There’s nothing like popping into the break room for a good cup of coffee first thing in the morning. It’s the best way to get your day going as productively as possible (we promise we won’t talk to you until you’re done with your first cup).
At a Glance: Our Top 5 Picks For Best Commercial Coffee Makers
If you’re just setting up a break room barista station, or if you’re an actual barista looking to upgrade your cafe, you might be in the market for a new commercial coffee maker.
Are you looking to make gallons of black coffee, or produce specialty coffee house concoctions? Everyone’s brewing preferences are different. Are you looking for a basic model with an auto shut-off feature or something fancy with programmable settings and additional features? You might be asking yourself if the perfect coffee maker exists.
We’ve got a list of the best commercial coffee makers, both economy and high-end models, for your next morning brew. Stick around to the end of the article for the most frequently asked coffee maker questions and a quick-reference buyer’s guide for the best commercial coffee makers.
Quick Summary: Best Commercial Coffee Makers
|Bunn Pourover Commercial Coffee Maker||Check On Amazon →|
|Focus Foodservice Crown Select 100-Cup Maker||Check on Amazon →|
|Hamilton Beach 45-Cup Commercial Coffee Brewer||Check On Amazon →|
|Keurig K155 K-Cup Coffee Maker||Check on Amazon →|
|Ninja CP307 Coffee Maker||Check on Amazon →|
The Best Commercial Coffee Makers
You don’t have to know everything about coffee to get a sale-worthy brew going with these machines. We’ve picked out the commercial coffee makers that balance value and function. This list isn’t in any particular order; all of the machines are good in their ways and have their limits.
BUNN Pourover Commercial Coffee Maker
The BUNN Pourover Commercial Coffee Maker is simple and practical in function and design. It has a 3.8-gallon hot water capacity, which means you’ll have plenty of hot liquid to serve in one brewing session. The machine is easy to clean because of its simplicity of design, though it doesn’t have any functionality beyond being a pour-over coffee maker.
We love that this commercial pour-over coffee brewer has a fully portable design, requiring no additional plumbing and weighing only 24 pounds. It’s great for caterers and other traveling merchants. It also comes fully assembled and ready to use for hassle-free installation. It’s a quality commercial machine and ideal for commercial-level coffee brewing.
Things We Like
- Included 2-year warranty on parts and 1-year warranty on labor
- Fully portable
- Extra splash protection with the Splash Guard funnel
Things We Don’t
- Not versatile
- Comes with a plastic filter which can change the coffee’s taste
Focus Foodservice Crown Select 100-Cup Maker
A great professional coffee machine option for your next large event would be the Focus Foodservice Crown Select 100-Cup Maker. It has a stunning 100-cup water tank capacity and a sleek tower carafe design.
This heavy-duty coffee maker’s integrated viewing window lets you easily read the coffee level and the built-in thermostat helps maintain optimal holding temperatures, keeping your coffee hot. On top of this, its simple stainless steel exterior allows for minimal mess while making a busy event pot of coffee.
The 57060’s dual thermostats mean consistent serving and brewing temperature and fast brewing time. The stainless steel design makes it easy to clean, at the cost of being heavier. The high-clearance spigot means it can accommodate larger coffee cups, which means efficient coffee refilling in fast-paced offices.
Things We Like
- Stable, durable construction
- Dual thermostats for automatic temperature control
- High capacity (100 cups of coffee!)
Things We Don’t
- Heavy and bulky design
- No warranty included
Hamilton Beach 45-Cup Commercial Coffee Brewer
The Hamilton Beach 45-Cup Commercial Coffee Brewer is an affordable and functional commercial-grade option for many smaller businesses. The interior of the cold water tank has water level markings for easy filling. You’ll know how many cups you’ll have. The ready-to-serve indicator light means you always know when the coffee is done.
It comes in either single or double-spout designs for easier access in busier environments. It’s also light and self-contained, meaning it’s fully portable. Unfortunately, the design is less stable than standard coffee makers, as it tapers inward at the base.
Things We Like
- Easy to clean
Things We Don’t
- Less stable
- No warranty included
- Some issues have been reported with the spigot becoming clogged
Keurig K155 K-Cup Coffee Maker
The Keurig K155 K-Cup Coffee Maker is the classic everyday office setting hot coffee machine. It’s a single-serve brewer with a compact design that makes it great for set up in a break room as a countertop coffee maker, at the cost of having a smaller capacity (only 18 cups per reservoir fill). It also has a user-friendly full-color touchscreen interface with programmable features like an adjustable brew temperature for a fully customized perfect brew.
