Looking for the best espresso coffee maker that is able to handle the hustle and bustle of your café? We at Freshpresso have reviewed several options and these are top recommendations based on different needs
Buying a commercial espresso maker can be a tricky task as there are multiple factors to consider. You need something that is able to handle the high volume at your ‘peak hour’ and is convenient enough to be operated by two people at a time.
However, if you are just starting out or run a low volume café, as espresso maker that consistently gets the job done would be good enough.
Finally, if you are looking for a solution for your office, you need something that is fast and convenient. Super Automatics are obviously the most recommended espresso makers for office settings. And most importantly, you need to think of all of that and keep it under your budget.
We have Freshpresso have made the job easier for you and we bring you the best in each of these categories. Our recommendations have been carefully selected and currently are industry leaders in the commercial espresso segment.
Here is what you should get…
Have you ever thought of getting a personal barista to make all the coffee house drinks in your office? With the Prima Donna, you get pretty close to that. All you need to do is press a button, and your favourite drink will be brewed fresh. Here is everything about your countertop barista –
First up, the DeLonghi Prima Donna features a 50-pound integrated bean hopper at the top. This grinds fresh beans and does so relatively fast. This is made possible because of stainless steel construction and powerful blades found in high-end coffee grinders. You can adjust the grind size (12 options), however, we recommend to use ‘8-10’ value while making espresso or lattes.
Next, up, the internal heating element, pushes hot water to the freshly grounded beans. The Primma Donna is powered by DeLonghi’s top of the line brew group which keeps the pressure and temperature constant for the entire brewing cycle. You can adjust the temperature if you want to experiment with the flavour but for convenience, we will recommend you to keep it at factory settings.
Next, up, the user simply has to touch the button of the drink he or she wants to brew. You can choose from regular espresso to cappuccino or latte (and even latte macchiato).
To sum it up, the Prima Donna is designed for convenient and effortless brewing. It takes care of everything a barista would from tamping to pressure adjustment and uses advance technology to ensure flavorful extraction. And all you have to do is push a button, click a selfie or two and you have your favourite drink right in front of you.
The Prima Donna also has some neat adjustment features which help you brew coffee according to your taste –
Like we said earlier, the Prima Donna can brew coffee for different people and the multiple settings options are what makes that possible.
There is an issue with the heating element for the milk frother, and the temperature of the milk is somewhat inconsistent. It is acceptable if you are making a latter or cappuccino but for hot chocolate, the temperature is somewhat on the lower side.
Second, with a large footprint, it might cause slight inconvenience if you are running low on countertop space. But with front pulling water reservoir, it is just a one-time hassle.
If you are looking for a convenient coffee solution for your office, then this covers all the checkmarks. It brews delicious espresso, comes with a host of settings, maintenance is a breeze and it is housed by rugged exterior. With powerful internals, it can also support large volume and all day operation.
In the market of commercial grade super automatic espresso maker, the DeLonghi Prima Donna is the best bang for your buck.
Breville has been surprising a lot of baristas in the recent years and their top of the line flagship, Oracle falls into the same line. It offers incredible value, comes with a host of convenience features and is powered by quality dual boilers which (with regular descaling) will continue to function flawlessly for years. Here is our full review
The Breville Oracle is capable of handling everything from grinding fresh beans and automatically tamping it. You just have to place the portafilter into the brew head, select the volume and it will automatically start brewing the perfect espresso shot.
How does it help?
Well with the integrated grinder you don’t have to invest on a commercial grade grinder and plus you save on much-needed countertop space. We have no complaints with the quality also and it gets the jobs done, day in and day out.
You can choose the coarseness of the grind too. This helps you get the perfect espresso grind but if you offer some varied drinks you can experiment with the size of the grind.
Auto Tamping is another game changing feature. You can adjust the pressure of the tamp and choose the duration of the tamp. This lets you choose the perfect setting that works for you. And when you are swamped with orders, this feature helps you save some time.
It is also particularly helpful with an inexperienced barista because a proper tamp is crucial to pull a rich espresso shot.
But is there any problem?
Unfortunately, yes! The grinder works perfectly 99% of the times but the success rate is not as high with the auto tamper. It tends to overdose the portafilter with more coffee grinds than its capacity. This forces you to manually remove the coffee from the top otherwise it fails to fit on the brew head.
