Some Guidelines for Choosing Brewers
As opposed to espresso machines, brewers require relatively no maintenance and can create some delicious coffees. Some brewers create lackluster brews and even ruin coffees while others can be a great ally in brewing amazing coffee. This article will be no means be exhaustive but is meant to be a guide as to what to look for in a brewer
1. Look for programmable features
When a coffee tastes under-extracted, over-extracted or the coffee bed looks like the coffee didn't fully stay in contact with the water, the grind can be your go-to adjustment to correct these. Adjusting the grind alone however can be imperfect to dialing in brews. Look for a brewer that allows you to adjust things like, pre-infusion time, brew volume, brew pulse volume and temperature. With these at your disposal and a little practice you'll be making sweet and complex brews
2. Look at electrical requirements
Many manuals will specify cups per hour that a coffee brewer can produce but in order for it to achieve this it must get the electricity needed. The amount of electricity a device can take in at once is the amp and this is what you should look for. Find the breaker associated with the plug and for most cafes 20 amps should suffice. If you're in an older building or running an extension chord to your brewer (as a rule don't do this) this could be an issue and you'll be waiting on your brewer to come back up to boil to brew a pot.
3. Please don't use hotplates
As a rule many of those older model brewers that come with a plate warmer also use a shower-head that is typically 5-8 streams. This will create uneven extraction in the brew bed. On top of this re-heating coffee chemically alters it and causes a funky smell in the brew that then soaks into all of your equipment. There is certainly a cheap hot-plate brewer online but it will cost you much more in lost customers. If you want to go for a less expensive brew option you could always do french-pressed coffee poured into a thermos.
4. Look for flexibility for your operation
Many medium range brewers ( in the 1 gallon batch range) also have an option for half pots of coffee. This is great! With the life of brewed coffee being about 45 min - 1 hr many people are starting to turn to pour-overs for afternoon customers to cut down on waste but you could also have the option to brew half a pot. As much as I know that pouring out old coffee is the best thing to do, even I at times feel the pain of dumping an almost full pot. With more flexible brewing options this will be easier, less wasteful and better for everyone.