You more than likely already know this, but commercial espresso machines come in four operational styles that are based on personal preference. Handcrafted styles in manual machines may be good for small businesses, but medium to large operations usually require something quicker and more automatic.
An automatic machine is a much more popular option for medium to large operations, allowing the in-line flow meter to automate the brew volume automatically. Entirely automated, the brew pump shuts off once the water has gone through. While most automatic machines have some manual aspects (like grinding and tamping), the important aspects are automated, so workflow and product production is quick.
A semi-automatic machine has a manual pumping style for manual pressurized force. The remaining pressure that is left is released through a type of three-way valve.
A super-automatic machine, perfect for large businesses with a decent amount of foot traffic, is where everything in the machine is done for you. Large businesses that have minimal employees may look for a super-automatic device to increase workflow. The only thing the barista must do is fill the bean hopper. If you purchase a super-automatic machine that taps into the water line, you don’t have to worry about refilling the reservoir each time, but for those that don’t, you’ll have to fill it yourself.
Manual machines aren’t super desirable for medium to large businesses as they take more time to personally operate. No matter how many group heads there are, manual machines will need grinding, tamping, pressurization and lever pumping to all be done by the barista. While it’s great for adding a hand-crafted touch, it takes entirely too long for the amount of foot traffic a medium or large sized operation produces.
Most businesses in general use semi-automatic machines, no matter what size they are. We recommend that your business purchases a fast one, regardless of how many group heads, as the speed can make up for the lack of group heads. However, there are machines with four group heads that have crazy fast speeds.
|Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Ii Digital 4 Group||Automatic||5 Stars||$xx,xxx|
|Schaerer Ambiente||Automatic||5 Stars||$xx,xxx|
|Nuova Simonelli Musica||Automatic||5 Stars||$x,xxx|
|La Pavoni BAR-STAR 2V-R||Automatic||4 Stars||$x,xxx|
|La Pavoni BAR-T 2V-B||Automatic||0 Reviews||$x,xxx|
|Elektra Microcada||Semi-Automatic||5 Stars||$x,xxx|
|La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R-1||Semi-Automatic||5 Stars||$x,xxx|
|Elektra Microcada Chrome||Semi-Automatic||3 Stars||$x,xxx|
|Rancilio Epoca ST-1||Semi-Automatic||0 Reviews||$x,xxx|
|Bezzera Magica||Semi-Automatic||0 Reviews||$x,xxx|
Things to consider before buying a new espresso machine
If your business has grown from small to medium or large, you may know the majority of this stuff by now, but let’s do a quick refresher course.
These are the four “must know” aspects of an espresso machine before buying:
Group heads – One of the most important aspects of the production of espresso in a medium to large operation is the group head. A group head is essentially the faucet where the espresso is poured into the drink. For medium and large business, one group head may not be enough.
Boiler – A boiler is extremely pivotal in the production of espresso in a larger and fast paced environment. An espresso machine with only a single boiler will slow down production, as a single boiler cannot steam and extract at the same time like other models can.
Size – When buying a larger espresso machine, you may find that larger models have more group heads. You should expect to make more room horizontally if you require more than one group head.
Power – With every business comes a utility bill. When choosing the proper espresso machine for your business, you’ll need to think of the power that you can handle. As a bigger business, you’ll be able to afford more on the utility bill, but will your establishment? Most commercial espresso machines in this area run on a 208V to 240V range.
10 Commercial Coffee Machine reviews:
A top of the line commercial espresso machine, this is one that dazzles many. There are many machine specific features the Nuova Simonelli Musica has that you should know of:
- Ideal for small businesses – makes 60 cups a day.
- Sound proof pump for quiet coffee creation.
- Automatic and has the ability to pre-program sizes.
In order for a small business to save money, the Musica Machine is one you may want to invest in. Making 60 cups per day, it’s an entry level commercial espresso that minimizes the need for employee training through its automatic power. With the ability to pre-program sizes, with one touch, you can have your standard shop sizes covered. If you don’t own a small coffee shop, this is also perfect for offices where people need a bit of a boost to get their work done.
A favorite feature includes a sound proof pump, simply because it minimizes noise. Those who visit coffee shops often can understand how loud it can sometimes be, especially during a rush hour. With a dozen people chattering and employees rushing around, the last thing that needs to be added is extra noise. For more information, an in-depth review has been created.
The only disadvantage found is the number of buttons, if you could call that a dis advantage, because this is the only amount of employee training you’ll have to do – oh, and did we mention that there are pictures on the buttons?
This espresso machine is a dream for faster paced, medium to large sized businesses. The ability to make four cups at once isn’t its only fantastic feature, as others include:
- High accuracy and extraction quality
- Digitalized and computerized
- Illumination of cup
- Works with any blend
This machine is digitalized and computerized for programming, allowing the employee to set their preferences and send them off on their way. The high accuracy and extraction quality of this 4-cup machine allows you to get the most coffee possible. A primary reason why this model is chosen over others is not only because of how many cups of coffee it can create at once but because of the illumination into the cup.
If the mood of your café is darker and more mysterious, your baristas will still be able to see if the cup is filled correctly. A versatile machine, the Aurelia works with any blend and won’t break from harsher textured materials. The only con we can think of for this machine is that it can create a lot of cups at once, and new employees may feel overwhelmed. While in time this will get better, it’s only a temporary disadvantage. For further information on this piece, we’ve done an in-depth review.
