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Gigi4808

Suggestions for a commerial coffee machine

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I am in high hopes that you fine folks will be able to help me out.

We are opening an auction house. Per our counties health codes for us to sell coffee it has to be vended from a machine where we have no contact with the brewing process. I was hoping to get a Starbucks Icup Star but alas Starbucks told me there is no way we will do enough volume to make it an option. Other coffee services have turned me down for the same reason.

So we are going to have to purchase a machine of some sort. All we want is something that brews back reg/decaf. I am completely lost and to be honest the Starbucks rep had no suggestions for me. Does anyone have any idea what I should be looking for and where?.

Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.

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Umm... have you thought about seceding from the county?


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I have thought about seceding from the STATE- but I keep getting out voted by other's this would effect!.

It would actually almost be easier to open a full service resturant then it is going to be to open a "snack bar"- in reality "snack bar" is an overly ambitous title because we are not allowed to serve anything that is not prepackaged.

If not for the fact that serving coffee is practically a requirement for auction houses we would just skip it entirely and go with water/soft drinks (thank you Coca-Cola) :rolleyes:

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What kind of volume of coffee will you be serving? If you want good quality with the right brew temp and something fairly bulletproof in terms of reliability as well as a moderate price I sugggest a Bunn CWTF15-APS plumbed in single airpot brewer.

The airpots themselves are available on eBay (Bunn and similar moderately priced brands) in boxes of six for about $15 - $20 per airport ($90 to $120 for the case). This allows you to have a coupel pots full of both decaf and regular at any given time and also a spare pot or two just in case (with heavy use the pump mechanism eventually wears out).

Run a 1/4" copper water connection to feed the brewer and ensure to install a simple cartridge based water filter (an absolute must - and replacement cartridges are about $40 - $50 and with moderate volume will easily last one year or longer in all but the hardest water).

The Bun will run you about $475 to $575 depending on current pricing and source. And be sure to spend the extra $15 or $20 to get the stainless steel brew basket instead of tyhe plastic one. I have a slight personal preference for Fetco because we use them in our shops but they are pricier and for your purposes IMHO present no real advantage.

Or if you can live with the hassle of a "pour-over" airpot brewer you can pick the Bunn version of a pour-over airpot brewer for less than $250 at Sam's Club.

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Thank you for the Bunn Airport suggestion. I think from what you have said and my own additonal research that it may be our best option.

The best we can tell from watching and talking to other auction houses is that we can expect to go through roughly 100 servings per auction of regular (that's counting refills) and less then half of that for decaf. With 2 auctions a month we'll be overly generious and say 400 cups a month (I am sure the staff would drink some while prepping/closing as we are all coffee drinkers).

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With that volume I'm sure the Bunn is a good choice and I strongly recommend going with the plumbed in unit and a full six airpots. 3 liter airpot holds about ten servings of 10 oz each. I trust that you'll have a rush for coffee at certain points and have plenty else to do other than stand around getting water for a pour-over unit :biggrin:

At the risk of being repetitive I'll re-emphasize the need for a water filter and periodic cartridge replacement. I've seen water so bad that a brewer installed without one had a failed heating element within six months due to scale buildup. As a matter of fact - at that location I had to install a rechargeable stand-alone water softener that gets new salt tablets every six months.

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I wouldn't dream of doing it without the filters/cartridges the water in that building is vile.

I love the thoughts of getting all six containers because I could fill one of them with a nice dark roast. mmmmmmmm!

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The Fetco Extractor would be another great option. It gives you more control over the brewing process.

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The Fetco Extractor would be another great option. It gives you more control over the brewing process.

I would have suggested that - we have Fetco dual airpot Extractor series in all our shops and they're great. I guessed that if it's just serving coffee a couple times each month at an auction house the Bunn would be a good little workhorse at about half the price.

But I'm totally in agreement about the granular control possibilities not to mention the ease of the programming interface.

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