Coffee enthusiasts always dream of quitting their jobs to open an epic café thinking it can’t be difficult. Well, you need to understand a lot of things before you set up a successful coffee shop, and your current knowledge and skills may not be enough to run a successful enterprise. After all, buying and operating an espresso machine for your home and for a commercial business is two different things. Ultimately, you need the best commercial espresso machine to ensure you can handle the pressure and requirements of running a café.
To make this process a walk in the park for anyone who wants a commercial espresso machine, we wrote a comprehensive review. This review explores some of the state-of-the-art espresso machines in the industry. What features did we consider? Machine types, number of groups, boiler capacity and overall dimensions are some of the critical features that we explore. Others include total power consumption and even warranty information. We not only tell you the best features but we also tell you why they are important and how they can help your commercial enterprise.
Top 5 Commercial Espresso Machines
While its easy to review one coffee espresso machine, it took months of research and practical use to determine the best machine in the industry. We had a lot of fun brewing coffee and exploring the different features of each machine. We also had to compare notes with other professional coffee enthusiasts to give a comprehensive verdict. In our review you will find a comparison table of each espresso machine, in-depth review of each product and a well-written buying guide to help you find the perfect commercial espresso machine.
Nuova Simonelli Appia II – Editor’s Choice
- Type: semi-automatic
- Groups: 2
- Boiler size: 11 lt
- Dimensions: 31’’ x 21’’ x 22’’
- Power: 3400 W
- Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: programmable dosing, wands temperature control, soft infusion system, automated cleaning, water level indicator
Do you want a powerful espresso machine with a sleek silver finish and nifty LED lights to improve safety in dim environments? If the answer is yes then you need this powerhouse machine. No wonder it has been ranked as the official espresso machine at the World Barista Championships for a record 3 years straight.
Building on the success of the first Appia, the Nuova Simonelli Appia II has pushed productivity and performance to new heights. Furthermore, its reliability and contemporary style make it an ideal espresso machine. What are some of its outstanding features? The Nuova Simonelli Appia II is not a case of form over function. For example, it has a reverse mirror that allows your barista to see the coffee shot without having to crouch.
Its programmable dosing means that you can now train baristas in minutes and they can serve espresso in volumes. This is largely because of its user-friendly nature. With a respectable 11 liter boiler, you can expect to brew 30 to 100 drinks per hour. The soft infusion system (SIS) will help you to brew a creamy and delicious espresso with no harshness whatsoever. Other key features include a water level indicator and automated cleaning. Also, being a volumetric monitoring machine, you can rest assured that it will stop the shot at the right moment. Its pre-infusion function will, however, means that you will get the most from your grounds even before the shot is stopped. This can be a great espresso machine for a medium capacity café.
- The soft infusion system guarantees optimum extraction
- Raised group heads to offer sufficient space
- Fresh water held in each reserve
- A bit pricey
- Excessive for small cafés
Jura GIGA W3 – Best Commercial Espresso Machine for Small Coffee Shop
- Type: super-automatic
- Groups: 1
- Boiler size: 5 lt
- Dimensions:7’’ x 14.6’’ x 19.6’’
- Power: 1250 W
- Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: 3.6 ft cable length, 120 cups per day output, bean monitoring, adjustable water hardness, TÜV-certified cleaning system, 360 ml coffee pot, programmable dosing
The Jura 15089 GIGA W3 is an elegant and modern coffee machine that has everything you need to brew some good espresso. Some of its great features include convenience and ease of use, easy refilling, a large water tank and a 35.3 ounce bean container with an aroma retainer cover.
It includes a ball bearing mounted rotary switch with a TFT display to ensure great efficiency and maximum speeds when serving. Its dimensions make it a compatible espresso machine that will not give you any trouble should you decide to move it. With this machine, you can easily serve 120 cups on a daily basis.
With the Jura 15089 GIGA W3, you can prepare 31 specialty coffees and 12 barista recipes at the touch of a button. Another key feature of this espresso machine is the ability to adjust air intake and an electronically controlled stepper motor that allows you to heat and froth milk. It has a professional grinder that features well positioned grinding discs. These discs are manufactured by wear-resistant ceramic that guarantees precise grinding for a couple of years.
