What is the cost of a coffee machine per year of operation [case study]

The price of the coffee machine doesn't stop there

She was setting up a coffee shop in a medium-sized city and was looking for a suitable coffee machine. Hana contacted us with this. She said it shouldn't be too expensive, but reliable and easy to use. Okay, so I guess we'll go with the Appia coffee machine here, I thought. The Nuova Simonelli Appia in Compact version costs around €5,240. Plus a grinder, some barista accessories...

Former economist and new café owner Hana started calculating the costs of running the coffee machine for setting a pricing strategy for the coffee offer in the café. The advantage of the Appia coffee maker is not only in its durability and its pleasant purchase price. In your financial plan, you need to include other things that running a coffee maker entails.

The cost of buying a professional coffee machine

When Hana and I were discussing this, we thought that listing these costs might be useful for you too. So, what do youneed to run an Appia coffee machine for a year and how much will it cost? Let's write it down.

If you're going to start a coffee shop, a pastry shop, a restaurant, or any business really, you need to determine your pricing strategy. Usually you go the route of setting prices according to cost, demand or competition. Mrs. Hannah's cafe has a minimum of competing businesses in the area (two restaurants) that don't specialize in coffee and don't offer a selection of coffee at all.

The prices will therefore be based on real costs and will be adjusted during the operation according to the observed demand. It is at this point that the full cost of acquiring and then operating the coffee machine needs to be added up. The input costs may vary according to the barista's specific requirements regarding accessories, coffee grinder, and also perhaps wages.

Price for the annual operation of the coffee machine

What is often forgotten when planning a financial budget in a coffee shop is the cost of running the coffee machine. Most of the time, simple ignorance is to blame. Or not realizing that a coffee machine is also just a machine that also needs some care and occasionally something to replace. The cost of running a coffee machine is mainly about this:

  • supplies for routine care of the coffee machine
  • parts that need to be replaced during the year
  • major annual maintenance of the coffee machine with valve replacements
  • other operating costs

  1. Routine maintenance of the coffee machine

    For the specific items in this "case study" we are counting on Hanka's coffee machine Nuova Simonelli Appia 2Gr. Compact and an assumed utilization of approximately 100 coffees/day.

    Coffee machine cleaner (2x) approx. 20 €
    steam nozzle cleaner (2x) approx. 20 €
    head brush (4x) approx. 16 €
  2. Half-yearly maintenance of the coffee machine

    Steam nozzle gasket (2x) approx. 1 €
    coffee machine head gasket (2x) approx. 5 €
    coffee machine showers (2x) approx. 9 €
  3. Annual maintenance of the coffee machine

    cups coffee maker double (2x) approx. 15 €
    steam nozzle piston and gasket (2x) approx. 8 €
    vacuum valve with gasket approx. 10 €
    replacement of water filtration cartridge approx. 100 €
  4. Other costs for the operation of the coffee machine

    Add the electricity bill to the list. This coffee maker has a power consumption of 3000W, and the highest power consumption is when the coffee makeris switched on. In the daily operation of a café from morning to evening, it is therefore more convenient to leave the coffee machine on overnight. Occasional reheating is less energy intensive.

In any case, with rising energy prices, we can talk about monthly costs in the thousands on average. For this case, let's estimate €200. As an additional cost of running the coffee machine, you can also add the extraordinary servicing of the coffee machine and prospectively, as the years of use go by, also descaling and a complete inspection/replacement of the internal components.

What can go wrong with the machine?

Especially if the coffee machine is in heavy use, the 3-way valve, safety valve (recommended to be replaced after 2 years) or buttons will usually be replaced within 5 years. Alternatively, the fuse that protects the coffee machine may go.

A lever coffee maker usually works with limitations, rarely is a coffee maker with any of the above faults completely non-functional (except for the fuses of course). Outside of the coffee maker's warranty, then, the service price list applies, which you choose.

TIP: The softener and filter cartridge costs about €0.05 per litre of water.

This is a negligible cost compared to descaling the boiler, where the coffee machine has to be dismantled. It's worth getting a flow meter, such as this BWT one with a display that alerts you when the filtration needs to be changed so you know you're using the filtration at 100%.

How much does it cost to run the machine?

Adding up all the ongoing costs mentioned above, the total cost of running a coffee machine can add up to €2,822 per year. This is a really significant amount that needs to be reflected in the value of the coffee product. Which means, if you sell 100 coffees per day (i.e. 36,500 coffees per year), about €0.08 of each coffee should go to pay for the costs of the coffee machine and its operation.

With regular and proper maintenance, your coffee machine will reach a lifespan of 20 years. The most common problem is limescale, which clogs the coffee machine and clogs the tightest spots in the machine (e.g. jiggler, valves, pressure gauge) and puts stress on the pump. Descaling such a two-lever coffee machine, where the whole machine has to be disassembled, costs around €600 without spare parts. Therefore, consistently observe the replacement of the filter softening cartridge. Another common problem is not cleaning the heads with chemistry (backflush), when the three-way valves go prematurely.

The coffee machine includes a grinder.

The 75mm steel grinding stones have a lifespan of about 200 kg (much depends on the coffee). After that they grind inconsistently, the coffee machine cannot be adjusted, channeling occurs, etc. The stones for the grinder cost about 40 €. So about €0.005 per coffee and in our case we change 100 coffees a day after a year.

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