Choosing the Right Commercial Coffee Machine – Espresso or Cappuccino?

Traditional Espresso Machines

Found in the majority of high street coffee chains, traditional espresso machines are synonymous with producing top quality coffee. The theatre associated with the preparation of each cup assures customers they are receiving the ultimate coffee experience for their money. There are two main classes of espresso machine typically favoured for commercial use, semi-automatic and automatic.

Semi-automatic machines feature automated boiler temperature controls and automated pumps, regulating brewing temperatures and pump pressure to ensure consistency. The reason they are referred to as semi-automatic is due to the fact that, ultimately, the operator has complete control over espresso extraction. These machines are equipped with switches to engage the pump, allowing the operator to manually control extraction times.

As with semi-automatic models, automatic espresso machines are also appointed with automated boiler temperature controls and automated pumps. The difference with automatic machines is that they also feature automated pre-set water volumes. Once the porta filter of ground coffee is positioned in the group head, simply press the required button for single or double shot. The machine will then deliver a predetermined volume of water through the coffee and stop automatically. Manual free flow switches also feature on an automatic machine.

Available in one, two, three and four group models, traditional espresso machines are equipped with manual steam wands for steaming and frothing of milk. In addition, almost all traditional espresso machines have at least one hot water tap, providing a facility to make tea. Whilst there’s no doubt these machines possess the potential to produce excellent coffee, they do require a certain level of skill to operate. A traditional machine teamed with an experienced Barista is a winning combination. The Barista, whose attributes include a deep understanding of coffee blends, grinding, tamping, extracting and milk frothing methods, will obtain optimal results from an espresso machine.

Recent years however have seen developments in technology, with many suppliers now offering a feature named AutoSteam on traditional equipment. This innovative steam wand heats and froths milk by full automation, simply place the AutoSteam wand into a jug of chilled milk and press a button. The machine will produce perfect microfoamed milk for Cappuccino and Latte automatically. AutoSteam is perfect for busy periods as staff can attend to other tasks whilst drinks are prepared. Machines with AutoSteam also have manual steam wands.

A professional coffee grinder, knock out drawer and coffee tamper are accessories required with traditional equipment.

Super-Automatic Cappuccino Machines

Super-automatic machines as the name suggests, do everything. They grind the beans, tamp the grounds, brew the coffee and eject the coffee cake or puck. Variations include AutoSteam and Cappuccino.

Autosteam models feature the AutoSteam wand providing the essence of a traditional machine without the requirement for a skilled Barista.

Cappuccino models require the accessory of a milk refrigerator. The machine pulls milk directly from the fridge directly into the machine where it is heated, frothed and combined with espresso to create the selected drink, all at the touch of one button. One-step Cappuccinos and Lattes. Cappuccino machines are a great choice for busy sites, the simple user interface means they can be operated by any member of staff, regardless of their skill level. As the drink preparation process is fully automatic it also frees staff up to attend to other tasks.

Source by Amy S Marsden

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