Table of Contents_
When you’re shopping for the best commercial coffee maker, you’re concerned about quick brewing and the ability to make large quantities of coffee to keep customers caffeinated. Whether you’re managing a restaurant, hotel, or office, a good commercial coffee maker can ensure that guests are happy and satisfied.
Some of the top commercial coffee makers can do everything from grind beans to create specialty brews. In contrast, others are more straightforward and simply make classic drip coffee. Also, think about the volume you’ll need to brew to meet customer needs within a specific time frame, such as how many gallons of coffee per hour you need to provide. In addition, you’ll have to choose between basic models or brewers with advanced features and programmable settings.
Keep reading our buying guide on the best commercial coffee makers to learn more. If you’re not in the market for a commercial brewer, check out our best coffee maker guide instead.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has no frills and can brew up to 14.4 liters of coffee per hour. It is very easy to use and has two warm plates on its upper as well as lower decks.
The Bunn 33200.0015 is a 12-cup pour-over commercial coffee brewer with robust looks and can brew an impressive 14.4 liters of coffee per hour. It is made of stainless steel for durability and has two glass decanters. Its splash guard funnel will ensure that hot liquids are deflected away from the hand, and since no plumbing is required, the coffee machine can be carried and used anywhere from the office to the neighborhood cafe. It also has two separate warmers situated on its upper and lower deck. Still, it would be nice if it had an automatic shut-off function.
This high-quality Bunn coffee machine is also very easy to use since all users will have to do is pour water into its reservoir and switch it on. It is also pretty easy to maintain and is an excellent alternative for users who just need a coffee machine that works.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is both stain and rust-resistant and also comes with a pot that can keep beverages hot or cold for extended periods.
This Sybo pour-over commercial coffee maker is an easy-to-use, stainless steel coffee maker with a 12-cup brewing capacity and a brewing time of less than 10 minutes. It comes with a user-friendly coffee pot that uses vacuum insulation technology to keep beverages hot for up to 12 hours or cold for at least 24 hours. The coffee pot also has a push-button release spout that prevents messes when serving. Inside, the coffee machine has a multi-stream spray head that evenly showers hot water over coffee grounds for superior flavor extraction, but unfortunately, some previous users have complained about a foreign taste in their coffee.
This coffee machine’s stainless steel casing is rust and stain resistant, so it should be pretty easy to keep clean. It has a hinged water tank lid that prevents any contamination of the water and an indicator light that shows the working status and also lights up when the coffee is done brewing.
Award: BEST FOR SCHEDULED BREWING
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a very low sound output when brewing and has a large water tank so that it can brew up to 18 cups. It can be programmed to brew at a later time and has a color touch screen that makes it easy to operate.
The Keurig K155 office pro commercial coffee maker is a single-serve machine that looks quite elegant and offers owners four different brew sizes to choose from. The machine is one of the few that comes with a full-color touch screen interface, where users will be able to make adjustments to the brew temperature or schedule automated brewing for a later time. Its water reservoir can accommodate up to 2.7 liters of water, which translates to up to 18 cups of coffee before refilling. Still, some might not appreciate that it does not have a 12 oz setting.
This coffee machine has a relatively quick brew time of less than a minute, and thanks to the inclusion of Quiet Brew Technology, it has a very low sound output when brewing. Its drip tray is also removable to accommodate larger sized cups and travel mugs.
Award: BEST FOR COMMERCIAL USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It has a hot water faucet for hot water on demand, and its satellite servers both have double-wall insulation to maintain the coffee’s high temperatures without warming.
The Wilbur Curtis Gemini Single Coffee brewer may look unconventional, but it has several standout features, such as double-wall insulation in each of its two servers for preserving current temperatures without warming. Because of this, its coffee is easily able to maintain a rich flavor. The premium coffee maker has a 1-gallon capacity and includes a hot water faucet that allows users to draw hot water for brewing tea or soups. Still, some might not like that it does not have a water level view window that hints at just how much water is available in its reservoir.
The coffee machine also comes with an automatic timer that allows users to brew up to 24 cups of coffee without brew basket reloading. It is also pretty easy to operate.
