Espresso is one of the most popular types of coffee and is the main ingredient in a wide variety of beverages. If you have a coffee shop, a commercial espresso machine is an essential product. It can also be a good addition to a standard restaurant.
Since they were invented in the early 1900s, espresso machines have evolved considerably. New technologies have made them more efficient and reliable than ever, but they are not all the same. They come in different sizes, use different materials and have different features, so you should do a lot of research before buying one. Here are five of the best commercial espresso machine currently on the market:
1. Nuova Simonelli Appia II Best mid-range commercial espresso machine (Editor’s choice)
The Appia II is similar to the original Appia but has excellent added features. The espresso machine weighs 133 pounds and comes with an espresso starter kit and a water filter system. It is important to use the filtration system to obtain the right water for the best taste. The espresso machine needs some minerals to make the sensors inside the machine work properly, but unfiltered water will give the coffee a bad taste.
The Appia II is made of stainless steel
so it is wear-resistant and looks bright and modern. It has a standard with touch controls for easy operation and programmable buttons for automatic dosing. You can simply press the button and get a perfectly dosed espresso so you don’t have to worry about starting or stopping the machine. If several people use the espresso machine in your coffee, it is a good way to ensure that the espresso is consistent.
The gentle brewing system ensures a smooth and creamy espresso every time. Appia II uses a copper boiler with a heat exchange function, which keeps the temperature constant and allows you to stir and steam at the same time. The top of the espresso machine draws heat from the boilers and functions as a cup warmer. You will not pour the hot espresso into cold cups. The Appia II also features a reverse mirror system, which allows you to look at the shot without having to bend down to look.
The copper boiler can hold 11 liters or about 3 gallons of water. For most people, it’s a lot. However, if you plan to be extremely busy preparing an espresso, there are other espresso machines with larger boilers.
The Appia II is an excellent mid-range commercial espresso machine. It should have all the features you need and many positive reviews. The manufacturer also offers a two-year warranty on parts.
- Programmable; automatic dosing
- Heat exchanger
- Gentle infusion system for a creamy espresso
- Boiler smaller than other brands
2. la Pavoni BAR-STAR 2V-R: Best two-group commercial espresso machine for large quantities
La Pavoni was the first company to manufacture espresso machines commercially. Since then, they have had loyal customers. The BAR-STAR 2V-R is one of their most popular and tested machines. It weighs about 200 pounds and uses a 14 liter or 3.7-gallon boiler. The package comes with two steam sticks and a water softener, which will remove minerals and purify the water to give the espresso a better taste.
The BAR-STAR has many features that can help you make espresso quickly and easily. It includes two group heads, a numeric control keyboard, and an electronic programmable dosage. The machine stores up to four different doses, allowing you to quickly prepare an espresso and reducing the risk of error. According to the manufacturer, the 14-liter boiler is the largest on the market. The espresso machine also has an anti-vacuum valve that prevents liquid from siphoning into the steam tubes. This means that you will not need to purge the steam rods every time you use them.
This product also includes safety and energy-saving features. The switch allows you to operate at 75% of your energy consumption instead of running at full power outside working hours, which will reduce your electricity bill. The BAR-STAR also has an automatic shutdown function that reduces the risk of overloading or short-circuiting.
The espresso machine is bright red,
which some people love for its retro look. However, if your coffee has a different color palette or style, the BAR-STAR may conflict. It’s a nice little problem, and you can solve it simply by keeping the espresso machine out of sight. Some users complained about the strong color, however. Pavoni sells similar espresso machines in black, but they are more expensive. Another small problem is that it is a little difficult to clean the inside of the BAR-STAR due to its rounded shape.
Overall, the BAR-STAR is an excellent espresso machine. The Pavoni is an old and reliable brand, and this product has many useful features. It is a little cheaper than other commercial espresso machines, but its quality remains high. If you like cherry red, BAR-STAR is highly recommended.