A true commercial machine designed for high-demand, fast-paced businesses with a lot of customers, the Schaerer Ambiente machine is a powerhouse. Features include:
- 1 liter of milk per minute
- 120 espresso shots per hour
- Dual integrated grinders
- Automatic grinding
We won’t get too into specifics here, as we’ve done a more in-depth review (which you can find via the button below), but we wanted to go over four of the key features of this high action machine. Not only does it provide an incredible 1 liter of milk per minute, and 120 espresso shots per hour, but it also features dual integrated grinders for optimal speed in creation. Automatic grinding is a nice plus, too, as it doesn’t require hand power.
The one disadvantage seen with this machine is that it only makes one cup at a time, instead of multiple in a row like others. Although, the speed makes up for this and isn’t too much of a deal breaker.
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Try saying that name ten times fast! This espresso machine is large and in charge with many features that include:
- Water softener
- Separate solenoids
- 14L boiler
- Electronic automatic water level
It’s easy to see why you would choose this over others based on one feature alone – a water softener! This means that no matter how hard your water is (meaning that is has a ton of dissolved minerals, like tap water), a water softener tries to make it as pure as possible (like rainwater!). Not many other machines feature this, and the only con of this machine is the size of the boiler.
For many, it’s an advantage, but for large chains like Starbucks, you may need something slightly bigger, although a 14L will suffice. The addition of an electronic automatic water level device is an added bonus for convenience. For further information on this piece, we’ve done an in-depth review.
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The Rancilio Epoca is a semi-automatic primary espresso machine, with great features. They include:
- One group espresso machine
- No direct water tank connection
- Water softener
Like others, it has a water softener to make the water as pure as possible. The significant aspect of this semi-automatic machine is that it doesn’t need a direct connection to the water supply area. Revolutionizing the amount of energy used for coffee creation, the Rancilio Epoca does everything you need it to do in minimal steps. The one con you may find from this is that it doesn’t have a plethora of features, but just enough. For small businesses, this is more than sufficient!
For more information on this product, an in-depth review has been done.
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An incredible industrial strength machine, the Bezzera Magica commercial espresso machine has a wall of features that are great for both small and larger coffee shops and cafes. Features include:
- Famous E61 head
- Steam milk and espresso at same time
- 2-liter copper boiler
The famous E61 head is a professional gold standard head that delivers only the best espresso possible. The added feature of being able to steam milk and espresso allows an even quicker delivery, in particular with the boiler capacity. For more information on its operation, we’ve done an in-depth review. The only con of this machine is that it’s semi-automatic and requires you to pump. For those that love the traditional style of crafting espresso, this machine is perfect and presents no qualms.
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This machine is not only exquisite in sight, but offers many features for those in the business of espresso creation. Before we jump too far into the machine’s operation, features include:
- Three switches for power, coffee brew, boiler refill
- Large 10-in. base for stability
- Water light sight with pressure gauge
The water level sight is a great feature, along with pressure gauge, to keep watch over various levels for refilling. As for the stability base, the design places heavily into the stability of this machine. An old-school style with a slight steampunk appearance, the Elektra Microcasa is a thing of beauty.
Upon first glance of this espresso machine, the design is an acquired taste, also leaving it to be a disadvantage for those whose coffee shop or coffee isn’t the same style. While this is entirely a preference and doesn’t interfere with the functionality of the design, it shouldn’t be too much of a deal breaker. In fact, it’s a beautiful piece. For more information on the operation of this stunning espresso machine, we’ve done an in-depth review.
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You’re not seeing double, but you are seeing the same style with another color scheme! Suitable for the modern meets retro coffee shops and cafes, the design of this piece is gorgeous. Features of this include:
- Three switches for coffee brew, boiler refill, and power
- Pump operated for water delivery
- Sturdy 10-in. Base
This semi-automatic machine gives a retro aesthetic, and the pump allows you to handcraft as if you were in those times – but with a little help. The sturdy base allows stability during movement and creation of the espresso, too! The chrome finish allows this architectural style to blend in better with more shops. The only con is that the Eagle on top may be an acquired taste, but it’s a beautiful piece. For a review of its functionality, we’ve done an in-depth article.
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A gorgeous and retro inspired piece, this commercial espresso machine uses a 2 group functionality for businesses which have higher demand. Other features include:
- 14L copper boiler
- Auto shut-off for safety purposes
- Energy saving power switch
- 12L water softener
As for the actual features themselves, the copper boiler capacity is great for mostly all sized businesses, and the auto shut-off features allow you to feel at ease when the temperature of the mechanism gets too hot.
A great bonus is that there’s also an energy saving power switch, allowing you to use this powerhouse in an economically sound way. For more information on how it operates, we’ve done an in-depth review!
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This 1-group espresso machine performs its essential functions with added convenience due to its features. Features include:
- Pour-in reservoir
- Hot water tap
- Fully portable
- 150 drinks per day
If you’re a business that deals with catering and some of your menu packages include espresso, the portability of this machine is fantastic and won’t leave you stressed. The drink capacity enables you to serve up to 150 per day, allowing you to take on small to medium-sized catering events. The only con with this machine is that its boiler only holds 6.5 liters, but for portability reasons, this is just the right amount! For a more in-depth review of how well it works, we’ve created an article for you!
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Our Top Recommendation
The best working commercial espresso machine for both small and large businesses is the Aurelia by Nuova Simonelli. We recommend this one because of how many coffees it can make at once without needing much attention. For faster paced days, you can be prepared with the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia 4-group espresso machine.