Coffee Vending Machine Technology: Then and Now

June 11, 2020

The technology of vending machines has advanced significantly since the days when 20p could buy you a shot full of pale brown silt-water. As office business grows and companies increasingly find themselves wanting to save money wherever they can, they are constantly trying to offer their employees an obligatory and fair amount of variety. Vending machine makers are competing for this growing custom viciously, and exploring ways to make their machines ever more efficient.

Vending machines of the past were often regarded as flawed because of the drinks they offered being weak, their lack of choice, and the high risk of ingredients tainting other flavours. The former was simply due to the quantity of specific ingredients being increasingly modified by the operator to drive down costs. The reason for a lack of choice was likely because of a general lacking in technology compared to now (as well as the fact that these were developed at a time before fair-trade and green teas were mainstream). Ingredient cross-tainting may have happened because ingredients were added to cup in the machine and through the same mechanisms and tubes.

Vending machines today increasingly utilize technology where the cups are already loaded with the correct quantity of the right ingredients even before they leave the factory. This means that there is no risk of cross contamination between flavours, and the on-site operators are not tempted to cut back on ingredients per cup (instead, machines are now available in a wider variety of workplace-specific sizes to add to their cost efficiency). The quality available today is far more consistent.

Technological advancements in the field have also led to a wider variety of drinks being available in todayandrsquo;s vending machines. This has not only included the addition of fair-trade coffee and teas, green teas, soups, and extra-indulgent hot chocolates to satisfy the most specialized palette - but it is also quite normal for machines to offer a range of cold drinks also, such as filtered water and fruit juices.

Hybrid machines have also come on the market in recent years. These offer the best quality bean to cup coffee - as well as an in-cup selection of teas and hot chocolates etc. Unlike, the simple maintenance demanded of 100 percent in-cup machines, hybrid machines demand more care and cleaning that is associated with vending machines of the past.

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