A modern coffee vending machine in Leuven, Belgium

The coffee vending machine is a vending machine that dispenses hot coffee and other coffee beverages. Older models used instant coffee or concentrated liquid coffee and hot or boiling water, and provided condiments such as cream and sugar. Some modern machines prepare various coffee styles such as mochas and lattes and use ground drip coffee, and some fresh-grind the coffee to order using a grinder in the machine.

The machine was invented in the United States by the Rudd-Melikian company in 1947, debuting as the "Kwik Kafe". Several U.S. companies also began manufacturing the machines in 1947, and by 1955 over 60,000 existed in the U.S. Today, coffee vending machines exist in various areas of the world, and are very common in Japan.


A coffee vending machine in Romania

A coffee vending machine is a type of vending machine that dispenses hot coffee. Some of the machines, particularly older models, utilize powdered instant coffee mixed with hot water, and some of these offer condiments such as cream and sugar.[1] Some newer models fresh-brew the coffee using hot water and ground coffee beans, and some also grind the coffee to order using coffee grinders installed in the machines, as well as providing various condiments.[2][3] Some modern machines also provide other hot drinks such as tea, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, mochas and hot chocolate.[3][4][5] Some of the machines dispense canned coffee, and some dispense both hot coffee and iced coffee.[6][7]

Public coffee vending machines typically require payment, functioning as coin-operated machines, and some also accept bills and credit cards.[8] Some do not require payment; these are typically found at places of employment, whereby the company furnishes the beverage to employees free of charge.[9]

Machines that purvey hot and iced coffee are common in Japan, and many of them are placed in street locations.[7] In Italy, some of the machines purvey up to 18 coffee varieties.[5]


The coffee vending machine was invented in the United States by the Rudd-Melikian company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1947, and the machine was named the Kwik Kafe.[a][11] The machine would drop a paper cup through a chute onto a platform and fill the cup with hot coffee prepared using instant coffee and hot water.[12] The Kwik Kafe took five seconds to prepare a cup of coffee.[12] The Kwik Kafe machines were placed in U.S. locations through the process of franchising.[12] At a 1948 convention in Philadelphia, Lloyd K. Rudd, president of the Rudd-Melikian company, stated that Kwik Kafe machines purveyed 250,000 cups of coffee on a daily basis.[13]

Additional companies that manufactured coffee vending machines in 1947 in the United States include the Manning & Lewis company, Knapway Devices and the Bert Mills Corporation.[12][14] Some machines in 1947 used a liquid coffee concentrate that was mixed with boiling water, and one such machine charged a nickel for a cup of coffee and dispensed a wooden spoon to mix the cream and sugar.[15] By the year 1955, over 60,000 coffee vending machines existed in the United States.[12]

Concept machines

Touch screen coffee machines, such as those introduced by Bella, Bravilor Bonamat and La Marquise are becoming increasingly popular[when?] as they allow closer engagement with customers.[16] In 2009, Douwe Egberts introduced a conceptual coffee vending machine named BeMoved, which has touch screens with drag and drop features to select ingredients and interactive features such as the ability to access news, weather information and stock prices as the coffee is prepared.[17] The BeMoved machine also has a motion-sensitive video camera that can take an image of the user and remember the user's coffee preferences via personal profile settings, as well as an interactive video game named Shoot-Em-Up, which involves jumping in front of the machine while the camera and software coordinate the jumping with the video game play.[17]


See also


  1. ^ "In Philadelphia two ex-servicemen, Lloyd Rudd and K. C. Melikian, invented a hot-coffee vending machine, and although the vending industry refused to take their invention seriously at first, the public welcomed it and hot-coffee vending had made a start."[10]


  1. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. May 31, 1947. p. 103. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  2. ^ Jed, Emily (July 2014). "Rubi Coffee Machines Make Comeback As New Owner Aligns With Operators"[permanent dead link]. Vending Times. Vol. 54, No. 7.
  3. ^ a b "Starbucks To Roll Out Thousands Of Coffee Vending Machines". The Huffington Post. June 7, 2012. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  4. ^ "19-coach Tejas Express with LED TV, tea/coffee vending machine all set to hit the tracks next week". Zee News. May 20, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Tagliabue, John (March 14, 2009). "In Italy, a Vending Machine Even Makes the Pizza". The New York Times. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  6. ^ Nishibe, M. (2016). The Enigma of Money: Gold, Central Banknotes, and Bitcoin. Springer Singapore. p. 4. ISBN 978-981-10-1819-0. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "Vending machine marketing deal for Harris Tweed". The Herald. November 25, 2013. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  8. ^ Winkler, O.W. (2009). Interpreting Economic and Social Data: A Foundation of Descriptive Statistics. Mathematics and Statistics. Springer Berlin Heidelberg. p. 127. ISBN 978-3-540-68721-4. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  9. ^ Castillo, J.J.; McAniff, P.J. (2006). The Recruiting Guide to Investment Banking. Circinus Business Press. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-9761548-9-1. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  10. ^ Bramah, E. (1972). Tea & coffee: a modern view of three hundred years of tradition. Hutchinson and Co. (Publishers) Ltd. p. 121. ISBN 9780091089504. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  11. ^ Siebert, M.; Ball, A.L. (2002). Changing the Rules: Adventures of a Wall Street Maverick. Free Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-0-7432-1114-7. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  12. ^ a b c d e Marion, N.E.; Oliver, W.M. (2014). Drugs in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law [3 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-61069-596-1. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  13. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. October 16, 1948. p. 96. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  14. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. December 27, 1947. p. 90. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  15. ^ Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. October 25, 1947. p. 108. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
  16. ^ "Coffee industry set to hit $4.4bn in Mideast". Trade Arabia. 10 September 2017. Archived from the original on 10 September 2017. Retrieved 11 September 2017.
  17. ^ a b Macsai, Dan (October 26, 2009). "Douwe Egberts' BeMoved Vending Machine Will Make You Jump for Joy … for Coffee". Fast Company. Retrieved July 4, 2017.

Further reading