Award: BEST FOR EASE OF USE
WHY WE LIKE IT: It is a simple-to-use machine that is ideal for use in hotels. Instead of ground coffee, it uses K-CUP packs, saving users from the hassle of measuring the required amount of ground coffee.
The Hamilton Beach HDC311 is a simple, commercial coffee maker ideal for hotel guests since it is Hospitality Approved. It can brew up to 10 ounces of coffee from a single-serve pack and is also compatible with any K-cup pack. Users won’t have to deal with measuring ground coffee. It is also easy to operate and has a water reservoir whose level can be viewed from the side. Unfortunately, some have complained that it tends to start leaking after extended use.
The coffee machine has a removable drip tray that allows users to brew into larger cups or travel mugs and offers two brew strength options for users to choose from.
Award: BEST FOR HIGH BREWING CAPACITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: It can brew up to 4 gallons of coffee per hour and is very easy to use. It also has a high-end industrial design for durability.
The Waring Commercial WCM70PAP is an automatic coffee brewer that has been designed with airports, schools, large offices, and other high-traffic areas in mind. It has a heavy-duty brewer with a 4-gallon capacity and includes a built-in hot water faucet for brewing tea or soups. It has a high-end industrial construction, however, its installation will require plumbing. Despite that, the machine can brew up to 4 gallons per hour and can fit large 64 oz glass decanters because of its large size. Unfortunately, these are not included and will have to be bought separately.
Ultimately, the coffee maker is pretty easy to use, and because of its stainless steel construction, it is also easy to clean.
Commercial coffee makers are coffee machines that can brew coffee in large quantities. This is usually because they’re designed to support professional venues, such as coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and even offices with a larger workforce. In particular, commercial coffee makers are known for brewing volumes of coffee quickly — which is essential if you’re trying to keep up with customer demands.
Like most coffee makers, there are three main types of commercial models. Some are designed to simply brew a basic cup of coffee. In contrast, others can support drink customization and espresso brewing.
In most cases, commercial coffee makers are larger and work faster than traditional at-home coffee makers. In some cases, you can find machines that can brew as much as 50 ounces of coffee in just four minutes. Specifically, you’ll find that many of these machines support bean-to-cup brewing. This means they brew coffee and grind whole beans, ensuring that they’re the optimal grind size. Not all traditional coffee makers can support this, and in many cases, you’ll need to purchase a separate coffee grinder.
The next primary difference between commercial coffee makers and at-home brewers is the capacity. With most homebrewers, you’ll find that they tend to have a maximum brewing capacity of between 10 to 14 cups in a single session. So, while you could technically brew multiple batches a day, it wouldn’t be the most efficient way to keep a crowd of coffee lovers satisfied.
In contrast, commercial brewers can support brewing outputs that meet 50 to even 200 cups of coffee per day. This is because they come with larger bean hoppers. Likewise, you’ll find that they tend to feature customizations that are usually only offered on premium at-home brewers. For example, options like temperature control and making specialized drink recipes aren’t always standard on basic home brewing machines.
The basic brewing process for commercial coffee makers isn’t that different from at-home brewers. However, as we mentioned, most true commercial brewers tend to offer bean-to-cup support. This means that you can add whole beans to the hopper, water to the reservoir, and when you press start, the machine takes over. Along with grinding the beans, you can also find models that support drink customizations.
The other two types of commercial coffee makers are combination bean-to-cup brewers and espresso or cappuccino machines. All bean-to-cup devices support built-in grinding. But combination bean-to-cup models take it a step further with drink options like hot chocolate or even instant coffee and powdered milk. And of course, an espresso or cappuccino machine can support volume while also making more flavorful espresso and espresso-based drinks.
Alternatively, you can find pod brewers and coffee urns that will also fall into this category. Pod brewers are usually single-cup machines, but they’ll usually have a larger water reservoir. In most cases, these are best for small offices or even hotels offering lobby coffee since they can expect less volume. Similarly, the best coffee urns for commercial use are essentially oversized percolators that can brew anywhere from 20 to 100 cups in a short period.
