Great to see your interest in espresso machines! If you are here somehow you have interest in commercial espresso machines whether you have a coffee business that’s growing or you are thinking about starting a coffee business in your shop or restaurant. Find the perfect machine is the first step. The espresso machine will be fundamental to your success. But you cannot count only on that. You must have a great coffee grinder also. But first steps first. We can talk about grinders in another post.
Customers are bewildered with espresso machine options these days. You need to make your business stand out by delivering top coffee. Then customers will show their loyalty. The success of your business depends on making the best decision when it comes to your coffee machine – and we are here to help you!
The first thing you should decide is your budget
This is the main decision! How much should you spend in a commercial espresso machine? Cash rules when it comes to any purchase. However, have in mind that you are making an investment in your business, so you should look to spend what it takes to get the best solution for you.
You will find a range of different coffee machines and prices on the market. Brand is always a driving factor in this, like in everything else. The mechanics and diagnostic functionality will also have an impact on price.
If you know already about your needs and have decided your budget, you are halfway there. You just need to choose wisely which espresso machine to choose.
Look now at some of the ways in which coffee machines differ.
Be honest with yourself about your business size. This will help you to find which machine best fits your needs. You will find commercial espresso machines in the following configurations:
1 Group Head – 1 Espresso per time
2 Groupheads – 2 Espresso per time
3 Groupheads – 3 Espresso per time
4 Groupheads – 4 Espresso per time
Note: while you are making 1 espresso with a 1 Group head machine, you can be filling up another coffee with boiling water, or you can be frothing milk with the steam wand.
Obviously, the larger the number of groupheads, the more coffee can be prepared at the same time. So more staff can simultaneously use the machine. But, for example, if you only have one person making coffees at a time, a 3 Group machine would not have any advantage over a 2 group machine.
Study your business and ask yourself if you need to prioritize a machine that will maximize the number of coffees you produce – or do you have a limited amount of space? In this case 1 group or 2 group espresso machine would be perfect for you to save on space.
You don’t need to worry about the espresso machine’s size to get all the features when we are talking about espresso machines of the same model/brand. Normally the only difference is the boiler size, how much power the heating element in your boiler has (how many Kilowatts), and how many coffees it can make at once.
Here are the standard sizes for boilers:
1 Grouphead: 1.8 litres – 5 litres
2 Groupheads: 5 litres – 12 litres
3 Groupheads: 11 litres – 18 litres
4 Groupheads: 20 litres – 22 litres
Note: Normal americano coffee sizes are 200 ml or 300 ml. So for example, you can get 5 x 200 ml americano coffees per litre.
Your espresso production will be least affected by boiler size, because the espresso is made at the Group head (by a heat exchanger). The boiler size affects the amount of hot water you have available for adding boiling water to the espresso to make an Americano coffee, or for making teas.
If you have a restaurant and serve mostly espressos or cappuccinos, you don’t need to focus too much on the boiler’s size. But, if you are going to sell a high volume of Americano coffees, you would need lots of hot water going so the boiler size would be very important.
Power and Temperature
The other important thing to be aware of for peak usage is the power of the electrical element that heats up the water in your boiler. The Kilowatt element rating of the espresso machine will affect how quickly you can create more boiling water during periods of heavy use.
Things to ask yourself before buy an espresso machine: Do you have a morning or lunchtime rush? Do you serve mainly Americano coffees or? If so, you’ll need a higher capacity machine, with large boiler and strong heating element.
The other factor is the temperature of the water. The ideal temperature is 95C/ 203F. Using a pressure stat (or thermostat), boiler pressure and water temperature can be easily adjusted. Some machines allow for easy control of water temperature (i.e. by adjusting the water pressure in the boiler).
Main Types of Commercial Espresso Machine
Commercial espresso machines can be divided into 4 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.
Traditional Automatic: The machine stops the length of your pour automatically. Most common type in cafes.
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 foamed milk into the cup. With 2-step machines you take care of this separately.
Conclusion: Manual espresso machine might need more attention as you need to be around all the time but also gives you more control on the way you want your coffee. Automatic espresso machine is good for busy environment as you can press the bottom and leave the coffee there while doing other things.
Appearance, size and ease of use
Appearance, size and how easy it is to use are some of the considerations you should make before buying an espresso machine. Appearances count, so if you are focused on creating a nice visual aesthetic you should start looking for a coffee machine according to the colour scheme and how the machine will look in your establishment. Depending on your main clients, they may pay attention at coffee machine’s size and they might think that bigger machine is more professional and that this can have a positive effect on your business. Of course if the counter in your shop is small, it doesn’t make any sense to buy a big one.
When talking about how simple or complicated a coffee machine is, we need to be realistic. For example, there is no point in having a complicated machine if it’s too tricky to teach staff how to use it. It’s also worth asking yourself some other basic questions, such as: 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?
Well, after having a look at those details, I hope I could help you to have an idea on which espresso machine suits you and your business best. Now just enjoy the awesome Coffee World!
At Qflow Coffee we have a range of great coffee machines from small coffee business to high demand coffee business, to check click here. Have a look and we can help you decide which coffee machine is the best for you.