Choosing the perfect commercial espresso machine can seem daunting at first, but the process of finding a machine that suits your needs doesn’t necessarily need to be a stressful process.
The following buyer’s guide should set you up with enough basic information to make the selection process a much smoother experience.
Understanding the Components of Commercial Espresso Machines
The number of group heads you want is one essential consideration, along with your boiler size and electrical rating, as these factors determine the number of drinks you can make every hour.
Generally speaking, most establishments get by with two to three group heads, as these configurations will do the trick for a variety of different coffee making scenarios.
Four group heads will generally only be needed for a very high volume location, as this setup allows you to have two baristas cranking things out at once. In some cases, if your establishment is not churning out very much coffee, than a single group head can be sufficient for your needs.
This is important for your machines capacity for giving hot water and steam. Boiler sizes generally range between 1.8 to 5 liters for a single group machine, 5-12 liters for a two group machine, 11-18 liters for a three group machine, and 20-22 liters for four group machines.
Espresso shots are not a big power consumer; it’s hot water for your teas or americanos that get you. This is why you need to consider what kinds of drinks you’ll generally be pouring when you consider your boiler size.
Your element rating has a great impact on the recovery power of your machine. If you expect to have a morning rush where you are churning out tons of americanos or teas than you are going to need a higher capacity electrical element so you machine doesn’t conk out during rush hour.
Generally, two group machines will have elements between 2700 and 4000 watts, and larger three or four group machines will be more like 4500-6500 watts.
Group Head Temperature and Taste
Apart from the power considerations above, the temperature of your water is also extremely important for the flavor of your espresso shots. Bad-tasting espressos are much more often the result of brewing at the wrong temperature than from the type of beans or incorrect grinding.
Your boiler pressure and boiler temperature are directly related, so adjusting the pressure of your boiler can help you to regulate the temperature of your water to some extent. Many high-end machines will have a dual boiler system to ensure a more accurate temperature control.
And if you really want to get specialized, some machines will allow you to change the temperature depending on what kind of coffee you are brewing (for example, lighter roasts can come out nicely with a higher brew temperature, darker roasts with a lower one).
How To Select the Right Size Commercial Espresso Machine
A decent single group commercial espresso machine will be able to handle 15-25 espressos per hour. Machines with 2-3 groups, which is what most establishments tend to opt for, are best to choose when you expect to be producing between 75 and 500 espressos every day.
Even a 2 group machine, if it is powerful enough, will be plenty to satisfy the requirements of most businesses. Still, you may want to go for a three group machine anyway in case you’d like room for your business to grow.
Furthermore, is is not unheard of to purchase a four group machine even in cases where you don’t need it, as it will make your cafe or restaurant appear more professional and serious. Most people will be impressed by a larger, heavier duty machine like this, and don’t be surprised if this kind of professional impression increases your sales and accordingly your output volume all by itself.
We hope this information has been helpful to you, and don’t hesitate to phone or e-mail us if you’d like to discuss anything further.
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