Have you ever needed a little coffee to get through that infamous afternoon slump or to wake yourself up in the morning at work?
Most offices nowadays save their employees from having to make costly trips to the nearest coffee shop by providing a coffee maker in the break room. Employees can then satisfy their caffeine craving with just a quick walk down the hall or stairs.
Want to provide your employees the same benefit? We’ve written this guide to help you find the best coffee makers for break rooms.
- How different types of coffee makers work
- How to choose the best coffee maker for your office
- Our choices for the best coffee makers for break rooms
In a Hurry?
If you're in a rush and don't have time to read the entire article, here's our top picks...
If you want the best of the best, then check out this FRANKE machine
If you're looking for something inexpensive that would work for a very small office, then this Keurig Office Pro might do the trick.
How Coffee Makers Work
For most people, when they think of coffee makers, they imagine standard drip coffee pots. You might be surprised to learn that there are many other ways to make your average cup of java.
Honestly, drip coffee makers might be one of the best choices for a business, so this guide will largely focus on them. However, it helps to have information on different types for the sake of comparison.
While going over every option possible could take a long time, we’ll cover some of the most common types of coffee makers:
- Drip coffee makers
- French press coffee makers
- Cold brew coffee makers
- Super automatic coffee machines
Super Automatic Coffee Machines
Super autos handle everything from bean to cup. This means grinding, brewing, flavoring and even steaming milk. The downside is that these tend to get a little expensive, but if you can afford one, it's going to be the highest quality and most convenient option for an office break-room.
Drip Coffee Makers
These are some of the most common coffee makers out there. Everyone has seen a drip coffee maker, whether they have one at home, in the office, or have been to a café using one.
They work by filtering hot water through grounds contained in what’s usually a paper filter.
The water is kept in a tank which is heated to close to boiling temperature. Steam from the hot water goes up through a tube until it reaches the area where it’s dispensed into the coffee grounds.
Because the average person can’t go through an entire pot of coffee quickly, drip coffee makers generally have a heated plate beneath the pot holder. This keeps the coffee warm for an extended period of time.
Here are some pros to drip coffee makers:
- Usually inexpensive
Here are some cons:
- Heating plate beneath the pot can burn the standing coffee
- Can be hard to gauge how much to make, resulting in increased waste
French Press Coffee Makers
You won’t really see French press coffee makers in offices very often, but you’ve probably heard of them, nonetheless.
They work very similarly to a strainer. Coffee grounds are steeped in hot water in the bottom of the French press.
Once the coffee has soaked in the water long enough, allowing its flavor to seep into the liquid, you press a mesh filter into the bottom of the container. This separates the coffee grounds from the liquefied coffee you’ll end up pouring into the cup.
These are some of the advantages to the French press method:
- Many of these coffee makers are portable
- Simple cleaning and use
Now for some disadvantages:
- Can accidentally create over-extracted coffee if the user isn’t monitoring the steeping time
- Can be more fragile coffee makers, as they are generally made mostly from glass
Cold Brew Coffee Makers
Cold drinks have been growing in popularity.
Chances are, you’ve heard of iced lattes and teas. You can do something similar with cold brew coffee makers.
With this method, coarsely ground coffee is soaked in water for an extended period of time. Once the soaking time is done, the liquid is strained through a filter while the grounds are left behind.
The result is a cool and refreshing version of your favorite coffees. A caveat with these is that the average jug of cold brew takes around 12 hours of soaking, so if you were to provide this to your office, you’d most likely need to set it up to sit overnight.
Here are the benefits to cold brew coffee makers:
- Resulting coffee tends to be less acidic
- Refreshing cold temperature for stuffy offices
This is the main drawback:
- Lengthy 12-hour brew time
How To Choose The Right Coffee Maker For Your Break Room
Deciding that you want to purchase a coffee maker isn’t the end of the journey. Even if you know there’s a specific type you want, there are countless variations.