So what is the solution?
Well, the obvious solution is manual tamping and you will have all the control. There is no problem with the grind size and you just need to tamp and attach the portafilter to the brew head.
The second is experimenting with the pressure of the auto tamp as well as the duration. You need to find a setting that works perfectly for you and stick with it. This drastically reduces the problem of overdosing to almost 1 in 100.
Yes, this machine is powered by two powerful stainless steel boilers. This has the obvious benefit of steaming as well as brewing espresso at the same time, but to add to that, the construction of the boiler improves the quality of the espresso too.
The temperature remains constant till the last drop is extracted and this helps in brewing an espresso that doesn’t taste sour and is covered by a rich layer of crema.
Can I control anything with the brew?
Well yes. You can easily change temperature and the pressure of the boilers. This helps you experiment with flavour and thus gives you the option to brew custom drinks. It even comes with PID which keeps the temperature and pressure constant with zero fluctuations.
That’s it, Right?
There is one thing more and this is probably THE unique feature of the Breville Oracle. You can brew a whole cup of Americano with just a touch of a button. You can control the espresso dosage as well as the volume of water. You can choose from six different settings.
This feature is particularly helpful in the morning when there is a large demand for black coffee. Simply touch this button and while the Americano is being brewed you can work on that perfect sandwich to complete the order.
‘Time saved = More Orders’
With the Oracle, you can steam milk in two ways. First, if you like to have complete control, you can easily froth milk on your own. The steaming boiler is powerful and the milk gets heated up fairly quickly.
But the game changer is Auto-froth.
Well, apart from completely automating the steaming process there are two added features. First, you can control the amount of froth. This helps you choose the right amount of froth for different drinks like Lattes and cappuccinos.
The more impressive feature is the temperature sensor. You can froth milk to the temperature you like. So for one drink you can keep it 180 degrees but for the second drink, you can keep it as high as 200 degrees.
This helps you automate the steaming for different kinds of drinks and if there is something you don’t like you can go the old school way i.e. manually frothing your milk.
And yes, once it is done frothing it will automatically purge any additional steam. This prevents sucking in any milk when you use it for steaming your next drink.
This machine comes with a lot of features that give you greater control over the brew. But they are slightly difficult to understand. For example, to change the amount of froth you have to choose from a value such as 1,2 or 3. This can be difficult for the first time user to understand.
The obvious solution is to go through the manual that comes with the machine. But we will also recommend spending some time getting accustomed to different settings before you pick the ones that work for your café.
The second problem pertains to the size of the dual boilers. They require some time to descale. If you have a volume of less than 100 drinks per day, you can descale once every two weeks. Anything in the range of 100-200, then descaling once a week is highly recommended.
You obviously have to make use of filters but even after that, the boilers of the Oracle are prone to scale formation.
The Breville Oracle has a host of features and they work as desired most of the time. This makes it an incredibly convenient machine. And when you consider all of that with a price of less than 2000$ this is easily the best bang for your buck.
It all boils down to volume. If you get about 150 orders per day, then this machine is clearly the recommended option. Anything more than that and you will be stretching it.
If you are low on budget but still need something that can pull out consistent espresso shots and can handle large volume in a single day, then the Profitec Pro 700 is our recommended option. It packs all the firepower in a relatively smaller footprint, and its construction is hands down the best at the price point. Here is our complete review –
You get a dedicated 0.75-liter boiler for brewing. With stainless steel construction this is built to handle large volume and with a layer of insulated foam over the boiler, there is maximum heat retention.
The water is passed through the latest brew group by Profitec, the E-61, which is also heated. This is done to for consistent temperature control, necessary for pulling rich espresso shots.
Next, you can monitor the temperature of the brew boiler as well as the steam boiler through the small display on the front. You can also change the temperature and pressure, and this is particularly helpful if you are making custom coffee drinks.
Finally, when the espresso is being pulled, you get a timer on the display. This helps if you are making different sized drinks and use it as a guide for volume. (For examples 15 seconds for a regular size and 20 seconds for large).
The Pro 700 has everything covered for pulling a consistent espresso shot and can easily pull in 200-300 shots a day.
Powered by a 2-liter stainless steel boiler the Profitec 700 is a complete beast when it comes to frothing. To froth a 20 oz. pitcher, it takes about 15 seconds to generate a consistent froth.
