If you are starting your own coffee shop then you know that your main purchase is going to be your coffee makers and your espresso machines. The espresso machine will get more use than the coffee maker, simply because so many of the drinks you sell will be espresso based. This is not a piece of equipment for you to cut corners on, go for the gusto. It is an investment that will pay for itself many times over during the life of your business.
As you are looking into commercial espresso machines you also need to decide if you are going to need a one-group or two-group machine or more. It is not likely that you are going to have more than two shots being pulled at one time and so a two group will probably suffice.
There are basically three types of commercial machines to choose from and then within those choices are features or additions you can pick from. Your choice will probably boil down to how much money you
Semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic are the espresso machine types you should be looking at.
Semi-automatic machines require the user to shut the steam off manually. This can make producing a consistent shot of espresso difficult.
Automatic espresso machines have a cut-off timer and produce a more consistent espresso. They can be programmed to cut off at anytime.
Super-automatic espresso machines do everything for you. They grind the beans, tamp them, pull the shot, shut off when ready and even discard the coffee beans. While they do make pulling a great espresso super easy, they take the pleasure of watching the shot be pulled. Espresso enthusiasts enjoy knowing that the barista took great pains to make sure their espresso was just right. The super automatic maker removes that element. In addition to being super-automatic, they are super expensive.
In addition to what type of machine to get, you need to consider some other important factors, after all this is for your business which in turn is your livelihood.
Boiler Capacity: The boiler capacity of your machine should be large enough to get you through the largest rush you could have. You don’t want to have to tell your customers that it will be a few minutes due to lack of hot water or steam. This is of course going to take some guesswork, however a 9-14 liter capacity should be large enough.
Warranty and Parts Availability: First you definitely want to make sure your warranty covers all the parts of the machine for at least five years. If offered, buy an extended warranty. Before your purchase the machine, ask about repairs. Is there a local repair shop that sends someone out? How long does it take to get parts shipped in if necessary? Do they offer same day repair service?
These questions are very important. Not having your espresso machine can cause you to lose a lot of money. Make sure there is a way to have repairs made as quickly as possible.
Grinder Hopper: You should make sure the grinder hopper is large enough to accommodate a large amount of coffee beans. You might also want to consider a machine that offers two hoppers, one for decaf beans and one for regular beans.
Water Softener: This option doesn’t apply to everyone, but if you live in area where you know the water is hard, you should opt for a water softener. This will keep you from having to have your machine de-limed due to build up. De-liming a machine is an expensive task.
Buying a commercial espresso machine is a huge investment that should be done with careful consideration to every aspect of the machine and to all the aspects of your business. The right decision can bring you years of great income and happy customers while a wrong decision can bring you years of grief and a loss of money. Choose carefully and wisely for the best espresso bar in town.