Most of us have seen or experienced a coffee vending machine…probably a Nestle machine in the office or at a local service station. Chances are that this was an instant coffee vending machine. These simple to use/simple to operate machines simply mix instant coffee like Nestle Ricoffy or Nescafe with other ingredients such as milk powder (white coffee) or milk powder and hot chocolate (cappuccino). Good machines also allow a choice of sugar/no sugar/extra sugar and choices such as hot chocolate, latte, moccachino etc.
So what then is a “Bean” Coffee Machine (or Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine)?
Great technological strides have allowed coffee vending machines to produce the same quality coffee you get down at your local coffee shop. When you order a cappuccino at the coffee shop, a barista (or coffee expert) will grind about 7g of fresh coffee beans and place this into a machine where hot water is forced through the coffee with considerable pressure. This extracts about 40ml of coffee that ends up in our cups. That is called an espresso. Adding hot water or steamed milk to the espresso gives you an Americano or Cappuccino. There are a number of options as you know…macchiato, moccachino…etc…
Inside a “Bean” coffee vending machine, the same process happens…but all automatically. When you press the “Cappuccino” button, the machine grinds 7g of coffee beans, places it in a brewer and forces 40ml of hot water through it under great pressure. The result is exactly the same as what happened in the coffee shop. Then using either a powdered milk formulation or fresh milk, depending on the machine, the machine adds a milk topping. Voila! A cappuccino!
You may ask…”Can a machine beat the trained barista down at the coffee shop?” This depends on their level of training, the equipment used, and their attention to detail. Yet, Starbucks invested heavily in “bean” coffee machines in their stores to remove some of the inconsistency associated with a person making the coffee. Why?…because they found that there is often considerable difference in a coffee made by Sally and one made by Sue or Paul or Peter. One very critcal part of making an espresso is how hard you compact or “tamp” the coffee into the holder where hot water is forced through it. Too tightly compacted and it takes longer to dispense the 30ml and this results in what we call “undesirable” compounds to be extracted…too lightly compacted and you get a weak, tasteless coffee. A machine exerts the same pressure to the same quantity of coffee for the same time…again and again!
So you CAN make a coffee shop quality coffee with “ZERO” training as a barista!
Then add in the advantages that the used coffee grounds are automatically placed in a waste container,
and all ingredients are stored neatly inside the machine…and you have a wonderful office coffee solution! All you have to do is keep the machine full of coffee beans, milk or milk powder, sugar and hot chocolate.. oh…and to press the button of your favourite coffee type!
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