Used Coffee Machines: Pros & Cons and What to Look Out For

Used Coffee Machines: Pros & Cons and What to Look Out For

We’ve discussed almost every option when it comes to making use of a coffee machine, whether it’s Rent VS Buy, Bean VS Capsule or even our different rental options. What if none of those options suit you? If you find yourself in the position of wanting to buy a second-hand coffee machine, we’d like to share some pro’s and con’s with you – as well as helping you with a list of what to look out for before buying that heavenly little investment.


Second Hand Coffee machines: Pro’s and Con’s

We all know that second hand, pre-loved or used machinery – whether it’s a car, a household appliance or a cell phone – needs to be checked thoroughly before you commit to (possibly) another person’s problems. You wouldn’t just blindly hand over R 30 odd thousand without test driving a car first – so why should it be any different with a coffee machine? Fortunately, most Coffee Companies offer a rental option – which has allowed them to see into common problems of coffee machines they are required to fix before renting out the machine again. We summarise the common problems on each type of Coffee Machine for you to check before purchasing a second hand machine.


1) Used Capsule Machines

The main things to check on a capsule coffee machine are:

– Is the capsule slot clean and in working order? Bring along your own capsule (just make sure you take the right brand) to test out on the machine before you buy it. It should be able to effortlessly crush the capsule and dispense coffee almost immediately.

– Don’t freak out when the coffee machine makes a buzzing type noise; this is simply the heating of the water to be pulsed through your coffee.

– Does the rinse / clean cycle work on the machine? This is quite important, because cleaning is a vital part of maintenance, especially on a capsule machine.

– Does it have the features you wanted? For example, if you’re set on fresh milk froth, best the capsule machine you’re buying comes with a milk frother (and check that it works, too!)

– Make sure the drip tray, capsule basket and canister are part and parcel of the package – and they are not damaged in a way that can affect the functioning of your machine.

– Ensure every button present on the machine works (usually two or three buttons)


2) Used Bean to Cup Machines:

The main things to check on a Bean to Cup coffee machine are:

– The built-in grinder still works well

– There is no calcification of the machine (lime scale build-up)

– The machine dispenses coffee and water correctly with the right temperature

– If the machine has a built-in milk frother, ensure it works properly and that the seller has included all parts needed to froth your milk

– Service history. Bean to Cup machines are somewhat the “Grandfather” of coffee machines – they require a lot of attention, maintenance and servicing. If the machine was only serviced once, but has been working or used for 5 years – you will need to consider the cost of a service over and above the price you are paying for the actual machine.


3) Used Filter Coffee Machines:

The main things to check on a Filter coffee machine are far less then other types of machines. This lies in the fact that there are less components to consider that may be damaged or faulty.

– Are the heating plates in working order? No use in buying a filter coffee machine when it won’t keep the pot of coffee hot.

– Does the coffee dispense properly? Run a water cycle through the machine to check this.

– Is there any oily build up where the coffee is dispensed from? You’ll need to clean this properly to avoid a bitter tasting coffee.

– Do the switches work?

– Is the coffee basket broken?


4) Used Coffee Vending Machines:

The main things to check on a coffee vending machine are quite tricky; it depends on the model and type of machine. We will explain both.


a) Used Bean Vending Coffee Machine

– Watch an Aqua Bean Vending video review here!




– Ensure all canisters are in place – there may be three or four. They should all have lids and custom “stoppers” – which block the product from dispensing when you want to refill the canister)

– Make sure the grinder for your coffee beans grinder is in working order. Take some coffee beans with and test it out!

– Ensure the machine is clean and insect-free

– If the machine is lockable, make sure you get the right key (test it in front of the buyer). Some Bean Vending Machines have two keys – be sure to ask about both!

– Check all the programmed buttons are working properly.

– Make sure the funnels leading from teach canister, as well as the tunnels they fall into, are clean and in working order

– Get any user manuals from the seller, if possible, or find one online for the specific model of the machine you’re buying, so that if anything goes awry you’re not stranded

– Have the seller show you how to adjust settings, do an automatic clean etc.

– Lastly, make sure the machine is capable of doing what you want. If it doesn’t have place for sugar or hot chocolate, and that’s what you want – rather keep looking


b) Used Instant Vending Coffee Machine

– Watch an Aqua Instant Vending video review here!



– Ensure all canisters are in place; you may have space for four canisters in an average vending machine, so check they are all there and undamaged. They should all have lids and custom “stoppers” – which block the product from dispensing when you want to refill the canister)

– Ensure the machine is clean and insect-free

– If the machine is lockable, make sure you get the right key

– Make sure the funnels and stoppers are clean and free of residue

– Have the seller walk you through how to use the machine, how to programme drink options and sizes etc.


Used Coffee Machines General Tips for Buying a Second Hand Machine

How old is the machine? No use in buying an archaic machine when parts needed to use it are no longer available on the market.


How much are they selling it for? If the seller has set his or her price in line with what you can currently get the machine at retail stores, there’s no use buying it second hand.


Make sure there is no insect infestation in your coffee machine. It can be difficult to rid your other household appliances from them if they manage to spread in your kitchen.


If the machine is coin-operated, ensure the coin mechanism works and that you have the keys required to collect that money.


Beware of scams! This is not exclusive to buying a second hand coffee machine. It’s a different story if you’re buying form an authorised reseller, but if you’re buying off sites like Gumtree etc., never transfer the money without having the goods in your hands first. Look for branding (if you’re buying a brand specific machine, like a Jura) and make sure it’s not a cheap rip-off someone is selling under the guise of a genuine machine.


Consider costs. If you’re buying a capsule machine, consider how much the capsules will cost you each month – and similarly so with the filter coffee machines, vending machines and bean to cup machines. Think of where you will be using the machine and if it’s a good fit.


Compare, compare, compare. Yes, sellers are always in a rush to get someone to buy their goods. Keep your eyes open for good or better deals – and always check the price you’ll be paying and what you will be getting in comparison to a new machine; the prices should vary greatly.


Lastly, make sure you love the coffee that the machine will produce. If you’re a coffee guru and will settle for nothing less than bean-to-cup, fresh milk heaven, then don’t go buy a capsule machine because it’s cheap. You’re just going to be disappointed in what you get VS what you paid for.

Similarly, don’t go spend thousands on a machine if you’re happy with filter coffee.


Whatever your decision, we believe the amount of coffee you have at your disposal is directly proportional to the amount of happiness you experience every day 🙂