Apart from being easy to operate, the Jura GIGA W3 is also easy to maintain. It has an integrated rinsing, cleaning and even descaling program that not only reduce the effort required but also guarantees TUV-certified hygiene. Another feature that makes the Jura GIGA W3 a great espresso machine is its ability to customize almost every part of it. You can use accessories such as cup warmers or even milk cooler to optimize the espresso machine to any environment.
- Offers complete hygiene and protection
- Amazing looks
- it is quite durable
- A relatively small boiler size
Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II – Best Commercial Espresso Machine for Big Coffee Shop
- Type: semi-automatic
- Groups: 3
- Boiler size: 17 lt
- Dimensions: 41’’ x 22’’ x 22’’
- Power: 5000 W
- Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: automatic water flow, soft infusion system, LCD display, cool touch wand, water softner, automatic cleaning
Nuova Simonelli is a great company that has produced espresso machines for more than 70 years. Their machines guarantee excellent performance under demanding circumstances. And the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II is no exception. This is a great choice for the business that wants an ergonomic, user-friendly, multi-functional and even reliable espresso machine.
With a boiler capacity of 17 liters, you can serve a significant number of guests or visitors in a day. Every single group head in the espresso machine has a 1 liter boiler of fresh water. The water does not come in to contact with the heating element, which prevents alkalinity spikes. Remember, you need your coffee to be as fresh as possible. Having both a copper boiler and a heat exchanger also helps your Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II give you the best quality coffee. This feature allows you to steam and brew your espresso at the same time, which ensures that the temperature of the water is consistent throughout the whole process.
The four and a quarter inch LCD display also makes operating the machine a breeze. It gives the barista control of the whole machine at the touch of a button. Through the display, the barista can set the boiler pressure, control the boiler temperature, program dosages, pre-infusion and even input energy savings settings. The Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II has a soft infusion system that will ensure you get a perfect extraction. Furthermore, the work surface of the espresso machine supports tall glass and low cups.
This espresso machine is a good choice for specialty café’s with a medium to high volume and demanding professionals.
- Has a T3 technology system for temperature accuracy
- Safe and flexible
- The autosteam wand allows you to make creamy cappuccinos
- May be a bit pricey and a serious investment
La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R – Budget Pick
- Type: semi-automatic
- Groups: 1
- Boiler size: 4 lt
- Dimensions: 21’’ x 15’’ x 22’’
- Power: 1500 W
- Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: power indicator light, removable water tank
La Pavoni is one of the oldest Italian espresso machine makers having manufactured them since 1905. The La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R is a commercial grade machine that will ensure you have excellent temperature stability. This simple feature allows you to produce great shots of espresso each and every day.
What are some of the amazing features of the La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R? Portability is one of the useful features of this machine. Weighing less than 80 pounds, this espresso machine allows you to easily transport and set it up. It also has a pour-in reservoir unlike machines that use the old French press. A pour-in reservoir delivers a fresher taste since there is more flavor in the finished coffee product.
This machine has a 6.5 liter boiler, which is pretty impressive for such a portable machine. While other commercial espresso machines may boast of a 14 or even 17 liter boiler, they are often not portable. The La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R, which measures 21 by 15 by 22 inches can deliver about 150 cups per day.
For those interested in the electrical output of the product, it measures about 120 volts and delivers 1500 watts of power. And while it is a one group machine, this low voltage and wattage is astonishing. It is also worth noting that this small espresso machine has 2 coffee baskets. It has a portafilter made out of a good heat retainer such as brass and a different non-heat retaining piece such as wood.
- Very portable
- A large boiler capacity
- Has a built-in cup rack
- Needs a skilled person to mix drinks
Breville Oracle – Best Professional Espresso Machine
- Type: super-automatic
- Groups: 2
- Boiler size:5 lt
- Dimensions:5″ x 14.7″ x 17.6″
- Power: 1800 W
- Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: touch screen, automatic milk steaming, micro foam steam wand, auto grind and tamp, triple heat system
With the Breville Oracle, you will not need a grinder, scale or even tamper. This espresso machine automatically doses, tamps and grinds ground beans from the half pound removable bean hopper. It then pours the coffee into a 58mm portafilter. You can set the Breville Oracle to froth your froth your milk with the latte and cappuccino settings while the shots brew.
This espresso machine has dual stainless steel boilers which allow you to simultaneously extract espresso while you steam milk. It also offers a regulated extraction pressure by using an over-pressure valve that limits extraction pressure to give you the best espresso shots.
