It goes without saying that you need the best equipment to produce the best results. If you want your café, restaurant or coffee shop to succeed, then you need to invest in the best commercial espresso machine. But how do you pick the right machine with so many products on the market? Reading and comparing specs for dozens, if not hundreds, of machines can easily become a daunting task. Trust me. I would know. I’ve done some extensive research and put together a list of the best commercial espresso machines available online.
With all the preliminaries out of the way, here is my list of the best commercial espresso machines on today’s online market:
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What makes a great espresso? Any self-respecting coffee lover knows that freshness plays a very important role in making a good cup of joe. Unfortunately, time is not always on your side. If you take too long to make your coffee after you’ve ground the beans, it could significantly affect the taste and aroma of your brew.
The Breville BES870XL Barista Express can help with this issue. It comes with a built-in bean hopper so that you can produce just the right amount of coffee for every use. You can even adjust the grinder to get the perfect consistency for your coffee grounds or adjust the water temperature by small increments to produce your ideal shot. Not confident enough to tinker with these settings? No problem. There are also default settings that should work well enough to produce a decent cup of coffee for most palettes.
Like most machines, it also comes with a steam wand that should make lattes and cappuccinos a breeze. Moreover, because the wand is ball-mounted, you can easily adjust its direction to fit your needs.
- Excellent for beginners
- Good overall quality
- Very affordable for a machine of its class
- Has minor durability issues
- May require periodic maintenance
- Some complaints about consistency of quality
Not confident in your barista skills? Thinking of opening a self-service coffee counter? Can’t afford keeping a professional barista on your payroll? If any of the above scenarios apply to you, then you should probably consider the Breville BES990 Oracle Touch Espresso Machine. The key feature of this machine is its superior automation. This beauty automates everything from the grinding to the frothing. All that’s left for you to do is fill it with coffee beans and water,
Aside from making things more convenient for you, the automation also has other advantages, such as lessening the need for human labor and producing very consistent results.
Finally, this machine is very easy to use. All the controls are displayed on its touch screen, where you simply need to choose what type of coffee you’d like. The options include a wide selection of coffees, including the humble espresso, flat white, cappuccino, americano, and latte.
- Good self-service option
- Wide selection of drinks
- Quality of lattes need work
- Some delays with replacement parts and customer service
There’s no better super-automatic than the BUNN My Cafe MCO Single Serve Cartridge Commercial Automatic Brewer. This machine’s main features are the single-serve cartridge system and automatic water refilling system. These two features work in tandem to keep the BUNN My Cafe ready to brew up to 60 ounces of coffee per hour. Unlike other single-serve machines, you don’t have to replace the cartridge after every cup. In fact, you won’t need to worry about replacing the cartridges until the machine’s 25-capacity internal waste basket becomes full.
Another noteworthy feature is the BUNN My Cafe’s user-friendly interface, which lets you choose between a wide variety of drinks like coffee, cocoa or tea in a wide range of sizes that range from 4 to 16 ounces. If you’re not in the mood for any of these drinks, you can simply enjoy a cup of hot water.
Now, if you’re concerned about energy efficiency after hearing about all these state-of-the-art features, you’ll be happy to know that the BUNN My Cafe automatically lowers the boiler temperature during periods of inactivity. This significantly decreases overall power usage and helps you cut down on your electric bill.
- Completely automatic
- Wide selection of drinks
- Single serve machine
- Uses cartridges instead of actual coffee beans
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Commercial Espresso Machines and How do They Work?
As the name implies, a “commercial” espresso machine is a type of kitchen appliance that’s used by cafés, restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses to mass produce coffee-based beverages. Espresso machines brew coffee by pushing near-boiling pressurized water through a tightly-packed cup of coffee grounds. The process results in a thick, concentrated, and strong-tasting coffee called an espresso. Though espresso machines come in different shapes and sizes, most of them share common features, such as portafilters (filtered cups which hold the coffee grounds) and steam wands (rods which expel pressurized steam to heat and froth various liquids, most commonly milk).