The K155 pod coffee maker makes four standard brew sizes with a brewing process of less than a minute for fast access to delicious coffee. It works with single-serve coffee pods, which are easy to replace between cups and minimize cleaning needs. It brews all types of coffee, though, without additional equipment, this will limit your flavor options.
Things We Like
- Easy to personalize brews
- Compact design
- Includes 1-year warranty
Things We Don’t
- Pod design limits options without additional equipment
- Small capacity
Ninja CP307 Coffee Maker
The Ninja CP307 Coffee Maker is the best option we found for small cafes and similar establishments. This excellent coffee maker’s versatility is unbeatable – this single machine makes both tea and coffee (cold or hot brew). It has six different brew sizes and five different styles. It also comes with a frother and carafe for convenient drink prep so it can replace espresso machines.
This commercial coffee maker is single-serve and won’t break the bank. The only real issue we’ve seen with it is its low capacity. It’s also slightly more complicated to clean than the others on this list because of the variety of coffee brewing options – you’ll have to clean the coffee and tea filters separately.
Things We Like
- Extremely versatile
- Convenient size customization
- Affordable for the number of features it has
Things We Don’t
- Small capacity
- Difficult to clean
- Complicated control menu
Choosing the Perfect Commercial Coffee Maker
Okay, these are all good machines. But how do you know which one’s right for you? Here’s what we looked at to pick out this best-of list. We hope it’ll help you figure out which one is perfect for you.
The amount of functionality you’re going to be looking for in a commercial coffee maker will vary depending on how you’re planning to use it. While a coffee shop or restaurant may want a machine that can brew many different kinds of coffee, tea or even shots of espresso, a small office or other business may only need a pour-over machine that can keep coffee warm.
Consider your company’s personal needs when making your purchase decision. Get ideas on what you need from the people who will be using it, either your employees or your customers. Do your customers prefer fresh coffee beans or instant coffee brews.
A commercial coffee maker should be able to meet the cups per day needs of your establishment without being too large to be worth the investment. Estimate how much coffee per hour you’ll be making on a daily basis with a particular machine, and try to find one that sits slightly above that range. If you predict a high volume, you’ll want a machine with a fast brewing speed and durable quality.
Buying a machine with too little capacity can lead to overworking it, which will wear it down faster. On the other hand, buying a machine with too much capacity for a limited workspace means you’re losing money in unused gallons of coffee.
The biggest maintenance factors to consider are cleaning and part replacement.
Cleaning your machine should be relatively simple. You’ll need to do so fairly often, especially in a food service business, so it should be easy to completely sanitize and reset the machine between uses. It should also be a one-person job if possible unless you have a dedicated cleaning staff.
Replacement parts for your machine, both in terms of daily use items like filters and more core hardware, should be readily available from the manufacturer. They should also be easy to remove and install, although more key components may need professional maintenance in the event of a breakdown.
Of course, you’ll want to find a commercial coffee maker that makes quality beverages yet fits into your company’s budget. This means balancing all of the other factors with the price range you have assigned for a machine. Weigh the most important features against those you can afford to compromise on when choosing between machines.
Be sure to find reviews, both in articles like this one and individual customer-written pieces. Get a wide range of unbiased and accurate representations of the value you’re getting for the money you pay when you purchase one of these machines. It’s also worth looking into whether it comes with a warranty and what is covered under it, so you don’t risk losing your investment.
Best Commercial Coffee Maker Brands
Maybe you’re not looking for a specific model. If that’s the case, we’ve got the quick version of the best commercial coffee maker brand “About Us” pages. Use these as a reference and comparison guide.
BUNN has been a leading name in commercial coffee machines since the late 1950s. They’re the machines we think of when we imagine the coffee makers at local diners and restaurants, with a classic design that hasn’t changed drastically in more than half a century. They’re simple, blocky, and immediately recognizable. We think that’s pretty great branding.
They specialize in hot beverage production and cold beverage dispensation but recently expanded to include combination and specialized machinery. Their products mainly lack modern touchscreen interfaces but are easy to use.
All of the accessories for their products are available directly on their commercial site.
