Frequently asked questions
What are commercial espresso machines and how do they work?
There is also some variation in the degree of automation in each machine. An espresso machine is considered automated when it uses grinders, pumps and valves to automate the brewing process. Most commercial espresso machines are either semi- or super-automatic. Manual machines are also available. However, they can be difficult to find and less practical as you brew coffee in large quantities.
Semi-automatic machines use pumps to force water through coffee grounds and valves to relieve overpressure. These machines allow you to better control the quality of each shot by adjusting the brewing time. Therefore, some degree of skill is required to operate semi-automatic espresso machines. This makes barista training a must to ensure the consistency and quality of each shot.
In contrast, super-automatic machines require no skills or training to operate. These machines automate almost every step of the brewing process. All you have to do is add water to the reservoir and beans to the bean hopper. The more expensive variants can even automate foaming and dispensing. This level of automation ensures consistency, but it also prevents you from messing with taste and quality.
What ultimately matters most is the degree of skill and training that you intend to invest in each cup you brew. If you want to prioritize quality and risk of discrepancy, consider getting a semi-automatic and professional barista. But if you want to prioritize convenience and consistency, it would probably be best to choose a super-automatic.
How do you use a commercial espresso machine?
If you are reading this article, you probably have a basic idea of how to operate a commercial espresso machine, so I will not discuss it in detail. For the uninitiated, however, feel free to watch the video below. It should cover most of the basic skills that a barista should know when operating one of these machines.
How much do commercial espresso machines cost?
Features. The more advanced features a particular machine has, the more expensive it tends to be. For example, a commercial bean-to-cup machine that automates everything from grinding coffee beans to frothy milk will cost more than machines that require you to do some of the work yourself. On the plus side, though, a commercial bean-to-cup machine can be operated by just about anyone. This is why these super-automatic machines are more popular in cafeterias and breweries. In other words, the extra cost of choosing an automated machine can outweigh the cost of hiring a professional barista.
Feel. The popularity of the brand or manufacturer will also have a significant impact on the price of the machine. An espresso machine produced by a well-known, international manufacturer almost always costs more than one produced by a small company, even though both machines have the same quality and features. The brand’s perceived value as well as their infrastructure for maintenance and repairs directly affect the price of their products.
Production. Understandably, a commercial espresso machine must be able to produce a significant number of shots per serving. Day. If it is not capable of it, it can hardly be called “commercial”. If you are looking for an espresso machine for smaller businesses, you probably need one that produces 150 to 200 shots a day. There are also large-volume espresso machines that produce 200 to 500 shots a day. The higher the output speed, the more expensive the machine. So you will need to find a balance between your business needs and the size of your machine. If you get a machine that is too small, you can not serve your customers in a timely manner. But if you get a machine that is too big, you will not use it to its full potential.