Which espresso coffee machine do you need?
This is a good question and the answer depends on several things. The espresso coffee machine is the heart of your business. Perform some good research before you purchase or lease an espresso coffee machine.
Traditional or bean-to-cup
Traditional coffee machines (espresso coffee machines) are the popular choice for coffee shops. Bean-to-cup machines are mainly used for self-service and cafeterias. Commercial traditional coffee machines are more reliable and usually lower priced than bean-to-cup machines and produce a higher quality cup yet require baristas.
Amount of group heads
One group will be able to make two coffees at the same time. Two groups can make four coffees at the same time. Commercial espresso coffee machines come in different sizes; from one to five groups. The more coffee you serve, the more groups you will need. A one group espresso coffee machine is usually good for up to 50 coffees per day and for a low need for hot water. Two groups is the popular choice for most coffee shops.
A bigger machine usually has a bigger boiler which is very important. The boiler will give you steam power and hot water supply for tea and coffee. Make sure that you purchase an espresso coffee machine with a big boiler. A one group should be more than six litres, a two group around 10 litres and a three group around 14 litres. It's really simply: the bigger the better. A bigger boiler will require more power however.
ACommercial espresso coffee machines range from £1,500 to £10,000. The choice that you make should depend on the size of the machine and the quality that you are looking for. Do not go cheap on an espresso coffee machine but don't go too expensive either because very often the customer doesn't taste the difference.
Remember that it is not just the espresso machine that you need. Just as important is the coffee grinder. You will also need a water softener, a barista kit and a knock out drawer.
Try to find a machine that is affordable and that does the job for your coffee shop. Also check what kind of service you will receive with the espresso machine in regards to breakdown and annual service.
A good option for most people is to lease the machine to save on the initial outlay.
A good range of espresso machines is La Spaziale.
Service and guarantee
Servicing for commercial espresso coffee machines is very important. Make sure that you find a reliable supplier that has a good amount of engineers to guarantee a quick call out. Most commercial espresso coffee machines come with a 12 months guarantee for parts and labour but make sure you ask before you buy.
Treat your espresso coffee machine well and clean it as much as possible and it should last you more than 5 years. A good investment when taken care of properly.
The espresso machine needs daily cleaning which takes around five minutes. Servicing should be done every six to 12 months and usually cost around £200.
Water filter and water softener
Espresso coffee machines need a water softener as they are very sensitive to limescale problems so make sure that you ask about this before purchasing your coffee machine.
Automatic or semi-automatic
Automatic espresso coffee machines have preset buttons for the dosage of water that goes through the coffee. Semi-automatic espresso coffee machines have an on/off button to control the amount of water. Fully automatic espresso coffee machines result in more consistent coffees and are easier to use.
One group espresso coffee machines usually have one steam wand. Most two group machines have two steam wands which is very useful if you plan on having two people working at the same time.
The steam tip of the steam wand has a certain amount of holes; usually three or four. A fourhole steam tip will steam milk a lot faster than a three hole steam tip but might be too powerful when steaming just a small amount of milk.
Espresso coffee machines come with either a dial or lever system to operate the steam.
Most espresso coffee machines require 20 amp or 32 amp for power. There are espresso coffee machines that work perfectly well on 13 amp as well.
Find an espresso machine that is reliable and has a good track record. Ask around and see how often things go wrong with the machine. Ask around in different coffee shops and talk to the owners of the machine to get their opinion.
Unbelievably good course. Totally changed my thinking about coffe. Youri is very knowledgeable and an excellent trainer. The only criticism is your prices are too cheap! Charge more. Peter Nightingale