Nescafe Lioness: The Best Vending Machine of All Time?

Nescafe Lioness: The Coffee Vending Legend

When one pictures a coffee vending machine one often pictures the familiar black and red six button instant coffee vending machine. This classic coffee vending dispenser which left an imprint on so many people’s minds was none other than the famed Nescafe Lioness Instant Coffee Vending Machine.

Overview of the Lioness:

The Lioness was without doubt the most popular coffee vending machine across the globe. In many ways the launch and the ubiquity of the Lioness was responsible for the emergence of the whole coffee vending and coffee machine industry worldwide. The Lioness was however replaced by newer models by Nestle, namely the Alegria and the Milano and has faced competition by a number of other global manufacturers including the likes of Bravilor, Necta and Bianchi.

Nescafe Lioness

Can You Still Buy the Lioness?buying

Although the unit has been discontinued for a number of years now in South Africa, there are surprisingly a lot of them around still on OLX and Gumtree. One can expect to pay anywhere between R2500-R8000 depending on the condition and on the seller.

The Nescafe Lioness was manufactured by Rheavendor (The renowned Italian  producer of Coffee and Snack Vending Machines) for Nestle and therefore all parts are in essence Rhea Vendor parts. Any company who specialises in Rhea Vendor should be able to help you with parts should the machine require as Rheavendor parts are fairly similar if not identical from model to model. One word of warning however – Not every company stocking these parts will necessarily have the expertise to fix the Lioness if something goes wrong and might only.

The following companies in South Africa all keep spare parts of Rheavendor machines

1)      Aquaspresso (that’s us) – We don’t, however, have Lioness specific technicians

2)      Importalia – Have a good team of Rheavendors technicians

3)      Nestle – Some regions stocks parts on older models

Why was the Lioness replaced?change

The Nescafe Lioness was one of the best instant coffee vending machines ever built. Anyone who has had a Lioness will attest to the longevity of this machine. So why you ask was it replaced?

Just like in any industry things modernize and features advance,  and there are three reasons we believe the Lioness was replaced (in our opinion):

Beans: The coffee market in South Africa and worldwide has advanced rather quickly and with peoples increase in knowledge, has come the increase in bean to cup coffee vending machines replacing many instant versions. 10 years ago, many people couldn’t tell the difference between and instant or bean coffee, these days especially when one is utilizing a coffee machine to sell coffee, a bean to cup machine is almost a must.

Looks: There was certainly nothing wrong with the aesthetics of the Lioness, in our opinion, but these days coffee machines resemble spaceships more than coffee makers. Visuals are often as important as the coffee the machines produce, and therefore coffee machines are adorned with flashing lights, LCD touch screens and crystal face finishes. In order to keep up with the times or better yet stay ahead with the times, the important of design has become just as important as features – just ask Steve Jobs.

Ingredients: Coffee used to come in two versions – Black and White. Today people are asking for anything from Vanilla cappuccinos to Hazelnut Lattes. In order to give your customers what they want, you need a machine with enough canisters and storage capacity to give them that. The Lioness could produce coffees and hot chocolate but these days many machines can produce as much as 6 different items including coffee, hot chocolate, soup, tea, milo and flavoured coffees

What Are Your Options Then if you want To Rent or Buy A Coffee Vending Machine Today?what to do

Buying or renting a coffee vending machine is in many ways easier these days as there are so many options but also in ways more difficult as one is certainly spoilt for choice. Vending machines come in Instant, Bean and Fresh Brew varieties and are available to rent or purchase from a number of manufacturers and resellers. With increased competition and choice, came competitive prices and a plethora of vending operators to choose from, so as a consumer this is a great time to be in the market for a vending machine.

Like with any purchase or rental, we believe strongly in trialing a unit before buying or committing to a long term rental so you can:

  • Test the machine
  • Test the coffee (one of the most overlooked and important requirements)
  • Test the service levels of the service provider.

Read up more below about all you options or complete your details below to try out a machine for a month:

Vending vs Automatic Coffee Machines

Instant vs Bean to Cup Coffee Machine


Prices,specs and rental terms were acquired at the time of the writing of this posted and can vary from company to company. Each supplier or Nescafe operator reserves the right to vary prices, terms and conditions to his/her own discretion. Nestle and Nescafe are not brands of Aquaspresso or affiliated to Aquaspresso in any way.