Espresso Machine Buyer's Guide: Commercial Coffee Makers
Looking forward to buying a new espresso machine? This can be a daunting task considering the vast number of brands on the market. For such an important investment you need to ensure you spend enough time researching to ensure you get the right appliance. Otherwise, you may end up buying the wrong machine for your business which could lead to a plethora of problems down the track. So what should you be looking for? There are several essential features to look for before committing to a particular machine and you should weigh up what works best for you in your particular situation.
Purchasing A Coffee Machine
Here are the key features to analyse before you purchase your new espresso machine:
Aesthetics is all about how the machine will change the appearance of your coffee shop, cafe, bar or restaurant. Will your coffee machine be at the entrance to the venue, or be a focal point of the room? If so you should purchase a model that stands out and will make a visual impact. You also don’t want to bring in an appliance that will make the operations in the shop difficult - the essence of bringing in a machine is to enhance your operations. For instance, check where the spout is situated, the colour of the machine, and where the plug is and how it would make coffee brewing easier. Will this setup suit the desired position of your machine? If you wish to use the appliance as a way of enhancing your interior designs, then choosing a standout colour could be the perfect choice. Select the colours very carefully if the rest of your decor is black or white, or consider stainless steel to really stand out.
This is one of the critical features that you need to consider. First, you need to realise that there are two versions of espresso machines. The first version hosts the unground coffee beans within a canister so all you have to do is to select how much coffee should be ground to make an espresso. The second version has the coffee beans ground from the outside using another machine. We highly recommend using a built-in system as opposed to the external system. These systems can be a little more complicated, but they make coffee brewing much faster and easier.
To make espresso coffee, you need hot water to pass through the ground coffee beans. That’s why water storage is an important feature to consider before committing to a particular machine. Depending on the nature of your coffee brewing business, you have different versions of the espresso machine to consider. For instance, for a small coffee shop, you can find machines that can accommodate up to 8 cups of espresso per setting. For a busy, coffee shop, you can go for the high-end machine that is connected to a water source for self-refill. This will be dependent on the need of your business. Other factors such as space and rerouting of the water could determine which machine would work best for a particular environment.
The workload that any unit can handle is a key factor consider before settling on a particular espresso machine. For instance, if your cafe receives plenty of customers throughout the day, then you need a machine that can deliver on that workload. What you need is maximum utilisation to get value for your investment. You don’t want to overwork the machine or underutilise it. For instance, a professional-grade machine should be able to be used all day without faltering while a smaller one that is unsuited to intensive commercial may not last if pushed beyond its capabilities on a regular basis. One of the crucial things to check is the quantity of beans that the machine can store to give an idea if it can meet the demands of your business. Other features you need to check are the water capacity and how many cups of espresso that the machine can make each setting.
This feature is purely determined by the type of specialty coffee you brew. For instance, if you are brewing cappuccinos, americanos, and macchiato, then frothing capabilities is an essential feature to consider. For the espresso machine to froth milk correctly, it should have a spout for pressurised milk to flow from. The pressure of the milk needs to be at just right temperature and PSI in order to make the drink correctly. For the lovers of black coffee, this may not be as an essential feature to consider.
Cleaning the appliance regularly is important not only for better operation but also to extended the lifespan of the unit. Since the machine is regularly exposed to moisture, it can easily develop internal faults if not cleaned properly. That said, you need to be aware that espresso machines come in different designs from different manufacturers. So when purchasing, review how easy the machine is to clean, i.e. to disassemble and reassemble. Coffee descalers and other coffee machine cleaning products will help keep it in working order.
These are the key features to consider before committing to a particular machine. What you need is an appliance that will enhance the operations of your business and also give value for money. We at Barista Warehouse recommend that you draft a checklist depending on your business demands so as to help you choose the right espresso machine before you go on the hunt!