The Right Espresso Machine

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Choosing The Right Espresso Machine For Your Coffee Shop Business

When opening up a coffee shop business, one of the most important purchases you will have to make will be your espresso machine. This piece of equipment will get a lot of use and you need to be sure you get a quality machine that will be long-lasting, durable, and suit all of your needs.

Which espresso machine you choose will depend on what type of coffee shop you will be running and how much customer flow you will have. Here are a few things you should to know to look for when searching for the right espresso machine:

Espresso Machine Group Heads

You will have to decide if your coffee shop will need a one-group or two-group machine. Anything more than a two-group machine may be unnecessary as it isn’t likely you will have more than two shots being pulled at one time. If you want an extra machine you may also decide to purchase a one-group machine for a back up.

Machine Automation

The type of espresso machine automation you choose can greatly affect the quality of the espresso you produce. You have three options in your machine type, and there are pros and cons to each of them.

On the semi-automatic machine the steam needs to be turned off manually. The espresso shots made may not always be consistent, but you will have more control in producing higher quality shots if you have a skilled barista.

Automatic machines use an adjustable cut-off timer to turn your steam off for you. You will still need to grind and tamp the beans manually, but a much more consistent shot can be produced.

The super-automatic machines grind and tamp the beans, pull the shot, and empty the used beans. While you will always get a consistent espresso shot and much less counter mess, you may lose the visual flavor that the customers experience while watching your barista make their coffee. In terms of quality, a highly skilled barista may be less effective on a super-automatic machine.

Other Factors to Consider

Once you have decided on the type of machine you’ll need, a few other factors should be considered.

The boiler capacity of your machine will have to be sufficient to keep you going through your busiest times. An inadequate boiler capacity could leave you waiting too long for hot water and you may get some impatient customers.

You definitely need to review the warranty and repair service provided for your machine. You’re paying for an expensive piece of equipment and you need to make sure it’s working at all times. In addition,  you need to be certain that it can be fixed quickly should anything happen to it. If an extended warranty is offered it may be a good idea to take it.

The grinder hopper on your machine should be big enough to hold an ample amount of beans. Two hoppers may be something you should consider if you want one for decaf and one for regular.

Water-softener may be necessary depending on the area you live in. If you have hard water, you run the risk of a lime build up, and de-liming could become quite costly.

Choosing the right espresso machine for your coffee shop business is an extremely important decision. It can affect your budget in both the short and long term, the quality of your coffee, and satisfaction of your customers. Your specific needs will determine which machine is right for you so take your time and find that perfect machine for the best coffee possible.


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