Help! Coffee Maker Advice

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Roxanne Trees's picture
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I am considering a new coffee maker for the hall beverage center outside the guest rooms.

Right now I have a regular coffee maker that brews into a thermos for early guests that want a cup before they come down to breakfast. Of course, there are issues. I have had people get up and drink the entire pot before anyone else gets any. I have also had folks hit the brew button and then not drink any or only one cup leaving me an entire pot of coffee to pour down the drain.  

I am thinking of a commercial one cup at a time brewer. I do not like the Keurigs as I do not think they brew very high quality coffee.

BUNN makes a one cup commercial machine that is designed for elevations over 4,000 feet (me). The drawback is that it is a pour-over type which means a potential mess for each cup. I am thinking that machine with a reservoir? Does this exist?

Each cup would be more expensive but the savings in entire wasted pots and the hassle of setting it up each night would be a good trade off. Also, folks who would like coffee (or tea) in the evenings can be accommodated. It is annoying to get the pot set for the next morning and have someone brew it that evening for one cup. Then I have to repeat the set-up process and waste the rest of that pot. Taking the pot upstairs in the morning is not an option because, like the folks who just checked out this morning, some people are up at 5 am...and this innkeeper is NOT!

Any advice, experiences or ideas would be appreciated.

I am pretty well set on commercial equipment. I have found it more than pays to go commercial on everything even though I only have four rooms.

 

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Looks like lots of good suggestions and advice on here - so what's one more?!

We love the Keurig for one main reason - the convenience reasons! (all "espressed" above...lol) 

One company we found is www.Angelinos.com - great sampler packs and some strong coffees too. They will set up monthly deliveries and volume pricing.

We do fresh brew larger quantities in carafes on weekends we have a full house - for this we have a local coffee roaster deliver our favs - but the Keurig is always available and an oh-so-convenient do-it-yourself cup of coffee for the guests!

AS FAR AS THE WATER - our water softener guy told us what makes the best cup of coffee is more the water than the coffee. Using reverse osmosis water has made the coffee better, no film, and NO build-up in the machines or cups!

PhineasSwann's picture
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I have a Nespresso machine my brothers gave me for Christmas that I rarely get to use. Trying to figure out whether to put it out in our main area, put it in a special suite or whatever. 

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Innkeep's picture
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This thread came at the same time as my mystery Keurig machine. The machine, addressed to me showed up last week. I have been over and over the box and packing materials and there's no clue as to who sent it. I've also checked my credit card statement and it's not there either. 

Amazingly my Senseo machine bit the dust a few days earlier. So I'm now part of the K club. Does anyone know of a type that makes a large cup of strong coffee?  Even the "extra bold" ones I've tried are too weak unless I make a medium size cup  

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I have tried many different varieties with disappointment.  Dark Magic is the best I have found.  You may have to order it on line.  

Looks like you have a coffee fairy looking out for you!  Smiling

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Lee2014's picture
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   My sister got a little reusable coffee filter made to go in the keurig machine so you can add your own coffee to it.  Try Ollie's, a dollar store, etc.  Sounds like you drink your coffee like my dad, the stronger, the better!

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gillumhouse's picture
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I have some Papa Nicholas brand Italian Espresso pods. I got them at Ollie's.

Lee2014's picture
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   Ah, you have a secret friend!

   Down in PA they have what they call "secret sisters".  You get a name and you spent the year praying for your friend, send her gifts, cards, etc.  Then at the end, the committee has a tea party and everyone is revealed who was who's secret sister….

    No, it wasn't me….. hmm….

gillumhouse's picture
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They did secret sisters in WV also. Not me either.

Morticia's picture
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I'd hazard a guess.

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Lee2014's picture
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Morticia wrote:

I'd hazard a guess.

   I have a suspicion…. but will let the person reveal it! smiley

seashanty's picture
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Good luck!

Also, I make tea for myself all the time with my keurig. Just make sure there is no used kcup in it and put my teabag in the cup. Press the button. Done.

