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How To Plumb a Coffee Machine

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Dean Cartwright

14th Nov 2021

4 minutes for reading

Are you a bar, restaurant or coffee shop owner preparing to install your first espresso machine? This can be a daunting time, especially if you don’t have experience in engineering.

However, the task can be broken down into three main steps: choosing an appropriate surface, connecting the power supply and plumbing in to the water mains.

Here is what you need to do:

Choosing the best work surface

As with installing any machine, planning where you’re going to put your espresso machine is the first consideration. You don’t want to be changing your mind half way through installation.

At Cartwright Coffee, we always recommend installing your machine so that the barista is facing the customer. This makes sense from both a customer service and security angle. Give yourself room on either side of the machine for preparing drinks and house barista tools. If you have two grinders, place one on either side of the machine so two people can use them at the same time.

The load bearing capacity of your work surface is important. While the actual weight of your machine will depend on the make, model and how many group heads it has, you should install your machine on a surface that can support at least 100kg in weight.

We recommend a solid wood surface. This will make it easier to drill a waste water access hole. We will cover this part of the installation later in the article.

Providing a suitable power supply

Your coffee machine will need its own dedicated power supply. You should be able to access and isolate this supply quickly so don’t hide it behind the machine or box it away in a cupboard.

Don’t second guess the power consumption. The manufacturer will have all the information you need including your machine’s power rating and whether it needs a single phase or three phase supply.

By following the specifications to the letter, your machine can perform at full capacity and recover, even during your busiest times.

Even a 13 amp coffee machine should have its own supply. Don’t run it off the same supply as your bar fridge or dishwasher. This can lead to trips and uneecessary call out charges. We also recommend that grinders are given their own supply.

Water and drainage

Supply your machine with cold, potable mains water isolated with a three quarter inch washing machine tap. Make sure the supply is no further than 1m from your machine and that the route is clear and unobstructed (no cupboards, walls or shelves in between). You will need a water filter to keep your water and machine free from limescale, odour and contaminants. Leave 500mm clearance to install this on your machine.

In terms of drainage, if your machine waste is being plumbed directly into the mains waste, you will need to install a trap/s-bend directly underneath the machine. Since the water will flow using gravity, use the most direct route.

If your coffee machine is not being plumbed directly into the mains waste, we recommend you install a shelf underneath the machine for a removable waste water container. Take this out and clean it at least daily.

Espresso machines (and some bean-to-cup machines) will require a waste drainage access hole. This should be approximately 60 to 70mm and located around the centre of the machine’s desired location, towards the back. Due to the flexibility of the hoses, this doesn’t have to be too precise.

Please bear in mind that if Cartwright Coffee are installing your machine, our engineers are only equipped to drill through wood or MDF. Where other materials cover the surface (brass, stainless steel, slate, marble, etc.) you will need to ensure the hole has been drilled beforehand.

Cartwright Coffee Limited will only drill your work surface with the proprietor’s permission (or the permission of their agent). We are unable to take any responsibility for issues caused due to drilling your work surface.

First time installation or upgrading?

If you haven’t yet decided on the right machine for you, make sure you visit our Commercial Coffee Machines page. If you need any assistance in choosing or installing your machine, please get in touch.