The 5 Best Commercial Espresso Machines Of All Time
Espresso machines need to fulfill a number of requirements, but above all, they should be able to produce a steaming hot, delicious cup of coffee every time. We have done some heavy research and put together a list that will help you choose the best commercial espresso machine for you.
Types of Espresso Machines
Before we jump into the reviews, let’s take a look at what the market has to offer.
Lever Espresso Machine
This is a traditional manual espresso machine that lets you brew coffee by physically pulling a lever to get the best taste. These machines allow you to be an active part of each aspect of brewing coffee.
While some prefer using these machines because they give you more freedom to experiment with taste, others prefer using automated versions because they are more efficient.
While you won’t encounter this machine in your search, as this is more suited for home use, stovetop is another kind of manual espresso machine.
It acts like an electric kettle but has a separate compartment for adding coffee. This machine is mostly used in households or small offices.
Pod Espresso Machine
This is the machine you see most often in hotel rooms and some edgy, new-age offices. The machine uses pre-pressed pods of coffee instead of freshly ground beans to brew a cup.
The pods are available in a variety of flavors, but since you can add a single pod in one time, you can’t experiment by mixing flavors. Take a look at how you can refill pods.
Pump and Automatic Espresso Machine
This type of machine is the most commonly used in a commercial setting. This fully automatic machine lets you brew a number of cups at one time and is perfect for commercial use. Some newer machines let you customize temperature and pressure settings so you can create new flavors as well.
Steam Espresso Machine
Finally, the last type of espresso machine uses steam to brew an espresso. This is the most commonly used machine at home and in personal offices. This is perfect for home use because it is equal parts manual and automatic.
Buying Guide For The Best Commercial Espresso Machine
- Since commercial espresso machines are hardly cheap, you need to do a lot of research before you invest in one. There are a lot of factors you need to consider, these include the frequency of use, the size of your establishment, the types of coffee you want to brew, and how much you want to spend on buying the machine.
- While there may be a myriad of things to consider, here are the three main things you need to keep in mind while choosing the best commercial espresso machine for yourself.
1. Your Output Requirement
The very first thing you need to keep in mind is how much coffee you require on a daily basis. If you are running a small café, investing in a big machine won’t cut it for you and vice versa. Also, if you are running a restaurant that sells coffee on the side, an espresso machine that requires regular maintenance may be more of a pain than an investment.
When calculating the total output requirement, consider the following:
- Peak Hours: this is when you sell the most coffee. No matter what kind of establishment you have, there will be a peak time when you sell the most coffee. Calculate how many cups you sell at this time. If you handle 150-200 cups an hour, this means your requirement is high and you need a big machine to keep up. Anything under a 100 means you can make do with a smaller machine.
- All day Volume: this is a calculation of how many cups of coffee you sell in a single day. A big café would sell anywhere from 200-400 cups of coffee a day, whereas a smaller café would sell up to a hundred. This means that a smaller café can handle their traffic with a smaller semi-automatic espresso machine easily.
2. Convenience Of Use
Like we mentioned before, there are different kinds of espresso machines; some are fully manual, some are fully automatic, and some are semi-automatic. Commercial machines usually come in the latter two categories. To decide which machine is best for you, consider the following:
- If you need an espresso machine for your office or restaurant, then the best option would be a fully automatic or super automatic machine as they produce a fresh cup of coffee in the press of a button. This saves the hassle of manually handling any aspect of the brewing process and also takes a little time.
- For a café, however, a fully automatic machine will mean less flexibility to experiment with different flavors. So semi-automatic machines will work better. Some of these machines have added features that help you control the temperature and pressure settings, while some perform just the basic brewing, letting you do the rest yourself.
3. Your Budget
The most obvious thing to consider before buying an espresso machine is your budget. While no one wants to spend a lot, there might be circumstances where investing a little more can actually get you greater value for longer time. Consider these points:
- If you are starting out with a new business and coffee is your main attraction, then investing in a bigger machine may be better for you since you will be able to create a better quality product in a large quantity. Also, you won’t have to upgrade soon to a newer model.
- If you are starting out a new business but coffee isn’t your main attraction, then you can buy a more budget friendly machine that may not produce a greater quantity of coffee but lets you brew a good cup whenever you need.
- If you are looking to upgrade your machine, then go for a high-end espresso machine. The fact that you are upgrading means you are now getting a larger volume of customers and you need a bigger machine to cater to them all.
Top 5 Commercial Espresso Machines
Though it was tough to narrow down to just five espresso machines, we selected the following best espresso machines for our list.
- The machine has an angled back so it is easy to do any kind of check-up
- The machine is fully digitized, so you can set your preferences and let it take over the process
- It has high accuracy and extraction quality so there is less if any, spillage
- The extraction port is installed with illumination lights so you can see how much coffee is being poured into each cup
- The self-pump regulation feature allows you to save on labor costs
- This machine is huge. Of course, that means you get to fill more cups in a short time, but this will take up a lot of counter space (if not the entire counter)
- The machine fills up a lot of cups at once, which may be overwhelming, especially for new baristas
- The price point of this machine is really high
- When it comes to commercial espresso machines, Nuova Simonelli Aurelia is the gold standard. The official World Barista Championship machine for two years straight, Nuova Simonelli Aurelia combines the best technology with a classy design. Furthermore, this series has a machine for every business, from a volumetric 2 group machine, a semi-automatic three group machine to a digital 4 group machine. However, all these machines maintain the same quality promised by the Nuova Simonelli name and help baristas brew delicious cups of coffee in minutes.
