Best Commercial Espresso Machine For Your Coffee Shop
Imagine this: A bustling coffee shop with a steady influx of customers, the gentle murmur of conversation, and the wafting aroma of freshly brewed coffee. This is what small coffee shop dreams are made of. And you’ve decided to bring this vision to life by opening a coffee shop. Or perhaps, you’re upgrading the brewing equipment at your cafe.
Thank you! The world can always use a few more pulls of espresso.
Suffice it to say that you’re in the market for a commercial coffee machine for your business. As a smart coffee business owner you know that investing in superior hardware is crucial to earn more revenue. And I’m here to help you make that choice.
I know you’ve done your research about what your requirements are, budgeted for the equipment and overheads, and you just want an overview of the best commercial espresso machines available in the market. So let’s dive right in.
The La-Pavoni Bar T 2 Group
If you want to pull high-quality espresso shots without having to pay an arm and a leg, this is the machine for you. With a 14L boiler capacity and the ability to produce 600 cups of coffee per day, the La-Pavoni Bar T 2 is my recommendation for café owners.
The Best Commercial Espresso Machines In 2020
If you search for commercial espresso machines without figuring out your budget and requirements, you’ll be inundated with hundreds of options. It can all be a little overwhelming.
That’s why I’ve shortlisted the best commercial machines available in the market in 2020:
||Bezzera Magica Commercial Espresso Machine E61||
||La Pavoni Bar T 3||
||La Pavoni Bar T 2||
||Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Digital 4||
||Rocket Espresso BOXER One||
||Elektra Sixties Deliziosa||
||Jura Giga 5||
There are many commercial machines to choose from. Which espresso machine you end up buying depends on the needs of your café and your personal preference. So to help you make this critical decision, here’s a review of each machine listed above:
The Bezzera Magica is manufactured by the same company which initially patented espresso machines in the early 1900s. Since then, the popularity of espresso drinks has only grown, and the machines have undergone massive development to keep up with the demand.
This commercial espresso machine combines the best of both worlds: classic, time-tested elements, as well as modern time-saving features. The Bezzera Magica features the E61 group head, which is regarded as the industry gold standard. It creates hot water by circulating it through a complex and efficient thermo-siphon system.
The levers are “joystick-style”, providing an ergonomic touch as well as ease of consistent brewing. It has dual boilers/heat exchangers allowing the barista to simultaneously brew espresso as well as steam the milk.
The biggest downside to the Bezzera Magica is that it is rather small. The water reservoir holds only 4 liters of water, while the boiler holds 2 liters. The busiest coffee joints will have to keep a close eye on water levels, but for smaller-scale businesses it provides excellent coffee and a touch of classic Bezzera glamour.
- Joystick” levers provide a consistently excellent brew
- Dual boilers for creating hot water and steaming milk simultaneously
- E61 group head is extremely efficient
- Too small for larger businesses
La Pavoni is another trusted Italian manufacturer with a long history. The Bar T series of professional espresso machines consistently deliver cup after cup of high quality coffee.
This Bar T 3-group machine is a higher-capacity option, perfect for busier establishments. This espresso maker features, as the name suggests, three group-heads.
Made from brass and plated with chrome,this machine is built to last. Each of the group-heads also features a radiator hydraulic system, maintaining a consistent level of water circulation. The machine is built from very durable materials, with the added benefit of a removable front copper boiler (for repairs).
This model has a boiler capacity of 22.5 liters, and is capable of producing up to 800 cups of coffee per day, satisfying the requirements of the heaviest of users. It is recommended for busy shops, restaurants and hotels, where it is necessary to provide high quality coffee in large quantities.
- Excellent engineering – durable but well thought-out access for repairs
- Large capacity for heavy users
- A significant investment
- No dual boiler
La Pavoni Bar T 2-Group is the little sibling of the 3-Group machine reviewed above. It is built in Milan, Italy, to the highest engineering standards, and has many of the same features – radiator hydraulic systems for both group heads; built-in steam wands; boiler pressure gauges.
The only major difference between the two is that it has 2 group heads and a slightly smaller capacity. However, the La Pavoni Bar T 2-Group is by no means a small machine. It has the capacity to produce up to 600 cups of espresso a day, and a boiler size of 14 liters.
