What’s inside this buyer’s guide
- Types of commercial coffee machines
- Styles of commercial coffee machines
- Things to consider before purchase
- Best makes of commercial coffee machines
- Frequently asked questions
- Commercial coffee machine glossary
- Keep your cash, Use ours!
As a café owner, you're tapping into a fervent coffee culture.
According to a survey by the National Coffee Association, 91% of Americans swing by a coffee shop at least once a week, and an astounding 48% of daily coffee aficionados get their fix from cafes, restaurants, or drive-throughs.
These figures don't just represent cups poured; they're morning routines, midday pick-me-ups, and shared moments.
Now, consider what powers these moments.
Beyond the beans, beyond the barista's touch, there's the backbone: the commercial coffee machine.
With this guide, we're not just talking tech; we're delving deep into the essence of America's coffee culture.
And you? You're at the helm, about to choose the machine that crafts the nation's favorite brew.
Types of commercial coffee machines
Starting a café or revamping your old one? A reliable coffee machine is indispensable.
With tons of choices out there, how do you pick the perfect coffee machine for your spot?
Let's dive in and uncover the nitty-gritty of each type of commercial coffee maker.
Super automatic commercial coffee machines
Imagine a machine that does it all – grinds, brews, and froths – at the push of a button.
That's the magic of super-automatic coffee makers.
These machines sport a sleek and chic design that brings together all the essentials for crafting espresso and whipping up milk-based coffee drinks.
They pack a built-in grinder, a brewing unit, a water tank, a milk container, and a user-friendly control panel.
How it works
Operating this machine is easy.
Just fill up the water tank and bean hopper, pick your drink from the menu, and hit a button.
The machine takes care of everything, from grinding and tamping the beans to brewing the espresso and frothing the milk, all tailored to your liking.
You can even tweak settings for grind size, coffee strength, water amount, milk temperature, and milk foam levels.
Benefits for café owners
Perfect for spots where coffee complements, not steals the show.
This machine waves goodbye to the need for expert baristas, delivering a consistently stellar cup every time.
For small café owners, opting for a super-automatic coffee machine is a savvy move.
It brings efficiency, demands minimal training, and guarantees a consistently delightful coffee journey.
Commercial automatic coffee machines
The commercial automatic coffee machine marries ease-of-use with precision.
Let's explore how it elevates your coffee-making experience.
These machines have some parallels with semi-automatic models but pack an extra punch with a built-in timer or a volumetric pump, ensuring precise water flow through the coffee grounds.
With key elements like a grinder, portafilter, group head, steam wand, and control panel, they strike a perfect blend of modern innovation and timeless craftsmanship.
How it works
Running this machine is a breeze: grind the beans, tamp them into the portafilter, attach it to the group head, select your desired water volume on the control panel, and hit the button.
The machine stops water flow automatically when it hits the preset volume.
For milk-based drinks, you can manually froth the milk using the steam wand.
Plus, you can tweak water volume and brewing temperature to match your taste.
Benefits for café owners
This machine strikes a perfect blend of automation and hands-on control, making it ideal for cafés aiming to keep traditional coffee-making while simplifying the process.
It serves up consistent coffee with a dash of barista expertise.
Commercial semi-automatic coffee machine
The commercial semi-automatic coffee machine sits right between manual operation and full automation, drawing in a diverse range of café owners.
Here's a quick overview:
These machines sport a timeless and sophisticated look.
They rely on a manual pump or switch for precise water pressure control during brewing.
Key components, including a separate grinder, portafilter, group head, steam wand, and pressure gauge, round out the package.
How it works
Operating this machine is hands-on: grind the beans, tamp them into the portafilter, attach it to the group head, activate the pump or switch, and keep an eye on the pressure gauge.
You'll manually halt the water flow when you hit your desired espresso amount.
The steam wand lets you manually froth milk for those creamy drinks.
Plus, you can fine-tune the grind size, tamping pressure, and brewing time to match your taste.
Benefits for café owners
The semi-automatic machine offers superior control over the coffee extraction process.
It's perfect for cafés that weave the art of coffee-making into their charm.
While it demands skilled baristas, it guarantees an authentic coffee journey in every cup.