To ensure you end up with the coffee maker that’s going to serve your employees best, think about some of the things that makes your office unique and what you want to get out of your coffee maker.
These are some great places to start your considerations:
Just as every set of circumstances is unique, budgets also come in all shapes and sizes.
Like with any other expenditure in the business, you can work out an ideal price range for your potential coffee maker. One of the best things about coffee makers is that they come in a virtually endless range of prices.
No matter how wide or narrow your own budget is, you won’t have a problem finding a coffee machine that can fit into it.
If your budget allows for it, however, consider moving the cost of the coffee maker further down your priority list. That way, you’re able to pay more attention to the different features that could benefit your office as opposed to the initial cost.
This is where you stop and think about how many people are going to be using the coffee maker on their breaks.
Got a lot of coffee drinkers in the office? You’ll probably want a coffee maker that can keep up with their demand, brewing larger pots at once.
But if you anticipate the occasional cup or two being made on breaks, there are plenty of single-serve coffee makers out there. With these types of models, rather than brewing a pot, employees can put their favorite work mug in the holder and make a single cup just the way they like it.
Break rooms usually have a few appliances in them for a variety of purposes.
Because of this, you’ll probably be searching for a coffee maker that doesn’t take up too much space. You may even be looking for more than one coffee maker, in which case, it’s doubly important that they economic when it comes to space.
In general, coffee makers tend to be on the small side when compared to your other appliances. Still, if you don’t have much room on the counters in your break area, you may want to pay attention to the dimensions of the coffee makers you consider.
More likely than not, the employees in your office won’t be coffee experts – and that’s perfectly fine.
If that’s the case for your office, look for coffee makers that are more user-friendly. These can include a whole plethora of features, such as being usable with pre-ground pods, using coffee scoops with measuring lines, or coming with programmed settings that your employees can choose from.
As you look at each coffee maker, examine its bells and whistles and think about whether or not your employees would use those features.
Otherwise, if all you need is the most basic coffee maker – and your employees know how to use one – then there’s also plenty out there for that situation, too.
Best Coffee Makers For Break Rooms
Coffee can’t get any easier than it does with the Franke A600 FM CM.
This is a state-of-the-art superautomatic machine designed to make a plethora of classic coffee shop drinks with nothing more than a swipe of the touchscreen. Once you or your employees choose what they want from the intuitive picture menu, the Franke A600 will grind your beans, brew the coffee, and even froth milk to perfection for you.
- Dimensions: 31 inches tall, 13.4 inches wide, 23.6 inches long
- Built-in Grinders: There’s nothing quite like the taste of freshly ground and brewed coffee or espresso – and with the Franke, you can have that fresh taste with its built-in grinders.
- FoamMaster System: Employees will absolutely love being able to enjoy barista-quality cappuccinos made to frothy perfection by the FoamMaster system.
- Dual Powder Containers: Two integrated powder containers allow you to store things like cocoa powder so employees can add a sweet twist to their cup.
- Optional Flavored Syrups: One of the reasons why people love coffee shops so much is the huge array of flavor choices available. With the Franke A600, you have the option of making popular flavors like vanilla readily available in the office, too.
- CleanMaster System: It’s hard enough keeping the break room clean enough as-is – the Franke will make maintenance a little easier with its cleaning cartridge. With a few quick steps, it will clean itself at the end of the day.
The Jura X8 Automatic Coffee Machine is an affordable superautomatic machine poised to innovate the break room experience.
With its dual thermoblock heating system, exmployees will be able to rapidly brew coffee and froth milk at the same time. This makes it possible to create even more complex barista specialties, like lattes or cappucinos, by simply pushing a button.
- Dimensions: 18.5 inches tall, 14.7 inches wide, and 18 inches deep
- Massive Drink Menu: You won't be limited to just coffee on this machine - you'll be able to choose from 21 different kinds of drinks.
