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Hot Beverage Equipment Buying Guide

Flavorful, hot beverages are a cornerstone of the restaurant industry. From quaint street-side coffee shops to chain restaurants and even bars, everyone needs a fresh java or tea at one point (or several) throughout the day. By following this buying guide, you can find the best hot beverage equipment to make sure your business is serving the drinks that'll turn one-time customers into regulars.

The Right Equipment

Product Output Common Uses Benefits
Automatic Coffee Makers 320 - 1920 oz. per hour Break rooms, diners, coffee shops, offices
  • Water automatically refills for fast brewing
  • Some also include pourover design
Pourover Coffee Makers 440 - 520 oz. per hour Break rooms, diners, coffee shops, offices
  • No water line
  • Portable
High Volume Coffee Machine Urns 11 - 160 gallons per hour Catering, buffets, cafeterias, diners
  • Quickly brews high quantities of fresh coffee
  • Holds coffee for hundreds of people
  • Brew, hold, and serve from one machine
Liquid Coffee Dispensers 600 - 3200 oz. per hour Banquet halls, hotel lobbies, cafeterias, buffets
  • No brewing required
  • Uses Bag-in-Box system for fast dispensing
  • Quick and easy to load and dispense
Hot Tea Urns 15 - 22 gallons per hour Catering, banquet halls, cafeterias, buffets, Asian restaurants
  • Quickly brews enough tea for dozens of people
  • Brew, hold, and serve from one machine
Cappuccino / Espresso Machines 240 - 720 4 oz. demi tasse cups per hour Coffee shops, sandwich shops, restaurants
  • Brew cappuccino or espresso
  • Brew to ideal strength and flavor
Cappuccino / Hot Chocolate Dispensers 536 - 840 oz. per hour Catering, banquet halls, hotel lobbies, cafeterias, buffets
  • No brewing required
  • Dispenses a variety of flavors
  • Powdered mix ensures consistency and ease
Soluble Dispensers 3 - 12 gallon capacity Catering, banquet halls, cafeterias, buffets
  • Fast and efficient mixing process
  • Multiple hoppers dispense different flavors
Coffee Machine Urns 176 - 552 oz. per hour Catering, restaurants, hospitals, offices, schools
  • Ideal for low or medium traffic areas
  • Brew, hold, and serve from one machine
Satellite Coffee Brewers 80 - 2416 oz. per hour Catering, banquet halls, cafeterias, buffets, restaurants
  • Brew into airpots, servers, and other containers
  • Can brew into servers for self service

The Right Accessories

Getting the right accessories for your commercial coffee maker can be just as important as the maker itself. To get the most out of every cup of coffee, check out each category of accessories to learn what's right for your business!

Hot Beverage Supplies

Coffee Brewing

Check out our extensive selection of flavoring syrups, coffee servers, cups, and more! We carry hundreds of different supplies you can use to enhance your beverages’ flavor, body, texture, and presentation.

Water Filters

Water Filtration Systems

Water filtration systems block contaminants to help keep your beverages sanitary, safe, and tasting great. They help prevent scale, sediment, cysts, and other contaminants from clogging the internal components of your machines, extending the life of your equipment and increasing its efficiency to lower your energy costs.

Coffee Filters

Disposable Coffee Filters

Easy to use and replace, disposable coffee filters offer an economical way to keep grounds safely away from the final product so you have consistent, delicious coffee.

Coffee Grinders

Coffee Grinders

Coffee grinders let you break up coffee beans to extract the perfect flavor right before you brew, giving your coffee full body and taste.

The Right Voltage

Voltage is an important factor when considering coffee brewers and other hot beverage machines. Generally speaking, the higher the voltage, the faster your recovery time. So if you have a 120 volt unit, you will be able to produce less coffee than a 240 volt unit. But just because the voltages are doubled doesn't mean the output is doubled as well - the output can differ widely depending on the manufacturer, the type of machine, and other factors.

To decide on the correct voltage you'll need, you should ask yourself two questions: How much product will you need in a given day, and is your business outfitted correctly for the applicable voltage? Many machines come with ratings of cups per hour, generally referring to 5 or 8 oz. portions, to help you decide what unit is the best for you. But as a general rule of thumb, it's important to keep in mind that a low voltage unit will most likely be a poor performer at a large event, and a high voltage unit will probably wind up making too much product in an intimate setting.

Additionally, you'll need to make sure you have the correct electrical setup for the machine you require. 120 volt units can often be plugged into a common wall outlet. 208 and 240 volt machines may require a different outlet formation. All three voltages could potentially require hard-wiring to accommodate different amperages and phases, a task which must be performed by a qualified electrician. For convenience, you can find plug configurations and wiring requirements in individual product descriptions and specification sheets.

Note: Items with voltages that are separated by a forward slash (such as 120/208) must be hooked up to both voltages. Items with voltages that are separated by a hyphen (such as 120/208-240) can be run on either of the hyphen-separated voltages.

The Best Brew

Whether you're crafting the perfect mug of coffee or a revitalizing cup of tea, there are basic brewing principles that should be taken into account. By following the appropriate guide, you can ensure you'll avoid the most common brewing mistakes so you serve a premium product with every batch.

Coffee Brewing

Coffee Brewing

Get the best brew for your buck by following these basic guidelines. Discover the best way to achieve a desired flavor profile with the perfect balance of body, aroma, acidity, bitterness, and finish to craft a signature cup, or adjust your recipe to meet the specific taste of a thirsty customer. This simple, informative guide lays everything out in plain language so you can make sure you're making the best for your patrons.

Tea Brewing


Take the time to scan through these tips to take your tea brewing to the next tier. You'll learn about the art of tea steeping, how to achieve a flawless infusion, how to select the best types and grades of tea, and even the potential water hazards of your area. It's all there in an easy-to-read guide that can help improve your output and flavor with a few critical adjustments.

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