The Best Commercial Espresso Machines [November 2018] – Reviews + Buying Tips - HOMEGROUNDS

Best Commercial Espresso Machine For Your Coffee Shop

You need an espresso machine for your business.

To be perform under the pressure of a working environment an espresso machine needs to fulfil speed and capacity requirements that are significantly higher than what you would need at home.

When it comes to your business it isn’t worth compromising on essential features. But first, you have to know what those essential features are.

I’ve compiled this guide to make it easier for you to find the right espresso machine for your cafe. This is an important (costly) decision, so you'll have insights from other successful cafe owners to help guide you.

TOP PICK: The La-Pavoni Bar T 2 Group

Large enough for most coffee establishments (producing up to 600 cups of espresso per day) with a 14L boiler capacity. If you want to produce high-quality coffees at a reasonable price, this is worth checking out; it will help you make better coffee, and more money.

The Best Commercial Espresso Machines in 2018

So now you know what to look out for - let’s go through the BEST MODELS available on the market in 2018. For this article, I’ve only selected espresso machines that are excellent at what they do.

The final choice depends on your personal preferences and the requirements of your business.

Keep reading to discover the top choices available today.

IMAGE PRODUCT FEATURES
hg-table__image Bezzera Magica Commercial Espresso Machine E61
  • Comes with “joystick” levers that help make consistently excellent brew
  • Has dual boilers for heating water and steaming milk
  • Extremely efficient
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hg-table__image La Pavoni Bar T 3
  • Excellent design and engineering
  • Large capacity for heavy use
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hg-table__image La Pavoni Bar T 2
  • Made from durable materials
  • Large enough for big coffee shops
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hg-table__image Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Digital 4
  • Stylish
  • Versatile
  • Has an ergonomic design
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hg-table__image Rocket Espresso BOXER One
  • Compact
  • Comes with heat-protected steam wands for increased safety
  • Efficient thermosiphon heating system
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#1 - The Bezzera Magica E61 - Best For Small Cafes

Bezzera Magica Commercial Espresso Machine

Here are the specs of the Berreza Magica E61:

  • Type: Semi Automatic
  • Capacity: 4L
  • Portafilters: 1
  • Dimensions: (WxDxH) 30x42.5x41.5 cm
  • Weight: 22.7 kg

The Bezzera Magica is manufactured by the company which initially patented espresso machines in the early 1900s. While espresso has remained popular in the following century and more, the machines have undergone massive development.

This model 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 heats water by circulating it through a complex and efficient thermosiphon system.

The levers are “joystick-style”, providing an ERGONOMIC touch as well as ease of consistent brewing.

It has dual boilers, 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 litres of water, while the boiler holds 2 litres.

It can’t be recommended for the busiest coffee joints, but for smaller-scale businesses, it provides excellent coffee and a touch of classic Bezzera glamour.

PROS

  • “Joystick” levers provide a consistently excellent brew
  • Dual boilers for heating water and steaming milk
  • E61 group head is extremely efficient

CONS

  • Too small for larger businesses

#2 - La Pavoni Bar T 3 group Commerical - Best for busy coffee shops

Here are the specs of the La Pavoni Bar T-3 group:

  • Type: Semi Automatic
  • Capacity: 23L
  • Portafilters: 3x double
  • Dimension (WxDxH): 104x56x53 cm
  • Weight: 102 kg

La Pavoni is another trusted manufacturer with a long history. The Bar T series of professional espresso machines delivers a consistent cup of high quality of coffee.

There are options for both smaller and larger businesses: this Bar T 3 group machine is a higher-capacity option, perfect for busier establishments.

La Pavoni Bar T 3 features, as the name suggests, three group-heads.

Made from brass and plated with chrome, they are durable and high quality. 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, but the front copper boiler can be removed for repairs.

La Pavoni Bar T 3 has a boiler capacity of 22.5 liters, satisfying the heaviest of users. It is capable of producing up to 800 cups of coffee per day.

It is recommended for busy coffee shops, restaurants and hotels, where it is necessary to provide high quality in large quantities.

PROS

  • Excellent engineering - durable but well thought-out access for repairs
  • Large capacity for heavy users

CONS

  • A significant investment
  • No dual boiler

#3 - La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group Commercial - Best for average sized coffee shops

Here are the specs of the La Pavoni Bar T-2 group:

  • Type: Semi Automatic
  • Capacity: 14L
  • Portafilters: 2x double
  • Dimension (WxDxG): 78x56x53 cm
  • Weight: 77 kg

La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group is the little sibling of the 3 Group machine reviewed above. It has the many of the same features, along with being built in Milan to the highest standards of engineering.

The La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group features radiator hydraulic systems for both group heads; built-in steam wands; boiler pressure gauges and other useful features which can also be found on the Bar T 3 Group machine.

The only major difference between the two is that it only has 2 group heads and a slightly smaller capacity.

However, the La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group is by no means a particularly small machine. It has the capacity to produce up to 600 CUPS OF ESPRESSO A DAY​, and a boiler size of 14 litres.

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 of coffee.

It’s large enough for most establishments, and offers a good balance of features.

PROS

  • Durable materials and good features
  • Large enough for most businesses

CONS

  • No dual boiler

Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Ii Digital 4 Group Espresso Machine

Here are the specs of the Nuova Simonelli Auerlia li digital 4 group:

  • Type: Semi Automatic
  • Capacity: 39L
  • 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 manufacturer.

