Choosing the Right Machine for Your Coffee Shop
By now, you’ve settled on a location, you’ve designed the layout of your shop – now it’s time to think about equipment! Your coffee machine is a big investment, but it needn’t be daunting to choose which machine is best for your shop. We’re here to help!
Ultimately, you want a machine that’s reliable and can make great coffee – you’ll also want it to suit your shop, and be simple for your staff to use. The right machine will be the hardest working member of your team, and will produce delicious drinks for years to come.
A traditional coffee machine will be the go-to choice for most coffee shops. They will give you ultimate control over the drinks you make, and they’re also what discerning coffee drinkers will expect to see in any coffee shop worth its salt. If coffee is your name to fame and you have trained baristas, I couldn’t recommend a traditional machine more. The quality of the coffee is better, with the ability to serve customers faster and they are easier to maintain. You will need trained baristas to operate an espresso machine. By offering good quality coffee your rapport with customers can only go up. This has the potential to make lifelong customers and increase your profits.
A traditional machine is often more expensive, but it will offer greater temperature consistency which means great coffee all the time! The temperature at which your coffee is brewed has a huge impact on its taste, and these days, espresso machines have the most cutting-edge temperature control technology available. The more cups you make in a day, the more you’ll need to control temperature. A Proportional Integral Derivative (PID) is a sure-fire way to keep your coffee consistent, which will be taken care of in the inner workings of your machine.
Along with temperature control, you’ll want to consider your water source. Espresso machine boilers are designed for dispensing just enough water for a few espressos at a time – these boilers shouldn’t be overwhelmed by trying to make cups of tea etc. For large amounts of boiling water, you’ll want to invest in a separate water boiler. As with the rest of your workspace, make sure that you’ve considered how accessible this boiler will be in service.
Semi-automatic / Bean to Cup
If you don’t have a trained barista serving your coffee, or perhaps expect a high staff turnover, a semi-automatic machine might be the best option for you. They’re much more accessible and require less skill to use than a traditional machine. While they might not give you the precision and control of a traditional machine, a semi-automatic coffee machine shouldn’t be overlooked.
The technology used in these machines has greatly improved in recent years, and they are by far the best option for a lot of locations. They are extremely consistent (with minimal chance for human error) and have a user-friendly approach, which keeps maintenance as easy as possible.
Size & Groups
The number of groups you’ll need on a machine will be determined by the number of cups you make daily. Try to get an idea of how many cups you’ll likely serve in a day. Consider neighbouring shops, your own shop’s capacity, and the turnaround time of your customers. If you have one barista serving coffee, you won’t need more than a 2 group machine.
A compact machine will have a smaller reservoir of water, and might not be suitable for higher volume sites. We wouldn’t recommend a single-group machine for a coffee shop – these are best for home use, or sites where coffee isn’t a focus.
Of course, you will need to consider the space you have to work with – this will often force your hand when it comes to the size of your machine, but that won’t necessarily cause you any problems. With any machine, make sure you have adequately considered water and waste, and electricity supply. We are always available for consultancy when it comes to these things!
Between 100 and 150 cups per day – 2 group (compact)
Between 150 and 250 cups per day – 2 group standard
Between 250 and 350 cups per day – 3 group
Having a budget is important and knowing how much to spend on a coffee machine can save you money in the long run. Machines can cost anywhere from £1,500, all the way up to £20,000! It may feel like a better option to go for something cheaper to start but more often than not they can start costing you more money than an expensive machine due to maintenance.
A more expensive machine will almost definitely outlast a cheaper machine so putting in the investment can be worth it. When budgeting your business, have a set amount just for your coffee machine. There is often added extras you may want, like auto steam wands, cup warmers, shot timers etc. – the list could go on and on… Also keep in mind that payment plans, monthly instalments and rentals are normally options when purchasing a machine. Get in touch to discuss the best option for you.
All machines will need maintenance and it’s important to know how often your machine will need to be serviced. A traditional machine will need to be serviced annually and maintenance will need to be performed to a strict cleaning regime. This is our recommended cleaning schedule for traditional machines – it’s a must-read for any coffee shop owner!
The vast majority of callouts we receive to fix machines are totally avoidable. These repairs are often disruptive and can be an expense that you can really do without. A machine that hasn’t been properly cleaned and maintained will need repairing sooner than one that has. Not only that, but a dirty machine will never give you the quality of coffee that your customers deserve.
Victoria Arduino Eagle One
The Eagle One is designed for a generation of coffee shops that value performance, without compromising on sustainability. Made of 97.5% recyclable materials. Has 30% less energy use than traditional models. Recovers waste water to heat incoming water via a heat exchange Temperature Energy Recovery System.
La Spaziale S5
Excellent when it comes to ease of use. It has an electronically managed water temperature, providing you with the assurance of its accuracy. A right-angled steam wand for fast and easy milk texturing, also lever on-off for ease of use. A medium/high capacity commercial coffee machine suitable for café, restaurants and coffee shops.
La Cimbali S30
The performance capacity of up to 150 consistently high-quality cups per day. A dedicated hopper that can also be split into two so two different powders can be used per time, for even more recipes. S30 can make hot and cold foamed milk and allows the creation of an extended menu with recipes based on coffee, chocolate, hot and cold frothed milk. Both systems are provided with an automatic washing system. Features remote control options and connection with the CUP4YOU app.
The WMF Easy Milk system gives you unparalleled milk foam and temperature consistency. The WMF Plug&Clean fully automated and HACCP certified milk cleaning system. A brandable 8″ touch display for individualised menu settings, instructional cleaning animations. Independent brewing parameters for each coffee hopper. A self-aware system with customisable visual alerts and animations displayed to demonstrate solutions. Self-service functions with a locked menu. Data backup and updates through a USB stick.
We hope that you feel a little more informed when it comes to choosing the right machine for your coffee shop. There are countless options out there, and each location is totally unique – if you want to know more about how to set up your site as efficiently as possible, get in touch for a free quote! To catch up on the rest of the Opening A Coffee Shop series, click here.