Similar to its larger sibling, the La Pavoni Bar T 2-Group is a trustworthy companion to baristas who want to provide their customers with consistently high quality coffee. It’s large enough for most establishments, and offers a good balance of features.
- Durable materials and good features
- Large enough for most businesses
- A significant investment
- No dual boiler
4. Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Ii Digital 4 Group Machine – Best For Serious Establishments
Type: Semi Automatic
- Capacity: 22L
- Portafilters: 5x double
- Dimensions (WxDxH): 124x63x53 cm
- Weight: 119 kg
The Nuova Simonelli Aurelia is a beautiful, durable machine from a prestigious yet less well-known Italian manufacturer. The Aurelia Ii Digital 4-Group espresso machine is a luxurious tool, with a silvery sheen and a sleek design. It’s a precise, ergonomic companion for the professional barista.
Although the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia is not as well known as, say, La Pavoni machines, the makers of this machine have a solid following. For instance, they were selected as the official machines of the World Barista Championship in 2012 and 2014.
The Nuova Simonelli Aurelia certainly takes the top spot when it comes to safety and comfort. As this review states (1):
If a machine pulls a great shot but is unsafe or awkward to use, then it’s not practical for use in a cafe.
With the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia, the details of extraction can be tweaked to perfection. The barista has control over the temperature, the volume and intensity of the coffee being produced.
The “Soft infusion system” (a tweak on the regular pre infusion system) designed by Nuova Simonelli, allows for consistent tamping and helps maintain a high quality of coffee. This machine is a dream come true for most baristas.
The downside? Its price. Although a high-quality professional coffee machine is definitely a worthy investment for any self-respecting barista, the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia comes with a much higher price tag than most commercial machines. Unfortunately, this places it out of reach for many smaller establishments.
- Beautiful to look at
- Ergonomic design
- Well thought-out and versatile features
- Hefty price tag
The Rocket Espresso Boxer is smaller than most machines reviewed in this article, but it definitely packs a punch. With a capacity of 8.3-liters, a stainless steel body, and a thermosiphon heating system, it’s up to professional standards, without needing a ton of desk space.
The Rocket Espresso Boxer is a self-contained unit, with heat-protected steam wands and a backflush self-cleaning system which runs overnight. It’s the perfect choice for a pop-up café or a restaurant that wants to up its coffee game.
While it might not satisfy more heavy-duty users, this compact machine is an excellent choice for those who are operating on a limited scale but want to provide top-notch coffee.
In love with the Rocket espresso machine and would like to get one for your home? Then you should check out the R58 model.
- Compact in size so fits more limited environments
- Heat-protected steam wands for increased safety
- Efficient thermosiphon heating system
- Too small for busier establishments
With a 5.5-liter boiler in a compact footprint, the Elektra Sixties Deliziosa is a workhorse for a busy cafe without a lot of counter space. If you’re thinking about an espresso truck or food cart, the Elektra is the one to consider, as long as you can hook up to a water line that delivers 35 to 40 pounds of pressure.
This commercial espresso machine’s extensive programmability includes Night Cycle Programming, in which the Elektra can operate in reduced energy usage mode outside of working hours, then wake up to prepare for the onslaught of caffeine-deprived customers in the morning.
Its electronic monitoring system makes sure the heating element is always submerged in water. This prevents damage to the heating element if it runs out of water.
And the high-wattage heating element not only makes hot water quickly, it also ensures there’s enough pressure to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time.
- Beautiful ultra-polished stainless steel finish
- Filter on the group commercial espresso head ensures clean water supply
- Dual gauge shows pump pressure and boiler pressure
- Single espresso head/steam wand means one drink at a time
7. Jura Giga 5 Automatic Espresso Machine – A Machine That Does Practically Everything For You
Type: Super Automatic
- Capacity: 2.5 liter water reservoir; 0.6 liter thermal milk container
- Portafilters: none (dual built-in drink spouts for coffee and milk)
- Dimensions (WxDxH): 32x50x41.5 cm
- Weight: 17.8 kg
The Jura Giga 5 has so many features that it’s almost its own barista. With two ceramic disk grinders feeding two independent drink spouts, and a rotary switch to select 18 pre-programmed specialty drinks from a TFT display, this super automatic espresso machine makes coffee preparation incredibly simple.
