Types of Coffee Makers Featured
Small Business Energy Savings | November 20, 2017

Best Coffee Makers & Commercial Coffee Makers

Productivity and efficiency are key components of any small business. For many, the secret to this productivity is coffee. According to PBS, the world drinks around 2.25 million cups of coffee a day, and it is the second-highest traded commodity after oil. Whether you serve coffee at your small shop or utilize a coffee maker for your office, the benefits of adding coffee to your business workplace can easily outweigh the costs.

Employee benefits of drinking coffee

If you’re a business owner, you might already be aware of these benefits yourself. Why not have a caffeinated, focused staff to accomplish all your daily goals? Having coffee makers for businesses can eliminate the need to take time out of your work schedule for coffee runs, effectively improving workplace efficiency. More coffee drinkers are entering the workforce than ever before, and business owners are taking note of its many benefits:

  1. More healthy and productive employees: Americans get a majority of their daily antioxidants from coffee (more so than from fruits and vegetables), and these can aid in cell health and function. Added bonus: healthy people are productive people.
  2. Support happiness and lower stress levels: Drinking, and even smelling, coffee has been linked with decreased levels of stress, and may even act as a mild antidepressant. Build team happiness with a cup of joe!
  3. Increase employee alertness and efficiency: Drinking coffee has been shown to make the brain sharp and focused. This can increase employee efficiency, and even increased intelligence — and who doesn’t want that?

How much does it cost to run a coffee maker?

The cost of running a coffee maker

To brew coffee, the average coffee maker wattage hovers around 750 to 1200 watts a day. According to the Energy.gov appliance energy calculator, an energy saving coffee maker using 365 kWh annually can cost you $43.80 per year, or $3.65 a month.

This is still less expensive when compared to buying coffee from local cafes, where one can expect to drop $5 – $25 per week on purchases alone (excluding tips). For this reason, having coffee makers for businesses could save you some serious money: we’re talking up to $1,200 a year.

Personal coffee makers vs commercial coffee makers

If a coffee maker is something that your business is looking to buy, a commercial coffee maker might be best to take into consideration if you have 40-50 employees. Compared to personal coffee makers, commercial coffee makers are better equipped to handle heavy use and accommodate increased demand.

Choosing the best commercial coffee maker can be daunting. Most types of coffee makers in the US are either auto-drip, single-serve, or personalized espresso machines. Drip coffee makers are by far one of the most popular types of coffee makers out there, being able to brew 6-12 cups at a time. They’re great for coffee lovers, but for those looking for 1-2 cups at a time may be more interested in single serve coffee makers. These coffee makers can be power hogs that can impact your energy bill in unexpected ways.

Low energy coffee makers vs drip coffee makers

Low energy vs. single serve coffee makers

When compared to low energy coffee makers, standard drip coffee makers have several advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of drip coffee makers:

  • Warm coffee all day. A standard coffee maker can brew up to 12 cups of coffee and keep the pot warm for hours if it has a built-in plate warmer.

Cons of drip coffee makers:

  • Not energy efficient. Depending on the model, built-in warmers can waste a lot of energy, especially if all that brewed coffee is dumped down the drain at night.
  • Idling energy usage. Excessive coffee maker wattage can sap away energy just by being stationary.

Low energy coffee makers vs single serve coffee makers

Single serve v. drip coffee makers

When compared to low energy coffee makers, single serve coffee makers also have several advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of single serve coffee makers:

  • A personalized cup of joe. Everyone in the office can select whatever flavor/blend they want without having to settle on one brew, or have access to different flavored creamers.

Cons of single serve coffee makers:

  • Increased cost. Single-serve brewers can cost you an additional $140 per year. This is from the increased costs of buying coffee pods. This excludes the 60w/hour needed to keep the water ready-to-brew.
  • Land fillers. When comparing a single serve vs drip coffee maker, it’s important to note that K-cups and other single serve coffee pods are often non-recyclable, non-biodegradable, and clog landfills.
  • Unequipped for large business. Single serve coffee machines may not be the best option for businesses employing more than 20 people.

What makes a coffee maker “energy saving”?

