Bunn Vs. Curtis Vs Fetco – Top Commercial Coffee Brewer Brands Compared

by Matt Gibson

The very first known coffee brewing devices were pots with flat bottoms for adequate heat absorption, and narrow pouring spouts which were designed to minimize the amount of coffee grounds escaping into your brew. Since these devices, the coffee industry has undergone multiple transformations, and modern coffee brewing machines are as futuristic as electric cars, cellular phones, and virtual reality. Today’s industrial coffee brewing systems are programmed using digital touch screens and brewing can be done by the push of a button on a cell phone app. 

The most cost efficient way to brew up lots of coffee is by using the drip brewing method. Modern industrial coffee brewing machines are available in many different sizes, and focus on brewing anywhere between one to twelve gallons of coffee at a time, never allowing it to overheat, and keeping it at a stable, and optimal serving temperature. For decades drip machines, especially Mr. Coffee brand drip machines dominated the market in the United States and an 8 to 12 cup drip machine was a commonplace appliance found in most coffee drinking households. 

The kitchen drip brewer was forgotten with the rise of Keurig single cup coffee brewing machines, which replaced the trusty drip machines in the name of convenience and aluminum. It didn’t take long for folks to find out how environmentally irresponsible the Keurig method is when it comes to waste creation. This, coupled with a push for a better, more fulfilling cup of coffee ushered in the rise of simplicity in the name of pour over and french press brewing devices. However, drip machines are still a very viable option for home coffee brewing, and drip machines still sell in surprisingly steady numbers. 

In the industrial setting, however, drip machines are essential for large gatherings and any coffee brewing station that serves a large group of people will need an industrial grade coffee brewing machine to meet the demand of the location. For ages, the industrial coffee machine industry was largely controlled by one company, owned by Wilbur Curtis, who made an empire out of being the only manufacturer of large scale coffee brewing machines.. The Curtis coffee machine monarchy couldn’t last forever, though, as new coffee brewing companies began to challenge them on the market. 

In 1957’s, George R. Bunn developed an industrial coffee brewing machine called the Bunn-O-Matic. The catchy name and the affordable price, led to a lot of business for the up and coming beverage company which would come to be named Bunn Coffee, and eventually just Bunn. Today, Bunn coffee makers can be found in 7-Eleven, QT, and many other commercial locations. 

Just after the 1980’s Starbucks led, chic-and-convenient coffee cafe takeover, in 1987, FETCO entered the large scale coffee brewing game, and by the 2000’s, they had become the leaders of the pack, and FETCO’s reign over the industrial coffee maker industry has never faltered, as they are still the most widely used commercial coffee brewing brand. FETCO uses high-quality materials that are easy to replace and don’t wear out easily over time. 

All three of the main commercial coffee brewing brands make high quality coffee machines, each built to fill a specific niche in the market. All three brands have new lines that incorporate touch screens, USB connectivity, and smart sensor heating stations that keep your coffee from overheating and keep it at the optimal serving temperature. Which brand is right for you will likely come down to a personal preference. 

Bunn Coffee Brewers

Since 1957, the Bunn name has been at the forefront of the commercial coffee brewing market. Though they are not as commonly used as FETCO by modern businesses, the Bunn industrial coffee makers are highly sought-after commercial kitchen appliances. Bunn also makes a line of products that are specifically geared towards home use. Whereas Curtis and FETCO focus primarily on the industrial coffee brewing market, Bunn has brought in a whole new stream of income by targeting the kitchen coffee maker market. 

Wilbur Curtis Coffee Brewers 

Wilbur Curtis is the oldest brand of commercial coffee brewers that are still in business today. Founded in 1941, Wilbur Curtis has truly stood the test of time, adapting to new innovations and technologies in coffee brewing, and staying up to date with the most advanced brewing machines on the market today, there is a reason why the Curtis name continues to thrive, and it is a commitment to progress, always striving to make a better product and produce a better cup of coffee. 

FETCO Coffee Brewers

The new kid on the block in the industrial-scale coffee brewing industry, emerged in 1987 and by the time you were partying like it was 1999, they were the new industry standard. Their competitors would have to copy the advances that they made, or become relics of a more simple time. Adapt the competition would, but they would suffer from a case of too little, too late. FETCO had become the best in show, and their sales proved that the new kid was a prodigy. 

Other Brands 

Of course the big three coffee brewing brands are not the only three on the market. There are other, smaller industrial brewing companies that are targeting the specialty brewing niche that requires smaller brewing batch sizes and more flavor options. Brands like Bravilor, Grindmaster, and NEWCO are all cornering specific areas of the market. Grindmaster specializes in coffee grinders, whereas Bravilor, and NEWCO focus on Coffee Brewing, in addition to Espresso Brewing machines. 

At-Home Use

Though there are certainly plenty of household coffee maker brands which offer a wide array of options for home brewing devices, it is rather surprising that there are not more offerings from the industrial coffee brewing companies for household appliance coffee makers. Bunn has a good selection of kitchen cafe options, but the other brands have yet to capitalize on the home brewing market. 

Head To Head 

When putting these brands head to head to see which company makes the best products, you will quickly learn that all of these companies produce high quality machinery. Each brand excels at different things. Each type of coffee brewing system is trying to meet the demands of a specific commercial setting. Ease of use, customizable brewing options, storage, heating, and design can vary greatly from brand to brand. 

Which Brand Is The Best?

It’s hard to go wrong with FETCO brewing machines. There is a reason why they are the leading manufacturer, and they have earned their stellar reputation. However, you can get excellent quality coffee from any of these machines, and in the end, you will have to decide which model is the right one for your needs. 

So instead of focusing on which brand is the best for your particular scenario, it might be more beneficial to first consider the size and type of coffee brewing machine for your commercial setting. What brand do you put your trust in? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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