So What Are the Best Commercial Coffee Makers?

I used to work as a barista for a family-owned coffee shop. Back then, I had access to some of the most sophisticated commercial coffee makers, and I could offer every customer the perfect cup of Joe each and every time. I was looking forward to starting my shift just to make myself a cup of latte using one of the store’s coffee machines.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about some of the commercial coffee makers on the market. Some offer a wide range of features but don’t produce that richly flavored espresso crema that most customers are looking for. Others lack essential features such as a built-in milk frother, but nonetheless make wonderful coffee that has just the perfect texture and flavor.
Below I’m reviewing the best commercial coffee makers on the market.

Bunn commercial coffee maker1. BUNN 13300.0004 VP17-3SS2U Pourover Commercial Coffee Brewer

Features
• Brews 3.8 gallons (14.4 liters) of coffee per hour
• 12-cup capacity
• SplashGard funnel
• 3 cup warmers (one down and two up) with individual temperature controllers

BUNN brewers are probably the best when it comes to making coffee — and they work perfectly well for just any restaurant, coffee shop, or convenience store. The BUNN 13300.0004 VP17-3SS2U Pourover Commercial Coffee Brewer is perhaps the most convenient commercial coffee maker. With a brewing capacity of 3.8 gallons of coffee per hour, this machine can easily accommodate the needs of large and small coffee shops alike.
One thing I really like about this brewer is the pour-over concept, which lets you pour cold water in the top to get the brewing process started. On average, it takes about 2 minutes for the carafe to be filled — which is half the time I’ve seen in other coffee makers. However, don’t expect this unit to produce the rich espresso crema you’re aiming for — it won’t. While I admit its performance is absolutely startling when it comes to plain coffee, the machine doesn’t have enough pump pressure to unlock the full aroma of the coffee grounds. The coffee is tasty, but may not satisfy the needs of a connoisseur.
Another great aspect about this BUNN commercial coffee maker is the amount of coffee it makes. Whether it’s an office, a coffee shop, or a restaurant, the unit will accommodate everyone’s needs with ease. It’s best to have a second carafe as this can save plenty of time if you need to make coffee for more than ten people at a time.
As for the build of the unit, while it may seem flimsy, it’s actually remarkably sturdy — and cleaning is a breeze. The BUNN 13300.0004 VP17-3SS2U Pourover Commercial Coffee Brewer will most definitely last for a really long time, but be careful with handling — the stainless steel finish can be quite easy to scratch.

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BUNN 13300.0001 VP17-1SS Pourover Coffee Brewer with 1 Warmer2. BUNN 13300.0001 VP17-1SS Pourover Coffee Brewer with 1 Warmer
Features

• Brews 3.8 gallons (14.4 liters) of coffee per hour
• 12-cup capacity
• SplashGard funnel
• 1 cup warmer

The BUNN 13300.0001 VP17-1SS Pourover Coffee Brewer is basically a smaller version of the 13300.0004 VP17-3SS2U, although it has pretty much the same features and functionalities. The only major difference between the two models is the number of cup warmers they have: while the 13300.0004 VP17-3SS2U has three cup warmers, the 13300.0001 VP17-1SS has just one. If you have a shop or eatery and you occasionally serve coffee to your customers, then the BUNN 13300.0001 VP17-1SS is going to be your best bet.
In terms of performance, this BUNN coffee maker is essentially similar to its bigger counterpart. The coffee comes out quickly, and tastes fairly good given the low pump pressure of the unit. However, don’t expect to get a really rich espresso crema — the taste is mediocre, but I find it much better than many commercial coffee makers I’ve tried before. The unit is great for office workers as well — it can accommodate a small building with ease, although a second carafe may be needed.
The cup warmer is great when you want to keep your cup or the entire carafe warm for longer. However, doing so will ultimately impact the taste of the coffee, so unless it’s absolutely necessary, I don’t advocate making more coffee than needed.
I definitely appreciate the SplashGard of the carafes — they’re shaped so that spilling coffee all over the countertop, desk, or even your own hands is impossible. I tried shaking the carafe a little, and no coffee came out — such a relief! Also, the unit is completely portable, which means transferring it from a room to another won’t be troublesome. For $233, I’d say that the BUNN 13300.0001 VP17-1SS Coffee Maker is one of the best available units on the market.