No wonder one of the reviews says (2):
There’s no denying the Jura GIGA 5 is the Ferrari of coffee machines.
Jura’s Pre-Brew Aroma System (PBAS) delivers freshly ground coffee to either or both of the drink spouts in seconds, preserving the freshness of your grounds. The high-powered thermoblock heating means the coffee comes out fast, and you can brew two drinks at once in a busy shop.
This automatic espresso machine dispenses hot milk, with or without foam, without needing a separate steam wand or a milk frother. All you have to do is keep the milk and water reservoirs filled, put beans in the hopper, and serve hot fresh drinks.
- Rotary switch selects 18 pre-programmed specialty drinks from TFT visual display
- Dual built-in coffee grinders mean fresh grounds on both spouts
- Integrated rinsing and descaling features simplify maintenance
- No built-in water line requires refilling the water reservoir
How to Choose the Right Commercial Espresso Machine for Your Coffee Shop
Commercial espresso machines exist for one reason only – to keep up with the requirements of a café business. Even the smallest ones. For this reason, they are very different to home espresso machines. They are designed to produce consistently high-quality coffee throughout the day, no matter how crowded the shop.
However, not all espresso machines are created equal. And which one you end up buying can have a crucial impact on your business, just like choosing the right name for your coffee shop. That’s why you don’t want to rush this decision.
To help you make an informed decision, I recommend reading up on how espresso machines work. Then, you can match those up to the four important factors listed below and see which commercial espresso machine will work best for your business.
1. Semi-Automatic Vs Automatic?
Professional coffee makers have come a long way from the days of steam-powered coffee machines (3). What used to be a painstaking process of manually operating heavy levers, has become a breeze with today’s semi-automatic and automatic (a.k.a., super-automatic) machines.
Automation is indeed a boon when you or your barista is pulling shot after shot from morning to evening. No matter which machine you end up choosing from the list above (link), you can’t go wrong. But as a business owner, you still need to decide between automatic vs semi-automatic espresso machine. And not just because of the initial upfront cost.
An automatic machine is the smarter choice for most businesses, because it provides greater efficiency and ease of operation. You don’t need to grind the beans, tamp them, or worry about achieving consistent levels of extraction.
It will also eliminate the need for long-winded staff training (4). The learning curve of super automatic espresso machine is gentle enough, even for those who don’t have previous barista experience.
However, if you don’t foresee serving hundreds of cups of coffee every day and you appreciate tweaking the extraction process manually, a semi-automatic machine will prove to be the perfect addition to your equipment list.
In fact, grinding your beans to-order and having more control over the extraction process adds a touch of craft that will lend your café a brand image that could appeal coffee lovers and hipsters.
2. Capacity of the Espresso Machine
The capacity of the commercial espresso machine you should choose depends on the scale of your business.
Will your café be serving hundreds of ‘to-go’ cups every day? Are you a local roastery serving specialty brews to small number of discerning customers? How much space do you have to store the machine? How many baristas do you want to be able to operate the machine simultaneously? These are all important questions to ask before choosing your espresso machine (5).
The machine’s capacity is dictated by the number of group-heads and the size of the boiler. Most professional coffee machines have 2, 3 or 4 group-heads. The number of group heads dictates how many baristas can work the machine simultaneously, and each head can produce 2 drinks at the same time. Do keep in mind that a higher number isn’t always better as you might be limited by the space available behind the counter.
Boiler capacity is also an important factor in choosing the right coffee machine. It should be large enough to provide you enough hot water during peak hours. Usually, the more number of heads a machine has, the larger its boiler capacity.
You should also keep the size of the machine in mind. While a large machine will cost more and require more space, it could endear you to your staff and improve service time.
3. Ease Of Use and Maintenance
As with all professional, high-performance equipment, maintenance is a key issue. This refers to both everyday routines like cleaning the machine, as well as the ease of getting it repaired in case of technical issues.
In case you were wondering, here’s what the folks at Seattle Coffee Gear have to say:
We recommend descaling your espresso machine every few months under normal usage, but you may have to perform this more frequently if your water has a high mineral content.