The wand comes with a four-hole tip which provides an all around circulation and apart from the quick froth action, it results in a consistent froth throughout. Currently, at the 3000$ price mark, the Pro 700 gives the most consistent layer of froth. (Ideal for all day cappuccinos and lattes).
You also get an additional wand to dispense hot water.
Like any commercial grade machine, regular cleaning is a must. After you the restaurant is closed, clean the portafilter by unclogging the pores, and rinse the brew head by adding a cleaning solution.
The biggest challenge is descaling. Since the Pro 700 houses two high-capacity boilers it is prone to scale deposits. To minimalize this installing a filter with your water supply is highly recommended.
On the plus side, the pro 700 has a clear internal layout. If any part starts to malfunction, you can easily replace it. Even if you are terrible with tools, the service guys can make the necessary replacements within 2 hours. This ensures that you have zero downtime, which is a huge bonus.
The Pro 700 is a well-designed espresso machine and there is no major flaw to point at. There are few minor hassles which can be easily addressed.
First, this machine takes some time to be ready for brewing when you power it up. The high-capacity boilers take about 20-30 minutes before you can pull espresso shots. However, you can power it up when you come into your restaurant and while you are busy with cleaning and getting things in order, the pro 700 will be ready to go.
Secondly, it is recommended to connect this to a water supply. The capacity of the water reservoir is fairly low (30 litres) and also it located at an inconvenient location which makes refill harder.
Lastly, as discussed before descaling the Pro 700 takes time. Depending on your volume and water quality, you need to set 3-4 hours for descaling every second week.
In summary, the Profitec Pro 700 is a top class espresso maker. The barista can control the brew, the temperature and pressure stay consistent, rich froth is generated and with the powerful build, this machine can handle large volume.
However, if your restaurant gets hundreds of orders every day, then this not the best choice and something like Aurelia II would be recommended, but if you get 200-300 orders throughout the day, then this deserve a place in your kitchen.
The official espresso maker for the World Barista Championship, the Aurelia II is in a league of its own. It has all the muscle and power to handle large volume each day and with tons of features, you have complete control over brewing. Here is our review of the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II –
If you are all about maintaining quality and providing the best taste to your customers, then the Aurelia II will be your knight in shining armour. This baby pulls out consistent shots of espresso every time you make one.
There are three things that make it possible –
Also, you can operate the two group heads at the same time, so if you are swamped with orders this machine will pull out the same quality espresso shots from both the group heads.
With the volumetric version of the Aurelia II, you can control the volume of espresso pulled with dedicated buttons. This is helpful for café with different kinds of espresso based drinks.
Over each group head, you get 5 dedicated buttons which can be programmed. This helps you to control the espresso volume for both single and double shots drinks. This is even helpful to automate for different sizes of drinks like medium and large. This is basically a convenience feature, and if you are offering several drinks is your coffee shop with different sizes, these options help to automate things.
Secondly, you can easily change the pressure and the temperature. The factory settings come with the recommended and standard value but if you have your own recipe or want to experiment, then the Aurelia 2 gives you all the options.
Steaming on this is super fast and convenient. Since it is powered by dual boilers it takes about 15 seconds to generate a rich layer of froth and it can be done even when espresso is being pulled.
Another nifty feature is the LED lights, which come in super handy if you are working in a dark environment. There is one directly over the steaming wand (on both group heads) and this lets you see and monitor the froth.
Finally, it comes with the standard security features and the steaming wand is equipped with cold touch technology which prevents any burns and makes cleaning super easy.
With any commercial grade espresso machine, cleaning is a must and this is also the case with Aurelia II.
We recommend rinsing the water out with a cleaning solution every day after the café is closed. This helps in cleaning the leftover grounds and also releases all the oil that comes with espresso extraction. Apart from that, the cleaning the wand and portafilter to remove any deposits is also recommended daily.
Once a week you can go for deep cleaning by removing the screws from the group head and cleaning it from the inside.
With the instruction manual you get with the machine, you are told about all the recommended cleaning needs and it is recommended to go through them before installation.
Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II can be regarded as the Ferrari of coffee machines. And its true power can be realised only if it is allowed to flex its muscles. What we mean by this is this espresso machine finds its place only in high-end café shops where the demand is always high.
