Home espresso machines are well-designed nowadays, but they aren’t durable enough or have enough features to be used in a commercial capacity. If the consumer wants a machine that can handle huge crowds of coffee shop customers on a regular basis and do it without breaking down, then they’re going to have to invest in the best commercial espresso machine that they can afford. A model that’s specifically designed from the ground up to deal with the demands placed upon it in a commercial environment. We should know because we spent quite a bit of time reviewing some of the best models available. Reviews that our readers can enjoy below.
Quick Summary of the Best Commercial Espresso Machines
- Best Overall: Breville Barista-Touch BES880BSS Espresso Maker (Amazon) – Review
- Best Affordable: Breville BES870XL Barista Express (Amazon) – Review
- Best Value: De’Longhi Dinamica Automatic Espresso Machine (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: Breville Barista-Touch BES880BSS Espresso Maker
This machine might look impressive, but when you drill down into its components you soon realize that it is extremely impressive. This machine seems to be built from the ground up to be extremely durable and easy to use. This model has a beautiful stainless-steel exterior, has a touch screen display, and an automatic steam wand.
All of this allows the consumer to create the espresso or latte drinks of their dreams and do it with confidence. Other features found on this model include a BPA-free water tank and an integrated hands-free coffee grinder that allows for great coffee beans to be found.
Another thing that we liked about this system was that it allows the consumer to adjust coffee-strength, temperature, and milk texture. Available at their fingertips, the consumer can create and save up to eight personalized coffees and thanks to the Thermo-Jet heating system, extraction temperatures can be obtained in approximately 3-seconds. After all, who wants to wait for their espresso when they can have it as soon as possible.
This units Digital Temperature Control, also known as its PID, controls the temperature of the water used to make the coffee perfectly balanced for maximum coffee essence extraction. A perfectly balanced espresso is precisely what most consumers want out of their espresso machines.
This machine is capable of producing beautiful espresso because the company that makes this product knows how espressos get made. They know that a low-pressure infusion is necessary to soak the beans and a high amount of pressure is needed to extract out the essences.
All of which this system can provide. Its Italian espresso pump delivers 15-bars of pressure and its PID delivers precise temperature control. The combination of those two things create espressos that rival the ones served by any coffee house in the world. And because of its quality design and construction, it can make these drinks for a long time to come.
Best Affordable: Breville BES870XL Barista Express
This large commercial espresso machine doesn’t just look good with its stainless-steel exterior and its well-organized control panel, but it also offers the barista with all of the tools they need to pull the perfect single or double shot. And it all starts with this unit’s integrated conical burr grinder that’s capable of delivering just the right amount of newly ground coffee directing into its portafilter.
Although this feature doesn’t have an automatic shutoff that automatically turns it off after it has ground its coffee beans, it otherwise works extremely well and it greatly reduces the amount of prep time for the consumer.
Another thing that we enjoyed about this machine was that it had a control panel that gave the consumer the control they need over the brewing process but still enables them to operate it without having to interact with it too much. The consumer can adjust the grind size according to their preferences, select a single or a double filter size, and program the machine.
There is also a dial that tells the consumer the pressure level of the machine, and lights that indicated whether the machine needs to be cleaned or whether the unit has hot water steam. It’s a simple interface that keeps the barista informed all along the brewing process.
Those aren’t the only features we’d like to discuss concerning this machine, however. There are also several other features worth mentioning. For example, this unit has a PID digital temperature control that delivers just the right amount of water at exactly the right temperature needed for brewing.
This machine also has a steam wand that gives the consumer the ability to hand-texture micro-foam milk, and a coffee bean grinding cradle that allows the machine to grind right into the espresso port filter. Other innovative tools that make this machine useful include a razor dose trimming tool, a 54mm stainless steel port filter, 1 and 2-cup filter baskets, a coffee scooper, an integrated tamper, and a lot more.
Best Value: De’Longhi Dinamica Automatic Espresso Machine
A lot of people may be tempted to overlook this machine when they’re searching for a commercial espresso machine, but in our opinion, that would be a mistake. That’s because this machine does have a lot of features in it, even though it’s half the size of some other stainless steel models.
This machine is capable of producing an espresso or iced coffee that has a full-body and is smooth. It’s a machine that’s capable of heating up in 40-second and delivers an impressive 15-bars of pressure thanks to its high-performance pump.
