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Coffee Tips

How to Operate a Coffee Vending Machine 

Coffee is among the most popular drinks in the world. Travel to any part of the world, and you’re bound to spot someone drinking coffee. As a result of the high consumption of this beverage, coffee vending machines are common and available on the market. Coffee vending machines help keep workers energized at most companies and warehouses. Caffeine in coffee gives people the energy they need to get through the day. Usually, an average American coffee drinker enjoys 3 to 5 cups of coffee daily.

coffee vending machine

Generally, a coffee vending machine makes the work of getting coffee easier. The machine dispenses hot coffee and other coffee beverages. Additionally, some modern coffee vending machines will dispense other types of hot drinks, such as tea, hot chocolate, espresso, mochas, cappuccinos, and lattes. Most coffee vending machines in companies are free of charge – they don’t require payment to operate. However, public coffee vending machines require payment. Most of them are coin-operated, while others accept credit cards and bills.

This article is a guide on how to operate a coffee vending machine. Read on!


What is a Coffee Vending Machine

A coffee vending machine is an automatic coin-operated machine dispensing hot coffee and other beverages. The machine contains paper cups and one or different types of coffee. Like most vending machines, a coffee vending machine is large and rectangular. Before the vending machine dispenses coffee, you’ll need to pay with coins or cash. Some modern machines will also take credit cards.

Some coffee vending machines, particularly older models, make use of powdered instant coffee and hot water to brew their coffee. Additionally, these models offer coffee additives such as cream and sugar. On the other hand, some newer coffee vending models freshly brew coffee using coffee grounds and hot water. Additionally, some of these newer models grind coffee beans to order using the preinstalled coffee grinders in the vending machine.

Equally important, some modern coffee vending machines provide other beverages such as espresso, tea, cappuccino, latte, hot chocolate, and mocha. What’s more, some modern coffee vending machines offer canned and iced coffee.


How to Operate a Coffee Vending Machine

Usually, a coffee vending machine works on a simple principle – you’ll need to make payment for you to receive your coffee or other beverage. In a work environment, most vending machines don’t require any payment. These machines are available to keep workers fueled and energized. The exact way to operate a coffee vending machine depends on the type of beverage you want – instant coffee or pre-ground, or freeze-dried coffee granules.

Instant Coffee

As mentioned earlier, most older coffee vending machines utilize powdered instant coffee and hot water to brew coffee. Usually, the instant coffee powder is stored in containers within the machine. After making the payment, the necessary instant powder amount is dispensed into a paper cup and mixed with hot water and any additives that you select, such as milk, sugar, cream, etc.,

Instant coffee vending machines are considered the most economical. However, the coffee dispensed may not meet the standards of modern coffee enthusiasts. Instant coffee vending machines can dispense a large volume of coffee (approximately 500 cups or more) before refilling it.

Pre-Ground or Freeze-Dried Coffee Granules 

Coffee vending machines that use pre-ground or freeze-dried coffee granules produce higher-quality coffee compared to instant coffee machines. The dispensing concept is similar to that of instant coffee systems – the pre-ground or freeze-dried coffee granules are dispensed in a cup and mixed with hot water. Additives of your choice are also added to the cup.


Types of Coffee Vending Machines

There are different types of coffee vending machines. They include:

Bean-to-Cup Vending Machines

As the name suggests, the bean-to-cup vending machines produce the beverage from coffee beans. Usually, coffee beans are added to the top chamber of the coffee vending machine and ground in different stages so that coffee grounds are available for the preparation of the next drink. Hot water is then used to extract flavors from the coffee grounds. The benefit of the bean-to-cup vending machines is that they produce high-quality coffee with fuller flavors, a rich body, and intense aromas.

In-Cup Vending Machines

In-cup vending machines contain pre-filled cups containing powdered instant coffee, pre-ground coffee, or freeze-dried coffee granules. Once you make the payment, the machine adds hot water and other additives of your choice to the cups.

Pods, Modules, Capsules

Most modern coffee vending machines use pods, modules, and capsules to brew a cup of coffee. Usually, ground coffee is pre-packaged and sealed into a module, pod, or capsule. Once you’ve made the payment, the pod drops into the machine, and the coffee of your choice (espresso, cappuccino, or latte) is freshly brewed. Coffee vending machines that use this system are small and only produce a light volume of coffee compared to instant coffee vending machines.


Coffee Vending Machines Modes of Payment

     1. Free Coffee Vending Machines

These are the most common coffee vending machines found in offices and warehouses. All these machines are free to operate – all the products from the machine are free for the company’s employees. The reason behind free coffee vending machines in offices is to increase the employees’ productivity.

     2. Coin Operated Coffee Vending Machines

These are the most common coffee vending machines. You’ll find them in places such as petrol stations, cafes, restaurants, airports, train stations, busy lobbies, banks, or in areas where there are no coffee shops around. These machines operate under one principle – you insert coins for the beverage to dispense. Some models require you to insert the exact amount of money, while others provide a change-giving mechanism.

     3. Cashless Coffee Vending Machines

You don’t need coins or cash to access the product for these machines. You’ll need a prepaid card or key to access coffee and other beverages. For the cashless coffee vending system, you’re required to deposit some money in the card depending on the cost of the beverages dispensed by the vending machine. Some cashless systems allow customers to program cardholders’ accounts in order to receive rewards, promotions, or “happy hours” for utilizing the system.