Espresso has been firmly entrenched in the Australian coffee culture since World War II. As a café owner wishing to capitalize on this growing global trend, choosing the right espresso machine for your business may be the most daunting task of all.
Types of Espresso Machines
Based on your business preferences and customer needs, there are two general types of espresso machines to choose from.
This is the “do it all for you” machine and boasts the advantage of having the espresso machine do everything for you. No grinding, tamping, or extracting is required.
Just add the beans to the bean hopper and press a button. Simple, fast, and efficient espresso!
This machine was tailored for the “do it your way” crowd and allows you much more control over the quality of the brew. This type requires the more refined skills of baristas that know how to grind, tamp, and tweak the look and feel of the espresso.
Although these machines require some extra time and effort, they do allow you the privilege of designing the espresso the way your customer wants.
The Right Machine for You
When choosing the perfect espresso machine to satisfy your customers, many factors come into play that will help shape your decision.
Consider the following questions to help narrow down your choice…
What type of business are you?
A business that is based on the serving of espresso-based beverages like cappuccinos and lattes can expect to make the majority of sales through these items. A busy café would require a larger espresso machine than most restaurants due to the higher frequency of coffee orders.
A smaller machine is usually sufficient to meet the demands of coffee-loving patrons. Most coffee and espresso requests usually come at the end of the meal and only make up a small portion of total sales.
What is the skill level of your staff?
Employees that have little experience preparing espresso-based beverages fall into this category. Grinding, tamping, or brewing a shot will be things that they are unfamiliar with. Extensive training or a super-automatic machine that prepares espressos at the simple touch of a button may be your best choice here.
Staff with this skill level will be comfortable explaining and preparing the variety of espresso drinks. However, maintaining consistency and quality may be your biggest challenge.
Super-automatic espresso machines may still be your best bet to ensure uniformity with your beverages.
These are your barista-type employees who are passionate about making a good brew and can consistently pull fabulous espresso shots. They may even be skilled in the gift of latte art.
Semi-automatic machines would be a breeze for your baristas to operate and allow them to tailor the espresso to their customers’ desires.
How much counter space do you have?
If your counter space is restricted, you may want to consider a super-automatic machine that has a tighter footprint than a semi-automatic one. These models tend to compact the built-in grinders with the coffee bean hoppers which help minimize the amount of space needed to hold the machine. Some models only require 30 cm of space.
The larger semi-automatic espresso machines tend to occupy a larger amount of counter space. A typical 3-group espresso machine with external grinders may require up to 140 cm.
If space is not at a premium and you have skilled staff to operate your machine, this may be your best bet.
Choosing the right espresso machine is not an easy decision but after answering these questions, you should have a better idea of what is best for your business.