Hello, I would like to ask which coffee brewer and grinder you would recommend for high volume location - busy shopping mall kiosk, where space is very limited? Any comments, suggestions, and thoughts will be appreciated! Thank you! 

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Bunn CW series, Grindmaster AT series.  

Hi Nev. Questions, questions, questions:

How "high volume" are we talking? How many cups an hour do you expect to serve?

What are you brewing into? Airpots? Thermal Servers?

Are you limited to 110v electrical supply or can you do 208-240?

When you say space is very limited, how much space do you have available (both in terms of counter space and brewer height)?

Assuming you will be able to hook up to a water line?

Hi. Its gonna be a new location and I have no idea how busy it will be. Its a Westfield shopping mall-all the big stores around it. Hopefully 500+ cups a day. So the question I guess is: airpots or thermal? single or double? I will have 220 power. The space is 150 sf kiosk. And yes-there is a water line. 
Thank you for your help! I really appreciate any advices and comments!


Brady said:

Hi Nev. Questions, questions, questions:

How "high volume" are we talking? How many cups an hour do you expect to serve?

What are you brewing into? Airpots? Thermal Servers?

Are you limited to 110v electrical supply or can you do 208-240?

When you say space is very limited, how much space do you have available (both in terms of counter space and brewer height)?

Assuming you will be able to hook up to a water line?

A single 3-gallon water-jacketed urn will make the best standard drip coffee, and you always have some quantity of fairly hot water. You would need to be able to pull the brew in to satellite storage/serving containers, though.(Can you make Americanos for the DeCaff customers?) The Bunn or Grindmaster grinders are fine for you to use behind the counter.....but if you decide to sell bean coffee and offer grinding, you might want to consider a Ditting or other more robust model

Hi Kim, thanks for the reply! 3 gallon urn might be perfect. I will have decaf espresso for the Americanos-I will be using swift grinder. Yes, I am planing to sell whole-bean and offer grinding. Which brand would you recommend for the urn and grinder? 

Thank you!

Kim R Moore said:

A single 3-gallon water-jacketed urn will make the best standard drip coffee, and you always have some quantity of fairly hot water. You would need to be able to pull the brew in to satellite storage/serving containers, though.(Can you make Americanos for the DeCaff customers?) The Bunn or Grindmaster grinders are fine for you to use behind the counter.....but if you decide to sell bean coffee and offer grinding, you might want to consider a Ditting or other more robust model

Kim, could you please explain why you believe this to be true?

Kim R Moore said:

A single 3-gallon water-jacketed urn will make the best standard drip coffee, and you always have some quantity of fairly hot water. You would need to be able to pull the brew in to satellite storage/serving containers, though.(Can you make Americanos for the DeCaff customers?) The Bunn or Grindmaster grinders are fine for you to use behind the counter.....but if you decide to sell bean coffee and offer grinding, you might want to consider a Ditting or other more robust model

For flexibility, quality, and reliability in a larger volume brewer, I like the Fetco CBS52H. It'll do various batch sizes up to 1.5 gallons... Its a pretty big brewer, but you'll be hard pressed to find anything in a high capacity brewer that's very small.

How did you get to your 500+ cups a day projection, btw?

The thing to remember when considering brewers is the balance between peak and off-peak demand. You don't want to brew so much coffee at a time that you have to hold it forever. Brew only what you can sell while it still tastes good... whether that is half an hour or an hour is up to you to taste and decide. That's why I like brewers that give you "full and half batch" capability.

Airpots vs thermals is kind of a preference thing. Thermals hold more coffee, have a sightglass, and dispense coffee more quickly. They are much more expensive though. Airpots can be lined up in a rack with spares behind them, and are less expensive. They are also small enough to fit under the smaller brewers (Fetco 2032, Bunn ICB).

Hope that helps.

If you will have a 30-amp or higher 220 volt circuit, Wilbur Curtis...If you have to squeak the urn on to a 20-Amp 220 circuit, the Bunn, as they use a much smaller heating element than does Curtis. For more robust grinders, with better motors and grinding plates, I've used Ditting and Mahlkoening-but they are frightfully expensive, unless you can find a deal that is worth taking

Nev said:

Hi Kim, thanks for the reply! 3 gallon urn might be perfect. I will have decaf espresso for the Americanos-I will be using swift grinder. Yes, I am planing to sell whole-bean and offer grinding. Which brand would you recommend for the urn and grinder? 

Thank you!

Kim R Moore said:

A single 3-gallon water-jacketed urn will make the best standard drip coffee, and you always have some quantity of fairly hot water. You would need to be able to pull the brew in to satellite storage/serving containers, though.(Can you make Americanos for the DeCaff customers?) The Bunn or Grindmaster grinders are fine for you to use behind the counter.....but if you decide to sell bean coffee and offer grinding, you might want to consider a Ditting or other more robust model

Remember: I said "standard drip coffee"  -  but my opinions and positions are based upon experiences and data acquired after more than 30 years in the coffee industry...having said that, there isn't always "an" answer-frequently there are several or many that would be acceptable and workable...
Brady said:

Kim, could you please explain why you believe this to be true?

