Choosing the best coffee machine for your university or college

With a wide range of coffee machines on offer, it can be difficult to know where to start when finding the perfect one for your campus. To ensure you make the right choice, there are some important things to consider.

TopBrewer installation at Boutique Workplace Carter Lane

What students want

Space & Design

Self Service

Is coffee enough?

What do students want?

Students have long relied on coffee to get them through their studies, but where coffee was once merely a source of caffeine, nowadays students are favouring a top-quality beverage, and instant coffees no longer make the cut. In recent years, we have become a nation of coffee connoisseurs, and students are no different. They know their lattes from flat whites, and they expect a barista-quality coffee wherever they are, whether that’s at home, in a coffee shop or at university/college. With 20 years of consecutive market growth for the UK coffee scene, current and future students are exposed to an ever-increasing variety of premium-quality hot beverages, and a sub-par offering will no longer suffice if operators wish to keep students on campus rather than venturing to High Street coffee chains.

With the consumer’s increased knowledge of the coffee they’re drinking, they expect a barista-quality drink wherever they are, including at university of college. However, contrary to popular belief, a barista-quality drink doesn’t actually need to be made by a barista. A high-quality bean-to-cup coffee machine, such as TopBrewer, has the ability to serve a coffee the same quality as a barista-made beverage. The award-winning TopBrewer offers a truly unique coffee experience, without compromising on drink quality. TopBrewer has the capability to serve up to 400 drinks per day, and can dispense a barista-quality beverage in as little as 25 seconds, making it the perfect beverage solution for busy areas like university cafes or canteens.

TopBrewer Espresso at Autodesk workplace

Where coffee was once merely a source of caffeine, nowadays students are favouring a top-quality beverage

TopBrewer close up

What do students actually want?

The million dollar question! And it’s not a question with an easy answer, as what we want one day can be vastly different to what we want the next, so the ability to customise a drink to meet our exact taste is important. Perhaps you need a caffeine boost first thing on a Monday, but by the end of the day you prefer to move to a decaffeinated drink. TopBrewer’s intuitive and easy-to-use app offers students the ability to fully customise their drink to their own individual taste, from the strength of the coffee to the amount, or type, of milk used. 


Recent research carried out by Mintel found that a quarter of Brits have switched to non-dairy milks, such as oat, soy or almond, and this figure increases to 33% amongst 16-24 year olds, so this must be taken into account as well or you risk alienating a big chunk of your target market. With the TopBrewer Professional model offering two types of coffee, and the Dual-Milk Fridge allowing options for two different milks, including dairy-free alternatives, TopBrewer is leading the way in allowing complete drink personalisation, without compromising on quality or taste.

Space & Design

When choosing the right coffee solution, it’s vital to think of where it will be installed so you can be sure it will actually fit! Many bean-to-cup machines sit on the counter, where they are bulky and unsightly, especially in a well-designed space. On the other hand, TopBrewer has been designed to complement the modern space, delivering high-quality beverages without compromising on a stylish and modern design. 

The minimal footprint, with its under-counter brew unit and iconic swan neck tap, integrates seamlessly into any environment to deliver a full range of sustainably-sourced, speciality drinks, with an incredible taste & quality, at the touch of the free TopBrewer app (available on iOS and Android devices). Not only does this free up precious counter space and avoid a cluttered and messy countertop, it means TopBrewer can be installed in a huge range of spaces.

Self Service

Self-service beverage solutions can be a great addition to a cafe environment, particularly in busy areas. Hot beverages can take several minutes for a barista to make, meaning queues can quickly become unmanageable as students queue to order and wait for their drink. A premium self-service solution that can offer a barista-quality coffee in a fraction of the time, like TopBrewer, is a great alternative.

Depending on where your coffee machine will be installed, you may want to think about adding payment. Providing a first-class premium, speciality beverage experience that is completely self-service and economically viable has never been simpler with the option of processing payments securely over the internet. The introduction of ScanomatPAY for TopBrewer means there is now the ability to enable contactless payment for TopBrewer drinks. ScanomatPAY allows for payment by credit card or phone through ApplePay and GooglePay to suit tech-savvy students on the go.

Is coffee enough?

Will coffee be the only beverage on offer? It’s important to think about any complementary products that your students may value. Access to fresh, filtered water so students can fill up their own reusable bottles is important, particularly as the younger generations become more environmentally conscious and aware of their single-use plastic consumption. Offering juice drinks is a good way to ensure non-coffee drinkers aren’t left out. TopJuicer, the sister-product of TopBrewer, delivers premium still and sparkling juice drinks in a revolutionary and unique way. Similar to TopBrewer, TopJuicer’s sleek design frees up precious counter space, with the main unit hidden under the counter. The app control allows users to choose between a range of juice flavours or filtered water, with each flavour being offered as either still or sparkling. TopJuicer perfectly complements the TopBrewer coffee machine, allowing you to serve a wide selection of premium beverages in an ultra-modern minimalist way.

Both TopBrewer and TopJuicer have been designed with the end-user in mind. The ultra-sleek and modern design can be incorporated into almost any space, and the intuitive app is super simple to operate. The premium-quality drinks are dispensed in seconds, and the once-a-day cleaning routine takes a matter of minutes for facilities or cleaning staff to complete.

From a sustainable coffee perspective, TopBrewer ticks all the boxes with a wide range of directly-traded coffees, including Organic and Fairtrade certified coffees.

We are already working with the University of Cambridge, the University of Birmingham and Coleg Cambria, get in touch to see how TopBrewer could fit your needs and arrange a free demo.

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