What is the difference between a Semi-Automatic Traditional Espresso Machine and a Fully Automatic Traditional Espresso Machine?

The difference between these two types of machines are simple. The coffee delivery button stops after a certain amount of time when pressed on a fully automatic machine.  On the semi-automatic machine, you have to press the button again yourself manually to stop the water from flowing from the group head.  Both have advantages and disadvantages depending on what you would like from your coffee maker. The automatic machine is ideal for the barista who has other things to do in the shop rather than just make coffee.  It means that you can press the button, walk off and do something else, knowing that your coffee will stop at a set time.  The semi-automatic coffee machine is ideal for the experienced barista who wants to make a coffee to their own specification and spends a lot of time at the machine itself.


What is the difference between a Bean to Cup Machine and a Traditional Espresso Machine?

A bean to cup machine is a fully automatic espresso machine that has a grinder, a brewer and a steaming function which prepares your coffee consistently and fully at the touch of a button. These machines are ideal for places that have a high turnover of staff, limiting the need for training and are great for complete consistency everytime.  It used to be said that the quality of the drink was inferior to a traditional machine but nowadays, with the advances of modern technology, there is very little to choose from between the two.  Most bean to cup machines offer a number of drinks that are pre-programmed to the users specification before leaving the factory.  These machines usually have a simple cleaning system intergrated and are relatively easy to maintain if shown how to use properly.  However, failure to do so may result in lots of unwanted callouts for cleaning related issues, which are never covered under warranty.  If used correctly and in the right circumstances, these machines are ideal for the right premises. An example of where you might find these are in fast food outlets, bars and other such establishments.

A Traditional Espresso Machine is the type of machine that you generally see when visiting a coffee shop.  It has handles that have baskets inside of them, these handles are used to put coffee in. Water is then forced through these handles at a certain pressure to leave you with an espresso, the basic ingredient of all coffee based drinks.  These machines usually have a seperate grinder by the side of them and a knockout draw to get rid of the used grounds. These machines can be a bit more tricky to use, but once you mastered the art of the barista, the quality of the drinks you can produce and the variations in the drinks are evident. Right from how you froth the milk, to how you make your espresso.  A true coffee connoisseur may tell you that this is the only way to make a perfect coffee, by using one of these machines. However, the verdict is out on this. Purely because of a lack of consistency involved when staff who aren’t fully trained or do not have a passion for their job to operate it.  There are subtle little differences in every piece of equipment that you buy, but the basic workings are mostly the same.  A traditional machine also has a certain amount of style that comes with making the coffee.  This equipment is ideal for a coffee shop or somewhere you need that theatre involved in making your drinks.  Customers will be more inclined to pay for a coffee that has been made manually by a member of staff in front of them, than if somebody has just pressed a button.


Is there a certain temperature that coffee should be made at?

It is widely said that coffee should be brewed between the temperatures of 95 and 98c. The reason for this is that a colder temperature will not extract enough of the oil from the beans, leaving you with under extraction and a weaker taste. Anything over the 98 c temperature will increase the acidity levels, leaving you with a burnt and bitter taste.


Why should we buy a coffee machine when we can serve instant?

This is an easy answer.  Quality.

Your average coffee shop or restaurant customer nowadays knows the difference and will not settle for anything less than they deserve.  If next door to you serves freshly ground quality coffee and you are only serving instant from a supermarket, it wont be long before you find out the hard way.  The modern customer is not as forgiving when it comes to taking shortcuts. It is worth spending the investment to keep your clients coming back for more. If you don’t, they will go elsewhere.


Which is the best coffee machine ?

This is a question that we get asked all the time and our answer is always the same. You need to think more about which is the best coffee machine for you?  Each of our machines serves a purpose. Each of these have different designs for different scenarios.  For instance, the tall machines have more space under the group heads to allow for large takeaway cups.  This is the perfect machine for the client who does mainly takeout beverages.

We will advise you on these subtle differences and help you make the right decisions. Failure to get this right from the beginning could be catastrophic. Correct and none biased advice is key to our success.


Do we need a water filter with our equipment?

Anybody who has been in this industry for any amount of time will tell you the same. You need a Water filter. Without this attached, you are at great risk of your machine stopping working completely and it can be a massive job to remove limescale. We can’t stress the importance of this enough, limescale is a machine killer.


Why don’t we just buy a machine from EBAY ?

This is also an easy answer. You can.

There is nothing stopping you buying anything from anywhere at a discount. We have a saying here at COOL BEANS.  “Buy cheap, Buy twice ”

Would you rather not have the peace of mind knowing that your equipment is covered entirely under warranty by trained engineers and you have the back up of a reputable company if something goes wrong?  The amount of horror stories we hear on a daily basis, covering from limescale related issues to failure to get replacement parts in an emergency is astounding.  Second hand coffee machines are only a good idea if they come from a reputable firm and sold as reconditioned models.  That way, you know what you are getting and you know that if something goes wrong, we can help you.