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.
For commercial purposes, it is recommended to have two, three or even four groupheads. A small restaurant serving coffee to small groups of people only need one group head but commercial outlets prefer the versatility of a two group machine. Large coffee chains with a high number of customers need the scope of a four group machine. These are the most expensive and comprise a small market.
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.
Descaling a single boiler espresso machine
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