In catering, events, pubs, and offices a quality coffee offering is becoming a must have. But knowing what kind of coffee machine is right for your situation can be overwhelming. This article aims to clarify the difference between ‘traditional’ and ‘bean-to-cup’ commercial coffee machines and how to choose which type would be best for you!

First of all, what do we mean by ‘traditional’ or ‘bean-to-cup’ commercial coffee machines?

A traditional machine, such as those by Conti and Gaggia in the Caffeine Limited range, is manually operated by a barista. It is a very hands-on process allowing for attention to detail. First the barista takes their dose of freshly ground coffee from their grinder (an essential accompaniment of the traditional machine), then they tamp the coffee to create a flat and compact surface before loading it into the machine and beginning extraction. While the coffee is pouring, it is time for the barista to steam their milk to the desired texture. These stages are all important in the production of a quality coffee – and the sounds and movements of the barista have become such a big part in the coffee shop experience.

A Schaerer bean-to-cup coffee machine is a machine that still takes fresh coffee beans and fresh milk but is able to produce a complete coffee on-demand, at the push of a button. By grinding coffee automatically and texturising milk to a level of quality that would make a trained barista jealous, Schaerer bean-to-cup machines are a great option for delivering fresh, consistent, quality coffee without the experience of a trained and experienced barista.

So, what should you choose?

If you are looking for theatre and flexibility in the production of your coffee and you feel confident in your understanding, and of that of your baristas, then the traditional machine is a great option. Being so hands on with the coffee production process allows a barista to make tweaks and alterations throughout the day to maintain or improve quality. However this same flexibility can bring pitfalls as differences in baristas will create differences in your coffee. Therefore, traditional machines require a level of coffee training to get your baristas consistent and knowledgeable.

If consistency is your focus, then the Schaerer bean-to-cup machines from Caffeine Limited are perfect. They can be set up to your particular specifications and after that they will produce consistent coffees at a touch of a button. For this reason, bean-to-cup machines are perfect for places with a high turnover of staff or locations where coffee is not the main focus.

If you think bean-to-cup is best for you, but you are looking for some of the theatre of coffee production, the Schaerer Super Steam is a great choice. It will produce consistent espresso (the basis for any coffee) and will steam milk to a desired consistency but will then allow the barista to pour the milk. This allows a greater level of flexibility in production without the risk of bad coffee!

In Summary

Both traditional and bean-to-cup commercial coffee machines have an important place in the market and all of the machines from Caffeine Limited are quality focused. To find out more about which style would work best for your business, get in touch!

To find out more about what machine would work best for you, contact us at or call us on 01707 278 400

We look forward to hearing from you!