Commercial manual coffee machine
Venturing into the heart of traditional coffee craftsmanship, commercial manual coffee machines, often known as "lever machines," epitomize the purest form of a barista's artistry.
Here's the lowdown:
These machines exude timeless charm, featuring a lever mechanism that generates water pressure for brewing.
Equipped with elements like a separate grinder, portafilter, group head, steam wand, and either a spring-piston or direct lever mechanism, they embody a nostalgic and refined sense of sophistication.
How it works
When you use one, it's all hands-on.
You grind the beans, tamp them into the portafilter, attach it to the group head, pull that lever to infuse water into the coffee grounds, and release it to get your espresso.
Each pull needs your control, the pressure, and the timing. It's you and the coffee, creating something special.
Benefits for café owners
A manual machine is the heart of coffee craftsmanship. It adds a personal touch to every cup, ideal for specialty cafés and those committed to the true espresso tradition.
While it requires a skilled barista, the result is a unique coffee journey that mesmerizes customers with flavor and technique.
For café owners aiming to embrace the timeless art of coffee-making, the commercial manual coffee machine isn't just equipment; it's a declaration of their passion for the craft.
Styles of coffee machines
Commercial coffee machines come primarily in three configurations: 1-group, 2-group, and 3-group.
These are tailored to suit various café sizes and customer traffic.
The "group" designation signifies how many espresso shots the machine can brew simultaneously, directly impacting service speed and efficiency.
Check out the table below for an easy side-by-side comparison:
High-volume coffee shops
1 espresso at a time
2 espressos simultaneously
3 espressos simultaneously
Good balance of size & capacity
High throughput, allows multiple baristas simultaneously
Takes up more countertop space
Needs a lot of counter space + higher operational & maintenance costs
Things to consider when buying a commercial coffee machine
Type of coffee
Start by picturing your café's vibe.
Is it a top-notch artisanal spot with unique brews and style? Or a bustling joint with speedy service?
Your choice shapes your coffee machine:
- For precision and pleasing coffee connoisseurs, go specialized.
- To serve the masses efficiently, choose a high-volume workhorse.
Your coffee vision is your guide.
Ask: What should each cup say? Your answer will lead the way.
Find a roaster or coffee bean supplier
Now that your coffee vision is crystal clear, let's dive deeper.
Begin by exploring local coffee roasters to discover that perfect bean.
A top-notch roaster isn't just a supplier – they're your coffee confidant, offering invaluable insights on beans and machines.
So, brew up some magic with a few batches, and have a chat with your roaster. They'll guide you to beans that perfectly match your café's vibe.
Venue size, staff numbers and customer volume
Choosing the right commercial coffee machine is more than just brewing coffee. It's understanding your space, your barista's skill, and the coffee devotees who'll queue up for their daily dose.
As your café evolves, remember the power of equipment flexibility. It allows for seamless upgrades and adjustments.
Now, let's dive into these aspects and unveil what sets a truly exceptional café apart.
Deciphering the venue size
It's not merely measuring walls; it's grasping the essence of your space.
Does it exude cozy intimacy or hum with the energy of an open, airy setting?
Your coffee machine should harmonize seamlessly, neither overpowering nor vanishing in the clutter.
When space is a premium, think compact, like a single or double group – it could be the ideal answer.
Reading the strength of your team
Your café staff are the lifeblood of your establishment, and it's vital to be in sync with their rhythm.
A massive 4-group machine won't help if it overwhelms a solo barista.
Evaluate your team's speed and expertise, ensuring they aren't grappling with overly complex machinery during the morning hustle.
Pacing with your patrons
Anticipate the changes in your customer base.
If your café draws a swift, coffee-craving crowd, you'll need a machine that keeps up.
However, if your customers savor leisurely coffee moments, a turbo-charged model might not be necessary.
Stay ahead of the curve.
Size and weight
In a café, every inch of counter space matters.
When picking a commercial coffee machine, it's more than just the brew; it's about its size and weight.
Will it fit snugly and securely on your counter? An oversized or overly heavy machine can pose safety risks and disrupt your workflow.
Before you buy, double-check that the machine's dimensions match your available space.
