When a customer asks us, “What are best commercial coffee machine brands?” we ask for clarification, because that question has many meanings. If they have a £20,000 budget, they might be seriously considering a market-leading brand. More often than not, they want advice on the best machine for their business.
What is the best commercial coffee machine brand?
Given an unlimited budget, and the ideal premises and business conditions, I would almost certainly recommend a Slayer espresso machine (or a La Marzocco, although I am more familiar with Slayer).
Some of the standout features you will find on a Slayer machine include:
- Independent boilers for each group head
- Needle valves for precise water flow
- Detailed activity monitoring
For a full break down of why I rate these coffee machines so highly, read our companion blog post: What are the best commercial coffee machines?
What is the best machine for your coffee business?
Of course, the question any coffee business owner should be prioritising is, “What is the best commercial coffee machine for my business?”
Finding the answer to that question is a bit more nuanced because every industry type, every premise and every individual business will have its own unique needs.
There are certain factors that every commercial coffee machine must have to fulfil its role. These include durability, ease of cleaning and serviceability. Your chosen coffee machine will also have to cope with the maximum demand that you will experience. In most commercial coffee environments, you will need an espresso machine with multiple group heads, so that you can have two, three or more baristas pulling shots simultaneously.
Other factors that you will need to base your decision on will include:
- Counter space. A city restaurant with a large serving area may be able to take a large machine with three or four group heads. A pop-up or mobile coffee outlet might only have space for a compact, single-head machine.
- Water supply. Can you access mains water, or will you need a coffee machine with an in-built reservoir. Some machines give you both options.
- Overall budget allocation. Are you better off opting for a mid-range coffee machine, so you can purchase a decent grinder and a steam jug cleaner?
- Feature profile. Do you really need all the bells and whistles, or will you get more bang for your buck with a simpler design?
Some of the best commercial coffee machine brands we recommend researching include:
- La Spaziale (a great, all round machine)
For a decent entry level coffee machine, you won’t go far wrong with an Expobar.
What is the best coffee machine when you’re struggling to recruit or retain baristas?
Whatever your equipment budget, the quality of your shots will only be as good as your baristas. We have found that many commercial coffee outlets are finding it hard to provide consistent quality due to staff turnaround. Top quality baristas are highly sought after and training new recruits to a decent standard takes time.
In this situation, it is worth considering foregoing an espresso machine in favour of a fully automated bean-to-cup machine.
We detailed the advantages of a bean-to-cup machine in our previous blog, ‘Are You Struggling to Recruit or Retain Baristas‘. In summary, bean-to-cup machines:
- Guarantee a higher level of shot consistency (in terms of temperature and overall quality)
- Are easy to clean, often including automatic cleaning and descaling cycles.
- Save space (half the width of an average espresso machine)
- Dispense foamed milk (some have the option to use a steam wand)
- Include individual hoppers and grinders for different types of bean
Hopefully you now have a good idea of some of the top brands as well as the key factors you will need to think about before investing in your first – or next – coffee machine.
For more advice on choosing a machine, See below.