It’s also worth mentioning that this machine is capable of delivering some of the freshest coffee available. That’s because it has an integrated steel-burr grinder that has 13-setting options that allow for a perfect grind the first time and every single time after. This machine also has an integrated manual frother that allows the consumer to customize foam and steam levels so they can craft cappuccinos and lattes that even professional baristas would be jealous of. And because this machine has a removable brew unit and a drip-trap that’s dishwasher-safe, this machine is easy to clean.
The only real complaint about this machine is that it has controls that don’t seem very intuitive to use. Okay, that’s an understatement because sometimes it feels like the controls can be difficult to use without first consulting the manual. At least, this is the case in the beginning.
After some time getting used to it, most people will probably feel like they have it well under control. Regardless, of the difficulty level of using the machine, we still think that it’s a professional machine that will craft some of the best coffee drinks. All the consumer has to do is give it a shot.
A Guide To Purchasing A Commercial Espresso Machine
Regardless of whether a person is operating a coffee shop or a full-service restaurant, it’s often not uncommon for the espresso machine to become the center of operations. If the establishment has a good machine, then operations are sure to progress without any problems, but if the establishment has a poorly designed machine, then the entire espresso service can also break down rather quickly. Therefore, the consumer needs to do their research and buy the best commercial espresso machine possible. And that’s the purpose of this guide—to help our readers select the best machine for their operation.
Step One: Purchase A Machine That’s Certified
It might be tempting for the business owner to purchase a home espresso machine for their establishment instead of a commercial one because there can be a significant mistake. Any machine used in a commercial environment needs to meet minimum standards to be used. In the U.S., this means that the machine should have an NSF certification. An NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) rating ensures that the machine will meet most local health department regulations to be operated in a public capacity. Of course, that’s not the only regulation that might be needed by your local health department. There are probably other certifications that the consumer needs to be aware of before they purchase their commercial espresso machine.
Step Two: Consider Water & Electrical Requirements For The Machine
The next thing that the consumer is going to want to consider is how the machine is operated. Some machines have to be hard-wired directly into the establishment’s electrical service and/or plumbed into the establishment’s water supply. These are important considerations that the consumer needs to keep in mind. However, even on machines that do have to be directly connected to electrical and water systems, the consumer still needs to consider these machine’s requirements. How much power does the machine consume and what impact will that have on my utility bill? How easy is it for my employees to get water from the nearest faucet to the machine? These are all questions that the business owner needs to ask themselves before they settle on a machine that they like.
Step Three: Consider Machine Size & Workflow Requirements
Another thing that’s important for the consumer to think about before they purchase a new commercial espresso machine is the size of the unit. They want to consider how much counter space the machine is going to use and how that’s going to impact their employee’s workflow. Since most coffee houses will have several espresso machines, this is an especially important consideration to think about before settling on a model.
Step Four: Fully Automatic, Semi-Automatic & Manual Machines
The restaurateur or coffee shop owner is also going to want to think about whether they want a fully automatic machine, a semi-automatic machine, or a manual one. For entrepreneurs who don’t want their employees to have to mess with a lot of different features and who want to make the espresso-making process as simple as possible, then a fully automatic machine is the way to go. All the employee has to do is select their espresso, latte, cappuccinos and then the machine does the rest. However, this machine isn’t for everyone and some entrepreneurs need a higher level of technical expertise that’s offered by manual and semi-automatic machines. What we mean is that business owners who want their baristas to handcraft coffees will probably want to choose a manual or semi-automatic machine. These machines will require more of a training period but allow for a more personally crafted coffee drink.
Step Five: Consider Your Budget
Another thing that the consumer should consider before purchasing a commercial espresso machine is how the unit fits into their budget. When it comes to these machines, consumers can spend as little as $800 up to several thousands of dollars. And the consumer should also keep in mind that just because a machine is expensive doesn’t mean that it’s the best one available. We feel that we’ve selected some great models and none of them are more than $1000. All the consumer has to do is take their time, do their research and they too should be able to find a quality commercial machine.
If the consumer takes the time to consider the above five points, then they should have no problem finding an espresso machine that fits their businesses’ needs. Consumers have a greater variety of these machines to choose from, so there’s no reason why they can’t find one that works well for them and brew the espressos they need them to brew.