Your café should serve great coffee, but it should do so safely and smoothly.
Settings, features and functionality
To brew that perfect cup of Joe cherished by both locals and tourists, understanding your machine's key features isn't just a bonus—it's essential.
Here's the lowdown on what to keep in mind:
Ever wondered why some machines whip up coffee faster than others?
It's all about double boilers.
They allow you to brew and steam simultaneously, slashing those dreaded wait times.
This comes in clutch during the morning rush when every second counts.
Features- not just bells and whistles
Portafilters, baskets, steam wands – they're not just jargon.
These are vital parts that define the consistency, flavor, and quality of each cup.
Chat with your barista; their hands-on expertise can reveal insights you might not even know you're missing.
In the US, we're fortunate to have ample access to neutral water, but some areas, like parts of California and Nevada, have water with a mineral surplus.
Now, why should you care?
Because this mineral-loaded water can mess with your coffee's taste and speed up the wear and tear on your machine.
The solution? Invest in a top-notch water filter.
It's like a shield for your coffee's flavor and your machine's longevity, especially if you're in a mineral-rich water zone.
Your coffee-loving patrons will notice the difference!
Your coffee machine is not just a piece of equipment– it's your café's soul in metal and wires.
But here's the kicker: you don't have to settle for ordinary.
Many top machines let you customize.
Imagine your café's logo blazing bright on a cutting-edge coffee maker, branding every brew.
When you pick a machine, it's not just about the nuts and bolts; it's about weaving into your café's unique narrative.
In the cutthroat coffee scene, these unique touches can truly make you a standout.
Commercial coffee machine wattage
Beyond the coffee, the vibe, and your café's character, there's one more thing you can't ignore: the machine's wattage.
Why wattage matters
The wattage of a coffee maker indicates its power and its ability to heat water quickly.
A higher wattage means faster heating, which is especially important during busy times.
However, it's important to remember that more power can also result in higher electricity bills.
In the USA, the standard supply voltage is 120V with a frequency of 60Hz.
Coffee makers designed for these specifications will operate efficiently and safely.
Always double-check your machine's power requirements to ensure they match the USA's wattage standards.
It’s all about understanding your peak hours and customer flow.
If your café is buzzing from sunrise to sunset, considering a high-wattage machine makes sense.
But for cozier cafes or those with specific rush hours, a mid-range wattage machine might be the sweet spot.
When you're on the hunt for that perfect coffee machine, keep this in mind: match your café's needs with the machine's wattage while making sure it aligns with American standards.
It's not just about brewing the perfect cup; it's about keeping your business running efficiently.
Ease of use
Your coffee machine is like your café’s team member. It should be as keen as a new recruit and as dependable as your star barista.
Here's the scoop on what makes a coffee machine easy to use:
Digital displays and simple buttons are time-savers for your baristas, especially in the morning rush.
Nowadays, many modern machines even come with touchscreen controls and customizable settings.
A coffee machine designed with the barista in mind, from handle placement to group head height, means fewer errors and less fatigue during those marathon shifts.
Integrating features like automatic tamping, adjustable shot volumes, and automated milk frothing can elevate drink consistency and turbocharge service.
This is a vital edge for cafes catering to high customer traffic.
Easy maintenance alerts
Machines that come with cleaning and bean refill notifications ensure smooth operations and prolong your equipment's life.
It's like having a built-in maintenance partner.
Quick access to internal components makes maintenance tasks like descaling and cleaning a breeze, guaranteeing your machine's long-lasting, efficient performance.
Consistent temperature control
Consistency in brewing temperature is essential to maintain flavor uniformity.
Seek out machines with dependable temperature control systems that demand minimal manual adjustments.
While searching for the ideal coffee machine, keep in mind that its user-friendliness significantly influences service speed, beverage consistency, and barista job satisfaction.
Investing in an easy-to-use machine ultimately means investing in your café's future success and the contentment of your team and devoted patrons.
Ease of cleaning
A café's coffee quality and durability hinge on a clean machine.
When selecting a machine designed for easy cleaning, consider these features and factors:
Many modern machines come with built-in self-cleaning cycles that flush the system to prevent coffee residue and scale buildup.
