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In this article, we will cover basic considerations such as size and position, main features such groupheads and boilers and add-on considerations such as customer service and training.

Size and Position

It is important to consider the configuration of your work area before choosing your espresso machine. Size matters. You need enough counter space not only for the coffee machine and the grinder but for extra space to access the steam wand and pour milk in coffees.

When you assess position and size of the coffee machine, consider also proximity to power supply for the coffee machine and grinder, water supply and waste drainage.

Group heads (or groupheads) and Volume

How many coffees will you be doing at the busiest moment of your day, not only how many per day or per week? Consider the peak hour when assessing your volume. Speed of service is critical at all time of the day.

To cater for your volume, you can choose from one to four group machines.

One group machine would suit only a very small coffee shop that turns up to 5 kilos of coffee per week whereas a four group machine would suit a high volume café with more than one barista working at all times and turning over 70 kilos per week.

The best sellers are either the 2 or 3 group machines, depending on the café’s bench space and number of operators.

Boiler (single boiler, twin boiler or heat exchanger)

The espresso machine performs two tasks: extract an espresso and steam milk.

A single boiler can only do one task at any one time, extract the espresso or steam milk. Therefore, making cappuccinos can be time consuming and a single boiler not practical in a commercial environment.

On the other hand, the twin boiler and heat exchanger are better options for commercial application because you can simultaneously extract the espresso while steaming milk.

The double or dual boiler (DB) has two boilers kept at different water temperature, one dedicated to brewing and the other one to steam production. Double boiler espresso machines provide stable brew temperature and fast steaming but can be larger and more expensive.

The heat exchanger (HX) has a single boiler kept at steam temperature with a tube inside the boiler for brewing water use. When water is required for brewing, cold water is drawn through the tube, heated up when passing through the heat exchanger boiler and channelled to the grouphead.

Some baristas prefer the twin boiler because the water temperature is easier to control whereas others prefer the heat exchanger because the brew water doesn’t come in direct contact with the boiler element.

Automatic or Semi-automatic

With the semi-automatic espresso machine, you can turn manually the on/off group switch to control the amount of water required for the coffee extraction. Some barista prefer the semi-automatic coffee machine to feel in control of the coffee extraction.

On the other hand, the automatic espresso machine frees the barista to be multi-tasked. For example, at the touch of a button, the single shot of espresso is poured while you froth the milk for the cappuccino. Automatic pouring provides shot consistency. If you are a sole operator, this could an important feature for you.

Physical Appeal (subjective)

You may wish to choose your coffee machine for the look as a focal point or design statement for your café or restaurant. Some café or coffee shop owners even purchase a larger than necessary espresso machine just to convey a stronger coffee message.

Price and Brand

Prices vary greatly according to brand, size and features. The initial outlay can seem exorbitant but consider your investment as a direct source of income for your business.

Choose a reputable and reliable brand. Buying a cheap coffee machine of poor quality could cost your business if your coffee machine fails or is out of operation for any length of time.

If you are opening a café, you may consider acquiring your coffee machine through a Rent.Try.Buy. plan or even having a Free on Loan coffee machine. For more information, call Giulio or Patrick, our Bonissimo business development experts, for advice.

Add-on considerations

After-sales Service

Who will service your coffee machine after purchase? What happens if your coffee machine breaks down? Does the supplier provide a 24-hour emergency technical service?

Regular maintenance and cleaning will increase performance and extend the life of your coffee machine. Furthermore, a well-cared for coffee machine provides better tasting coffee for your customers.

Accidents happen when least expected. Commercial coffee machine may need urgent repairs in their life time. Choosing a supplier who will service your coffee machine promptly is undeniably a must if you operate a café.


Who will train you and your Staff on your new commercial espresso machine?

Choose a supplier that will offer hands-on barista training to ensure that all your Staff provides professionally, efficiently and consistently excellent coffee to your customers.


Who will provide me with indispensable products such as coffee beans, coffee cups, stirrers, syrups and other coffee-related products?

As a busy café owner, you probably don’t want to waste time dealing with many suppliers. Choose a coffee machine supplier that can also provide a one-stop shop for coffee machine maintenance, fresh coffee supply, coffee school training and consumables necessary to run your coffee business smoothly.

This article only covers the basic considerations when choosing a commercial coffee machine. Get professional advice from Bonissimo experienced business development experts before purchasing your coffee equipment so you get the right coffee machine for your needs and avoid regrets.

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