Improved Coffee Vending Machine
Micro electronics have improved the reliability and design of the equipment but the coffee vending machine remains very similar to the first coffee vending machines invented more than 50 years ago.
The first thing to happen after making your drink selection is that a valve opens and allows a cupful of cold mains water into the machine via a filter.
This water goes into a heated storage tank and displaces a cupful of near boiling water along a feed pipe to a mixing system where the selected ingredient is added and then on into a disposable cup which has dropped into the serving position from a stack of cups in a large hopper.
It is the quality of the ingredients used in the coffee vending machine, including the water itself - that determines the quality of the finished beverage.
In the past the water would not be filtered and if the machine had not been operated for many hours (e.g. overnight) the water would have an unpleasant 'taint' due to it having been standing in the heated tank for a long period.
Coffee vending machines now have very small water storage heaters so that the turnover of fresh water is much quicker, and some machines even dispense off some water if the machine has not been used for a long time.
The dry ingredients (coffee, tea, chocolate etc.) would all be a soluble instant type so that the mixing system was simple.
Perhaps a glass bowl into which the dry ingredient and water would flow, together with dried milk and sugar if required.
Hot steamy water and water soluble ingredients together in a small space was not a good idea, steam had to be kept away from the ingredient 'bins'.
Despite powerful extraction fans to keep the steam away from the dry ingredients, clogging was one of the main reasons for early machine faults, and the cause of poor beverage quality problems.
Clogging is now a thing of the past with the modern coffee vending machines, now there is a more efficient method of steam extraction and mixing methods.
Although powdered milk is still used in instead of liquid milk (for hygienic reasons), these modern coffee vending machines produce a freshly brewed cup of tea or coffee.
Both the fresh tea and coffee in the machine ingredient bins are ground giving quicker infusion time.
In a more complex system hot water is forced through fresh tea or coffee grounds and a filter used to separate the used grounds which are then sent for disposal.
With the modern coffee vending machine the computer allows a vast variation and combination of the ingredients dispensed offering a huge choice of beverages to the customer.