If you are brewing 300-500 cups a day, then this machine is a must have. It has all the bells and whistles to give the barista complete control over extraction, convenient features help in automatic speciality and different sized drinks and with its industrial grade construction, it can handle everything you throw at it.
If you decide to get it, make sure you invest in a quality coffee grinder. For this model, we will recommend Nuova Simonelli MDX manual coffee grinder.
The Accademia is our go-to recommendation for offices who are looking for a super automatic espresso maker. It can be customized as per your taste, has the strongest build among commercial grade super automatics and cleaning this is child’s play. Here is our full review of the Gaggia Accademia –
The Accademia is a super convenient machine and the biggest reason for that is its programming prowess. You just have to choose the options you like and it will take care of the rest.
Firstly, you can make six different kinds of drinks on the Accademia – Regular American Black Coffee, Espresso (Single and double shot), Cappuccino, Latte and Latte Macchiato. It can even pour hot milk and water if you are having a craving for hot chocolate or tea.
So What is the Big deal?
Well, the big deal is easily the control you have each of this. Here are the different options provided by the Accademia –
Another cool feature is you can the alter the flow of the coffee being poured. This is helpful when you brewing regular black coffee.
With the Accademia, you get three different timer settings and the machine will automatically turn on the time you set.
Overall, you have all the control, the machine takes care of everything and the coffee tastes good, nine out of ten times. (Not Bad, eh?)
The Gaggia Accademia has some of the advanced cleaning features for the brewer and milk carafe.
Firstly, you get the auto clean option right on the machine, which helps to flush out all the grounds which get stuck while coffee is being brewed. You can add a descaling solution to the water reservoir and this helps to clean the boilers. (The machine alerts you whenever there is a need for cleaning).
All the coffee pucks (which have been extracted for espresso) are deposited in a small compartment which can hold pucks for up to ten brewing cycles.
The milk carafe also comes with auto clean functionality and automatically purges excess steam after the process is completed. Finally, the brew group is also removable and to clean you simply have to place it under running water for about 10 minutes.
The build quality is impressive both on the inside and the outside. It comes with a stainless steel housing which gives the internals added protection and also keeps the temperature in check.
The boilers used are also made of stainless steel and are used in some high-end Gaggia Semi-Automatic espresso makers too.
Firstly, with the Gaggia Accademia you get a wand that can be used for manually steaming your milk. The quality of this wand is below average and doesn’t produce enough pressure to properly froth milk. We will only recommend this to dispense hot water for tea or oatmeal.
Secondly, you can dispense hot milk, but it is not that hot. The temperature of milk is suitable for drinks like lattes but for hot chocolate we will still recommend using your stovetop.
The Accademia has everything you want in a high-end super automatic espresso maker. You get tons of options, you can program your drinks and it is super easy to operate.
It easily finds its place in an office kitchen as it can brew different styles of drinks and with a sturdy build this will continue to perform without much maintenance.
If coffee is not the main attraction of your restaurant or you have started a small café, there is no need to spend on a crazy high volume espresso machine. You need something that is consistent enough to pull rich espresso shots and does a good job at steaming too. The Stella by Magister falls into that category and is the best espresso maker in the sub 1500$ category. Here is everything you need to know about this –
The Stella has heart of gold inside of it. By ‘heart of gold’, we mean the E61 brew group, which remains to be one of the preferred brew group among baristas. The boiler used in the Stella heats water close to 200 degrees and that is maintained by the E61 brew group till the last drop of espresso is extracted. What’s the result? A bold shot of espresso (that doesn’t taste sour) and it is covered by a foamy layer of crema.
Furthermore, with the stainless steel boiler and brass E61 brew group, quality of espresso shot remains the same from day 1 to day 1000. The only thing you need to is to do is periodic maintenance including backflushing every second week with solutions like Urnex Espresso Machine Cleaning tablets.
With the Magister Stella, you don’t get a separate boiler for steaming but it derives its power from the 1.3-liter boiler which works on heat exchange technology. Clearly, the capacity is not what you get on some high-end machines like Profitec Pro 700. But does it get the job done? Absolutely!
The steaming prowess is enough to generate consistent foam for cappuccinos and lattes, and it can easily handle a volume of 20-25 drinks per hour.
