Coffee Brewers & Servers
Types: Manual brewers, such as a French press, are intended for use at dining tables. Pour-over brewers and automatic urns are designed to yield traditional "American-style" coffee. These brewers drip heated water over coffee grounds held in a filter. Pour-over models require a water reservoir to be filled manually, while automatic urns are connected to a water line. One type of urn holds heated water in a separate chamber until the brew button is pushed, while another employs a heat exchanger. Some coffeemakers have heated plates below glass or metal decanters, while others dispense brewed coffee into insulated containers or airpots to keep it warm. Freestanding insulated urns free-up coffeemakers while allowing service of up to 5 gals. of coffee on buffet lines. Some coffee urns have heating systems built into their insulation that can measure the temperature of the coffee inside and add heat as needed.
Most espresso makers use a pressurized water spray to extract brewed beverage more quickly from the grounds in individual portions. These machines can also include generators that direct steam through a wand into a separate container of milk to make cappuccino.
Capacities/Footprints: Pour-over automatic models can brew about 50 cups per hour per decanter or airpot; other automatic coffee urns can brew and hold up to 80 gals. of coffee per urn. Pour-over-type brewers occupy about 2-sq.-ft., while larger urns can require up to 5-sq.-ft. of space. Automatic espresso makers are rated to yield about 120 cups per hour per double head. Depending on their size, they can occupy from 1- to 4-sq.-ft. of space.
Energy Source(s): Most coffeemakers require 120V electricity, but some large urn brewers require 240V and can also be operated using steam or natural or LP gas, allowing them to be employed outdoors. Larger automated espresso makers require 208/220V current.
Manufacturing Method: French press brewers are made of plexiglas or glass, with metal mesh filter plungers. Other brewers are made of 18/8 stainless steel and consist of a hot water tank or heat exchanger, spray head, filter unit and coffee receptacle. Units may also have separate warming plates or stands, and holding heaters may be integrated into a unit itself. Espresso units feature an electric pump that forces water over the grounds.
Standard Features: Coffeemakers of all types require some kind of water inlet, water heating unit, drip or spray head and filter. Automatic brewers can be hooked up to a 1/40 water line; these units also feature a hot-water tap.
New Features/Technology/Options: New on the market is a system that utilizes RFID chips embedded in coffee production equipment that networks the components (from grinder to brewer, for example) to communicate the exact recipe for each brewed drink. Another new brewer claims to be able to brew hot tea, cold tea and coffee in a single unit effectively.
Sales Guidelines: DSRs should remind their customers that specialty coffees have become extremely popular in recent years. Machines that make espresso and cappuccino can be found in almost every type of environment and can provide higher margins than American-style coffee.
Maintenance Requirements: If an operation is not using conditioned water, lines must be delimed regularly to protect brewers. Equipment should be wiped down daily, including spray plates, heads, faucets and carafes.
Food Safety & Sanitation Essentials: Since milk and cream used in coffee drinks must be refrigerated, some espresso machines incorporate a separate 1-gal. refrigerated milk container.