The Aurelia Ii Digital 4 Group espresso machine is a luxurious tool, with a silvery sheen and a sleek design. It’s also a very precise and ergonomic companion for professional espresso-making.

Although the Nuova Simonelli machines are not as well known as, say, La Pavoni machines, they have a solid following: for instance, they were selected as the official machines of the World Barista Championship between 2012 and 2014.

There are good reasons for this.

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”, designed by Nuova Simonelli, allows for consistent tamping and helps maintain a high quality of coffee.

The Nuova Simonelli Aurelia is a dream come true for most baristas.

The downside? Its price.

Although a high-quality coffee machine is definitely a worthy investment for any self-respecting coffee shop, 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.

PROS

  • Beautiful to look at
  • Ergonomic design
  • Well thought-out and versatile features

CONS

  • Hefty price tag - brace yourself.

#5 - Rocket Espresso Boxer 1 Group Compact machine - Best for small, portable cafe's

Here are the specs of the Rocket Boxer Espresso Machine:

  • Type: Automatic
  • Capacity: 8.3L
  • Portafilters: 1x double
  • Dimensions (WxDxH): 48x49x47 cm
  • Weight: 65 kg

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-litres, 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 the Rocket R58, and the R 60V model.

PROS

  • Compact in size so fits more limited environments
  • Heat-protected steam wands for increased safety
  • Efficient thermosiphon heating system

CONS

  • Too small for busier establishments

Tips On How to find the perfect espresso machine for Coffee Shops

The main feature that separates an espresso machine meant for commercial use, versus one meant for home use, is its LARGER CAPACITY.

Commercial espresso makers have specifically been created to produce large quantities of coffee while maintaining a high standard of quality.

Here are a few key factors to look out for when you’re choosing between the various options available today. Remember, not all espresso machines are created equal. 

Whether you're looking to buy your first professional espresso machine or to upgrade some old equipment, keep these things in mind.

Semi-automatic vs automatic?

Espresso machines have been developed by leaps and bounds during recent decades.

While espresso-making used to be a painstaking process of manually operating heavy levers, semi-automatic and automatic machines have made the process a breeze.

Being so much more barista-friendly, they now dominate the market.

Since you might be working this machine from morning till night, serving dozens of cups of coffee, it’s important that operating the machine is smooth.

Automation has eliminated many of the tasks that used to make espresso-making such a chore.

When you’re looking for the best espresso machine for your business, you still need to make the choice between automatic and semi-automatic (nobody would seriously recommend going for a manual machine).

An automatic machine is the smarter choice for most businesses, because it provides greater efficiency. You won’t need to grind the beans, tamp them, or worry about achieving consistent levels of extraction.

There’s also no need for long-winded staff training: the learning curve of automatic espresso machines is gentle enough for even those who have no previous barista experience.

However, for certain small businesses, a semi-automatic machine might be a more fitting choice.

Grinding beans and having more control over the extraction process adds a touch of craft that will delight discerning customers.

If you don’t need to produce hundreds of cups of coffee every day, and you appreciate tweaking the extraction process manually, a semi-automatic machine might prove to be your perfect companion.

Capacity

The perfect capacity of your espresso machine depends on the scale of your business.

Are you operating a café that serves hundreds of coffees every day? Or a restaurant that serves a more modest amount of after-dinner espressos each night? How much space do you have to store the machine?

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 and can produce up to 8 drinks at once.

A high-capacity espresso machine also requires a boiler that is large enough to heat up the required quantities of water during peak hours.

While a large machine will cost more and require more space, it will save your staff precious time and improve service.

Ease of use, cleaning and repairing

In heavy professional use, ease of maintenance is a key issue. This refers to both everyday routines, such as CLEANING THE MACHINE, as well as the ease of GETTING IT REPAIRED in case of technical issues.

Automatic espresso machines have been specifically designed to free you and your staff from menial tasks of everyday maintenance.

However, it is worth checking what this practically means in case of each individual model.

Most automatic 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 rely on the machine’s self-cleaning ability.

Some machines do feature removable parts, so you can give them a manual deep clean every now and then.

Such machines also require some staff training, so that everyone knows how to take the kit apart for cleaning and put it back together.

You want a machine that is durable, and even in case of problems, easy enough to get repaired.

Before purchasing an espresso machine for your business, make sure it has a decent warranty and that you can send it back for repairs if needed.

Quality of coffee

This factor should be obvious, but be sure not to overlook it!

Once you’ve found a professional machine that seems to fit all your other requirements perfectly, do your homework and read some reviews on the quality of coffee it produces.

A fast and large-capacity machine is no good if the espresso it produces is not worth paying for.

The extraction should be consistently perfect.


THE VERDICT: Found your favourite yet?

As this article demonstrates, there isn’t really one specific model that is the best for every situation. You need to read through the reviews.

The best choice depends on the specific requirements of your business, so that should always be your starting point.

Nonetheless; the espresso machine reviews in this article is capable of producing delicious espresso with minimum fuss.

Just consider what you really need.

But for us, our Top Pick is the La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group.

Are you producing 50 or 500 cups of coffee a day? Is coffee your main focus or just something you dabble in? How much space is there in your kitchen for an espresso machine? 

​Ask yourself these questions to find the best match for your business.

Now that you know everything about the best commercial espresso makers, make sure to also check our top picks for the best home espresso makers here.

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