Last Updated: February 2017
As the owner of a coffee shop, restaurant, or donut shop, your reputation depends on your ability to offer your customers a delicious cup of espresso. As such, you’ll find that the best commercial espresso machine for your business will be much different than the one you choose for home use. Here are some things you should know about top-rated commercial espresso machines that can guide you in your decision.
Table of contents
- Type of business
- Super Automatic Espresso Machines
- One Step vs. Two Step
- Brew Groups
- Our recommendations
Type of Business
The best commercial espresso machine for a coffee shop will be much different than one used in a restaurant, donut shop, or café. The reason is primarily due to volume. A donut shop may only serve between 20 and 50 espresso drinks per day, while a coffee shop could serve as many as 500.
The type of business you operate will also affect your hourly capacity. For example, you may serve between 50 and 100 cups per hour in a coffee shop, but will likely serve far fewer than that in a restaurant or donut shop. Since your volume is likely to peak throughout the day, you’ll need a machine that is suitable for your busiest periods.
Super Automatic Espresso Machines
A super automatic espresso machine is one that will do at least part of the work for you. These top-rated commercial espresso machines are broken down into two different categories:
- One-step, which only requires you to push a button before making the entire drink
- Two-step, which makes the espresso shot only. Your staff will then have to steam the milk by using a steam wand
One Step vs. Two Step
Which one is best for your business? A one-step model might be best if you regularly produce high volumes of espresso drinks, as this type of machine will save you a great deal of time. You could also benefit if there are untrained baristas on staff, as less skill is required to operate a one-step machine.
A two-step model could be a better choice if you have trained baristas on staff. Having your baristas create espresso drinks by hand tends to provide customers with a better overall experience. It is recommended in donut shops or restaurants that do not necessarily experience high volume.
Commercial espresso machines also come with between one and four brew groups. A brew group is an assembly that circulates water over top of the grinds to create brewed beverages. The number of brew groups you require will also vary based upon your volume. One brew group will normally be sufficient for a restaurant or donut shop, but you could need three or four brew groups in a very busy coffee shop.
Based upon the best commercial espresso machine reviews, here are a few models we recommend:
Nuova Simonelli Appia
This machine contains an ergonomic design that makes brewing espresso very easy. This ergonomic design coupled with the automatic dosing functions more than compensate for the fact that this is a one-group machine. It is therefore suitable for businesses that serve fewer than 50 espresso beverages per day. Some useful features include:
- Raised group heads, making it easy to fill larger cups
- Smart wand that froths and steams milk at the touch of a button and automatically turns off when the right temperature is reached
- Advanced heat exchanger to keep shots the perfect temperature
- Cup warming feature on top of the boiler
La Marzocco GS/3
This machine would be ideal for donut shops or restaurants that serve around 50 beverages per day. This is a two-step machine that requires minimal skill in order to produce great tasting drinks. A few features include:
- Double boilers, which allow you to steam and brew at the same time
- Adjustable steam wand that makes steaming and frothing more comfortable
- Hot water spout, providing hot water on demand for tea, cocoa, or other hot beverages
- Cup warmer
- Glass window with water level indicator, which allows you to see at a glance how much water is in the machine
Rancilio Classe 7
According to many commercial super automatic espresso machine reviews, the Rancilio Classe 7 will suite you well if you normally serve between 100 and 200 beverages per day. This machine features:
- Solid aluminum and steel construction for added durability
- Electronic controls and automatic dosing to provide you with consistent results
- Steam wand with manual positioning, allowing you to add air during the frothing process
- The ability to heat your boilers with either electricity or natural gas
La Marzocco GB/5
The La Marzocco GB/5 is ideal for high volume settings, being capable of producing between 300 and 500 espresso beverages per day. This two-group machine is plumbed into your water line, eliminating the need to constantly refill. You will also enjoy:
- Dual steam wands, both of which are also ideal for producing latte
- Pre-heating system that warms water before entering the boiler, thereby decreasing brewing time
- Double boiler that is capable of extracting espresso and steaming milk at the same time
Choosing the best commercial espresso grinder can be difficult, as quality machines are somewhat pricey. As such, we recommend you not only consider the factors listed here, but that you also look at commercial super automatic espresso machine reviews to ensure you are buying the best quality machine for your needs and budget.