It is also insulated so there is no risk of burning your hand and with regular cleaning you won’t encounter any servicing issues.
Finally, you also get a wand on the right which can be used to dispense hot water.
There is nothing to pinpoint about this machine and you are getting what you pay for. However, there are one or two things which would have added incredible value to the Stella.
You cannot change the temperature and pressure in the Stella. It remains constant and is in line with the recommended settings for espresso extraction. This restricts you to experiment with flavour and you cannot try out custom recipes. Having said that, we have absolutely no complaints with the espresso extraction and frothing ability of the Stella.
Secondly, this is completely a manual machine. You don’t have any convenient features like auto clean or volumetric control. To operate this requires skill and before you start to use it in your café, we recommend making a few drinks to get accustomed to it.
In terms of quality, the Stella gets high ratings – sturdy build, delicious espresso and powerful steaming. Its boiler is powerful enough to handle low volume and even in your peak hour, it can brew 25-30 shots. In the whole day, it can handle 150 shots easily and you can even stretch it to 200 on really busy days. If your café or restaurant falls into this category, then we will surely recommend this.
Also pairing it up with a good coffee grinder is a must. (Our recommendation – Baratza Virtuoso).
If you think that your volume will grow, we would recommend to increase your budget and invest in something like Profitec Pro 700 which can handle much more volume.
There is a lot of research that you need to put in before you buy a commercial grade espresso maker. You need to buy one that fits the need of your café, you are able to make custom drinks on it and finally, it should fit your budget. Apart from that, there are many variables that need to be taken into account.
We have Freshpresso have considered all of these and we have prepared the ultimate buying guide for buying the perfect espresso maker.
The first question that you need to address is your ‘need’. And by the need, we mean what will be the volume in your café. In this, there are two factors that you need to consider –
Peak Hour – This is that particular hour of the café where you get the maximum orders for coffee. For a high volume café, this can even range to 150-250 orders in a single hour. This volume can only be handled by a beast of a machine. Something with a powerful boiler that can keep the water heated for more than an hour and brew espresso shots one after the other. And it needs to do that every day for years.
Such a machine would obviously come at a cost and our no. 1 favourite in this category is the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric Espresso Maker.
All Day Volume – This depends on the no. of orders you get throughout. For a big café, this can range anywhere from 200 drinks to 400 drinks per day. A budget recommendation in this category is the Profitec Pro 700.
But, if you are just starting out or a coffee is not the main attraction of your restaurant, then a low volume espresso maker will work just fine. It should be able to handle 100-150 drinks per day and should be relatively easy to use. Our top recommendation in this regard will be the Breville Oracle Espresso Maker which even comes with an integrated grinder.
And yes one thing that baristas or café owners tend to ignore are the coffee grinders. You need a grinder that needs to compliment your espresso maker. If you are running a high volume espresso maker, you’ll need a high volume coffee grinder.
This boils down to the features you are looking for your espressos maker. There are two broad categories in espresso makers when we talk about convenience –
Super Automatic – These are basically one touch machines which give you complete coffee house drinks (like lattes and cappuccinos) by just a touch of a button. Usually, we don’t recommend such machines to cafes or restaurants as they take complete control away from the barista and there is nothing much you can do in terms of flavour.
However, these machines are a perfect fit for offices. Your employees will save a trip to Starbucks and will get better drinks (yes we compared the taste) right from your Kitchen. Furthermore, since these are just one touch machines, you just have to choose your favourite beverage and let the machine do all the magic.
If you are looking for a high volume option, then the best choice would be the DeLonghi Prima Donna but Gaggia Accademia would be the best budget option.
Semi Automatic – These are the traditional coffee house machines, which needs to be operated by a barista.
In this also certain machines like the Aurelia II or the Profitec Pro 700 offer many features to the users like pressure and temperature control, quality control etc. These features help you experiment with flavour and also offer custom drinks to your customers.
But if you just need a quality espresso maker which handles the basic (pulling espresso and steaming milk) then something like Magister Stella will be a great choice.
This is probably the ultimate factor that you need to consider, but there are a few pointers that will help you make a more informed decision. This depends on what is your current state and the primary reason for buying an espresso maker –
So this is everything about a commercial espresso maker from recommendations to a full-fledged buying guide. If you still have a doubt, simply comment below and our team will get back to you with a solution.