Comes out surprisingly hot. Then I just let it steep in the cup for a while, as if I'd poured water from a kettle. I thought it might taste like coffee that ran through before but it doesn't

I still don't want to make soup with it!

Back in the dark ages my mom used to boil water in a mug for her tea which didn't work out so well 

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Roxanne Trees's picture
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Thank you everyone for taking time to help me make a decision on a coffeemaker.

From the sound of many of your comments, most people love the Keurig style machines for its variety of options, so I decided to go that way. I didn't want a Keurig brand as there are many complaints that the pumps go down hill after a year and the coffee starts to slow down and trickle out.

I found a Keurig style in a BUNN that I hope will do the trick. The BUNN MCR (pour-over) has a large reservoir and can brew any type of k-cup. While not cheap (it retails for $637 but it is out there for around $375), it is commercial grade and will stand up to guest abuse better. I guess I am a commercial equipment addict. I tend to buy all things commercial because then parts can be replaced and equipment can be worked on. Also, if I ever decide to plumb the coffeemaker in there is a kit available to accomplish that.

I get the buy non-commercial cheaper, and when it gives out you can buy three more and still be money ahead. Either way works. Being married to a mechanical contractor/plumber may have some bearing on it for me. He fixes anything. yes

The machine arrives today (yippee!), so I ran out last night and loaded up on a variety of k-cups. I still get excited about an upgrade for my guests so I guess I am not burned out yet.

BTW, Trader Joe's has compostable k-cups but not a lot of choices.

I will continue to use freshly ground brewed coffee at breakfast and individual tea pots with bags for breakfast. I can offer a larger variety of tea that way too.

I will post a critique of the machine once we have weathered a few guests together.

Again, thank you for all the input. Each suggestion was valuable to me. What a great group!heart

Tom
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Roxanne Trees wrote:

 many complaints that the pumps go down hill after a year and the coffee starts to slow down and trickle out.

The problem is mineral build up.  This can be a problem with a commercial grade machine -- read up on maintenance.   All these guys have a little boiler that keeps water almost ready to brew and heats it as it pumps to the cup.  If you have minerals ("hardness") in your water, they come out of solution as the water stands in the boiler and form scale which eventually clogs the little tubes. 

You have to run a pint of white vinegar through the unit about every 6 months to a year, depending on usage and water hardness. For me, the Keurig makes about 100 gallons of coffee a year.  My hardness is relatively low (150 ppm), but that water volume contains a half teaspoon of tube clogging scale minerals. 

How to do:

1) Empty the water reservoir. 2) pour in a pint of white vinegar. 3) brew a mug without a K-cup, but with a tea strainer over the mug holding a square of paper towel as a filter to catch scale. 4) let it sit about 10 minutes to let vinegar work in boiler). 5) pour the (somewhat cooled) vinegar from the mug back into the reservoir.

Repeat steps 3, 4, 5 about 8 times.  You will see all sorts of gunk collect on the filter.

Then run clean water through it, brew about 8 times until the vinegar smell goes away.  It's good for another 100 gallons of coffee. 

All coffee makers will build up scale.  See page 10 of Bunn manual.  Descaling is like flossing: just do it.

Roxanne Trees wrote:

Again, thank you for all the input. Each suggestion was valuable to me. What a great group!heart

Input? You'll get that!  Valuable? well ... Great group?  Absolutely.  Some hard core innkeepers here.

Morticia's picture
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We are buying a professional grade toaster this winter. Sick of waiting for toast. Our Keurig is a professional model. And it's the old one so it doesn't have the digital reader.

PhineasSwann's picture
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You can add me to the pro-Keurig clan. Rather than have coffee sit and go stale, better to only make a cup when guest needs it. Really trying to get to biodegradable, though.

We actually put one in each of our suites so guests in our two other buildings on property don't have to come to the Main House for coffee.

