BUYING GUIDE: HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT ESPRESSO MACHINE FOR MY BUSINESS
You’ve created a financial plan and budget, you’ve found the perfect location, and are working on hiring employees. The next big step is to choose an espresso machine that’s ideal for your environment. We carry the very best espresso machine brands and types of machines.
AUTOMATIC / VOLUMETRIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
Automatic espresso machines are ideal when consistency is key. Volumetric programming gives the option of precisely dispensing a desired amount of liquid with the push of a button. For example, the double shot button can be programmed for a double shot, and the single shot button can be programmed for a 1oz rinsing flush. Automatic espresso machines are great for high-volume coffee shops where consistency is key and there will be many employees making espresso beverages.
SEMI-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
Semi-automatic espresso machines are a favorite of seasoned baristas. With these machines, you will need to know how to grind, tamp the coffee in the portafilter, lock it in the machine, and time your shot as it brews. You also need to know how to steam your milk using the steam wand. Semi-automatic espresso machines require the most skills. We have found that most coffee shops with trained staff (i.e. barista), a semi-automatic machine is the way to go. Semi-automatic espresso machines require constant training and employees should be tested and monitored to make sure they can make great espresso-based beverages.
SUPER-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
Super-automatic espresso machines can be thought of as an all-in-one espresso beverage machine. This means the machine is automatically doing some or all of the work in making the espresso or espresso-based beverage. There are two kinds of Super Autos a one-step or two-step.
- One Step: The machine makes the whole drink, from start to finish all you do is push a button.
- Two Step: The machine will make the shot and the staff will need to steam the milk using the steam wand.
Super-automatic espresso machines are often found in quick-serve restaurants, gas stations, office buildings, and hospitals. We recommend a one-step super-automatic if you have a café or restaurant with untrained baristas, but still, wish to serve consistent high-quality espresso drinks.
LEVER-OPERATED ESPRESSO MACHINES
Lever-operated manual espresso machines not only make excellent espresso, but they are also beautifully crafted machines that make a distinctive impression on your coffee shop counter. This style of espresso machine employs a piston that is driven by manual pressure or a spring-loaded action. When lifted, the piston pulls water from the reservoir into a small chamber and then forces the water into a filter of ground coffee when the piston is lowered. A lever-style machine is quiet and simple to use, once you've mastered it. We recommend lever-operated espresso machines for environments where the barista and staff are highly skilled. Essentially, the skilled operator of a lever machine can attain a level of control and excellence over their shot of espresso that is more difficult with any other type of espresso machine.