Coffee sales in the UK are heading towards £8 billion a year. With over 20,000 dedicated coffee shops throughout the country, the market has been in continuous growth for the last 15 years. Pubs can share in this success by offering their customers quality coffee to compliment their food offering and as an alternative to alcohol and soft drinks alike. The spate of recent bad PR for Starbucks may present you with a perfect marketing tool for your coffee offering … for the latest Market Intelligence Report on Coffee click here.
The style and quality of your coffee offering will depend on many factors: your likely sales (food led businesses and city centre bars are ideally placed to take advantage of this market), the space you have behind (or on top of) your counter, the investment you are prepared (or are able) to make on these expensive machines and the skill sets of your staff.
Coffee can be prepared and served in many ways: cafetière, filter coffee machines and percolators, espresso and cappuccino makers.
Cafetières take the form of glass containers incorporating a wire filter attached to a plunger. As you can make an exact amount of filter coffee they’re ideal if you just want to make a few cups. They’re also great value – and look good when served to customers at their table.
Filter coffee machines come in different cup volumes and are very easy to use. Water simply drips slowly through a basket of ground coffee to infuse in a pot or carafe without the need to boil the water first. Filter coffee machines usually have thermos pots and hot plates to keep the coffee warm.Models have either permanent or paper holders. Permanent filters save you money but they can be messy to clean. Paper holders are more hygienic and can be simply thrown away after use, but add to your consumables costs. Some filter coffee makers use a ‘pod’ system. These pods are essentially round ‘tea bags’ or foil-encased pods that produce a cup of filter coffee without any mess and are a perfect way to manage stock consumption.
Percolators work the other way around. Ground coffee is put into a holder at the top, water in the bottom. Once boiled, the water is forced up a vertical tube then over and through the filter, with the brewed coffee settling in the bottom of the jug. There’s a glass dome at the top so you can see how dark the coffee is becoming. Percolators are ideal for those who want to vary the strength of their filter coffee, though some coffee buffs consider the coffee to be inferior.
Espresso and cappuccino makers are steam-driven machines that produce very strong coffee. Espresso coffee is concentrated and much richer than filter coffee and is the staple ingredient for a cappuccino or latte. There are two basic types of machines, with pump machines the more expensive.
Coffee mills and coffee grinders
A good mill or grinder is an important investment. They work slightly differently. Coffee mills slice the beans finely using a blade. Though less expensive, they may grind beans less evenly. Coffee grinders act like a pestle and mortar and grind beans more evenly. Both types of machine can be very noisy and are sometimes incorporated into coffee machines.
Different settings will produce different grades of coffee:
- Coarse for percolators or cafetières
- Medium for flat-bottomed filter machines
- Fine for cone filter machines
- Extra fine for espresso machines
Most suppliers will provide the four main types of espresso/cappuccino machine and when approaching them you need to consider these things:
The commercial coffee machines I would recommend are espresso/ cappuccino machines if you have the space and you think your staff will be able to use them properly and safely.
Espresso/cappuccino machines are extremely robust and reliable and have the advantage of being comparatively cheap to the other options. Espresso/cappuccino machines require a separate grinder to the beans (although they are sometime supplied as an integral part of the machine). The ground coffee beans are then put into the group handle and plugged into the machine, from there the machine dispenses an espresso. The machines have a hot water outlet and steam tubes to froth milk. The various coffee drinks Cappuccino, Mocha, latte etc are produced by adding various amounts of frothed milk, syrup, still milk and hot water to the espresso base.
There are a few things to consider when choosing an espresso machine such as, how many people will use it at any given time? If you are going to have two or more people using the industrial coffee machine at once you will need at least a 2 group (handle) machine with two steam arms. If the machine is going to only have light use and used by only one person, a one group or budget two group machine will do.
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