second is good for decaf purposes.

A Commercial Refrigerator

For a small shop, one commercial refrigerator will be enough. A bigger coffee restaurant however requires two or three refrigerators that can keep coffee temperatures warm throughout the day. In most cases, you will probably need an extra refrigerator at the back room, just to keep the milk warm and fresh.

Sinks

Washing dishes is a mandatory aspect of any coffee shop. As such, investing a good sink, probably one with two to three compartments may be a wise decision. The first compartment is often for cleaning the many dishes you have, a second one for rinsing them and a separate dish for hand washing. In many states actually, coffee shops are required to have a different place to wash hands besides the sink meant for cleaning dishes. In addition to dish washing sink, the health department requires you to have a separate mop closet in your coffee shop. This sink should however adhere to certain temperatures and drain spills quickly.

Water Heater

Having a commercial hot water ensures that you make coffee fast and continuously throughout the day. However, be keen with the type of heater you select. A good commercial grade water heater should fills up quickly and keeps water at your desired temperature levels for as long as you need it. If you feel like your shop is small enough for a water heater, ask a professional for help. There are numerous water heaters that can be installed at your commissary and provide the necessary services.

Furniture

Depending on your budget, buy enough pieces of furniture. If you plan to prepare sandwiches and salads on your own for instance, invest a good prepping table. For customers, buy comfortable seats and tables. Depending on the location of your shop, you can also invest in outdoor seats and tables. But the bottom line is that they should be enough, good looking and comfortable for your customers. If you are not familiar with how to identify suitable furniture for your shop; consult an expert. You may want to buy items that also save on space as well as brighten the mood of your coffee shop after all.

Electrical and Plumbing Tools

While the basic electrical and plumbing needs are often take care of by the building owners, you may want to invest in extra lighting or plumbing that fits your needs. Besides that, coffee shop equipment like your espresso needs to be connected to a water source and appropriate electrical sources. On the other hand, investing in water softeners prevents mineral build up in your coffee machines.

Additional Equipment

Have you already caught up with technology? Many small businesses use point of sale systems to run their businesses. They are efficient and appropriate for any business irrespective of its size. Invest in a good POS cash register, and benefit from the efficiency they provide. In addition, buy a credit card cash register to suit a huge number of customers who prefer wireless means of footing bills.

Finally, always buy good quality equipment. Buy new equipment actually, and buy them from a good supply store known to stock only the best of equipment.