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Thread: ADVICE PLEASE - Work coffee machine $1000-$1500

  1. #1
    Foz
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    ADVICE PLEASE - Work coffee machine $1000-$1500

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi,

    I have recently taken over as the head of my work social club. The primary function of the social club (as I see it anyway) is to provide quality coffee for it's members.

    At the moment we have a Breville BES870. It's about 5years old and has taken a beating. We make about 30-40 coffees a day (5 days a week) and I fear that this machine just isn't going to hold up much longer. I would desperately like some advice on what next to get.

    Price range is somewhere in the $1000-$1500 region for machine and grinder. Here are the machine options I am considering.

    OPTION 1: Rancilio Silvia. I have this machine at home and I love her to bits.
    Pros: I know that they have a great reputation for longevity and reliability. They also make great coffee.
    Cons. There is the danger that someone will leave the steam switch on and blow up the boiler (although a simple sign may help that). There will be a bit of training required to teach everyone how temp surf properly. Let's face itů she's pretty ugly!

    OPTION 2: Breville BES920. I kind of see this machine as the epitome of 'new school' (in the price range) and Silvia most definitely 'old school'.
    Pros. Dual boiler = faster coffee making - there is often a line up during rush hour. Lots of bells, whistles and LCDs (everyone likes cool gadgets). Less chance of someone breaking it by simply leaving a switch on.
    Cons. Not as tried and true as Silvia - more chance of a lemon. More electrics = more that 'could' go wrong.

    OPTION 3: A 2 group commercial machine. To meet the price range, this would most likely have to be second hand.
    Pros. Commercial machine will better suit the volume of coffees we are making. 2 groups will significantly speed things up in rush hour.
    Cons. Plumbing will require more work from me to organise. Risks with second hand machine having serviceability issues. I'm really not sure where to find one of these OR if I will be able to find one in the price range.

    OK. So any/all advice or other options are most welcome. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Your work will have an ABN, this will give you access to Silver Chef and the like. ( there are a couple of alternatives )

    For 30-40 coffees a day, get a decent machine and grinder.

    What is your location?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    You can certainly get a good used commercial machine for $1000. Plumbing is not a big deal if you have access to mains nearby (e.g., under sink). CS has plenty of people who can assist you with hooking up plumbing. Power isn't difficult if you have a machine with a 10amp plug although checking that the circuit the powerpoint is on can support the draw from a commercial boiler's heating element is important (otherwise the RCD, if installed, can trip immediately on the circuit breaker panel and/or other issues usually worse or annoying). Calling a local residential electrician is always good insurance.

  4. #4
    TOK
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    A good used commercial machine for $1000.00 ?

    It seems people in these forums often confuse a home environments where they more likely to be forgiving of a project and have plenty of time on their hands, with a real life working environment where equipment needs to be relatively recent model and in proper working condition and be operable immeditely and on an ongoing basis with little requirement for "service". People in working environments are not forgiving of coffee making equipment that isnt working immediately and at the proverbial push of a button.

    While there may be a small number of working environments that fall outside the norm, in *most* working environments with several people involved, all the above machines will be unsuitable because
    a) everyone has to be a functioning knowledgeable barista incl in use and management of machine AND GRINDER,
    b) no one will clean up after themselves
    c) no one will take responsiility for the machine.

    At bare minimum in a site with a number of people...you will need a machine with water connection and a drain, because these are the first things that people dont check and wont accommodate. They walk away and leave it as found....emty of water, or overflowing from a full drip tray....they just walk away...and you wont be able to stop people fiddling with stuff they knw nothing about such as the grinder. It will magically go out of adjustment all the time, and no one will own up. the dream of having easily obtainable and manageable great coffee, is a long way from all this.

    You will not be able to stop the hordes from complaining (over several fronts), and someone will get stuck making coffees and cleaning up all the time or being called away from ther actual job.....to accommodate equipment problems as they arise. This will cause a great deal resentment within the staff especially those that end up "carrying the can". It wont take long for management to get wind that someone is spending valuable working time...on the coffee machine...and take steps.

    If you want something that will actually do for the most part, what is intended by your good intentioned idea, and keep everyone happy including management, suggest you look up someone that specialises in Office Coffee and ask them to come out and view the site and give you their expert advice.

