Cafes are less likely to use single-cup capsule brewers, which provide between 6 and 20 ounces of coffee at a time in 30 to 50 seconds, since these operators typically use shuttle brewing systems, which brew into 1.5-gallon containers or shuttles. A standard twin shuttle brewer can produce approximately 10 shuttles per hour, or approximately 160 12-ounce cups per hour. With optional heating elements, productivity boosts up to 20 shuttles per hour or 320 12-ounce cups per hour.
Standard features with these systems include two 1.5-gallon, vacuum-insulated stainless-steel shuttles and a hot water faucet for producing tea and hot chocolate. This brewer type also includes a digital control system. As its name implies, a brew basket lock prevents the operator from pulling out the brew basket during the brew process. Some models offer optional larger heating elements for faster recovery and controls to automatically turn down water temperature after three hours.
The largest category of commercial coffee brewers, decanter/airpot brewers, brew in a 64-ounce decanter and/or a 2.2-liter airpot. Each cafe location will most likely include one brewer and a multitude of decanters and/or airpots for table service. These brewers focus on volume and produce approximately 10 decanters/airpots per hour, with each decanter producing five 12-ounce servings.
Operators can plumb in decanter/airpot brewers or use this equipment in a pour-over manner. These brewers provide extra warmers for additional decanters. A digital control system allows the operator to dial in a unique brew process that maximizes the flavor of the coffee. Optional features include an in-line water filter and a remote warmer stand for additional decanters. Some models offer a feature that automatically turns down the water temperature after three hours.
Depending on the model, coffee brewer options may include intuitive color display panels that guide users through drink selection and preparation; a choice of pre-programmed specialty coffee beverages, such as latte or macchiato; integrated ceramic grinders; specialized frothing systems; and integrated rinsing, cleaning and descaling programs that reduce maintenance.
Cafes can take advantage of newer technologies, which provide the ability to download flavor profiles off of USB drives to deploy across numerous restaurant locations, digital messaging capability, and pulsating heat capabilities to keep coffee at optimum serving temperatures. On some models, electronic airpot sensors provide easily visible volume and freshness alerts. Styled brewing systems that emulate the motions of hand brewing are also offered.