Commercial Espresso Machine Choice - Questions

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
cupandcrema

#1: Post by cupandcrema »

Specialty coffee shop is well underway and it's about that time to look at incoming espresso machine equipment. Hoping some techs, cafe owners, or baristas can chime in on here.

Shop is in the California, Bay Area. Small, growing to medium quickly (hopefully) volume cafe. Looking for 2-group recommendations. Tons of gadgets aren't as important as consistency, reliability, and ease of use for less experienced staff (easy learning curve at least).

Short list is:
Sanremo F18/Cafe Racer
Synesso S200
Linea PB
Rocket R9

I like push and forget functionality (volumetric). Pre-infusion would be nice. Look is somewhat important but obviously subjective.

Another huge question I'd love feedback on is any concerns with buying pre-owned with "tankier" heavier duty machines like some of these. Something to worry about? Go for it? Or proceed with extreme caution/don't even think about it?

BuckleyT

#2: Post by BuckleyT »

The short answer is: whom do you trust to repair/maintain your machine(s)? Is there someone available (=distance X expense) for the Sanremo F18/Cafe Racer, the Synesso S200, the Linea PB or the Rocket R9?
Certainly collect machine recommendations but also collect local fix-it shop recommendations.
A machine is only as good as its support system, Especially If You Choose to Buy Used.
B

cupandcrema (original poster)

#3: Post by cupandcrema (original poster) »

Great point. Local service/tech support is critical. I have some digging to do there most definitely.

Milligan

#4: Post by Milligan »

I ended up with a La Marzocco GS3 with the intention for it to find its way into a mini-cafe. Sounds like you are doing a full blown cafe with hopes of quite a bit of volume. It will be the heart of your cafe. So I'd caution going used unless you get it from a reputable espresso machine reseller and they offer some time of service warranty on it. You can go used if you spend the time to research specific machines and know what to look for and then have it inspected by a technician after purchase. I think with all the time needed to properly buy and "bring back" a used machine that you'd be better served buying a new one, unbox it and get moving on the cafe. I'm sure you have access to a ton of dealers in your area.

Since you are in the bay area, it would be worth your time to go to several successful shops and ask how they are liking their machines and, most importantly, the service.

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BaristaBoy E61

#5: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

BuckleyT wrote:The short answer is: whom do you trust to repair/maintain your machine(s)? Is there someone available (=distance X expense) for the Sanremo F18/Cafe Racer, the Synesso S200, the Linea PB or the Rocket R9?
Certainly collect machine recommendations but also collect local fix-it shop recommendations.
A machine is only as good as its support system, Especially If You Choose to Buy Used.
B

+1

I'd add this one to your list if servicing is available:

https://www.chriscoffee.com/products/vi ... lack-eagle
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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MNate
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by MNate »

Have you thought about the Decent machine? It's use in cafe does have some advantages and could be an interesting angle to say you're serious about coffee if you show a display of the graph facing the customer. Not a bad angle in the tech capital of the world. (Although they use Android the company certainly embodies Think Different). You'd buy two machines as they are single group and likely use one to steam while the other is making the shot. A big advantage is if one goes down you still have the other. They can be shipped off for repairs easily, unlike most machines, or you can do much on your own. There are some ways the machine can help your new baristas become more consistent. Mr. Decent himself is in the Bay Area too.

Just another approach but it does have some benefits.

ShotClock
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by ShotClock »

Preface - i have zero experience in commercial coffee.

Why not consider a 3 group lever machine? Seems to be that they are vastly mechanically simpler, probably more reliable, easy to operate, arguably produce a better cup, and maybe most importantly give you some differentiation in an extremely crowded market?

I have no idea why not cafes don't use lever machines, I'm sure that there are good reasons...

ira
Team HB

#8: Post by ira »

Among other things, levers require more training because of the safety concerns and a bit more involvement on the part of the barista than just pressing a button as do the machines he's looking at. Not to say I don't like levers, but they require a level of knowledge and commitment on the part of the owner quite beyond that required for non-lever machines.

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Jeff
Team HB

#9: Post by Jeff »

I would also keep your eyes open for high-end, two-group commercial machines in the local market. With COVID and its impact on face-to-face businesses, there were several multi-group Kees and LM machines that I saw at very attractive prices (as well as many with lesser name recognition) here in the Bay Area.

ShotClock
Supporter ♡

#10: Post by ShotClock »

ira wrote:Among other things, levers require more training because of the safety concerns and a bit more involvement on the part of the barista than just pressing a button as do the machines he's looking at. Not to say I don't like levers, but they require a level of knowledge and commitment on the part of the owner quite beyond that required for non-lever machines.

Thanks for the explanation, makes sense i guess. I'm sure that along with most users here, I'm much more interested in these things than the average punter.

Interestingly, around here the only places that don't have the usual LM or VA machines are an ice cream place that has a huge KvdW Mirage - maybe 4 or 5 groups. Espresso is awful there, the machine seems to be mostly an aesthetic choice.