There is also some variety as to the degree of automation in each machine. An espresso machine is considered automated when it uses grinders, pumps, and valves to automate the brewing process. Most commercial espresso machines are either semi- or super-automatic. Manual machines are also available. However, they can be hard to find and less practical since you’ll be brewing coffee in large quantities.
Semi-automatic machines use pumps to force water through coffee grounds and valves to relieve excess pressure. These machines allow you to better control the quality of each shot by adjusting the brew time. Consequently, a certain degree of skill is required to operate semi-automatic espresso machines. This makes barista training a must to ensure the consistency and quality of each shot.
In contrast, super-automatic machines require no skill or training to operate. These machines automate almost every step of the brewing process. All you need to do is add water to the reservoir and beans to the bean hopper. The more expensive variants may even automate frothing and dispensing. This level of automation ensures the consistency, but it also prevents you from tinkering with the taste and quality.
What eventually matters most is the degree of skill and training that you intend to invest in each cup you brew. If you want to prioritize quality and risk inconsistency, consider getting a semi-automatic and professional barista. However, if you want to prioritize convenience and consistency, choosing a super-automatic would probably be best.
How Do You Use A Commercial Espresso Machine?
lthough some machines may come with extra bells and whistles, the most basic features essentially stay the same. In other words, some commercial espresso machines may not come with a built-in bean hopper and water softener. But you can be certain that almost every machine will have a portafilter and steam wand.
If you’re reading this article, you probably have a basic idea of how to operate a commercial espresso machine, so I won’t discuss that in detail. However, for the uninitiated, please feel free to watch the video below. It should cover most of the basic skills that a barista should know when operating one of these machines.
How Much Are Commercial Espresso Machines?
The price of a commercial espresso machines typically ranges from $500 to $10,000. However, the most expensive models can cost as much as $40,000. As you can see, there is a huge variation in prices. The price of a particular machine depends on several factors which include the following:
Features. The more advanced features a particular machine has, the more expensive it tends to be. For example, a commercial bean-to-cup machine, which automates everything from grinding coffee beans to frothing milk, will cost more than machines which require you to do some of the work yourself. On the upside though, a commercial bean-to-cup machine can be operated by just about anyone. This is why these super-automatic machines are more popular in cafeterias and breakrooms. In other words, the added cost of choosing an automated machine can offset the cost of hiring a professional barista.
Brand. The popularity of the brand or manufacturer will also have a significant impact on the price of the machine. An espresso machine produced by a well-known, international manufacturer will almost always cost more than one that is produced by a small company, even if both machines have the same quality and features. The perceive value of the brand, as well as their infrastructure for maintenance and repairs, directly affect the price of their products.
Output. Understandably, a commercial espresso machine needs to be able to produce a significant number of shots per day. If it is unable to do so, then it can hardly be called “commercial.” If you’re looking for an espresso machine for small business, then you’ll probably need one that produces 150 to 200 shots per day. There are also high-volume espresso machines that produce 200 to 500 shots per day. However, the higher the output rate, the more expensive the machine. So, you will need to strike a balance between the needs of your business and the size of your machine. If you get a machine that’s too small, then you won’t be able to serve your customers in a timely fashion. But if you get a machine that’s too large, then you won’t be using it to its full potential.
At the end of the day, the best commercial espresso machine is the one that best suits your needs. If you intend to open a gourmet coffee shop and hire trained barista to operate your commercial espresso machine, then you’ll probably need a semi-automatic with all the features necessary to make 100 to 150 decadent cups of coffee per day. On the other hand, if you’re planning to serve coffee at a buffet, then you should choose a high-volume super-automatic so that you can open a self-service counter for 200 to 500 guests per day. What is most important is that you understand your own business, know what your customers need, and act accordingly to answer those needs.