The easy access to the water tank may sound like a minor feature but it is quite important. You can simply press the lid on the top and the machine pops open to let you fill it. Alternatively, you can remove the drip tray and access a dial that connects to a swivel foot at the bottom of the espresso machine. For those with knowledge on operating espresso machines, it is not uncommon to find machines with design flaws that make it difficult to access the water tank.
It also has an awesome frothing wand that stays clean. With this wand, you can adjust the temperature and set it to auto to make some lovely froth. There is a sensor at the tip of the wand that shows when the pre-set temperature is reached.
- Automated grinding, steaming and tamping
- A hybrid steam wand that is automatically
- Offers a dual boiler so you can brew and steam simultaneously
- Quite a bulky machine
Before choosing a commercial espresso machine it is important to ask yourself a couple of questions. Do you know what you want? Can you review the different features of espresso machines? What are your needs? It is easy to purchase an espresso machine but are you sure it is what your business needs. This buying will help you understand what you need to consider before pulling out your credit card. By the end of this section, you will be able to compare two different espresso machines like a professional.
Espresso machines by type
It is first important to understand the different types of espresso machines and how they can impact the success of your café. But it is first important to highlight some few terms.
A commercial espresso machine is manufactured for mass production of coffee beverages. An example is the ones businesses and cafés use to offer coffee to their clients. There are essentially two types of these machines including semi-automatic and super-automatic. A semi-automatic espresso machine needs some skills to operate so you will have to offer barista training to your staff. This will ensure they can pull great shots and froth milk with a consistent quality.
For super-automatic machines such as the Jura 15089 GIGA W3, there are two types; one step and two step. One step machines need no training and your average 16 year old can pull off some good coffee shots. Two step machines, however, are a mix of both semi and super automatic but are considered the latter.
To choose the right type of espresso machine, you will have to figure out your main purpose of buying the espresso machine. Will you open a café where you serve your customers or do you want an espresso machine that your customers can serve themselves.
If quality is most important to you then you should go with a semi-automatic machine. But if you want a user-friendly machine then you need a super-automatic espresso machine like the Breville Oracle.
Cash is quite important when it comes to making purchases but it may not be the deciding factor. With a commercial espresso machine, you are making an investment in your business. This means that you will have to spend a bit to get exactly what you are looking for.
Although there is no one size fits all answer to this issue, price will vary a lot depending on various factors. For example, the brand you choose will significantly affect your decision. Other factors that may influence price include the mechanics and even functionality of the machine. You will have to be clear about your needs as a business and this will reduce the frustrations of looking for the perfect espresso machine. You can choose an affordable espresso machine such as the La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R or a pricier option such as the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II.
Features to consider while buying the perfect commercial espresso machine
Before you make that long-term purchase of an espresso machine, it is important to keep certain factors in mind. This is what will distinguish each coffee espresso machine and allow you to make that informed choice. Here are some of the features to keep in mind.
The number of group heads determines the efficiency and performance of the espresso machine. The more the number of groupheads, the more your staff can use the machine simultaneously. You will have to ask yourself if you need a machine with the maximum output in terms of coffee cups or if you can settle for a 2 grouphead machine such as the Nuova Simonelli Appia II.
The boiler will largely determine your espresso machine’s ability to dispense hot water and deliver steam. This means that having a large size boiler improves the efficiency of making espresso. What are some of the standard capacity for your boiler size?
1 grouphead: 1.8 to 5 liters
2 grouphead: 5 liters to 12 liters
3 groupheads: 11 liters to 18 liters
4 groupheads: 20 liters to 22 liters
Remember, espresso production is least affected by boiler size and using hot water consumes power. Choosing a good boiler size requires you to understand your business. If you sell a few coffee cups a day then you do not need to focus much on performance. If you sell a high volume then you may need a large boiling size.
Good espresso requires you to maintain the temperature of water. Ideally, the temperature should be about 95c or 203F. If your espresso machine has a pressurestat or thermocouple then the boiler pressure and water temperature can easily be adjusted. You only need to be 1 degree less on the temperature to negatively impact your coffee quality.
The power rating of your espresso machine affects how quickly it will recover after a busy session. Do you have a morning rush where you get to serve a lot of people? If so, then you need to purchase a higher capacity machine.