It's like having a dedicated cleaning crew for your equipment.
Features like removable drip trays, steam wands, and group heads can be effortlessly detached, making deep cleaning a breeze and elevating the cleanliness game.
Opt for machines with fewer nooks and crannies.
Smooth surfaces wipe clean effortlessly, leaving no room for dirt and coffee splatters to sneak into hidden spots.
Accessible water tank
For machines without a direct water connection, an easily removable and refillable water tank is a must.
Regular cleaning of the tank is key to keeping mold and algae at bay.
Some high-tech machines even give you a heads-up when it's cleaning time.
That way, you're always on the ball with maintenance, keeping your machine in top shape.
A top-tier built-in water filter does double duty: it enhances your coffee's flavor and takes the fight to scale, making descaling a breeze.
Best makes of commercial coffee machines
Synesso is an American company known for crafting top-notch commercial espresso machines.
Established in 2004 by Mark Barnett, the brand has since made its mark in the U.S. coffee industry. Synesso stands out because of its commitment to quality, innovation, and durability.
Coffee shop owners trust these machines to deliver consistently good coffee, year after year.
Among their standout products, the Synesso S200 2 Group is loved for its barista-friendly features, while the Synesso MVP 2 Group is celebrated for its precision, allowing baristas to perfect and reproduce their espresso recipes with ease.
Concordia, originally founded as Acorto, Inc. in 1989, is an American company known for creating top-tier commercial espresso machines.
Pioneered by a team of engineers, they introduced the first super-automatic espresso machine to the world.
Concordia is recognized for its durable and innovative coffee machines, which consistently deliver outstanding performance year after year.
One of their notable models is the Concordia Xpress Touch 0 Super Automatic. This machine can whip up both hot and iced lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, Americanos, steamed milk, and hot water.
If you're seeking versatility, the Concordia Xpress Touch 6 Super Automatic is the go-to choice. Equipped with Concordia’s unique FlavorJet Infusion System, it enables users to craft over 1,000 distinct flavored drink combinations.
Estella Caffe is a leading name in the commercial coffee machine industry in the USA, known for delivering top-quality and high-performance machines.
Their machines are fully automatic and user-friendly, making the coffee brewing process both straightforward and efficient.
A standout model is the Estella Caffe ECEM2 Two Group Automatic Espresso Machine. It comes equipped with a 3.25-gallon stainless steel heat exchange boiler, ensuring consistent temperature and swift recovery.
For those needing more capacity, the Estella Caffe ECEM3 Three Group Automatic Espresso Machine is an excellent choice.
It boasts all the features of the ECEM2 but adds an extra group head, further maximizing efficiency and adaptability.
Astra is a reputable American company specializing in the design and engineering of commercial coffee machines.
Known for their high-quality and innovative designs, Astra machines are a preferred choice for businesses.
Praised for their durability, reliability, and user-friendly interface, these machines cater to a range of establishments, from quaint cafes to bustling restaurants.
A top recommendation is the Astra Mega II Compact Automatic Espresso Machine. Ideal for smaller establishments, this compact machine boasts a 2.6-liter heat exchange boiler, dual steam wands, and a hot water outlet, making it both efficient and versatile.
For businesses that have a higher customer flow, the Astra A2000 Super Automatic Espresso Machine is a stellar choice. This powerhouse can churn out up to 200 drinks an hour.
The machine's standout features include an integrated grinder, an automatic milk frother, and a touchscreen display, streamlining the coffee-making process and ensuring a consistent, quality brew every time.
Nuova Simonelli, rooted in Italian excellence since 1936, has become a leading name in the espresso machine industry.
For American cafes, where consistency and quality are paramount, this brand delivers a perfect blend of reliability and innovation.
The APPIA 11 V GR2 L 2 Group exemplifies their commitment to top-tier performance. It guarantees a consistent brew and precise extraction every time.
Its unique infusion system brings out the best coffee flavors, and its tall group head fits a range of cup sizes.
The APPIA Life 2 Group not only underscores their environmental dedication but also offers advanced features. This machine ensures even heating and intelligently adjusts water pressure according to the amount of coffee being brewed.
