Best Commercial Espresso Machine Buying Guide 2017
Coffee is widely reported to be the most widely consumed beverage worldwide.
Whether it’s a sharp shot of espresso to kickstart your morning, a lunchtime Americano or as fuel to get through a late night at work, coffee makes the world go round.
Espresso machines have long since been commonplace in our homes. The more we drink tasty coffee in gourmet coffee shops, the more we want to replicate that at home.
Today, though, we will take a look at some far more heavyweight machines. We’ll show you what to look out for if you’re in the market for the best commercial espresso machine.
After that, we’ll pinpoint 5 of the very best industrial espresso machines on the market.
If you have a business and want to start serving up top-notch espresso, think of this article as a starting point in your research. These machines are not cheap so you won’t want to make a false move.
*Click on any Commercial Espresso Machine above to see customer feedback reviews and price on Amazon.com
First Things To Think About When Buying a Commercial Espresso Machine
Whether you have a coffee shop, a restaurant or any other business where you want to make great coffee on a large scale, choosing the best commercial espresso machine will be fundamental to your success or failure.
Customers are bewildered with choice these days. You need a USP and if you make your business stand out by delivering top-notch espresso, those customers will show their loyalty with repeat business.
The success of your business depends on making the best decision when it comes to your coffee maker and we are here to help.
Volume of Business
Perhaps the most crucial element of your research is being honest about the size of your business and how much trade you will do. This will affect the scale of the coffee machine that best fits your needs.
You will find commercial espresso machines in the following configurations:
- 2 Groupheads (4 drinks)
- 3 Groupheads (6 drinks)
- 4 Groupheads (8 drinks)
The larger the number of groupheads, the more staff can simultaneously use the machine.
Analyze your business and ask yourself if you need to prioritize a machine that will maximize the number of coffees you produce or whether you could settle for a 2 grouphead machine.
The good news here is that the only difference between these machines is the efficiency factor so if you have a little café or a limited drinks menu, a smaller machine will deliver outstanding coffee without compromising on performance.
Getting the size in place makes the rest of your purchase easier as your options will be thinned down.
Cash rules when it comes to any purchase but it’s not purely about the bottom line.
You are making an investment in your business so you should look to spend what it takes to get the best solution for you. There is no one-size-fits-all answer.
Price varies quite drastically in the field of commercial espresso machines. Brand name is always a driving factor in this. The mechanics and diagnostic functionality will also have an impact on price.
If you are clear about your needs and set a firm budget, getting a cost-effective commercial espresso machine need not be a headache.
We’ll look now at some of the ways in which these coffee makers differ.
4 Main Types of Commercial Espresso Machine
Commercial espresso machines can be divided into 4 main types:
- Manual: This style is very popular in Italy and throughout Europe. You work the machine with a hand-operated lever
- Semi-Automatic: With the semi-auto, you’ll need to stop the pour of your espresso manually. You use either an electric pump or a hydraulic delivery method
- Automatic: The machine stops the length of your pour automatically
- Super-Automatic: From grinding and packing the coffee through to brewing and spitting out the grounds, these espresso machines really do it all. 1-step machines add heated or frothed milk into the cup. With 2-step machines, you take care of this separately
What Else To Look Out For In The Best Commercial Espresso Machines
The size of the boiler plays a key role in your machine’s ability to dispense hot water and deliver steam.
Here is a look at the standard boiler sizes for the different categories of espresso machine:
- 1 Grouphead: 1.8 liters – 5 liters
- 2 Groupheads: 5 liters – 12 liters
- 3 Groupheads: 11 liters – 18 liters
- 4 Groupheads: 20 liters – 22 liters
Your espresso production will be least affected by boiler size while using hot water will consume the most power.
Think here about the size of your drinks…
If you have a restaurant and serve a few espressos or some 6 oz single cappuccinos, you do not need to focus so much on this side of performance. Those who sell a high volume of takeouts, lots of 16 oz grande or 20 oz vente, need to prioritize a boiler size in line with the job.
While the delivery method is obviously critical, the way in which your machine delivers is equally important.
As mentioned, you can have a one group machine but for commercial purposes, the machines usually come with two, three or four groupheads.
For small restaurants serving coffee to seated customers after their meal, a one group might do the job but most commercial outlets opt for the versatility and extra production capability of a two group machine.
Busy takeway outlets or kiosks at an airport will experience much higher demand and a three group machine is better suited.
Large coffee chains with a heavy throughput of customers need the added scope of a four group machine. You can then enjoy making up to 8 cups of coffee at the same time. Four group machines are the most expensive by far and comprise only a small percentage of the market for commercial espresso machines.
The element rating or electrical draw of the espresso machine will affect how quickly it recovers from heavy use.
Do you have a morning or lunchtime rush? Do you serve mainly Crema coffee and Americanos? If so, you’ll want to look for a higher capacity machine.
Check closely as these ratings vary quite dramatically depending on the manufacturer.
The driving factor for good espresso is the temperature of the water. The ideal temperature is 95C or 203F.
Using a pressurestat or thermocouple, boiler pressure and water temperature can be easily adjusted.
Being as little as 1 degree out temperature-wise can negatively impact the quality of the coffee. Get it correct.
Ease of Use
It’s no use having the best available coffee machine if it’s too tricky to teach staff to use.
Think about how easy it is to train people to use the machine and choose wisely.
It’s also worth asking yourself some other basic questions…
Is the machine easy to clean? Is it simple to operate the steam valves and hot water valves? Is the cup warming area large enough for your needs?
How Does It Look?
Appearances count and when it comes to aesthetics, not all espresso makers are created equal.
Firstly, think about the color scheme and how the machine will look in your establishment.
Next, think about the size…
Get The Right Size
In addition to the logistics of how many baristas will simultaneously use the machine, think about counter presence…
Counter presence is the perceived value of a larger machine in the eyes of customers. They think that a bigger machine is more professional and this can have a positive effect on your business.
Think carefully about what size will have the best overall benefit and buy accordingly.
5 Best Commercial Espresso Machines For The Money - 2017
1. Microcasa Semi-automatic Commercial Espresso Machine
This traditional design finished in copper and brass is the perfect addition to any small coffee shop.
2. La Pavoni BAR-STAR 2 Group Commercial Espresso Machine
A 2 group manual machine from one of the market leaders, La Pavoni, the BAR-STAR is a heavyweight espresso machine that’s expensive but represents a great return on investment.
3. La Pavoni BAR 3L Pull Lever Commercial Espresso Machine
A notch up in size, the 3 group manual is perfect for very busy establishments with a high turnover.
4. Rancilio Silvia and Rocky Bar Combo Espresso Machine
A smaller machine from an industry giant, this grinder combined with espresso machine would be fine for a small coffee shop or restaurant without heavy demand for long drinks.
5. Rancilio Classe 7 Espresso Machine
Last on the list is another 2 group commercial espresso machine, again from Rancilio and this time a fully automatic marvel. Don’t think about the price tag only but about what this machine could do for your business and profits.
We hope you have enjoyed our glance at what to look out for when you’re looking for the best commercial espresso machine useful.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions or feedback. We are always delighted to hear from our coffee-loving readers.
Now go and get that espresso rolling!