Coffee Vending Machine Facts

Researching a Coffee Vending Machine can be a confusing and daunting task with an array of terms used to describe the myriad of feature. To help unravel the mystery of Coffee Vending Machines we have created the glossary below which will hopefully assist understand these simple, yet complex beasts.

Dimensions (Height x Weight x Depth)
The maximum amount of space that your Coffee Vending Machine physically consumes. When considering your space requirements it is also important to be aware of whether the machine requires additional room at the top – to fill beans or water – or sides – to fill vending consumables or clean the machine.

Number of selections
This is the number of pre-programmed options available on the machine. Your Coffee Vending Machine provider will programme your drinks selections to your desired requirements. Don’t forget that you may want to allocate preselections for hot water and hot milk in addition to your preferred beverages.

Numbers of pre selections
The preselections are buttons that are programmed to determine an option to use with your selection. For example, your Coffee Vending Machine may have 2 preselections for cups size – big cup and small cup. This would be selected prior to choosing your beverage.

Fresh bean or Bean to cup
Fresh bean Vending Machines store coffee beans that are automatically ground, dosed, tamped and extracted after make a coffee selection. While most fresh bean machines only provide for one type of bean, more sophisticated models may provide 2 bean hoppers so that the users can chose the option of caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee drinks.

Coffee beans capacity
This is the physical holding capacity of the bean hopper, usually in grams. Many Coffee Vending Machines may also have the option of expanding the bean capacity.

Number of instant powder canisters
Instant powder canisters store and dispense dry vending powders that may be used in your beverage. In dry milk machine at least 1 canister must be allocated for milk powders or granules.

Instant powders can include instant coffee, specialty flavoured coffees, hot chocolate powders, chai, instant tea and soups. While the choices of beverages may seem unlimited in machines with a large number of canisters, for higher volume applications multiple canisters may also be used for the same powder to increase the time between restocking.
Additionally, multiple canisters may share the same mixing bowls – see next point – and care must be taken not to share mixing bowls between b flavoured powders – spring onion soup – with more delicate drinks such as Chai.

Mixing Bowl
The mixing bowl is where the action happens in your Coffee Vending Machine. When you choose a selection that uses a powder canister, the powder/s are dispensed into a mixing bowl, hot water is added to dissolve the powered then the solution is extracted into the cup. For example, in a machine where we may have a drinking chocolate, the selection of this drink would dispense hot chocolate powder and maybe even milk powder in to a mixing bowl, which is then combined with water and dispensed.

The mixing bowl / dried canister combinations are important factors for determining the number of drink varieties available from your machine.

Cup size fitting
The gap between your dispensing head and cup surface, cup holder or drip tray will determine what sized cups can be used with your machine. Some Coffee Vending Machines will have adjustable height cup holders and some will even have sufficient room for a coffee carafe or jug, while others may only be able to accommodate certain cup sizes.

Autonomous water tank
Coffee Vending Machines that are not located near a water supply or that need to be moved around may need an autonomous or internal water tank. In some cases this could be a gravity fed tank. In other cases, this could be a large water tank in the base stand of the machine with a small pump.

Water tank capacity
The water capacity of your water tank, usually measured in litres.

Mains water connection
A mains water connection will mean that you do not need to fill your Coffee Vending Machine with water. The setup will usually require a water filter, pressure reducer and stop valve or tap.

Payment system
Payment systems can be added to some Coffee Vending Machines. These systems can accommodate coins, or notes, or swipe cards, or a combination of the above.

Base cabinet
You Coffee Vending Machine may be bench top mounted or you may choose a free standing machine. Your free standing machine may require a base cabinet. Base cabinets can accommodate waste (water and ground coffee) or water can be plumbed to your drainage system. Base cabinets may also be able to accommodate spare consumables such as coffee, vending powders, cups, sugars, and stirrers.

Cup sensor
Cup sensors significantly reduce the amount of wet waste created by your Coffee Vending Machine. The machine will only dispense when the cup sensor detects your cup and as soon as a cup is removed, the machine will cease dispensing product.

Fresh milk system
Fresh milk systems have a separate milk boiler and frother unit. When using a fresh milk system, thought also needs to be given to milk refrigeration. In some vending machines milk refrigeration is internal where as in others a separate milk fridge or cooler may be required.


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