 

Morticia's picture
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PhineasSwann wrote:

You can add me to the pro-Keurig clan. Rather than have coffee sit and go stale, better to only make a cup when guest needs it. Really trying to get to biodegradable, though.

We actually put one in each of our suites so guests in our two other buildings on property don't have to come to the Main House for coffee.

 

See my other post about the biodegradable pods.

seashanty's picture
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Camge's picture
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We have a Keurig that is on the counter of our dining room. We keep lots of different pods, cocoa, hot chocolate available 24/7. We also have a selection of tea bags, reg. And herbal. At breakfast we serve French Press freshly ground coffee. Honestly I like the Keurig best.

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gillumhouse's picture
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I have a 4-liter Zojirushi water reservoir (Himself no longer has the strength to pick up a water kettle - I gave away the one we had) for our tea people and a Keurig for the coffee people for after breakfast hours. They are on the buffet in the dining room. It works for us. I have boxes of pods to choose from (espresso, decaf, kona blend, Donut Shop, and several cappuccinos. For teas, I have an entire hutch full of tins of loose teas (strainers, infusers, etc. there) plus many varieties of tea bags.

seashanty's picture
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I bring my own teabags ... I like what I like. Just point me in the direction of hot water and I'm all set. wink

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I agree on going with commercial equipment, even with two rooms as we have here.

That said, I brew the coffee in an old Capresso grind and brew, then pour into small or large(depending on guest load) pre-heated thermal carafes to take upstairs early.  (I'm up to prep breakfasts anyway).  I refresh coffee area as needed when delivering the carafes.  

As a guest, I don't want to make it.  I just want it ready to drink, with real half and half, or better, real milk to add.  We have a guest fridge in the coffee/tea area outside their doors, stocked with half and half. 

I use the old style Capresso because it makes the best darned coffee ever, from the Costco whole bean San Francisco roast.  Guests frequently comment favorably on it.  

So my system is a bit cumbersome, but no coffee making mess upstairs, no complicated information sheet on how to run an unfamiliar-to-guest machine, so easier in the long run. 

seashanty's picture
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I have a keurig and I love it so obviously I disagree with your opinion about the quality coffee it makes.

For me, it depends on the cleanliness of the unit, the quality of the water and most of all the quality of the coffee.

A fresh, hot cuppa on demand is awesome and I found that guests loved ANY kind of hot coffee if there was a way to get it.

During breakfast and beyond I had huge electric coffee makers and would make one decaf one regular (less of decaf) of very inexpensive name brand coffee. Folks raved about it.  Was nothing special in my opinion but I would never contradict a guest.

Just like the water dispenser I had. The bottle was labeled spring water but only because I couldn't remove the label. I filled that with tap water. People would rave about the spring water ... it WAS cold or hot, depending on how you set it. Never would I argue. Just 'so glad you like it.'

 

 

Roxanne Trees's picture
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LOL! Do not argue with a happy guest.

I am fortunate in that I do have spring water. I use Trader Joe's Bay Blend Ultra Dark roast and my guests love it.

Morticia's picture
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seashanty wrote:

I have a keurig and I love it so obviously I disagree with your opinion about the quality coffee it makes.

 

I don't drink coffee so I have no opinion. All I know is guests want coffee. And I don't want to make it at midnight. Or have the guests trying to get the Bunn running when they know nothing about it. We've had guests ask us to set up the machine so they can start it up at 5 AM. No. Here's the single serve machine, you have to use that.

We have 5-6 different coffee types, including 2 decaf blends. When I buy the pods I look at the chart to make sure I don't load up on weak coffee or too strong coffee. (Because I buy it by the name.)

I dislike Swiss Miss hot cocoa, but if that's all that's on offer I can make do for a couple of days. I hate to say it but some folks just have to get over themselves.

And we have (heaven forbid) tea BAGS. No, no loose leaf tea here. You want tea, you get a tea BAG. If that sends the guest over the edge, they were standing too close to it to begin with.

