How to Choose an Ice Machine for your Coffee Shop
Updated: Jan 11
Coffee. Java. Cuppa joe. There is nearly an infinite number of ways to describe the very thing that runs our world from the second the sun comes up: our morning (and afternoon!) coffee. There are perhaps a million different ways to take it, based on your preference of hot or cold, milk choice, and flavorings. With all the different combinations of creations you can get at your local cafe, one thing is for sure: here in Texas, our coffee depends on ice!
Ice machines are extremely important for any food or beverage business. Their uses are endless and you may not realize how much you need it unless it’s not there. With that, how should you choose the right ice maker for your coffee shop?
Things to consider
With any large purchase for your business, there are many different things to consider before going all in on the first ice machine you see. There are three extremely important factors to think about when on the ice machine hunt: the size of your business, the budget, and the type of ice that you want.
Size. Of course, if you have a small- or medium-sized coffee shop, you won’t need a monster of an ice machine. You can opt for smaller models or even countertop units for small cafes. Countertop ice makers are great in that they can be compact and versatile, some even make more than one type of ice, which can save money and space for your small business. A great rule of thumb is to seek out an ice machine that produces about 20% more ice than you typically. Since ice requires time, this discrepancy in necessity and production is a comfortable area to be in to make sure that you’re not stuck without ice when you need it!
Budget. One of the most important things to consider is definitely the budget! Luckily enough, if you are working within a tight budget, there are plenty of options for you. Ice machines can get quite pricey, but there are so many options on the market now that are affordable. Likewise, buying secondhand is a great option in order to get nicer machines at a discount. Another great option is to rent your ice machine until your business can afford to hash out for your dream ice maker.
Type of ice. Generally for coffee drinks, crushed and cubed ice are the way to go. Crushed ice is ideal for things like fraps and iced coffee, while cubed is sometimes preferred for iced coffee, but a necessity for iced teas! Not sure about the ice you want? Check out our blog about ice types and their best uses.
How much ice does a cafe typically need?
Depending on the number of customers you serve in a day, the amount of ice your cafe needs can vary dramatically. Confused about how to calculate how much ice your business needs? There are tons of ice calculators for this very occasion. As an example, a small cafe that serves 100 people a day would need an ice machine capable of producing about 300 pounds of ice per day. Restaurants and bars tend to need less ice per company than say, a hotel or hospital. Generally, a restaurant will use about 1.5 pounds of ice per guest. Bars on the other hand can use between 3 to 5 pounds per guest. As a cafe, you can find a happy medium between these two businesses' ice needs.
The bottom line
Depending on the size of your coffee shop and your budget, there are a wide array of options when choosing the perfect ice machine for your business.
Have questions or need professional recommendations? Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Tri-Point Refrigeration so we can help you along the way. We’re excited to hear from you, and with regular servicing, we can keep your equipment running smoothly and healthily, while also extending the reach of your dollar.
For a direct line to any of our employees ready on the line to help you, please call…(512) 651-4565 for our Austin, Texas community (806) 686-0050 for our Lubbock, Texas community.
Or check out our website at www.tripointrefrigeration.com
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