A commercial coffee maker is a good investment if you own a public-facing food business or manage an office with avid coffee drinkers. Usually, they’re fairly easy to use and maintain, making them an excellent value-add feature for any professional setting.
As with any appliance, with a commercial coffee brewer, you get what you put into it. Specifically, your brewer’s lifespan will depend on how frequently you’re using it and how often you engage in routine maintenance. If you abuse your machine or fail to maintain it, you could get just six months of use. In contrast, if you take care of it, you could run the same machine for decades.
In many cases, commercial coffee makers are designed with water lines, meaning that they connect directly to your business’ plumbing lines. So, just as with an at-home brewer, factors such as descaling and routine cleaning are going to impact how well your machine runs and how often you’ll need to replace it. Simply put, clean your commercial coffee maker often for the best performance.
For best results, be sure to clean it and backflush the lines every day after you’re finished using it. Engage in any recommended maintenance checks as outlined by the manufacturer, and avoid using unfiltered hard water as this can shorten your coffee maker’s lifespan.
You always need to start by thinking about the coffee volume you need to support. This will directly impact which models you filter out of your research. But other factors, such as a water reservoir versus a dedicated water line and drink customization, will also be essential factors.
As we discussed, there are three main categories of true commercial coffee makers — bean-to-cup, combination bean-to-cup, and espresso/cappuccino makers. Think about which option makes the most sense for your business. If you serve large volumes of coffee, you might be better off with the best commercial espresso machine. While these require more technical experience to use, they can support larger coffee outputs.
Bean-to-cup and combination bean-to-cup models feature built-in grinders meaning that you can focus on other tasks while your coffee maker is preparing the coffee grounds and brewing perfect cups of coffee. Alternatively, if you don’t want an espresso maker but still need to brew large quantities, consider a coffee urn that will keep your coffee hot for hours. They’re easy to operate and brew like a percolator.
Conversely, if you have a small business that doesn’t serve coffee that frequently, oversized machines with large-capacity outputs might be excessive. You might find that a single-cup pod-style coffee maker is easier but can still come with drink customization support.
There are pros and cons to both options. But if you serve large volumes of coffee per day, you might find that a water line is a better choice. Although you now have to connect it to your building’s plumbing, water line coffee brewers tend to make coffee faster than those that rely on a reservoir.
Alternatively, if you opt for a water tank model, be mindful of the reservoir capacity and consider that against your volume output. If you brew copious amounts of coffee every day, you’ll want to look for a larger tank so that you don’t have to refill the reservoir as frequently.
Similar to the water access question, you need to think about how much coffee you can realistically brew within a specific period, usually every minute or hour. But if you’re selecting a true commercial coffee machine with a built-in grinder, you’ll want to think more about how many cups you can make before you need to refill the bean hopper.
For example, a hopper that can hold half a pound of coffee beans will make 20 cups of coffee before it needs to be refilled. Conversely, a hopper that can hold five pounds of coffee can make 200 cups when filled. If you don’t need to brew this volume of coffee, opt for a simpler coffee machine, like a pod model or simple drip brewer that can quickly make a pot of coffee.
Depending on your business, you might be more inclined to select a simple coffee maker over one that’s more intensive. Coffee shops and restaurants may find that espresso or cappuccino machines — while requiring more technical skill to operate them — are a better option to support their menu offerings. On the other hand, a convenience store may prefer a combination bean-to-coffee brewer that allows consumers to customize their drinks. And an office environment might not want an oversized machine that overwhelms the break room countertops. If you’re still unsure, check out our review of the Bunn HB Heat N Brew programmable.
For coffee machines, there’s a direct correlation between cleanliness and longevity. You want a coffee machine that’s fairly easy to clean. Of course, if you select a robust commercial coffee maker, you’re going to need to engage in more serious maintenance. But at a minimum, you should be able to easily remove core components like filter baskets and grinders so that you can thoroughly clean them at the end of the day. Although, if you find that the coffee maker has been leaking, you’ll want to resolve that issue quickly with some DIY repair.