Office Cappuccino Machines: Costs and Pricing Discussed

Office Cappuccino Machines: Which is the right cappuccino machine for your office?

If you ask an Italian what is coffee to him, the likely answer you will get is Espresso. If you ask an Australian what is coffee, expect to hear “flat white”. If you ask almost any South African what their drink of choice is, almost certainly you will get cappuccino as your answer. In this post we will discuss all the options of office cappuccino machines and the costs of each. In order for a coffee machine to be classified as a cappuccino machine it needs to be able to do two things:

  1. Make an Espresso
  2. Make Milk Froth

A true espresso is any short coffee which is ”expressed” under high pressure (usually 15 Bar of pressure, although anything over 12 bar pressure is adequate) There are many coffee machines (usually vending machines) which will make a version of espresso under pressures a lot lower than this which will often pass as an espresso for most but will be rejected by the coffee purists. Any coffee machine capable of steaming milk or heating milk to a temperature higher than the boiling point of water has the capability of creating milk froth.

Domestic vs Office (Commercial) Coffee Machines:

What makes a coffee machine a commercial or industrial coffee machine? There are two things which make a coffee machine suitable for office use:

  1. Componentry
  2. Size

Domestic coffee machines are made with componentry not made for rigorous everyday use. One example of this is with capsule coffee machines. Capsule coffee machines are almost always fitted with domestic use pumps and are not designed for large scale use. The other difference between domestic and office coffee machines is the size of their water tank, size of their grounds container (if it’s a bean to cup machine) and size of their bean hopper (again only relevant for bean to cup coffee machines) Many offices try to save some money and buy a domestic coffee machine instead of a machine more suited to their environment. This often leads to a later purchase of a machine correctly suited to them and the discarding of their first effort.

Types of Office Cappuccino Machines:

As mentioned above a cappuccino machine only needs to be able to make espresso and milk froth to be deemed a cappuccino machine. For this reason almost all coffee machines these days are in fact classified as cappuccino machines. There are five options when it comes to a cappuccino machine for your office:

  1. Capsule coffee machines – Most capsule coffee machines are designed to becapsule coffee machine espresso machines only however a capsule coffee machine can be transformed into a cappuccino machine by simply adding a milk frother to it.Milk frothers are simple devices and work by pouring some milk into them and pressing a button to initiate a heating cycle and a spinning device to whip the milk into thick milk froth. Capsule coffee machines are adequate for offices of 5 people or less but they tend to be too small for numbers bigger than this. Capsule coffee Milk Frothermachines can typically only hold 5 used capsules between empting their little drawer. Their pump is also sized for domestic use and not intended for making hundreds of cups of coffee every day. Standalone milk frothers are also designed for domestic use making them capable of producing enough froth for only 3 cappuccinos at a time before cleaning them out.
  2. Bean To Cup Automatic Cappuccino Machine – A bean to cup coffee machine is any coffee machine which grinds beans and extracts espressos at the touch of a Carafe One Touch Optionbutton. Older models of bean to cup machines used to have a steamer system where one would dip the steamer into a carafe of milk and steam one’s own milk like a Barista would do in a coffee shop. Today almost all bean to cup cappuccino machines are fitted with automatic frothers where the milk is sucked up, heated and frothed automatically.
  3. Instant Vending Coffee Machines – Instant vending coffee machines are almost all capable of producing cappuccinos albeit not to the liking of many purists.Instant coffee machines are usually fitted with only a 1 bar pressure pump which allows one to create a very basic espresso and very basic milk frother. The button will say cappuccino but the end result is not what you would expect in a coffee shop.
  4. Bianchi Lea SABean to Cup Vending Coffee Machine – A bean to cup vending coffee machine is almost identical to its automatic counterpart except it uses powder milk instead of fresh or long life milk. Bean to cup coffee vending
  5. vending coffee machinemachines are often fitted with 15 bar pressure pumps so their espressos are of good order and interestingly enough frothing powder milk often creates thicker forth cappuccinos than using milk of the liquid type. Powder milk however does have more lactose in it so the end result is often sweeter than what some people might be used to.
  6. Traditional Cappuccino Machines -A traditional coffee machine is one in which the cappuccino process is totally manual. The process involves grinding, tampingsecond hand refurbished coffee machine, extracting and steaming. Although traditional coffee machines are usually found in restaurants, there are a few offices which employs traditional machines along with a Barista

Cost Of Cappuccino Machines for the Office

Cappuccino coffee machines cost anywhere from R3,000 to R100,000 depending on the type of coffee machine and features selected. For this reasons we have given the range of each type of cappuccino machine in this section. We would also be remiss however, if we discussed only the cost of the cappuccino machines without talking about  the price of the ongoing running coffee cost of each system. So here we go:

Office Capsule Cappuccino  Machine Costs

– R3,000-R9000. The cheapest office grade capsule coffee machine we found was a Nespresso Lattisima which has a built in one touch cappuccino function. We excluded all capsule machines which used a standalone milk frother or milk island to froth ones milk as they are just not practical for offices. The most costly capsule machine we discovered was a Lavazza Office One which uses a steamer to froth ones milk. It has a built in digital display which warns the user about everything from low water to full grounds containers making it one of the most advanced capsule machines on the market.

Capsule Coffee Cost

– Cost of capsules on any capsule system range from R5.50-R7.20 per cup making capsules the most expensive ongoing system for one’s office. An office of 20 consuming 2 cups per person per day would spend around R4800 per month on coffee every month. An office of 50 consuming 2 cups per person per day would spend around R12,000 per month on coffee every month.

Office Bean to Cup Cappuccino Machine Costs

– R10,000-R120,000. The one thing which affects the cost of a bean to cup machine most is the actual physical size of the coffee machine. Features on all bean to cup cappuccino machines are quite standard from the cheapest cappuccino machine to the most expensive machine. The biggest thing which changes as price goes up is size however bells and whistles are added as well to justify some high prices. It is not uncommon to see LCD screens, double bean hoppers, automatic cup detectors and noise reducers on the more expensive models but most of these features are really nice to haves and not necessities. All office bean to cup coffee machines can these days make cappuccinos.

Bean Coffee Cost

– Cost of beans range from R2-R3.5 per cup making coffee beans significantly cheaper than capsules but still more expensive than instant coffee. An office of 20 consuming 2 cups per person per day would spend around R2000 per month on coffee every month. An office of 50 consuming 2 cups per person per day would spend around R5,000 per month on coffee every month.

Office Instant Cappuccino Machine Costs

– R20,000-R80,000. Instant coffee machines are cheaper than bean to cup coffee machines as they don’t require a grinder but start at a higher price as they are designed primarily for offices of 20 people of more whereas bean coffee machines also cater for offices smaller than 20 people. Instant coffee machines allows the user to use any instant coffee from chicory based product like Ricoffy to freeze dried coffee like Jacobs. Instant Coffee Cost – Cost of instant coffees range from R0.05-R2 per cup making instant coffee the cheapest office coffee solution. An office of 20 consuming 2 cups per person per day would spend around R800 per month on coffee every month. An office of 50 consuming 2 cups per person per day would spend around R2000 per month on coffee every month.


Office cappuccino machines cup in all shapes and size as well as in a variety of coffee systems. The right office machine depends on the quality of coffee you are looking for as well as the size and budget of your office. With the plethora of options we often suggest you try before you buy, so you can make sure that you are satisfied with the final option you select. To try an office cappuccino machine, rental-free, fill out the form below!