Not sure whether you want a fresh milk or granular milk coffee machine for the office? We’ll explain the pros and cons of both.
It was back in the mid-nineties when coffee shop culture really started to take off in the UK. This was a time when coffee chains were opening on every high street. Many people for the first time were enjoying quality barista-made coffees on a regular basis. This rise in popularity had a knock-on effect across offices and workplaces. The days of making an instant coffee or, worse still, grabbing a watery coffee from the office vending machine were numbered!
Fast forward to today, and it’s pretty much expected that an office will provide a quality coffee experience at work. There are many reports proving that employees value coffee as a perk. Perks can help support workplace culture and even boost productivity.
Improvements to coffee and developments in coffee culture
Coffee culture has come a long way, as have the vending machines we endured in the 90s. They have improved vastly over the last two decades. Modern vending machines tend to use fresh milk and they make a decent cup of coffee to have on the go.
Granular milk, (also commonly known as powdered milk) has come a long way since the 90s as well. Who else remembers trying to stir a spoonful of CoffeeMate into your hot drink? Thankfully, powdered options are a lot better today. You’ll have no more curdling or clumps of powdery milk to contend with whatever you choose.
So whether you’re looking to upgrade your coffee machine or perhaps you’re looking to start out your coffee journey by installing a bean to cup machine in the office. Whatever the reason, one of the first considerations you’ll make is whether you opt for granular or fresh milk.
Both have their pros and cons so we’ll talk you through both options to define what’s best for you.
If you’re not familiar with granulated milk, it’s just fresh dairy milk, freeze-dried into tiny granules. You might hear it sometimes referred to as powdered milk. It’s not the same as coffee whitener or creamer, which usually have added sweeteners. It’s just milk, usually skimmed, that’s been dried out and it originates all the way back to the 1800s as a method of preserving milk.
The main advantage of granular milk is that it has a long storage life (it can last around 18 months) and doesn’t need to be kept refrigerated. For this reason, granular milk might be a good option if you’ve got a coffee machine that’s not used very often in a meeting room for example, or if you don’t have the capacity to keep fresh milk nearby.
It’s pretty low maintenance as well so if you don’t want to keep your bean to cup coffee machine topped up with fresh milk, it’s worth considering. And you’ll find you don’t have to clean granular milk coffee machines quite as often as fresh milk machines.
Granular milk is highly versatile and because it’s made with skimmed milk, it’s low in fat. It also has the same nutrition as fresh milk and still provides the same bone-building nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin A.
Granular milk is also useful when office kitchen space is at a premium — according to experts, it only takes 3 cups of skimmed dairy milk powder to make 16 cups of reconstituted skimmed milk.
The main issue with granular milk though tends to come down to taste. Put simply, it doesn’t have quite the same taste as fresh milk, and most people will be able to tell the difference between the two. Also, most granular milk is currently made from dairy.
Coffee purists will likely prefer using fresh milk because of its great taste and it delivers top-quality foam in drinks such as cappuccinos. In fact, it’s almost impossible to create the two types of milk foam required for some drinks – namely the crema you’re aiming for on an espresso and the hot milk foam required to top your cappuccino or latte. You won’t find coffee shops on the high street serving granular milk to their customers meaning that fresh milk offers a more authentic barista-quality coffee that office workers have come to expect at work.
Naturally, fresh milk must be stored in a refrigerator so you need to ensure you have a fridge nearby. Fresh milk lasts around a week and you’ll want to consider how much fridge space you have, or how frequent your fresh milk deliveries are. Fresh milk is less expensive than granulated milk but you’re getting better quality.
Plant milk explained
Another plus for fresh milk coffee machines is that you can put any kind of milk in the machine. There is a huge rise in veganism across the UK and the world as people become more conscious of their consumption of meat and dairy. This has led to people opting for other milk types to add to their coffees that include oat, soy, coconut, almond – even potato milk!
In 2021, one in three Britons drink plant-based milk, according to a report that suggests they have become a mainstream choice for consumers. And staggeringly, shoppers spent £100m more in 2020 on alt-milks, made from oats, almonds or soya, turning it into a near £400m-a-year market.
With fresh milk, you will have to clean your machine daily. However, modern commercial coffee machines make cleaning a breeze and you literally have to press a few buttons and it cleans itself. Most machines will even guide you through the steps on a digital interface so it’s 100% foolproof! Just add it to any end of the day tasks and get the cleaning process going while you say, stack the dishwasher or shut down for the day. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete.
Should I opt for granular milk or fresh milk?
The answer to which option is right for you will come down to your specific needs and will be based on a number of factors that are unique to your business. They both offer benefits. Why not ask your team what they would prefer and get their input? And bear in mind that contracts on office coffee machines can be as short as 3 months so you can always give one a go and see what you think and if you need any help, you can get in touch with us.