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What is a Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine?

Jun 21

What is a Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine?

There are a lot of different coffee machines out there in the market. You can buy drip-coffee makers, coffee plungers, manual espresso coffee machines, capsule coffee machines, coffee vending machines, small automatic machines and more. So the question we get asked a lot, is “what then are bean-to-cup coffee machines?”

Mythos bean to cup office coffee machine
Typical Bean-to-Cup Office Coffee Machine

Well, a bean-to-cup (sometimes written as B2C or bean-2-cup) coffee machine is simply a coffee machine that houses coffee beans and grinds them on-demand to pour the selected type of coffee drink into your cup. It does this automatically and you only have to start the process. Unlike a manual espresso machine, like a barista would use in a coffee shop, you don’t have to worry about grinding beans, putting a quantity of ground coffee in a portafilter to tamp down, or having to regulate the flow of water through the coffee. It’s all done for you by the machine!

They can be small for use at home or larger for use in commercial operations such as coffee shops and offices.

They all typically have a bean hopper, a grinder, a brew unit, a waste container for excess water and one for the spent coffee grounds and a water tank. The difference then between a commercial bean to cup coffee machine and a domestic bean to cup coffee machine is really just size and functionality.

Domestic coffee machines are smaller and have less coffee making choices. Their water tanks might hold anything from 1 to 3 litres, whereas their commercial counterparts can hold upwards of 4 litres or may be plumbed into the mains water system.

Many bean to cup machines also offer a milk frothing mechanism capable of making cappuccino or latte at the touch of a button. This then is known as “one-touch cappuccino”. It is advisable to look for this option if buying or renting a coffee machine because you can then make flat white, cappuccino or latte drinks at the touch of a button, and will not have to worry about manually steaming your milk. After all, if the bean-to-cup coffee machine s going to grind the coffee beans and produce high quality espresso for you, why not let it finish the process of making these milk containing favourites?

From a simplicity point of view the advantage is a coffee machine that can take you from coffee bean to coffee drink in about 30 to 45 seconds. All you have to do is keep it filled with coffee beans and water and to regularly empty the waste containers. You will also have to use a good milk line detergent to ensure your milk frothing mechanism is kept clean and hygienic.

The disadvantage of many of the bean to cup coffee machines, compared to coffee capsule makers, is price. They are not the cheapest coffee machines, but they do make life very easy for you. The other disadvantage is that whereas you can choose different coffee capsules with a capsule machine, here you add one type of bean to the hopper and must use that up before changing your bean blend.

The advantage a bean to cup machine has over a coffee capsule machine is that each drink made is far cheaper than using a capsule. Typically this saving can be 5x cheaper, and so over time, a bean-to-cup coffee machine, which starts out being pricey, can be more economical, and dare I say, more environmentally friendly.

If you are looking to buy one of these machines, you'll find many well known manufacturers, such as Siemens, DeLonghi, Philips, Melitta and Jura supplying them. One final suggestion is that you check the coffee bean hopper capacity and the water tank size to make sure you buy a coffee machine that is suitable for your needs. For domestic coffee machine usage you'll look at anything between a 300g to 500g bean hopper size and a 1.8 to 3l water tank. Office coffee machines would need a bean hopper holding around 1kg of coffee beans and 4 to 8l of water (or the capability to be plumbed into mains water). 

Enjoy making coffee from fresh coffee beans at the touch of a button!