Kim R Moore said:

A single 3-gallon water-jacketed urn will make the best standard drip coffee, and you always have some quantity of fairly hot water. You would need to be able to pull the brew in to satellite storage/serving containers, though.(Can you make Americanos for the DeCaff customers?) The Bunn or Grindmaster grinders are fine for you to use behind the counter.....but if you decide to sell bean coffee and offer grinding, you might want to consider a Ditting or other more robust model

Thats the problem: I have no idea when pick times would be and how busy its gonna get. Thats a good question: How did I get 500+ cups a day? I guess its my optimistic expectations... It could be 200 cups and it could be 1000. BTW, how do you estimate #cups/day? Is it by annual mall visitors traffic stats or business hours (which will be something like 7am-10pm, 7days/week)? I need help estimating the # of cups/day and apparently deciding on equipment that will satisfy that demand! And of course, I have only 150sf space to work with, which doesn't make things easier. Thank you for your input!

Brady said:

For flexibility, quality, and reliability in a larger volume brewer, I like the Fetco CBS52H. It'll do various batch sizes up to 1.5 gallons... Its a pretty big brewer, but you'll be hard pressed to find anything in a high capacity brewer that's very small.

How did you get to your 500+ cups a day projection, btw?

The thing to remember when considering brewers is the balance between peak and off-peak demand. You don't want to brew so much coffee at a time that you have to hold it forever. Brew only what you can sell while it still tastes good... whether that is half an hour or an hour is up to you to taste and decide. That's why I like brewers that give you "full and half batch" capability.

Airpots vs thermals is kind of a preference thing. Thermals hold more coffee, have a sightglass, and dispense coffee more quickly. They are much more expensive though. Airpots can be lined up in a rack with spares behind them, and are less expensive. They are also small enough to fit under the smaller brewers (Fetco 2032, Bunn ICB).

Hope that helps.

Personally, I disagree about urns - all the ones I have experience with have externally adjustable thermostats, which are meant to be turned up and down daily - which effectively means that unless you train your staff to be VERY diligent about temperature control, you'll be brewing at different temperatures all the time.  They also brew into liners which are surrounded by water that's much hotter than the ideal holding temperature for coffee.  If you immediately drain the coffee into a thermal server, you'd avoid that problem, but then you've doubled the space taken up by the system, which sounds like it wouldn't work in your space-constrained environment.

I agree wholeheartedly with Brady that you should only brew what you can sell in a short order and that you'll need to be able to brew different batch sizes to do that.  In my personal opinion, the only brewers that do different batch sizes well are the newer digital ones that allow unique recipe tweaks for each batch size (Bunn ICB or Single/Dual TF DBC, Fetco 2051E or 2052E, Curtis TP15T, etc.)  The reason for this is that, with the same size brew basket and the same grind size, if you double the amount of coffee and the amount of water, you double (or more) the contact time, which results in over-extracted coffee.  So you either over-extract the big batches or under-extract the small batches.  If you use a digital brewer and set your recipes correctly, you can compensate for this with pulse-brewing, variable by-pass amounts, etc.  I like the Bunns best because I like their programming interface best, but any of the three lines I mentioned above can make great coffee from 1/2 gallon to 1-1/2 gallon batches consistently.  The older-style analog/mechanical brewers just can't do it - they can only really do one batch size well, and anything else is just compromises.

Sorry for such a wordy response.  Hope it helps!

Thank you Eric! Your response helps a lot!



Eric Schaefer said:

Personally, I disagree about urns - all the ones I have experience with have externally adjustable thermostats, which are meant to be turned up and down daily - which effectively means that unless you train your staff to be VERY diligent about temperature control, you'll be brewing at different temperatures all the time.  They also brew into liners which are surrounded by water that's much hotter than the ideal holding temperature for coffee.  If you immediately drain the coffee into a thermal server, you'd avoid that problem, but then you've doubled the space taken up by the system, which sounds like it wouldn't work in your space-constrained environment.

I agree wholeheartedly with Brady that you should only brew what you can sell in a short order and that you'll need to be able to brew different batch sizes to do that.  In my personal opinion, the only brewers that do different batch sizes well are the newer digital ones that allow unique recipe tweaks for each batch size (Bunn ICB or Single/Dual TF DBC, Fetco 2051E or 2052E, Curtis TP15T, etc.)  The reason for this is that, with the same size brew basket and the same grind size, if you double the amount of coffee and the amount of water, you double (or more) the contact time, which results in over-extracted coffee.  So you either over-extract the big batches or under-extract the small batches.  If you use a digital brewer and set your recipes correctly, you can compensate for this with pulse-brewing, variable by-pass amounts, etc.  I like the Bunns best because I like their programming interface best, but any of the three lines I mentioned above can make great coffee from 1/2 gallon to 1-1/2 gallon batches consistently.  The older-style analog/mechanical brewers just can't do it - they can only really do one batch size well, and anything else is just compromises.

Sorry for such a wordy response.  Hope it helps!

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