How a vending machine works to give you that cuppa?


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How a vending machine works, would be on everyone's mind from time to time. For some, it would be how the money is earned, others would wonder how the ingredients can withstand the weather, then some would simply think what happens inside the machine.

Of course, if you are asking how a vending machine works, I believe it is with regards to the coffee vending and not those cans dispensers, the latter really just depends on the law of gravity. And I have come out with 3 questions which I believed are the most common and hopefully, it can provides a better insights on how you are able to enjoy that cuppa from a vending machine.

How a vending machine works commercially?

This question should at one time or another pop up in your head right? The coffee from the vending machines, are all under a dollar, so how does the vending machine operators make any decent living?

A number of factors can affect the sales of vending machines, however it is the location that determines how much or whether a vending machine can make any money.

Choose a great location but with high rental, you might not sell enough to break even, choose a cheap location and no human traffic, you are equally dead.

So, vending operators often have a few vending machines operating from different areas. The most important element, however, remains choosing the "right" location. And, that is the real competitive advantage for this industry.

How or what is the right location? Well, it varies from area to area, but generally, neighborhood with an absence of convenience stores would do just fine.

How a vending machine works internally?

First, you slot in a coin, allowing you to push your chosen drink button. This button would activate an ingredient motor, i.e. coffee granules.

The button is link to a ECB (electronic Console Board), that controls the operation inside the vending machine.

For example, it would control the gram throw of the coffee, add in the sugar,and determine the need to throw in the creamer.

All the ingredients would drop into a whipping chamber where they would be infused and mixed with hot water. Then, your cappuccino would be dispensed.

How a vending machine works againist the weather?

Alright, coffee from vending machine isn't really the best coffee, but you cannot deny that it taste fresh and packed with coffee taste.

So, how does the coffee stays fresh in the vending machine for days? First, the coffee are all freeze dried, in granules form, so, the taste after the grind and roast are all "freeze" inside.

Then, to prevent the ingredients from hardening inside, and caking inside, a special chemical is added. The layman term is known as anti-caking agent.

And together, the formula ensures that your coffee stays fresh for days and rain or shine would not damage your cuppa.

So, now that you have a better idea of how a vending machine works, you should give some credit to this "coffee maker" that dispense hot cuppa 24 hours a day, all it needs is a some loose change for a cup of fresh coffee.


Maybe other than vending machines, you want to learn more about coffee makers, grinders, roasters...


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OCM was started in 2007, focusing first on coffee machines, then marketing for coffee and food and beverage companies. Check out this restaurant marketing guide to learn more about the many campaigns and companies we have worked with. 

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