Good and solid commercial espresso machines are the backbone of any successful coffee shop, restaurant or cafe. You need a reliable machine that will walk the line with you, standing by your side to make the best coffee your customers have ever had. Quickly and without fuss.
Let’s have a look at the best commercial espresso machine from small to large and a few in-between.
Our Top Picks: Best Commercial Espresso Machines
- BEZZERA MAGICA COMMERCIAL ESPRESSO MACHINE– BEST COMPACT MACHINE
- HANCHEN COMMERCIAL SUPER AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE – BEST COMPACT SUPER AUTOMATIC MACHINE
- RANCILIO CLASSE 7 E2 COM CLASSE 7 ESPRESSO MACHINE – BEST SMALL MACHINE
- NUOVA SIMONELLI APPIA II VOLUMETRIC 2 GROUP ESPRESSO MACHINE – BEST 2 GROUP MACHINE
- NUOVA SIMONELLI AURELIA WAVE DIGIT AUTO VOLUMETRIC ESPRESSO MACHINE – BEST 3 GROUP MACHINE
- LA PAVONI BAR-STAR 4V-B ESPRESSO – BEST 4 GROUP MACHINE
How is Commercial Espresso Machines Different from Domestic Machines?
Commercial machines are made to produce a lot of coffee in a day. It means business, allowing you to serve excellent coffee to paying customers at pace. Similar to domestic espresso machines, you will generally find a few different types of commercial espresso machines. These are semi-automatic, automatic, super-automatic and manual lever machines, the latter being relatively rare. Let’s take a look at the different types of machines below.
Semi-automatic machines are the most common machines used in specialist coffee shops or restaurants.
Using a semi-automatic allows you to control the amount of water used for your cup so these will generally not have an auto-off switch. You’ll need a bit of skill to know when to do what. A good barista will find these easy to use and most have got the timings down to a T.
AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
Automatic machines or two-step machines are very similar to the semi-automatic versions. You grind the coffee, tamp and press the button to get going. The difference is that an automatic machine will stop the water flow by itself based on an internal timer. It’s not a massive difference, but can be handy if you’re multi-tasking and serving customers on your own. You won’t be able to tweak drinks on the go, but if you’re a single person operated small shop this might help you to serve your patrons more effectively.
SUPER AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES
Super-automatic machines take care of the entire process for you. From grinding the beans right through to brewing the espresso. It will automatically pour the right amount of water, ready for you to serve. These machines can be handy if you’re working on your own and don’t have the luxury of a team of staff members. But it will compromise your unique selling point as your coffee won’t be customisable, other than changing the type of bean you use. Super-automatic machines are also used for self-serve drinks. Think of the machines you get in a buffet restaurant that allows you to select from a range of drinks to make for yourself.
Manual Lever Espresso Machines
Manual espresso machines, also called lever espresso machines, can normally be found in two variations; spring piston machines and direct lever machines.
These machines can frustrate and infuriate the inexperienced barista. But they can also make some of the best coffee you’ve ever tasted. Lever machines are very hands-on. It might not be the best choice for a busy coffee shop as you’ll need expert skills to operate them at pace and get the same result time after time.
Choosing Your Commercial Espresso Machine
The biggest considerations when it comes to commercial espresso machines are;
- The amount of coffee you plan on serving during your busiest period in a day as well as the total amount of drinks you make
- The size of the space you have
- Whether you can plumb in the water supply or if you need a version with a water tank
- The skill level of your staff or yourself and the number of staff members you have to help you
- Whether you need convenience or a highly customised coffee drinking experience
- And of course your budget
These factors will all determine the type of machine you buy. We’ve grouped our list from small to large machines, let’s take a look at the options below:
Our Picks: Best Commercial Espresso Machine
Bezzera Magica Commercial Espresso Machine– Best Compact Machine
- Machine style: Semi-Automatic
- Wattage: 1350 Watts
- Water supply: 1/2 Gallon Water Tank
Established in 1901, Bezzera is the oldest espresso brand in the world. The Magica is a great value machine that comes with a two-year warranty. It features the famous E61 group head, which has been the golden standard for high-end espresso machines for over 50 years. This machine will allow you to serve delicious coffee in seconds.
If you’re specifically looking for a plumbed in version of this machine please see the Bezzera Strega that has a switchable tank or plumbed in option.
Made with a stainless steel body it is heated by a classic thermosiphon system. You’ll find it has a durable copper boiler with an internal heating exchange that allows you to make a cup of coffee, frothed milk and water all at the same time.
For operation, you’ll need to pull the lever up to activate the pump, once you’re happy with the amount of coffee in the cup you just pull the lever down and the brewing will stop. The levers operate as joysticks, which is a nice touch, making it easy to use.
This machine has two manometers, the first to show the boiler pressure and the second measures the extraction pressure. The Magica is a good looking and compact machine suitable for a smaller coffee shop that doesn’t need to multi-task too much.