- Adjustable Beverage Spouts: Easily reposition the beverage spouts so you can fit cups of just about any size on the X8.
- Dual Thermoblock Heating System: Capable of heating your milk and brewing your coffee simultaneously, the X8 can whip up intricate drinks like cappucinos rapidly.
- Built-In Milk Frothing System: In addition to coffee, enjoy silky smooth milk foam with nothing more than a push of a button.
- Built-In Grinder: Enjoy freshly ground coffee for the best flavor, saving you from having to buy a separate grinder.
Affordability and convenience are beautifully combined in the Keurig K155 Office Pro.
With its simple touchscreen interface, employees can effortlessly swipe and tap to choose their drinks. You'll be able to choose from the hundreds of available K-cups to provide to your office, varying from tea to cocoa to coffee.
A massive 90-ounce reservoir means you won't need to bother to refill it too often, either.
- Dimensions: 13.9 inches high, 10.4 inches wide, 14 inches deep
- Massive Water Tank: Capable of holding up to 90 ounces of water at once, the Office Pro can make at least 18 cups in a row before it needs a refill.
- Touchscreen Display: If you know how to use a smartphone, you know how to navigate the interface on this coffee maker. It's that easy.
- Quiet Brewing Technology: Your employees will never be disrupted by the volume of the Office Pro, which is built to run quietly.
- Adjustable Brew Temperature: Everyone will be able to brew drinks tailored to their unique tastes, with temperatures tweaked as they see fit.
- Drainable Tank: When it's time to move it, the tank in the Office Pro can be drained, saving you the trouble of having to dump it out.
If you've seen a lot of business coffee makers, you've probably seen that many of them were like the Bunn Lower Automatic Commercial Coffee Brewer.
With three warming plates on it, you can brew up to three pots of coffee to keep warm throughout the day. This gives you the option to provide choices, like regular, dark roast, or decaf.
It will even reduce your energy consumption with its energy-saver mode that lowers the water tank temperature when its not in use.
- Dimensions: 16.8 inches tall, 16 inches wide, and 17.7 inches deep
- Energy Saver Mode: Keeps the machine from working as hard to heat the water when it's not in use, lowering its energy consumption.
- Splashguard Funnel: Protect your employees form painful burns, as the funnels direct hot water away from their users.
- BrewLOGIC Technology: In areas with a high amount of lime, this monitors the coffee flow rate for you and adjusts the duration of the brew cycle automatically so you get the same pots every time.
- Automatic Warmer Shut Off: The warmers will shut off themselves when the Bunn isn't in use, reducing your energy bills if anyone forgets to shut it off.
- LCD Display: The bright LCD display is clear and easy for anyone to read.
Like other Franke machines, the Franke A1000 FM CM really takes coffee up a notch.
It's built with an enormous 10.4-inch touchscreen that's easy on the eyes and the head. You'll get no headaches here - employees can choose which drink they want by simply choosing from the full-color pictures on the screen.
If you're interested in a Franke machine that's truly a cut above the rest, this is the one you're looking for.
- Dimensions: 31.3 inches tall, 13.4 inches wide, and 23.6 inches deep
- 10.4-inch Touchscreen: No one will need to strain their eyes trying to read this screen. It's huge, and designed to be easy to read.
- Optional Brewed Coffee: You can add coffee brewing to the Franke A1000, and it'll freshly grind and brew you a traditional cup of joe with no effort on your part.
- Optional Second Type of Fresh Milk: Unlike many other coffee machines, you can an optional second type of milk to this one. This lets you provide your employees even more options for personalization.
- CleanMaster System: No one likes having to clean the break room up. This coffee machine makes it a little easier by cleaning itself for you when you select its clean cycle.
- Pre-Infusion: An invisible step that really knocks the taste of each cup out of the park for you. By gently soaking your coffee grounds in water before brewing, each particle is reached in extraction and your resulting mug is a memorable experience.