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BUNN GRB Velocity Brew 10-Cup Home Coffee Brewer3. BUNN GRB Velocity Brew 10-Cup Home Coffee Brewer

Features
• 4-to-10 cup capacity (20 to 50 ounces in 3 minutes)
• Porcelain-coated warming plate with lighted on/off switch
• Stainless steel internal hot water tank
• Unique sprayhead

Just another BUNN coffee brewer I tried — the BUNN GRB Velocity Brew is quite an impressive machine, although the smaller capacity doesn’t make it the best option for restaurants and coffee shops (unless you have a second unit). The unit can brew a maximum of 10 cups at a time, so it can accommodate the needs of an office building and even smaller shops that also sell coffee. I’ve actually seen this unit in one of the coffee shops I frequent, and as an FYI, they have lots of customers every day.
One of the biggest complaints that most people have about commercial coffee brewers is that they don’t maintain an optimal temperature for very long. This is why the coffee turns out just warm instead of hot, which ultimately impacts what it tastes like. With the BUNN GRB Velocity Brew, this is no longer an issue. The warming plate is coated with porcelain, which ensures even heat distribution and essentially insulates the plate, so the temperature is kept constant. My cup of bliss always comes out perfectly hot — and the coffee smells more fragrant than I initially expected.
The GRB Velocity stands out through the ingenious design — the unique sprayhead offers good coffee flavor extraction, and although the aroma isn’t as intense as I like, it’s still comparably better than the other two BUNN models I’ve mentioned above. Cleaning is also fairly easy — I wash the carafe with regular dish detergent and warm water, and the case of the unit with wet wipes. If you have hard water, you’ll need to de-lime it occasionally with vinegar — luckily, BUNN offers additional instructions on how to do this in their user guide.

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BUNN 13300.0003 VP17-3SS3L Pourover Commercial Coffee Brewer with Three Lower4. BUNN 13300.0003 VP17-3SS3L Pourover Commercial Coffee Brewer with Three Lower Warmers

Features
• Brews 3.8 gallons (14.4 liters) of coffee per hour
• 12-cup capacity
• SplashGard funnel
• 3 cup warmers

If you’re a larger coffee shop or restaurant that needs to accommodate numerous customers every day, then this BUNN model will be a fail-proof choice. A different version of the BUNN 13300.0004 VP17-3SS2U, this model also comes with 3 built-in cup warmers, making the unit just perfect even when you’re working with three carafes at a time. Again, the taste of the coffee is not brilliant — yes, it’s great for amateurs who love their morning cup of bliss, but coffee aficionados will give it a 7/10 rating. Quite frankly, I’d give it a 8/10 rating since the coffee has more texture than other BUNN models I’ve tried.
The BUNN 13300.0004 VP17-3SS2U can successfully brew enough coffee for 12 people in about 3 minutes, which is an impressive performance — and a desirable feature for large coffee shops/restaurants or office buildings. If you need to serve more than 12-13 people at a time, you can brew one carafe, place it on one of the cup warmers, and wait for the second carafe. I’ve tried the experience, and it took me an average of 7 minutes to get both carafes full. The cup warmers have separate controllers, so you can turn on only those you want.
The SplashGard funnel is another feature that makes this BUNN commercial coffee maker such an excellent choice. Unless you turn the carafe completely upside down, there’s no way for the coffee to spill out. It’s especially great for first-time users — you can’t imagine just how heavy that carafe is when full! Much like the other BUNN machines, the BUNN 13300.0004 VP17-3SS2U has a sturdy unit that weighs 24 pounds — yes, it’s super heavy, but you’re never at risk of damaging the unit straight away. You’ll need a helping hand if you’re planning to move the unit around, but other than that, there’s no major problem you can expect.

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Bunn A10 Pour-O-Matic Coffee Brewer5. Bunn A10 Pour-O-Matic Coffee Brewer

Features
• Brews 2-8 6-ounce cups per batch
• Small footprint: 16.8 x 16.3 x 9.4 inches
• Lightweight: 14 pounds
• Keep warm feature

I’ve longed for a BUNN Pour-O-Matic brewer for quite some time, and I’ve immediately jumped to the chance to review one. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting the unit to be very big, but it turned out to be quite a beast! However, the footprint is much smaller than I anticipated, so even if you don’t have much countertop space available, you’ll still be able to use the unit without problems. The unit is also fairly lightweight, which makes it even more portable.
As with other BUNN machines, the coffee doesn’t taste as good as you’d expect from a commercial coffee maker. It’s not an espresso machine, so you can get only plain coffee out of it. If you don’t operate a coffee shop, then you’ll be good to go with the Bunn A10 Pour-O-Matic Coffee Brewer.
One of the things I don’t like about this unit is the time needed for the water to reach the optimal temperature. You need to wait between 10 and 12 minutes for the unit to heat up the water, and another 3-4 minutes for a carafe to be filled, so that’s a whopping 13-15 minutes of wait time! I don’t advise you to turn off the unit if you own a coffee shop or other kind of store — your customers will get really angry at how slow things are!
The keep warm feature is convenient if you make a full carafe but don’t pour all the contents — you can keep the remaining coffee hot for as long as you want!

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Verdict

While there aren’t many differences between the models I’ve listed above, I’m still going to choose the BUNN 13300.0004 VP17-3SS2U Pourover Commercial Coffee Brewer as my favorite commercial coffee maker. The coffee comes out fairly tasty, hot, and most importantly — quickly! It’s an excellent addition to every coffee shop’s arsenal, and can easily accommodate dozens of customers at a time!

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