    For your stated number of coffees a day set aside a realistic budget, suggest probably triple the figures stated above, and look for a compromise between QUALITY OF PRODUCT VS CONVENIENCE IN OPERATION VS RELIABILITY IN SERVICE.

    Buy from someone that can supply the full range of after sales services.

    hope that helps.
    Last edited by TOK; 14th July 2014 at 09:44 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    words
    Did you miss the part where the OP said they currently have a BES870?

    I'm guessing if having to make their own coffee "manually" (as opposed to pushing one button) was going to present an issue, it would have already.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Some contributors "words" carry more weight and value than the words of others... some of whom just like to see their own "words" in print, don't really know jack at all and go on and on and on (ad nauseum) regardless. As such, I wholeheartedly give TOK's posts a great deal of respect as he truly has been in the trenches for quite some time now and truly knows what the hell he is on about. Dismiss such words of wisdom at your own peril.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Y'all understand that writing "words" or "-snip-" or similar isn't a dismissal of content, but is good forum etiquette when responding to an entire lengthy post that people don't need to see reposted in the quote... right?
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Y'all understand that writing "words" or "-snip-" or similar isn't a dismissal of content, but is good forum etiquette when responding to an entire lengthy post that people don't need to see reposted in the quote... right?
    Good forum etiquette according to whom? It certainly isn't the norm on this forum and its terse bluntness comes across more than a bit harshly. And, on another note, you've only been in the US for a short while so what's with the "Y'all"??? Next thing you know you'll be voting Republican and playing the banjo.

  9. #9
    TOK
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    Blokes, I am a member of 5 forums and have honestly, never noticed the use of the quoted 'words" as above in any of them, including here.

    Not disbelieving the explanation however, and maybe I never noticed its use, or maybe in the other 4 forums all the posts are short enough that they dont require such form of web shorthand.

    Regardless, and on face value....I am sure I never wrote the word "words" in my above post so the quote is actually a misquote not to mention that it is strictly incorrect.

    However I would like to mention, that I stand behind whatever I wrote. My experiences dictate the scenarios depicted are absolutely correct in *most cases* (as was noted although not in the exact way that i just did...and you can quote me on that ), and I believe that all three pieces of equipment are unsuitable for office coffee for whatever reasons, and that a properly functional (in the context of it being used as a good, reliable office coffee machine in a commercial situation) 2 group commercial machine, cannot be had for the stated budget price in real world terms.

    Additionally kindly note, that my above reply actually contained a detailed on topic reply, whereas I am not so sure that the "words" reply, did anything of the sort?

    If the OP doesnt agree with any of that, I am sure he will rightly disregard whatever he doesnt like, and make his own decisions accordingly.

    Hope that helps

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    Seem to be a few overly "touchy" folk around this morning.....is it the cold weather ?
    if the 870 has survived this long,...it's both a miracle and an indication that the users seem able to operate a basic "grind and brew" Espresso machine.
    for 40-50 cups a day you don't need the capacity of a 2 group commercial, a single group commercial like a Rancilio Epoca would easily cope. These can also still be a Tank feed, 10 amp install to keep it simple, and often crop up in good condition for under $1k .
    of course, a 2 group would offer a little "redundancy" in case of problems.. But at the cost of size and install complexity
    Remember to budget for a separate grinder.

  11. #11
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    I could have quoted your long post TOK, but "words" was easier than multi-quoting or paraphrasing.

    In context I can see how it might come across if you hadn't seen it before, but it is certainly used elsewhere (on more than one forum). Forum jargon is certainly not ubiquitous, but CS is also somewhat atypical in my experience. Perhaps it's a demographic phenomenon.

    Anyway, I think your message about durability, suitability and cost might have been clearer without the office politics lesson.

    Aside from being general widsom, it appeared less relevant to the OPs specific situation (thus my question about whether you missed that part).
    Banjo.au and Dragunov21 like this.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bosco_Lever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foz View Post
    Hi,

    I have recently taken over as the head of my work social club. The primary function of the social club (as I see it anyway) is to provide quality coffee for it's members.
    Is your view shared by everyone else at work? Others may disagree.