Advertising themselves as the eighth largest food and beverage company in the United States, Keurig hit the popular scene in 2018 with the introduction of their revolutionary pod type of coffee system. Now, of course, there are hundreds of pod coffee brands, but Keurig is still the go-to standard for all of them.
They’ve been mostly known for home coffee makers, but have in the past few years branched out into small commercial machines designed for break rooms, hotels, and convenience stores. Their products aren’t the highest capacity, but they are made with quality and built to last.
They came under fire for their environmental impact. Many people complained about the single-use plastic that the pods were made of, and the excess waste that was creating, especially in the commercial world. So, they started a recycling program that allows you to send used pods back to them.
Hamilton Beach is something of an all-in-one commercial products company. They carry lines for everything from coffee makers to hairdryers, irons, and refrigerators, on top of other hospitality and food industry essentials.
Their products come with their Express Care Service Program. This is a warranty that allows customers to fully replace any damaged or defunct products in a timely manner. They also have easily available customer support through their website or phone number.
We had to give an honorable mention to Cuisinart. Although you might be more familiar with them as a household kitchen appliance brand, they’re one of few well-known brands that build their machines with both domestic and commercial use in mind.
They’ve got quite a few options for not just coffee and tea makers, but all kinds of kitchen equipment. This might be useful if you’re planning to get multiple pieces and want them all covered under the same protections.
Now that you’ve got your coffee machine, you’ve probably got a few questions to go with it. We took a look at the most commonly asked questions and found the answers for you.
What is the difference between a commercial coffee maker and a household coffee maker?
The biggest difference between high-end commercial coffee makers and household coffee makers is their listing with Underwriters Laboratories Inc., otherwise known as UL. UL is an independent safety science company that operates on an international level to establish and verify safety standards across several industries.
A product listed by UL as Commercial Use Only is specifically designed for more intensive, frequent use, and therefore may use significantly more power than a normal household appliance, which can put you at risk for a short circuit at home.
On the other hand, a product listed as Household Use Only is unlikely to stand up to the safety standards necessary for a business and may cause damage to the machines or injuries while using them at high capacity.
Should I buy a commercial coffee maker with a built-in grinder?
There’s not necessarily a yes or no answer here. A built-in grinder is significantly more convenient if you make a lot of coffee and don’t want to take the time to use a separate grinder between each brew. It’s also good if the built-in grinder has customizable levels for each new batch.
If you’re just looking for a basic coffee maker, though, we wouldn’t recommend it. Grinder-brewing combos tend to be far more expensive. They’re also bulkier and harder to clean. Also, if the grinder breaks, you can’t use the machine at all.
So, unless you’re running a coffee-focused business, it might be more worthwhile to buy your grinder separately or buy pre-ground coffee beans.
How often should you buy a new commercial coffee maker?
The exact lifespan of your commercial coffee maker ultimately comes down to its make, model, and age. Some of the heavier-duty restaurant machines may last decades, while lighter breakroom models may last only a few years.
There are other factors you should consider as well. It’s time to replace your machine when:
- You notice any rusting or damage to the machine that may affect its function.
- You notice any leaking or limescale deterioration that can’t be easily fixed.
- The demand for coffee changes dramatically, making the machine’s capacity impractical.
How should you clean your commercial coffee maker?
The buildup of hard water and debris in water reservoirs can make your coffee taste way off, as well as mess with the function of the equipment. You should deep clean your commercial coffee maker at least once every four to six weeks, as well as performing light daily cleaning of the exterior.
During a deep clean, you should descale the inside of the machine, either with a professional descaling solution or with an acidic home remedy such as white vinegar or lemon juice, by allowing the descaler to run through a normal brewing cycle, then rinsing and running a cycle with just water.
You should also be sure to clean out the filter funnel with a soft-bristle brush or gentle pad using normal soap and warm water.
What are your thoughts on these machines? See anything you think you might try?
Your commercial coffee maker may be the cornerstone of your business. You may depend on it to make your living and please your customers every day. You might also just be looking for something to keep your coworkers from killing each other on Monday morning. Either one is a solid reason to look for a new machine.
Whether you’re dumping a quick batch of instant in a carafe for the next sales meeting or setting up your dream cafe’s menu, there’s a machine out there for you. Hopefully, this list gave you the answers you were looking for, or, if not, at least a good starting point.