The Transformation of the Coffee Vending Machine in New York City

2012’s Top 5 Amazing Pairings (according to this writer):

  1. Peanut butter and chocolate
  2. Sunday afternoons and naps
  3. Journey and karaoke night
  4. Popcorn and Junior Mints
  5. Vending machines and coffee

In past years #5 might not have made the cut in New York City but in recent years coffee connoisseurs have gone to great lengths to overcome the negative stigmas associated with vending coffee and in 2012 should consider their efforts a success.

In 1960 the first vending coffee was introduced one freeze dried cup at a time to the market. It looked  more like muddy water than coffee and after being tasted left its consumer wishing it was muddy water.

Although less than desirable it did fill a need, swing shifts and hospitals were grateful, to an extent, everywhere as coffee was now available at all hours.

At this time a popular company was also marketing its instant coffee as a key to a happy marriage. A wife was only as good as her coffee and with instant coffee she was able to make the perfect cup each time.

In 2012 both men and women need their coffee at the workplace and at home. And just as gender roles have progressed so have the qualifications for a good cup of coffee. Freeze dried just won’t do.

In 1971 Starbucks opened its first store. And in recent years, along with other key roasters and manufacturers, has transformed the role of coffee in America, including vending machines in the New York City area.

Today’s vending machines still make “instant” cups of coffee in that you can have a cup in 30 seconds or less. But now vending machines are equipped to grind beans fresh for each cup “ordered.” Consumers can now pick their brew strength (mud not an option) and have more options than simply powdered cream and sugar including espressos, lattes, cappuccinos, etc. In some machines fresh cream is even offered in place of powder.

In addition to modern machinery New York vendor’s are also being more selective in the beans they choose. It is more common than ever to see a machine labeled with a popular roasters name including Seattle’s Best (owned by Starbucks), Tully’s and Wolfgang Puck.

If you have been weary of placing a coffee machine at your facility because of past stigmas, give them another try. The combination of premium beans and intricate equipment may make you feel like there is a barista hidden inside.

However, a machine is only as good as its New York vendor allows it to be.

Intricate equipment can be complicated and requires calibration knowledge. The combination of ground beans, water, cream and sugar can get messy. Make sure you pair yourself with a vending company in New York City who knows the equipment and will take the time to maintain it properly. Don’t be afraid to question their knowledge or ask for a cleaning schedule.

First impressions are hard to overcome but vending coffee has truly changed its character. It still might not make your top 5 list but its got a good chance at top 10.

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