- Though all machines in this series are amazing, our top pick is the Digital 4 Group Espresso Machine. This machine is by far the best of the series in terms of accuracy, flexibility, extraction quality, and consistency of results.
- The machine comes with its very own burr grinder. This means you can grind fresh beans in the machine, save money and counter space by not having to buy a separate grinder. The inbuilt grinder lets you control grind size, and is easy to clean
- There is also an auto-tamping feature that lets you control the temperature and pressure of tamping
- Auto froth is another automatic feature of the machine that lets you adjust the texture of the froth and set the temperature of the milk being steamed
- The two stainless steel boilers come with temperature and pressure settings so you can create custom drinks easily
- The auto tamper doesn’t work perfectly all the time and is prone to overdosing the portafilter with coffee grounds which you have to remove manually
- Depending on your volume, you may have to set aside 3-4 hours to descale the dual boiler every other week
- This machine has a bit of a learning curve, especially if you want to use all its features
- Oracle keeps the Breville legacy alive by being one of the most convenient commercial espresso machines we have ever used. When we first got our hands on this machine, the sheer volume of features it promised made us a little apprehensive, especially considering the low price. However, it’s safe to say, the machine delivered on almost all the fronts.
- The standout feature of Oracle is its dual boilers that help you brew coffee and steam milk at the same time. Though fully automatic, this machine does let you manage some features to get the exact taste you want.
- Two stainless steel boilers translate to faster brewing and more orders
- You can control and monitor the temperature and pressure settings from the display on the machine
- The four-hole steam tip on this machine lets you froth milk in about 15-20 seconds
- The internal construction of this machine is neat and no-fuss. You can replace or repair any part of the machine easily
- The machine takes a good half hour to heat up so be prepared to turn this thing on as soon as you open shop
- The water reservoir doesn’t have much capacity and is located in an area that is difficult to access. You can, however, connect the machine to direct water supply
- Descaling the double boilers requires a long time and needs to be done at least twice a month
- Profitech 700 is another dual boiler addition to the top commercial espresso machine list. This espresso machine is a dream for businesses that need to brew 200-300 cups of coffee a day. The machine is sturdy and beautiful to look at; the all-around stainless steel finish is flawless and makes for a great display.
- The Pro 700 lets you control the brew, keeps the temperature and pressure consistent, and generates a rich froth. The build is strong and durable and this machine doesn’t take up much space.
- The machine has an inbuilt ceramic burr grinder that lets you control the grind size, dosage control, and gives you a bypass option for decaf ground coffee
- The fully programmable design which means you can get your favorite drink at the press of a single button. You can set the coffee amount, pre-brewing, coffee temperature, coffee length, milk length, and milk foam.
- The machine is self-cleaning, all you need to do is press a button. The milk carafe also has a self-clean option
- The machine doesn’t require much maintenance
- As with all super-automatics, this machine doesn’t produce really hot milk. The temperature is fine for Lattes or Cappuccinos but isn’t really that hot.
- The self-steaming wand leaves a lot to be desired. It is only good for dispensing water
- As super automatic espresso makers go, Gaggia Accademia leads the pack. This espresso machine is capable of brewing fully customizable cups of coffee in no time and can be the perfect addition to any office kitchen.
- Gaggia Accademia is sturdy, stylish so cleaning it is child’s play. This machine can be programmed to make Regular American Black Coffee, Espresso, Cappuccino, Latte, hot chocolate, and tea.
- The critically acclaimed E61 brew group technology ensures that the temperature remains exactly the same throughout the extraction cycle making sure you get a consistent cup of coffee at all times
- This machine uses the heat exchange boiler technology that helps you brew and steam coffee at the same time (you can froth a 12 oz. pitcher in about 15 seconds)
- There are temperature and pressure gauges on the machine that allow you to monitor the quality of your espresso.
- The machine is a convenient size for small offices, cafes and is built like a tank
- It offers great value for money
- There is little room for customization as the temperature and pressure levels remain the same
- The machine is fully manual so you have to learn the ropes before you can start brewing coffee with it
- You need to invest in a separate coffee grinder because this machine doesn’t come with any
- The Stella E61 espresso machine houses the infamous E61 brew group which is the gold standard for producing consistent espresso shots and remains to be one of the preferred brew groups among baristas. Though the machine needs periodic maintenance, it is made to last years.
- Stella isn’t a big espresso machine but it can easily handle 20-25 drinks per hour. This machine isn’t automated and has a lot of manual features, which gives you more flexibility to work but requires a bit of a learning curve to get a hang of things.
Our Top Pick
Choosing a single best commercial espresso machine is difficult since the choice depends on so many factors. For example, if we were choosing a smaller setting we would suggest the Magister Stella, whereas, the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia is the perfect investment for larger establishments.
But if we do have to pick one favorite that stands out from the crowd, we would definitely pick Profitec Pro 700 Dual Boiler Espresso Machine. The machine isn’t just good to look at but packs a ton of amazing features like the ability to customize the temperature, pressure settings and connect the machine to a direct water supply.
Also and especially for the price point, this machine goes above and beyond expectations.