Cost of Coffee Vending Machine Ingredients: All Prices Discussed

Cost of Coffee Vending Machine Ingredients

When buying or renting a coffee vending machine, it is as important to scrutinize the cost of the ingredients, as it is the purchase  or rental price of the actual coffee vending machine. Comparing prices by weight or by some arbitrary metric like “box price” often doesn’t give the whole story so in this post we will decode the actual costs of coffee vending machine ingredients on a per cup basis. In order to draw comparisons between different well-known brands we used the average online retail price of these brands (please note that prices may differ depending on the retailer or coffee machine company)

The Three Things which Affect the Cost per Cup of Each Vending Ingredient:

There are three things which affect the final cost of the hot beverage which a vending machine dispenses:

Size of the Cup –It stands to reason that the size of one’s cup, into which the vending product is being dispensed, affects the cost per cup of one’s coffee, tea or hot chocolate drastically. A 350 ml cup of cappuccino requires almost double the amount of milk and coffee to be dispensed when compared to a 175 ml cup. If your goal is to minimize costs as much as possible in an office environment, it is best to use as small as a cup as possible. If your goal on the other hand is to provide as much value as possible (in the case of a petrol station for example) then you will probably be best off serving 350ml cups- but you will need to adjust your selling prices accordingly. For consistency all the cost per cups calculated in this post are calculated based on a standard 220 ml cup.

Cost of the Actual Product – Of course the cost of the ingredients bears a direct relationship with the end cost per cup of the hot beverage dispensed. It is however important to compare like for like ingredients (more of this explained in point 3)

Type or Quality of Ingredient Used – When using an instant coffee vending machine, one can choose to use either a chicory based coffee (like Ricoffy, Koffiehuis or Frisco) or a freeze dried coffee like Nescafe or Jacobs. When using a chicory based product, one needs to use 4 grams of coffee per 220ml cups whereas when using Nescafe one needs to use only 1.8 grams of coffee per cup (less than half). Therefore when calculating or comparing prices of different ingredients, it is important to compare on a cost per cup basis rather than on a weight comparison.

Cost of Coffee Beans (Bean to Cup Vending Machines Only)coffee bean

Coffee beans are the only ingredient in this list which’s cost per cup is not affected by the size of the actual cup. All bean to cup vending machines, grind a set amount of coffee regardless of the size of the intended cup. An espresso contains exactly as much coffee as a 350 ml cup.

It was believed that 7g of coffee beans was sufficient to produce a standard cup of coffee. After many office tests, we discovered that the required dosage was far closer to 10g. Therefore in order to work out ones cost per cup, you simply need to divide the kg price of the coffee bean in question by 100. The cost per cup of the following five coffee bean brands then work out to:

Generic Supermarket Bought Coffee  – R200/kg – R2.00 per cup

Woolworths Organic All African Espresso Beans – R228/kg – R2.28 per cup

Aquaspresso Coffee Beans  -R250/kg  -R2.50 per cup

Green Bean Coffee Roastery  (Cameroon) – R280/kg – R2.80 per cup

Illy  -R484/kg –R4.84 per cup

Cost of Instant Coffee (Instant Coffee Vending Machines Only)

We briefly discussed above how the quality of the instant coffee affects the amount, one is instant coffeerequired to use per cup. As a rule of thumb the following quantities apply:

Chicory based instant Coffee -4g/cup

Spray Dried Instant Coffee – 1.8g/cup

Freeze Dried Instant Coffee-1.8g/cup

The cost per cup of the following instant coffee brands are then:

Ricoffy – R100/kg – R0.40 per cup

Nescafe Classic –R300/kg – R0.54 per cup

Nescafe Gold –R500/kg – R0.90 per cup

Jacobs – R500/kg – R0.90 per cup

Aquaspresso Freeze Dried (Dutch Import) – R550/kg –R0.99 per cup

Cost of Vending Milk Powder or Creamer:

The amount of milk powder or creamer required per cup, like with instant coffee, is milk powderaffected by the quality of the milk powder used. The more milk powder in the mixture, the less of it one needs to use. It is required to use 4g of milk powder per cup of coffee and around 15g of creamer per cup. Combination milk powders lie somewhere in between depending on the composition. The following milk powders and creamers then work out to:

Ellis Brown Creamer – R33/kg – R0.50 per cup of white or milk coffee

Cremora – R36/kg – R0.55 per cup of white coffee

Aquaspresso 100% pure milk powder – R150/kg – R0.60 per cup of white coffee

Cost of Vending Sugar:

Vending sugar is exactly the same thing as ordinary white sugar except it is of much finer consistency (but not as fine as castor sugar) Huletts is one of the biggest suppliers of  vending sugar although most coffee companies, like ourselves, repack the sugar in their own branded packaging. The cost of vending sugar is pretty much standard at around R50/kg

Cost of Vending Tea:

Vending Tea or Loose Leaf Tea is a product made specifically for vending machines. They teacome in flavours such as chamomile, vanilla, rooibos and black tea. Vending tea is significantly more expensive than using tea bags and costs on average R1.00 per cup of tea across most of the big brands. Because of this price discrepancy compared to tea bags, most companies set their vending machines up to dispense:

  • Hot Water
  • Hot Water + Sugar
  • Hot Water + Sugar + Milk
  • Hot Water + Milk

Each person wanting tea can use their own tea bag and control the strength of their own tea (as well as saving the company a significant spend on vending tea)

Cost of Hot Chocolate:hot choc

Hot chocolate is one of the cheapest coffee vending machine ingredients on a kg basis but when viewed on a per cup basis it does work out to one of the most expensive of all items. Hot Chocolate typically requires 20g per serving. The following hot chocolates then work out:

Cadbury’s Hot Chocolate: R92/kg – R1.84/cup

Nestle Hot Chocolate: 94/kg – R1.88/cup

Aquaspresso Vending Hot Chocolate: R150/kg – R3.00/cup

Nomu Skinny Hot Chocolate: 240/kg – R4.8/cup


When buying or renting a coffee vending machine it is crucially important to pay attention to the price of the vending machine’s ingredients just as much, as one does to the actual price of the coffee machine itself. There is always a balance between quality and cost, so choose based on your goals in mind.

To view the prices of our coffee vending machines please click our link here (coffee machine cost) alternatively if you want to try a vending machine for a month to see if it will work for your office please complete your details below:


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