- Large boiler
- Economic power supply switch
- Programmable dosing
- Difficult to clean the interior
- The bright red design may conflict with your color palette
3. Rancilio Class 7 E2
Rancilio is a popular Italian brand that has been making espresso machines since the 1920s. Class 7 E2 has two group heads and weighs about 136 pounds. It comes with adjustable feet, so you can adjust it to the right height. When you buy an espresso machine, you also get a coffee filler, shovel, filter holders and cleaning discs. The espresso machine has two steam tubes in insulated protective sleeves to prevent burns. It has 11 liters or 3-gallons boiler and should be able to make 150 to 200 glasses per hour.
Like the other machines on this list, Class 7 E2 is programmable and has an automatic positive displacement pump. You can easily get the same portions each time without having to manually extract the espresso. It also has an LCD screen that allows you to easily adjust your settings and display statistics.
One of the best features of the Class 7 E2
is its 6,000-watt heating element. It heats up very quickly and allows a quick recovery. So you don’t have to worry about the slowness of the machine on busy days. The machine also uses heat exchange to stir and steam at the same time. It can operate at two-thirds power when you are not busy saving power, and it can go into standby mode if it remains inactive for some time. Its stainless steel controls, front and rear panels are attractive and make the machine wear-resistant. The machine is also equipped with side bumpers to prevent accidents in a busy kitchen.
The major disadvantage of Class 7 E2 is that it does not come with a water filter or water softener. Mineralized water will not taste the same in espresso as freshwater, so you will certainly need to buy a filter if you choose this machine. Another problem is that it does not have a cold water mixing valve, so some drinks maybe a little warmer than ideal.
Class 7 E2 is one of the best espresso machines for intensive use. It can deliver espresso after espresso without slowing down, which is good for busy kitchens. Although it is more expensive for a two-group main machine, it offers many features and is very consistent.
- Programmable dosing
- Durable stainless steel panels
- Powerful heating element
- No cold water mixer
- Does not include water softener or filter
4. Casadio DIECI A2 Two Group : Economic commercial espresso machine
The Casadio Dieci A2 has two group heads and a 2.75 gallons boiler. It is made of durable stainless steel and aluminum. It has a button control keyboard and is fully automatic and programmable. The top is completely flat, so it’s a good place to preheat the cups before filling them. The machine weighs about 125 pounds and is one of the lightest commercial espresso machines. The product is delivered with two steam rods.
The Dieci A2 is an excellent basic espresso machine, but it does not have all the features of the other products on this list. Its heating element is 3,400 to 4,500 watts, which is enough for a moderately frequented coffee. However, it is not as powerful as some other options. Therefore, if you expect to need a high volume of espresso in a short period, Dieci A2 may not be the best option.
Casadio is a brand known for its durability and reliability, two essential qualities when you are looking for an economical mid-range espresso machine. Although manufactured at a lower cost, Dieci A2 is more modest than some products. However, it has all the important features you need, without unnecessary effects. This espresso machine is recommended for those looking for an entry-level product that can still produce quite high volumes of espresso.
- Good budget option
- Programmable dosing
- Made of stainless steel and aluminum; durable
- Not as many features as other products
5. Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Digital 4 Group
The Aurelia is one of the biggest names in the espresso world, and the Aurelia II has some additional features. She has been named official espresso machine at the Barista World Championships on several occasions and has excellent reviews from industry experts. The four-unit head model weighs about 280 pounds and has a 6,000-watt heating element. It heats and recovers quickly, which allows it to manage a high volume of drinks every hour. Several critics have congratulated the Aurelia II for its simplicity and ease of use. Even if it is a high quality machine with several advanced features, it remains user-friendly.
The boiler can contain 22 liters It has a heat exchanger that allows you to steam and stir at constant temperatures. Like the Appia II, it also has a flexible infusion system that produces a smooth and creamy espresso. With the reverse mirror, you can look at the shot without having to bend down to see it.
The Aurelia II has very specific needs in terms of water quality.