When considering the best types of coffee makers for businesses, you could save on future energy expenses by looking for the ENERGY STAR logo. The logo means that the machine meets energy efficiency requirements, and may include the following features:

  1. Automatic power down: One of the biggest energy usage problems throughout various types of coffee makers is leaving it on when it’s no longer in use. It’s important to reduce the duration of active use in coffee makers to save energy. To make this easier, most ENERGY STAR coffee makers come with a programmable energy saving mode that will power down your model 20 minutes to 2 hours after use.
  2. Insulation: Poor insulation makes your coffee maker work harder to reach that 200 degrees Fahrenheit. An insulated jug will keep your coffee hot without the use of a heating element. Some manufacturers claim that this can also avoid creating a burnt flavor.
  3. Flow-through water heaters: These mechanisms heat water as the water passes through, and can be found in many drip coffee machines. When comparing single serve vs drip coffee makers, flow-through water heaters can offer energy savings in pod/single serve coffee machines — but only if they’re present. Buying a single serve model with a flow-through water heater can save up to 50% in energy efficiency when compared to other single-serve machines.
  4. Standby: According to its website, Energy.gov states that zero-watt standby modes could promote energy savings by 3-5%. If you’re someone who prefers their coffee maker to have a clock (which will require coffee maker wattage in order to operate), 0.5 W modes are also available.

energy star coffee makers

Commercial coffee maker ENERGY STAR recommendations:

As the world slowly shifts to make environmentally conscious decisions, the prevalence of low energy commercial coffee makers will increase. It’s not difficult to make the switch, especially now that ENERGY STAR has recommendations for energy efficient commercial coffee maker types.

ENERGY STAR’s New 2016 Regulations

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency released its updated ENERGY STAR recommendations for types of coffee makers. This was in effort to guide consumers toward energy saving coffee makers, and, for those looking to save energy, an ENERGY STAR coffee maker may be the best. Commercial coffee maker recommendations are also included in the changes for those with larger businesses.

Some of these requirements include a limit on coffee maker wattage. For an ENERGY STAR coffee maker to be idle and ready-to-brew, it must use less than or equal to 65 watts/gal. With heavy-use commercial coffee makers, the rate of energy consumption must be less than or equal to 280 watts/gal.

These regulations are aimed at saving money, saving energy, and saving the environment. According to its website, ENERGY STAR has helped businesses save $362 billion on utility bills, and has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2.4 billion metric tons within the past two decades. Just by using the best commercial coffee maker, you could save about $100 a year when compared to standard models, and increase your energy savings by 35%!

Energy efficient tips for coffee makers

Minimizing negative effects to the environment goes beyond selecting an energy saving coffee maker. To leave a positive impact on your business, and the world, consider the following:

  1. Reusable coffee pods: Since most coffee pods/K-Cups are currently non-recyclable, reusable coffee pods may offer a solution to those without the ability to recycle. Just choose the coffee of your choice, load the pod, and hit brew. This allows employees flexibility in coffee selections and can make coffee more appealing with a personalized cup of joe.
  2. Reusable coffee filters: Like reusable coffee pods, a reusable coffee filter can eliminate the need to waste paper. According to ToughNickel, a coffee filter can cost from $0.01 to $0.04 a day, or up to $14.60 a year. Currently, most reusable coffee filters are priced around $5 – $6 and can pay for themselves in less than two years.
  3. Reusable cups/mugs: Add some personality to your workplace with personal mugs/cups! This eliminates the need for paper cups and waste.
  4. Turn off the burner: If you use a commercial coffee maker in your workplace, you might be tempted to use the heating element to keep that java goodness warm — but be warned: it may consume less energy just to reheat coffee in the microwave, making reheated joe the less expensive option.
  5. Unplug your coffee pot or use a power strip: Even while stationary, a coffee maker consumes energy just by being plugged in. Consider connecting your coffee maker to a power strip where you can flip it on and off, or, if energy saving modes aren’t available, just leave it unplugged while not in use.

Energy efficiency tips for coffee makers

Alternative caffeine fixes

If some of your employees dislike the taste of coffee, or a coffee maker just isn’t feasible, then there are other options to give employees that caffeine boost. Consider offering tea, as the amount of caffeine is less. For those who dislike hot beverages, consider leaving out energy bars. These both can aid employees in boosting productivity and focus if they can’t drink coffee.

Cold brew vs regular coffee caffeine

Cold brew coffee is an iced coffee made by steeping grounds in cold water for 16-24 hours. While the process may be time consuming, the wait may be worth it. Cold brew coffee is made with a higher coffee to water ratio, possibly meaning that a single serving can contain more caffeine than your regular cup of hot coffee.

Due to the simple process of cold brew, some cold brew coffee makers don’t ever need electricity to operate. This could be an energy-free coffee solution where you never even need to plug-in to get your daily caffeine fix.

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world, and for good reason. If you think that coffee makers for businesses may be what your small business needs, then hopefully this helped. For more energy-friendly tips, check out our guide on how to shop for the best energy efficient office equipment.

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