We've stayed at $400/night properties that didn't even have tea. You don't like Keurig coffee? Too bad. There was nothing else. You'd think they could afford tea and the good hot cocoa!

Well, what wound me up? Sorry, off the soapbox.

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Morticia wrote:

seashanty wrote:

I have a keurig and I love it so obviously I disagree with your opinion about the quality coffee it makes.

I don't drink coffee so I have no opinion. All I know is guests want coffee. And I don't want to make it at midnight. 

   Ah, another non-coffee drinker!  But my aunt loves for me to make the coffee since I do a good job.  I have a friend who flies around doing coffees at weddings, etc.  He sets up a table with like six different kinds of coffees for the guests.  (He roasts, grinds, etc. it all) He gives them all a unique name.  His most popular is "The Real Man Coffee". 

 

JimBoone's picture
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We have a 4 cup coffee maker in each guest room, choice of coffee, decaf, tea and hot chocolate, guests have not been wasteful or messy, machine is inexpensive and you get 4 cups for the same cost as 1 cup for those who enjoy their morning coffee, 

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Generic's picture
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We have a Keurig, we hate it. 

For breakfast we just bought a new machine. It's the Optimal Brew with 12 cup thermal carafe... it's a different brand here, but shows up under Optimal Brew. Brews a pretty quick pot.

But we really don't offer coffee all day, very few people ask for it, mostly go for tea in the afternoon.

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Hillbilly's picture
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We bought this coffee maker and the guests love it.  I know you mentioned you are not a fan of the keurig but you can set it up like a coffee bar.  Have a rounder with all kinds of different choices and guests will love this.  Its very easy and it has a digital screen to give instructions.  No mess.  Just something to think about.

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Lee2014's picture
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   In the foyer we have an electric red teapot that sits on its "stand". (Stores sell them. We also have one for ourselves.)  You push down the button and it heats the water.  When it is done, it turns itself off.  We keep it full and have individual wrapped packets of coffees, teas, and hot cocoa. (More expensive but worth it)   Everyone is happy and it is used year around.  It gets a lot of mentions in the air reviews especially in the winter.  We have a pitcher of ice water and a container of ice as well.  We call it our 24 hour drink bar.  

 Edited: Found on Ama zon… (Edited again…Tar get has it for same price)

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Tom
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We have this same model, very fast and solves the tea problem.

We also have Keurig, mainly to deal with decaf and flavored coffee at breakfast and all coffee outside of breakfast hours.  It meets those needs, most guests are familiar with its operation - a big plus, brews an OK cup.

Roxanne Trees's picture
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I have the same pot up in the coffee center for tea and cocoa drinkers and the guests love it. Coffee is my issue. If I got a K-cup coffee maker it would take care of all beverages.  

Another dilemma is whether or not to move the beverage bar down into the dining area on the buffet or leave it upstairs outside the guest rooms in the hall.

The plus side to moving it downstairs would be convenience for me and noise reduction in the hallway. Then folks would have to really, really want that cup o' joe to come down and get it! lol

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We started with a large party type percolator.   Changed to a Keurig.  Most people love it.

They love that coffee and tea and hot chocolate are available all day.

They love choosing the strength and flavor of their coffee.

We love not having to watch over the coffee pot and the ease of cleanup.

There are rare mumblings about wastefulness and land fills.  It is much more expensive than brewing.

But the good outweighs the bad for us.

 

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

There are rare mumblings about wastefulness and land fills.  It is much more expensive than brewing.

But the good outweighs the bad for us.

 

Get the pods from this company - biodegradable. Then read their blog.

You'll need containers to store them in, I went with glass instead of plastic. Don't buy hot cocoa pods - they clog the machine.

Roxanne Trees's picture
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If just found the GrindMaster RC-400 online. It has a reservoir (72 oz) or it can be plumbed in.

It uses k-cups for variety and is commercial quality. It isn't cheap at around $600 but you can replace parts.

I get the landfill thing but since I compost everything else I don't feel as guilty as I could.wink

I will have to study on it.

 

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