Best pod systems/all-in-one office espresso machine

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
tony p

#1: Post by tony p »

At home I'm a purist with a Silvia and a stepless flat-burr grinder. But my workplace has requested my assistance in purchasing a robust and hassle-free system for their new branch, so I'm lowering my standards temporarily to open a discussion on such systems.

They want an espresso machine, which is why I'm posting on this forum. Fairly low-volume, perhaps up to 30 cups a day max. Seems to me the choice boils down to:

1. A pod system (Nespresso etc)
2. All-in-one unit with a water tank, a built-in grinder/doser and (optional) a milk tank.

Of course, we know that such machines produce only mediocre coffee, that's a given. The critical question is therefore to do with cost and hassle. Pod machines are hassle-free, and it's easy to swap between caffeinated and decaf by the cup, but supplies are expensive. All-in-ones have a high up-front cost but low ongoing supply costs; then there's cleaning, servicing and breakdowns to consider.

On the whole I think they will be better served with a straightforward pod unit. So: which system has the best-value pods? Nespresso seems to be the clear market leader (and even then, they appear to offer at least two distinct pod types), so I would expect their pods to come loaded with a price premium. Are there better-value systems out there?

All comments welcome. Feel free to flame me too, if you so wish!

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#2: Post by jbviau »

Are the Caffitaly systems available over there? If so, you might check them out. About Nespresso, do you have a boutique store nearby?
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

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#3: Post by mariobarba »

We have a Lavazza espresso point machine at work ... -8113.aspx that we lease from our coffee supplier. He lets us have the machine for free as long as we order so much coffee per month. I have tried several of the different blends available and the aroma club is my favourite. The machine stays on 24hrs a day and we have had it for ~ 3 yrs now without any issues. The coffee comes in little plastic pods which are ejected into a drawer when used up. There are tea capsules available as well. Hot water and steam on demand.

tony p (original poster)

#4: Post by tony p (original poster) »

Thanks all. Despite their advantages, I really think pod machines end up costing a lot more money in a high-volume setting (anything more than 10 cups per day).

Can anyone recommend a good integrated machine with a grinder and (optionally) an automated steamer? I know they can be expensive. What are the pitfalls with these machines?



#5: Post by jaholliday »

I'm curious about this as well. I don't have a sink in my office so a semi-auto would be difficult to clean up after. I have a hard time believing the Nespresso produces a drinkable cup, given that it is produced by Nestle.

I would get the Quickmill superauto if I could afford it. Are there other options in the sub 1k range that anyone can recommend? I know there have been many threads on this topic but they always devolve into a debate about the merits (or lack thereof) of semi-autos. Given that, is there a model that anyone can recommend that doesn't cost an arm and a leg? Many of the coffee's I bought in my recent trip to Switzerland were made on a superauto, and were very drinkable, so I know it's possible, but perhaps only on a 10k commercial machine?

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#6: Post by mariobarba »

I have never owned a Super Auto but apparently they are prone to failure, which is why if you are using it in a high volume area I would suggest leasing the machine so that if anything goes wrong you are covered. The lavazza capsules cost anywhere between .50$ and .75$. We round it up to 1$ and use the extra cash to buy milk, cream etc.