Speed is also critical especially if you get to serve a large number of customers. No one wants to wait for minutes or even hours to get their cup of coffee. An espresso machine with low speeds can affect your brand or even make you lose customers. This is why you need to choose an espresso machine with a speed that allows you to meet your needs.
An espresso machine that people can’t use may not be the best option for your business even if it is the most expensive or productive. However, this also depends on your business model. Do you want to hire and train a barista? Or do you want a user friendly machine that clients can use to serve themselves? All in all, you should ensure that your espresso machine is user friendly, for example, the Breville Oracle.
Espresso machine dimensions
Aside from needing a portable espresso machine, you also have to consider how many baristas will be using your machine. Do you have a couple of baristas that serve a large number of people? You could use a large espresso machine.
You also need to think about counter presence. This is simply the perception of your clients if they see your business has a large espresso machine. Many clients will think a bigger machine is more professional and this may improve business for you.
Easiness of cleaning
Ease of cleaning and maintenance is important especially if you have a heavy professional use of your espresso machine. This includes everyday cleaning as well as getting to repair your machine parts. Automatic espresso machines such as the Jura 15089 GIGA W3 lift this burden for you and your staff by self-cleaning. While these machines promise to clean themselves, it is worth checking them out now and then as they still need descaling. Other machines have detachable parts that allow you to give each part a manual clean.
A warrant protects you from purchasing a defective product. It is important to choose a product with a great warranty. Before you choose your preferred espresso machine, it is important to look at the conditions of the warranty such as the duration, price among other conditions.
Espresso machine descaling tips
It is essential to descale your espresso machine after some few months of use but doing this more frequently is recommended. This is especially necessary if your water has a high mineral water content. However, remember to collect the descaling solution as the citric acid can affect the metallic components.
These are some of the descaling instructions for those with general espresso machines. Remember to consult your machine’s manual if you need specific cleaning instructions.
Here are some instructions to follow when descaling this type of machine.
- Pour the descaling agent into a water reservoir
- Let the solution in your boiler by running a cup of water or steam and close the steam knob
- Switch off the machine and let it sit idle for about 20 minutes to allow th descaling process
- Run a quarter of the reservoir out of the steam wand and a quarter out of the brew head and let the machine sit idle for another 20 minutes.
- Flush out the remaining water out of both the steam and brew outlets and run clean water through the reservoir
Descaling a superautomatic espresso machine
Check out your machine’s manual if it has an automatic descaling cycle. Here are a couple of tips for those without one
- Pour the descaling agent into the reservoir
- Allow the solution into your boiler by pulling a cup of water out of your steam wand and close the knob.
- Switch off the machine and let it sit idle for about 20 minutes to allow descaling
- Run about a half of the solution out of the steam wand and turn off the machine for another 20 minutes
- Flush out the rest of the water through the steam wand and rinse it too
Yes. Although they appear the same and even look like they perform the same function, espresso machines and coffee machines are entirely different. An espresso machine is used to make espressos while a coffee maker is any machine that makes coffee. AN espresso is made using finely ground coffee while a coffee maker grinds other particles.
Yes. Most espressos machines have built-in filters. Making a good espresso requires clean water that has little to no mineral content. The water supplied at home does not, however, have enough force to pass through a condensed coffee puck and produce filters.
It is important to clean your espresso machine at least once a month. This is because debris from beans, hard water and lime deposits always build up in your machine. These impurities need to be cleaned to ensure you always get fresh coffee. Here are a couple of tips to help you clean your espresso machine:
Our top choice was the Nuova Simonelli Appia II due to the excellent performance and productivity of the coffee machine. This decision was largely informed by some of the awesome features that the machine has including being a volumetric machine to pull perfect shots. With an 11 liter boiler, the espresso machine can produce about 30 to 100 drinks an hour.
The impressive Jura 15089 GIGA W3 came in at second choice due to its great ergonomic design and ability to produce more espresso shots. With this machine, you can brew coffee and steam at the same time and maintain these temperatures. This may not be the best commercial espresso machine but it does not sacrifice its functionality.
La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R was our budget pick. The one group espresso machine may be small and portable but it also delivers quality espresso shots. It is relatively cheap and is suitable for smaller coffee shops. Despite its size, it produces an impressive number of cups.