Frequently asked questions
How does a commercial coffee machine work?
Commercial coffee machines nail precision and efficiency in a few simple steps:
1. Heating water: They warm water to the ideal brewing temperature.
2. Fresh grinding: Many have built-in grinders for super-fresh beans and unbeatable flavor.
3. Precise dosing: The ground coffee is carefully measured and tamped down.
4. Extracting richness: Water flows through the coffee, pulling out its tasty essence.
5. Milk frothing: Some can froth milk with steam wands or automated frothers.
6. Tailored brewing: Fancy models let you tweak things like temperature and pressure.
While the core grind-heat-brew routine stays consistent, different machines cater to various café needs and preferences
Do coffee machines come with a built-in grinder?
Some commercial coffee machines come with a built-in grinder, often referred to as "bean-to-cup" machines.
These nifty gadgets handle everything: they grind the coffee beans and brew your coffee with a simple button press, making life a breeze.
While they're incredibly convenient, especially in tight spaces or for efficient coffee service, here's a crucial tip.
Ensure the grinder in these machines is top-tier, just like the machine itself.
This guarantees a consistent grind, resulting in the most delicious coffee. It's all about treating your customers to the finest brew they deserve.
How much does a commercial coffee machine cost
The price of a commercial coffee machine can span a wide range.
Basic models might begin at approximately $500, while mid-range machines can set you back anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.
For those looking at top-tier commercial-grade coffee machines, you might be looking at costs reaching up to $10,000.
Remember, these figures are ballpark estimates and can fluctuate based on specific models and features.
If you're hesitant about the initial investment, consider options like the rent-try-buy plan from SilverChef.com, which allows you to try a machine before committing to purchase.
Commercial coffee machine glossary
A skillfully designed metal sieve tailored to elevate your coffee-making experience.
This component significantly influences the quality of extraction, resulting in a richer and more flavorful espresso.
The central element responsible for holding and heating water evenly. In dual boiler systems, one handles the brewing process while the other focuses on generating steam.
Critical components within a grinder that achieve a consistent coffee grind, a crucial factor for uniform extraction when it's time to brew.
A standard measurement indicating the amount of coffee required for a single shot of espresso.
A finely-tuned device designed to dispense precise amounts of coffee grounds into the basket, ensuring a consistently excellent brew every time.
An advanced approach where coffee quantity is determined by its weight rather than volume, offering precision in the brewing process.
Equipment meticulously crafted to transform roasted coffee beans into a consistent grind, a fundamental step for achieving optimal extraction.
A term referring to a coffee machine's capacity to brew coffee.
For instance, a two-group machine can produce up to four coffee servings simultaneously.
A pivotal component where the portafilter is attached, allowing pressurized water to flow through and extract the best flavors from the coffee grounds.
A feature found in single boiler machines where water undergoes a pre-heat treatment via a heat conduit before reaching its ideal brewing temperature.
A handheld device loaded with coffee grounds and connected to the group head during the espresso brewing process.
Inside, the basket holds the coffee grounds.
A tool used to steam milk, giving it the creamy texture adored in many coffee beverages.
A metric that reflects a café's coffee consumption rate over a week.
For instance, a bustling café may go through more than 40 kilos of beans in a week.
A feature in commercial machines that ensures consistent amounts of water or coffee are dispensed, guaranteeing each beverage maintains a uniform taste and strength.
Keep your cash, use ours!
We hope this guide has helped you better understand what you need to look for in a commercial coffee machine, and how to choose the right model for your needs.
Hospitality equipment can be expensive, and paying for it outright can put pressure on your business’s cash flow.
Our finance solutions allow you to get the equipment you want now and to pay for it in small, regular amounts out of the revenue it generates for you.
Rent–Try–Buy® not only helps you maintain your cash flow, it gives you unrivaled flexibility to adapt your equipment to the changing needs of your business.
You can upgrade or buy the equipment at any time or, after 12 months, return or continue renting it.
If you decide to buy the equipment, we’ll give you back 60% of the net rent you paid in the first year and 20% of any rental payments thereafter — to put toward the purchase price.
If you buy the equipment within a year, the interest will be 0%.