Coffee Machines for Guest Houses: Which are the Best Options?

Coffee Machines for Guest Houses: Which are the Best Options?

Guest houses and hotels are more and more taking the plunge and are buying or renting fancy coffee machines for their guests. If you can make a guest’s experience that much more memorable and pleasant then why wouldn’t you right? Well, the toss up for any guest lodge owner is whether or not the capital outlay on a coffee machine is going to provide sufficient value to his/her customers and whether or not those customers are then going to either tell their friends about their amazing experience or return to that same guest lodge. So in a way, it is a little bit of a leap of faith that is required when it comes to adding coffee to the mix. There are a number of coffee machine options for a guest house to choose from which I’ll speak about below:

Filter Coffee Machines:Price Filter

Filter coffee machines were, by a long way, the number one choice for guest houses a number of years ago. Still today, most guesthouses have at least a domestic filter coffee machine to fulfill their coffee needs. There are pros and cons of having only a filter machine:

Filter Coffee Machine Pros:

Filter coffee machines are by far the most economical of all coffee machine options. Also, filter coffee, is one of the cheapest coffees available. A domestic filter machine starts at around R399 and a commercial one comes in at R3990. Rental prices are around the R100 mark, making filter coffee machines an affordable option for almost any guesthouse in South Africa.

Filter Coffee Machine Cons:

Filter coffee machines, like the name suggests, only make filter coffee. Giving only filter coffee to one’s guests is not something that many guests will write home about (or tell their friends about). If amazing customer experiences is what you are after, then filter machines are most likely not the right solution for you.

Automatic Cappuccino Coffee Machines:

f8Cappuccino coffee machines are the holy grail of coffee machines, and the primary reason most people get a coffee machine in the first place. Cappuccino machines come in two varieties (automatic and vending, which I will discuss more about below). Automatic coffee machines are essentially any coffee machines which use all fresh ingredients (fresh milk and beans). In terms of quality you can beat automatic but auto machines can be a little tricky for guests to use.

If you have decided that you want a cappuccino machine and want guest to operate it themselves then a vending machine will probably be your best best. If however you are happy to make the coffee, espressos and cappuccinos for your guests then auto machines will probably by your best solution.

Automatic Coffee Machine Pros:

Best coffee of the lot and best way to replicate a true coffee shop experience for your guests.

Automatic Coffee Machine Cons:

Not overly simple to use especially for first time users. Whole range of coffees are possible but other beverages like tea and hot chocolate based drinks are not really doable on an automatic coffee machine.

Cappuccino Coffee Vending Machines:Price-Instant-Vending

Cappuccino coffee vending machines are for most customers the best solution as they marry ease of use with beverage variety probably better than any other machine type out there. Coffee vending machines can provide the whole spectrum of hot beverages including cappuccino, coffee, espresso, hot chocolate, moccachino, tea and even soup. One can also choose between instant and bean options depending on ones price and quality preference.

Vending Coffee Machine Pros:

Vending machines give the most amount of options out of any coffee machine out there. Vending machines are also super simple to use and operate even for first time users. Because vending machines contain the milk inside the machine, there is also no worry of milk sitting out for too long and going off.

Lastly, because vending machines come in two varieties (instant or bean), you can choose whichever option better meets your needs:

Instant – Not as great tasting, but very economical.

Bean – Great taste, but more expensive.

Vending Coffee Machine Cons:

Vending machines store the milk and all the other coffee ingredients inside the machine, which is a pro, but they do this by using powdered milk (which for some is a con). Powder milk contains more lactose than ordinary fresh milk which adds to the sweetness of the mixture and can be perceived as an artificial taste in some instances.

Vending machines also take up more counter space than any other coffee machine and therefore one has to be sure that one has the adequate space available.


Getting the right mix of coffee machine for your guesthouse is a lot about trial and error and seeing how your guests react to each option. For this reason we always suggest trying a machine out before committing to a purchase or a long term rental.

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