According to the manufacturer, water containing more than 50 ppm of minerals could damage the boiler or other parts of the machine. Mineralized water can also affect the taste of espresso. If you have mineralized water in your facility, you will need to purchase a filter or demineralizer. Unfortunately, the price of this product could also be confusing for many people. Unless you have an extremely busy store that really needs four group leaders, it may not be worth the price.
The Appia II and Aurelia models with two group heads are better budget options with similar features.
However, if you need a robust and voluminous espresso machine, the Aurelia II is one of the best products on the market. It is highly recommended for restaurants and cafés that require a consistent quality espresso.
- User-friendly and easy to use
- Flexible infusion system
- Reverse mirror for easy viewing of the shot
- Not the most economical option
- Need to buy a water filter or demineralizer
6. Best Commercial Espresso Machine – Buyer’s Guide
A large commercial espresso machine is a major purchase and, hopefully, a purchase that you will only have to make once in a long time. You need to think carefully about what you need before you make a final decision.
There are a few types of espresso machines that vary depending on how the espresso is distributed. A manual machine uses a manually operated lever to extract the espresso. Today, in most regions, they are no longer very common. Most people prefer machines with more advanced technology and more convenient to use.
With a semi-automatic machine, the operator manually starts and stops the pouring of the espresso using an electric pump or button. This technology generally only appears on smaller machines with a single group head. When the machine has several groups of heads, it will be too difficult to start and stop each pump manually at the same time. Besides, when you have to manually control the payment, the portions will not be the same each time.
Automatic espresso machines are the most common in stores. With this technology, you can pre-program portions and the machine will automatically shut down once it has dispensed the correct amount. Most machines can be programmed with several settings for different drinks or orders. This is the best way to be consistent with your drinks.
You will have to choose the number of group heads of your choice according to your use of the espresso machine. A group head is a metal fastener at the front of the machine that introduces water into the filter basket. With several group heads, your machine can pour several drinks at once. A group leader can usually prepare up to 70 drinks per hour.
Two group heads are the most popular option for standard commercial sites. More frequented coffee shops may require three or four group leaders to produce larger quantities. Machines with three or four group heads also offer more space for two operators to work at the same time. This is not necessary for most coffees.
You should also consider the height of the group heads. The manufacturer or seller should tell you the size of the group heads so that you can make sure that your cups fit underneath. This is especially important if you sell larger drinks. What good is a state-of-the-art espresso machine if you can’t put the espresso in your cups?
Most boilers are made of copper and are heated by an electrically powered coil. The size of the boiler will help you determine how many drinks you can make per hour. For machines with two groups, the boiler size generally varies from 5 to 14 liters or 1 to 4 gallons. Machines with three or four groups can have a boiler size of up to 22 liters or 6 gallons.
Small boilers may run out of water during the morning coffee break. Do you make lots of doubles or do you offer large sizes of drinks? How many drinks per hour do you usually make? Smaller boilers are cheaper and lighter, but if yours is too small to handle the amount you need, this can be a major disadvantage.
There are also some other important characteristics to consider. Before you buy an espresso machine, you need to know the electrical diagram. This affects the speed with which the boiler heats up and the speed with which it recovers after use. Large machines generally consume more energy and recover more quickly. Two machines in the group generally have heating elements between 4,000 and 6,000 watts. As with the size of the boiler, you should consider the use that the machine will use per hour.
Most commercial espresso machines come with at least two steam sticks. These baguettes make steamed or frothed milk for espresso drinks. They connect to the boiler with a flexible hose.
The accumulation of minerals from hard water can damage the boiler, heating elements, and water pipes. Mineralized water also affects the taste of the coffee. Some products are delivered with a filter or demineralizer. If not, you should buy one, especially if you know that your facility uses hard water.
Best commercial espresso machine: Conclusion
Just as there is a wide variety of coffees, there is a wide variety of espresso machines available. The best product for you depends on the traffic in your store, the number of people working in your kitchen and the most important features for you. Each espresso machine on this list is ideal for a different purpose, but you will need to weigh the pros and cons of each to make the best choice.