Hanchen Commercial Super Automatic Espresso Machine – Best COMPACT Super Automatic Machine
- Machine style: Super Automatic
- Power: 1250 Watts
- Water supply: Plumbed in or water bottle
Even though this machine is super-automatic, it does have the option to adjust some of the settings, allowing you to customise the coffee you serve. Control the amount of hot water, milk and temperature to fit your needs. It features a touch screen so no button control on here.
It’s quite flexible as you can connect it directly to a water supply, water bottle or water filter. You’ll find it has a 19 bar Italian commercial grade water pump that allows you to easily extract coffee with a good layer of crema on top. This machine has an automatic cleaning programme that will clean the internal circulation.
You’ll find a total of 6 outlets, two for hot water, two for coffee and two for milk allowing you to make two cups at a time with ease.
The milk temperature is adjustable between 75 and 95℃/ 167 to 203℉. The bean box has a capacity of 1/2 lbs and comes with a griding fineness adjustment knob. If you are looking for a similar machine that is not plumbed in, have a look at the Hanchen Super Automatic Espresso Machine.
Rancilio CLASSE 7 E2 COM Classe 7 Espresso Machine – BEST SMALL MACHINE
- Machine style: Automatic
- Wattage: 3000 Watts
The Rancilio is an automatic espresso machine with programmable buttons, which makes this machine a breeze to use in a busy coffee shop or restaurant. It means that you can still have a customised drink with the convenience of an auto shut-off function making it great for a multi-tasking busy shop. Remember to calibrate your machine with coffee in the portafilter.
It’s a heat exchange machine that operates electronically and not mechanically like most heat exchange machines. It has one boiler and is made for tall or regular size cups. It comes with two 2 group heads, each with a two-cup filter holder, a hot water spout and two manual steam wands.
The smart power system makes it energy efficient for a machine this size. It has a pump and steam gauge on the front panel as you’d expect. As it’s a 2 group head machine you’ll find it’s good for making between 70 and 150 cups a day, anything more we suggest you consider a 3 or four group machine.
- Machine style: Automatic / Semi-Automatic
- Wattage: 3400Watts
- Water supply: Plumbed in with drain
The Appia II machine is the updated version from the Appia. It’s a heat exchange machine that is great for smaller cafes. The machine is volumetric which means it has pre-sets that can make your coffee making a lot easier.
The steam wand is pressure sensitive so you can steam alternative milk more delicately. It comes with a cup riser that sits comfortably on the grid tray. This feature might seem small, but it’s really handy during peak times.
You have the choice of pulling shots with the volumetric system or you can also pull your shots manually, giving you some flexibility with this machine. The machine comes with two group heads, two steam wands and hot water. It has an automatic boiler with soft pre-infusion, built-in water pump.
- Machine style: Automatic/Semi-Automatic
- Wattage: 4700 Watts
- Water supply: Plumbed in
The Aurelia Wave is a high tech Volumetric machine, suitable for medium to high volume speciality coffee shops. It can impressively connect to the cloud to collect your coffee making data if you choose. The machine uses smart water technology which allows you to measure the TDS and PH of the water in real-time, giving a warning when there is an issue with the water.
It has the famous Nuova soft infusion system which makes this machine very forgiving. You can choose the timings of the pre-infusion, infusion and post-infusion phases, which can help avoid bitterness within your coffee. This means that you can enhance the flavour and the body of your brew.
With this machine, you can turn high acidity beans into a beautifully sweet brew. It supports all levels of Barrista skills so you don’t need to be an award-winning Barrista to make great coffee with this sizeable gadget. Overall it has three boilers to support its three group heads. The Aurelia is an energy-efficient machine designed to make your life as easy as possible.
This machine will conveniently flush when you remove the portafilter, which is a great time saver. It’s ergonomically designed to help navigate the controls and operation. If you’re into a high tech solution and your budget allows it, then this machine is an absolute blessing.
- Machine style: Automatic
- Wattage: 6555 Watts
- Water supply: Plumbed in
The Pavoni is a 4-group machine, making it a good option for a busy store. It has an independent thermal stability system which allows each of the four groups to operate independently. It comes with a cool safety feature, safeguarding you from overheating issues.
You’ll find it’s electronically programmable with digital control and a microprocessor. The 4V-B includes continuous brewing and an instant stop button. It comes with two steam jets and is proudly made in Italy.
The anti-vacuum eliminates liquids from back flushing into the steam wand and the boiler and pump gauges let you keep an eye on all the brewing vitals with ease.
This machine means business, so if you’re a medium to high volume operation then this is a great find that you’ll treasure during rush hour!
How much does a commercial espresso machine cost?
Commercial espresso machines usually range from between $1000 to over $20 000. The price will depend on the size of the machine, the type and the brand.
How long does a commercial espresso machine last?
Commercial espresso machines will last anything from between 5 and 15 years. Maintaining your machine will, of course, ensure that it lasts as long as possible. Cleaning it regularly and servicing play a vital role when it comes to machine lifespan.
Why are commercial espresso machines so expensive?
Commercial machines are more expensive due to their higher quality components. These machines are made to last and be robust so that you can make a lot of coffee every day. Domestic machines will generally make a few cups of coffee a day where a commercial machine is expected to make enough coffee to serve your paying customers.