How Much is a Commercial Coffee Machine?

Whether as a vital part of the morning routine for the working class or as a much-needed afternoon pick-me-up for people on the go, coffee is much more than a go-to energy jolt; it is a universally loved beverage that, for millions of drinkers, qualifies as a necessity of life. Commercial coffee machines are responsible for keeping the java flowing, but what are the different types, and how much do they cost?

The cost of commercial coffee machines is directly tied to their features and brewing capacity:

  • Low-volume machines for small operations cost $500 to $700

  • Medium-volume machines for busy cafés cost $1,000 or more

  • High-volume machines used in large restaurants or hotels cost $2,000 or more

Commercial coffee machines can be a sizable investment, particularly for larger operations. But given the widespread popularity of coffee among age groups ranging from teens to seniors, it is a viable and much-needed revenue stream for many business operators. Implementing a profitable coffee program begins with selecting the right equipment, so here is a look at three major categories and their costs.

Commercial Coffee Machine Costs – Three Major Categories

Coffee makers of the standard 8 to 10 cup variety are a common sight in just about any residential kitchen. Although the basic operating concepts may be similar, commercial coffee machines are far more than just souped-up versions of their household counterparts. There are significant differences between commercial and consumer coffee machines, including most notably: 

  • Whereas water must be manually poured into the reservoir of a home coffee maker, commercial coffee machines are hooked up directly to a water line, and an internal tank is automatically refilled as coffee is brewed

  • Commercial coffee machines can be sized or scaled to any type of business operation, ranging from a small snack shop to a large banquet hall, and some are capable of brewing batches of coffee exceeding several gallons at a time

  • Many commercial coffee machines offer built-in features that allow operators to customize or fine-tune the characteristics of their brewed coffee, including strength and flavor profile, through user-friendly, on-board digital programming interfaces

With these modern attributes in mind, here is a look at the cost of three main categories of commercial coffee machines.

Low Volume Commercial Coffee Machines - $500 to $700

Designed for low volume settings like snack shops and the like, this category comprises smaller units that brew into glass or thermally insulated pots that hold roughly half a gallon (64 fluid ounces) of coffee. Despite their compact size, however, low-volume commercial coffee machines such as this popular model make no concessions whatsoever as far as brew quality is concerned.

Common machine features include:

  • A large internal tank (200 fluid ounces) holds enough reserve hot water for brewing back-to-back pots during peak business periods

  • User-friendly programming functions are managed through a built-in LCD display

  • Advanced brewing technology allows for customization of coffee strength and flavor

  • Smart technology adapts to changes in water pressure

  • Built-in troubleshooting assists in diagnosing machine problems

  • Courtesy external faucet allows separate dispensing of hot water

In addition to these performance-enhancing characteristics, newer models incorporate RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology that allows operators to track the amount of time elapsed since a particular pot of coffee was brewed in order to monitor and optimize freshness.

Medium Volume Commercial Coffee Machines - $1,000+

For busier operations like cafés that serve a steadier stream of brewed coffee customers, medium volume commercial coffee machines provide the capability of producing larger batches per brew and brewing back-to-back when needed. The most common machine within this category is the airpot brewer, which gets its name from the type of vessel that it brews into and from which coffee is served.

Common features of airpot brewers include:

  • A larger brewing capacity, typically ranging from 2.2 to 2.5 liters (74 to 85 fluid ounces) per batch

  • Higher-rated heating elements that heat the water inside the water tank faster

  • Twin units (two independent brewing heads) allow for the simultaneous brewing of two airpots at a time

  • Brews directly into self-contained and thermally insulated airpots, which are easily transported (and require no power) to set up remote serving stations and allow for self-service operations

  • Modern versions offer digital programming that allows full control over water temperature, brew strength, and flavor profile

  • Ideally suited for small to mid-sized restaurants and food service operations

For busier operations requiring a higher frequency of brewing, twin airpot units are available in 220-volt configurations with two internal heating elements providing over 5,000 watts of heating power that provide near-endless brewing capacity.

High Volume Commercial Coffee Machines - $2,000+

Last but certainly not least, high-volume commercial coffee machines can produce one or more gallons of freshly brewed coffee per batch for the needs of operators of: 

  • Hotels 

  • Banquet facilities 

  • Large restaurants

Also known as satellite brewers, these machines are true workhorses, capable of producing up to 15 gallons of perfectly brewed coffee per hour.

Some of the notable features of high volume commercial coffee machines include:

  • Powerful internal heating elements maintain optimal water temperature for brewing successive batches of coffee

  • Many models operate on 220-240 volt power for rapid and efficient water heating

  • Programmable functions including brew volume, water temperature, and parameters that customize coffee strength and flavor profile

  • Many models brew into thermally insulated, self-contained coffee urns that require no external power source and are easily transported for coffee service on the go

  • Most models today also feature fully interactive touchscreen or menu-driven controls

In keeping pace with advancements in smart technologies that enhance so many aspects of everyday life, newer models offer cutting-edge features such as providing data relating to daily brewing activities for purposes like business analytics or determining an establishment’s most popular coffee roast.

Final Thoughts

As one of the most popular beverages on the planet (by some accounts, several billion cups are consumed around the world each day), coffee is enjoyed by people from all walks of life in every part of the globe. So it’s no wonder that one would be hard-pressed to find a café, diner, or restaurant that did not offer freshly brewed coffee to its guests and patrons.

A commercial coffee machine can represent a sizable investment in terms of cost, but with the right equipment, businesses of all sizes can transform coffee into a dynamic revenue stream while building a loyal base of customers.

Also read:  how many utensils does your restaurant need?


You Want To Open A Restaurant, But Have No Idea Where To Start From?

Get my book ” The Ultimate Guide To Opening A Restaurant Business” and discover all you should know about this industry before spending a penny.