How to choose the right espresso machine

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by: (1180 pts)
  tags: beginner-s-gift-pack

Choosing the right espresso machine for your business is going to be one of many important decisions you will need to make. Having the right machine to meet your needs will play a critical role in how successful you are. Our website is set up to help you get the right machine by looking at a few criteria; what type of business you are, how busy you will be, and how well trained your staff will be in regards to making espresso.

The first step is to define what type of business you are.

Coffee shop - A business that primarily will generate revenue through the sales of coffee and espresso based beverages. You may also sell other products such as food, desserts, and even ice cream. Your location or brand will be based on the quality of your specialty coffee drinks. Your shop should be a destination for people to satisfy their coffee craving. Highly skilled baristas should be present.

Café – A café is more about a total food experience. Coffee and espresso help to make a café desirable, but the menu and ambiance are also critical to a cafes success. In my opinion, cafes are attractive for a guest looking for a quick meal, which could include wine, artesian bread, or unique appetizers. Coffee in the right café can make up a good portion of the sales, especially if it is quality coffee.

A Restaurant –Restaurants offer a complete and varied menu as well as table service. Everything is set up to give the customer a chance to dine. I think of a restaurant as a place that takes reservations, and may have a waiting area that enables patrons to wait for a table. Coffee usually is the last part of the meal and it is important; however it typically does not represent a large percentage of total sales.

Now that we have defined the type of business you are, let’s look at the volume of your espresso sales. Anticipated volume is going determined based on a variety of factors. Make sure you take hourly sales, daily sales, and peak hours into consideration. This of course is a hard number to determine but your business plan should define total volume of sales, and from that you can extrapolate a good idea of espresso sales. From there you should be able to get a good grasp on hourly sales.

Espresso based beverages as a percentage of sales will be highest in a coffee shop, lower in a café, and lower still in a restaurant. Our commercial website breaks down the hourly capacity into three different categories – 0-50, 50-100, or more than 100 cups per hour. If you know you will have intermittent rushes and your daily sales suggest a 0-50 hourly sales machine, it is recommended that you step up to the next level of 50-100 so that you can handle those peak volume times effectively.

The type of machine you will need is also going to be determined by your employee’s skill level. Let’s look at how we define skill level. The skill level is broken down into three categories as well- low, medium or high. Let’s define each one as it applies to espresso beverages.

Low – Employees may have some basic knowledge regarding espresso, but lack training in creating espresso based beverages. They generally will not know how to grind, tamp or brew a shot, nor will they be able to consistently steam milk correctly to make the drinks. The current training program does not focus on making employees Baristas. Barista of course means a professional trained in the art of espresso.

Medium – They may be able to tell the customers about all the different drinks and may even be able to make the drinks. Consistency and quality may be difficult to achieve. They should have some experience in brewing a shot or steaming milk.

High -Employees are well versed in all aspects of espresso beverages. They can talk about espresso with passion. They can pull consistent great shots. They also can steam milk correctly and may even be able to do things like Latte Art.

Now that you have an idea of the potential espresso volume and the skill level of your employees, our website can be used to narrow down your machine choices. Machines are broken down into two main categories: traditional or super automatic.

Semi Automatic –Or what I like to call a traditional machine. You will need to know how to grind, tamp the coffee in the portafilter, lock it in the machine and brew your shot. You, also, generally will need to steam your milk using the steam wand. Traditional machines require the most skill. In my opinion if you run a coffee shop and you think you can train your employees to be baristas, this is the way to go. These types of machines require constant training and employees should be tested and monitored to make sure they can make great espresso based beverages.

Super Automatic – This means the machine is automatically doing some or all of the work in making the espresso or the espresso based beverage. There are two kinds of Super Autos a one step or two step.

One step - the machine makes the whole drink, from start to finish all you do is push a button.

Two step - the machine will make the shot and the staff will need to steam the milk using the steam wand.

I would recommend a one-step super automatic if you have a café or restaurant with untrained baristas, but still wish to serve consistent drinks. Depending on your needs, one of the following machines may be well suited for your business:

Grimac La Valentina - One group traditional machine. This model would work best in a small coffee shop or café making less than fifty cups an hour. It does take skill to operate this machine correctly. You can simplify the brewing process by using espresso pods.ESE pods will help streamline espresso extraction and may make the Grimac suitable for restaurant use as well. I would not recommend this machine in a café that does more than 125 espresso drinks in a day chances are you may have peak hours or rushes and that would require a bigger machine.

Grimac La Valentina

La Marzocco - Two group traditional machine. This machine is well suited for a coffee shop or a busy café serving 50-100 cups an hour. This would be a tough machine for a restaurant as the skill level required to create consistent drinks is vey high; but in the right hands it is an amazing tool.

La Marzocco Linea 2 group

Schaerer Coffee Art - A two step super automatic. This machine would work well in a café or restaurant experiencing medium to heavy traffic (50-100 cups and hour).. It is unique because of the engineering, which allows you to steam milk for lattes or foam milk for cappuccinos at the touch of a button. The Coffee Art has a automatic feature that will automatically shut off when the desired milk temperature is reached. It requires little training as the machine will brew a great shot; you push a button and get perfect milk; all you need to do is assemble the drink. This is an easy to use machine, even for inexperienced baristsas, it will deliver very consistent beverages.

Schaerer Coffee Art

Concordia IBS 4 - Super automatic One Touch Machine. This machine is perfect for any size restaurant or a café. It would work best in a place making more than 100 drinks a day. It does not require special skill or training and makes amazing drinks at the touch of a button. Specialty beverages such as hot chocolate, mochas, iced mochas chai tea or flavored lattes and cappuccinos can be made effortlessly using the Concordia IBS4. This machine makes amazing drinks, but is best used in a multi tasking environment, where the staff needs the ability to push a button to get a completed drink from the machine.

Concordia IBS 4

I hope this helps you understand how to use our website to determine what machine best fits your needs. As you can tell, there is a lot that goes into deciding what kind of machine to purchase for your business. For specific recommendation based on your personal needs, please call me direct 888-411-5282- ext 5196

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