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Traditional vs  Bean-to-Cup - which is best?

Traditional vs Bean-to-Cup - which is best?

That old argument again. Having been one of the pioneers of bean-to-cup machines in the early 90s (anyone remember the Genius), and subsequently suffering the pains of early technology and reliability, for many years my feet have been firmly in the traditional camp based on a number of facts.

Pros of the traditional machine

Reliability, cost, greater versatility, theatre, life span, servicing costs, soulless, no milk frother to clog up from lack of cleaning and most importantly better extraction - why? Because the traditional group handle has a greater surface area of contact during the infusion process and therefore better extraction. A typical group handle has a diameter of 60mm, whereas a B2C has an area of maybe 45mm so the ‘puck’ ends up being thicker - thereby less initial water contact and longer extraction from the top of the puck. Traditional machines simply give a more even extraction from the coffee grains.

Cons of the traditional machine/Pros of the bean-to-cup

In comparison with the traditional machine, the bean-to-cup is easy to use with minimal training, consistent product, time saving, self-service application and less counter space.

Well, over the years the B2Cs have got better with auto milk cleaning, improved reliability and milk foam technology. From my point of view it’s time to revisit the offering. How about a 52mm piston for infusion, and ‘Optimilk’ system that ensures the frother stays clean with programmable rinsing? How about an amazing cold foam technique whereby the foam stays on the top of the drink rather than sticking to the sides of the glass/cup as the coffee is drunk?

It's horses for courses and without doubt there is an application for bean-to-cup especially now the product delivered is getting better. Teknomat UK is currently trialling a high volume Swiss B2C with the intention of extending our machine range. Keep checking the site for further updates.

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