    Coffee machines in offices are a minefield. In 90% of cases a machine that uses the ESE pods and can steam milk is the best solution. They are easy to clean, use and low maintenance. Every point TOK mentioned is valid. I have visited a lot of offices, and it is very rare to see an espresso machine, unless there are a number of coffee enthusiasts present who are willing to devote "their" time, and not company time, in the care and maintenance of the machine.
    Most large offices, have a fully maintained automatic machine, with the supply of beans and maintenance as part of the contract. They don't come cheap though.

    The type of machine you get also depends on the dynamics and personalities of the people working in the office. If you have issues keeping the kitchen clean, you will have even more with the coffee machine.

    If everyone is already accustomed to the Breville, and are happy with the procedures involved, then an upgrade is feasible.

    I set up a 1 grp Boema and grinder in an office environment a few years ago. As an exception, it was very successful as more than half of the people in the office were passionate enough to get involved. Also, there was no decent cafe nearby. You can get a refurbished commercial machine and grinder for under $1500. You WILL have to factor in regular maintenance and ongoing repairs. My choice with a Boema was due to the availability of a nearby service tech. There are plenty of alternatives. Stick to a 10Amp machine.

    Further details such as location, size of workforce etc, also enable others to assist with advice.

    Good luck with your choice.
    Dimal and chokkidog like this.

  13. #13
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bosco_Lever View Post
    Every point TOK mentioned is valid. I have visited a lot of offices, and it is very rare to see an espresso machine, unless there are a number of coffee enthusiasts present who are willing to devote "their" time, and not company time, in the care and maintenance of the machine.

    Good luck with your choice.
    A winery close by has a 2 grp Rancilio lever in a staff room, where less than ten people used it.

    Prominently displayed at head height above the machine was the " someone, everyone, anyone and no-one " pearl of wisdom. :-D

  14. #14
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    Yeah don't underestimate the office politics side of things. I have a domestic gaggia in one of the tea rooms which fortunately only a few people use (uni postgrad/staff). Because it is a big department I just slapped an exagerated note above the power point warning that incorrect use will result in a dry boiler and destroy the machine (it would take some effort, but trust me there are idiots out there). My sunbeam in a previous building was NEVER cleaned up after, chronic coffee puck syndrome.

    My worst scenario was when an undergrad with a few screws loose wandered in and decided to make a coffee for themselves. I walked in right after the damage was done, with coffee grinds painted ALL OVER the kitchen. It turns out they didn't put the basket in the portafilter!!! I just left her there sipping her sludge, and came back later to find only half of it was cleaned up.

  15. #15
    Foz
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    Thanks everyone for your input. I'm glad things have calmed down a bit..... ;-)

    I fully understand the benefits of a pod machine and the pitfalls of a grind and brew set-up if not cared for properly. The make up of my workplace is such that about half of the people are regular espresso drinker who have their own manual machines/grinders at home and the other half don't drink coffee at all. I think that the issues (cleaning, water-tanks etc) will be no different to the set-up that we have already have with the 870. This is why I'm steering clear of a pod machine.

    I think that a second hand commercial machine may be the gold plated solution. I'll just have to do some searching to find one for the right price and with the after sales servicing that we will require. I am in Newcastle by the way.

    Thanks again for all your advice.

  16. #16
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    Foz,

    I have never worked in an office with much better than instant. Yuck.

    While pods may be cleaner and simpler in an office, I have never had a pod coffee that I liked.

    If you have had 5 good years out of a Breville BES870 I think you could go well with a BES920 and a good grinder.

    Three years ago I upgraded from an 870 to a 900 and noticed an improvement in flavour and the ability for quicker production of milk drinks. The new 920 is an improvement on my 900.

    There is a prejudice here against Breville machines due to there earlier machines and often by those who have had no experience with their Dual Boiler machines. For their price they take a bit of beating.

    Barry

  17. #17
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    Check the for sale sites for something like a Wega Mini Nova (there's one for sale at the moment for $870neg in S.A.)
    They come up a fair bit for $1000 or under. Simple, E61 HX, hard-working machine.

    At least two of the site sponsors have them on their websites.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...tml#post174369



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