Almost all automatic espresso machines available in the market today are designed to free you and your staff from menial tasks of everyday maintenance.
However, it is worth researching the practically of each individual model. Most automatic espresso machines are self-cleaning, but they still need to be descaled regularly. They usually don’t have detachable group-heads, which means you’ll have to depend on the machine’s self-cleaning ability.
You could opt for an automatic commercial espresso machine that feature removable parts.It will give you the flexibility to do a manual deep clean every now and then, but you will have to train your staff to take the kit apart and put it back together.
Semi automatic machines usually feature removable parts and have to be manually descaled. They’re also easier to maintain than their automatic counterparts as they don’t have built-in coffee grinders or other complicated bits of machinery.
But whichever commercial espresso machine you choose, make sure that it is durable, and in case of problems, easy to repair. That is why it’s important to make sure that your espresso machine has a good warranty coverage.
While we’re at it, knowing how the espresso making process go from preparation to cleaning is another factor to consider. Does the machine you’re eyeing for comes with a knock box? If not, an espresso knock box from this list can help you with that.
4. The Espresso Shot
After all, that’s all that your customer’s going to care about. After you’ve narrowed down your choice to two or three machines based on the factors above, read some user reviews on the taste, quality, and consistency of the espresso shot for each.
Since you’ll be spending some serious cash on your espresso machine, you might want to look at your menu to see what coffee drinks will be on offer.
What good is a super-fast, high-capacity machine if it can’t pull consistently good-quality espresso shots?
I hope this article has given you some clarity about which could be the best commercial espresso machine for your coffee shop. Your budget will play a vital role in which machine you decide to invest, but every single machine in this article is capable of producing delicious espresso with minimum fuss.
The best choice depends on your specific business requirements and your personal preference. But my personal pick would be the La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group. In another note, use demitasse cups to add presentation points to your espresso!
In closing, I would like to wish you and your coffee business all the best. And if this article helped you in any way, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
Commercial espresso machines cost way more than home espresso machines. And there’s a reason for that. If you’re going to charge $2 per cup of coffee and plan on selling hundreds of those throughout a day, you need to make a significant investment in your espresso machine.
There is a wide variety in terms of cost and features, but even at the cheapest you’ll be spending a minimum of $1,000. On the expensive end of the spectrum, you could be looking at $40-50,000.
Commercial espresso machines are expensive for a reason – they are built to handle the heavy workload of a busy coffee joint. Even the most expensive home espresso machine won’t be able to hold a candle to the most basic commercial-grade machine.
A commercial espresso machine has heavy-duty components like a water pump (capable of delivering at least 9 bars of pressure), a water circulation system and boiler, and multiple heads to keep up with the brisk demand for coffee. Building such a machine means adhering to stringent engineering and safety standards. And those come at a steep price.
I’m no expert on opening a coffee shop, but when it comes to the business side of things, it’s similar to running any other brick-and-mortar store. You can find lots of resources online to do your research.
However, starting a cafe will have its own challenges. Primary among them is the cost of opening a coffee shop. You also need to make a business plan accordingly. Most importantly though, do your research before jumping in head first, and buy quality equipment including different types of coffee makers (cold brew makers, French presses, single serve coffee makers, drip machines, etc), a commercial coffee grinder, a reliable espresso maker, and more.
- Kierstead, J. (2019, August 1). Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Espresso Machine Review. Retrieved from https://knowyourgrinder.com/nuova-simonelli-aurelia-ii-espresso-machine-review/
- Blecher, J. (2015, April 18). Jura GIGA 5 Automatic Coffee Center review. Retrieved from https://www.digitaltrends.com/appliance-reviews/jura-giga-5-review/
- Stamp, J. (2012, June 19). The Long History of the Espresso Machine. Retrieved from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-long-history-of-the-espresso-machine-126012814/
- Peaberrys Coffee Roasters. (2016, February 23). The Importance Of Cafe Staff Training. Retrieved from https://www.peaberrys.com.au/the-importance-of-cafe-staff-training/
- Rossi, R. (2018, October 3). What You Need to Know Before Buying an Espresso Machine. Retrieved From https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2018/10/what-you-need-to-know-before-buying-an-espresso-machine/