When Looking at Coffee Machines
First, when looking at coffee machines decide what you really want, what would best suit your workplace.
Would you prefer it to serve instant coffee, bean coffee and/or any other beverages like tea or hot chocolate?
Make a list of what options you want.
This is your starting point and will help you negotiate what you want.
Take a look at your staff - are they instant coffee drinkers or do they prefer filter coffee or espresso based coffee?
Instant coffee machines are slightly less expensive than bean coffee machines, but the running costs are very similar if you use a high quality freeze dried instant coffee and a reasonable bean blend.
If it isn't really clear...there are office coffee machines that have both instant coffee and bean coffee drinks.
Instant coffee if you want to make some savings and bean coffee machines if you can pay a little more and want better quality drinks.
Add hot chocolate to the coffee machine menu.
Hot chocolate often costs no more to provide than bean coffee or good instant coffee ... so it makes sense to offer greater choice.
Then you'll need a machine with an extra canister and selection buttons for say, hot chocolate and a coffee/hot chocolate mix or moccacino.
You will find this is appreciated by your staff.
Do you want sugar inside the machine or do you want it outside of the machine.
It's your choice and you can get coffee machines that offer these choices ... outside allows the staff member to add precisely the amount they want ... but it can lead to a messy counter and that old headache of who is going to clean up!
Another decision to make is whether you would like fresh or powdered milk?
This is a major differentiator in the type of coffee machines you will need.
Most coffee machines that use fresh milk limit you to using bean coffee and are generally smaller and less geared to high volume areas.
In addition, few have any additional containers for hot chocolate and sugar ... and those that do are much more expensive.
Fresh milk also has its own problems in terms of supply (ordering, storing and keeping it cool) and hygiene (you'll have to wash the tubes and dispensing nozzle daily).
That said, fresh milk makes a better cappuccino than powdered milk.
Another important thing to consider is the volume.
Some coffee machines are made for the domestic market, some for small offices, and some for huge volume applications such as in factory environments.
Don't select a domestic coffee machine to service an office of 30 people ... such machines were never designed to work in such environments and you'll end up with a tired broken down machine very quickly.
It is here that you need to be firm ... and use your common sense to look at whether your salesperson is trying to fit your needs ... or theirs!