Entry level commercial espresso machine and grinder

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

#1: Post by CoffeeAficionado »

Hello,

I am looking for a set of commercial espresso machine and a grinder to start practicing pulling shots and latte art at home.

The goal is to open a quality coffee shop in Luxembourg by January 2021. I am mentioning this as it would make sense if the entry level machine can be somehow useful for the cafe business later on.

Experience:
I have read 'The world atlas of coffee' and 'The professional barista's handbook' and took a one week roasting, brewing and barista course at 'The espresso academy' in Florence. Now eager to start pulling shots at home!

Primary idea was to buy the machine to be used in the cafe directly, but as I have no experience at all, this was crossed out. Prefer to have a few months of experimenting at home on a single group machine and then make the final decision on the best buy for the cafe.

Also, knowing that I aim for that perfect shot (to have maximum freedom and control over the extraction) please advice if I should start with a lever or a pump machine? (Or practice on both if it makes sense)

Ideal budget for the first investment would be 5000-7000 eur, with the possibility to stretch up to 10 000 eur.

My motivation:
- genuine affection towards coffee (the more I discover, the more I get hooked up on it)
- lack of quality coffee shops in Luxembourg (desire to share the passion and bring more good coffee possibilities to the like-minded in the area)

All advice is welcome, thank you!

millmountain
Supporter ♡

#2: Post by millmountain »

I like what you're doing, and I'm afraid that some specialty shops might even go out of business in the coming months. I think you'll get good advice from others on your question, but I wanted to encourage you to get as much experience with beans as you are looking for with the machines. Attention to beans is essential to a specialty shop, almost as much as a friendly, knowledgeable barista.

I'm sure you know that, so my real advice is to vary your offering by getting experience with other preparation methods, such as pour over and Aeropress. You'll need to charge more for them due to the longer prep time, but people will like the variety.

Soon enough, you'll be training baristas. :D

CoffeeAficionado

#3: Post by CoffeeAficionado »

Hi there,

I really appreciate the advice on exploring beans first and completely agree with it. Did not mention it on the main post to keep it focused on machine and grinder, as it where I am struggling right now.

Beans and brewing methods is something I already work on. There is a local roaster called Maison Santos. I am slowly exploring the varieties of beans and different roasts that they have while practicing pour-over and V60. Aeropress is next on the to do list. Even here, I am in need of a solid grinder to be able to play with it at home, so hopefully when I get the combo it will be a win-win.

Cheers,

jpsm

#4: Post by jpsm »

CoffeeAficionado wrote:Hello,

I am looking for a set of commercial espresso machine and a grinder to start practicing pulling shots and latte art at home.

The goal is to open a quality coffee shop in Luxembourg by January 2021. I am mentioning this as it would make sense if the entry level machine can be somehow useful for the cafe business later on.

Experience:
I have read 'The world atlas of coffee' and 'The professional barista's handbook' and took a one week roasting, brewing and barista course at 'The espresso academy' in Florence. Now eager to start pulling shots at home!

Primary idea was to buy the machine to be used in the cafe directly, but as I have no experience at all, this was crossed out. Prefer to have a few months of experimenting at home on a single group machine and then make the final decision on the best buy for the cafe.

Also, knowing that I aim for that perfect shot (to have maximum freedom and control over the extraction) please advice if I should start with a lever or a pump machine? (Or practice on both if it makes sense)

Ideal budget for the first investment would be 5000-7000 eur, with the possibility to stretch up to 10 000 eur.

My motivation:
- genuine affection towards coffee (the more I discover, the more I get hooked up on it)
- lack of quality coffee shops in Luxembourg (desire to share the passion and bring more good coffee possibilities to the like-minded in the area)

All advice is welcome, thank you!
Hi! I was in your exact same position during november of 2018 and I decided on getting a gs3. Is your 10000euro investment for the shop or just your first machine/grinder that can be later used in shop?

A year later and I am able to do "decent"(atleast by my standard) latte art and I am confident enough I can run my cafe if my baristas do not show up for work. My area has 0 specialty coffee shop that is why i decided on opening a cafe. I was supposed to open this week but with the whole virus thing I have to move it to next month or until the government says it is safe already. I started with a gs3 and eureka 75e and after 6 months went to v60 as this is what I wanted to serve inshop so I got an ek43s and i got an additional e65s for my single origin espresso. Initially I just wanted a 1 group since my idea was to keep seating to a minimum but I was worried of getting slammed and worried if my machine breaks down I would be forced to close so I got a 2 group also and will be using my gs3 for caterings and will do some crash courses for people who want to learn more about coffee. If you get a 1 group also, you can add another 1 group incase you expect more customers. I did not go this route because I wanted to do caterings as well and I wanted the 2 group to be the heart and soul of my cafe instead of a 1 group machine. If you are new to coffee like me I dont suggest getting anything with like pre infusion or pressure profiling as this just complicates stuff and you can get tasty coffee with the normal 9 bars IMHO of course. Maybe later on I will dive into the rabbit hole of learning those stuff but right now I am really happy with what I am getting.

Just want to let you know that I spent twice the money I thought I needed because personally I did not want to settle for mediocre so I got the best coffee equipment like cups(acme and loveramics), scales(acaia only)and rinsers etc and decided to open a small kitchen as well for those who want something to eat but mainly I plan on selling more coffee vs food.

If you have any questions I would love to help! :D

User avatar
slipchuck

#5: Post by slipchuck »

I think living in Europe you can't go wrong with a La Cimbali as they are from what people told me they are bulletproof with lots of parts and service around. The cimbali jr would be a minimum for your cafe


Good luck


Randy
“There is nobody you can’t learn to like once you’ve heard their story.”

CoffeeAficionado

#6: Post by CoffeeAficionado »

Hello,

Thank you for the detailed reply, its really helpful. I agree that it is better to go for solid equipment from the very beginning, which is why the struggle here. The lack of experience makes it much more difficult to make the right choice to begin with.

Now, in ideal scenario, this 10 000 eur investment would bring the basic equipment (of a decent quality) that I need to start pulling shots at home and prepare for the market. What would be even better is if this equipment can be useful for the cafe later on, either as a plan b option in case the other machine breaks, or as an additional machine to help the workflow.

Now the question is if it makes more sense to increase the investment and buy a two group machine such as the linea pb right away and start getting accommodated with it, or go for the gs3 and take things gradually. Also, do you think that one grinder can be suitable for both, espresso and brewing for the practicing phase (if we take into consideration that I would divide it per days, one batch of coffee to seek for the perfect espresso, the next one to practice brewing). If so, which of the ones you mentioned would fit best?

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Regarding the la cimbali jr, is the endurance and lots of parts to service around the deciding point when comparing it to la marzocco, or there are more crucial pros/cons. If so, can you share the most important according to you?

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Also, does someone have experience with lever espresso machines, and would you recommend it for a cafe?

A while ago, I got pretty excited for la marzocco leva s/x but there were two issues:
- the service (someone would have to fly in to repair it in Luxembourg)
- the time it takes to pull a shot (almost double compared to a regular pump machine) - might disturb the workflow in the cafe if used as a main machine

It might be widening the topic a bit, but I would like to close this dilemma as well. Generally I find manual process where there is maximum control over the extraction to be more attractive to me, and this machine seems to offer a combo of high-tech and old school methodology. I am just not sure if it would work out in a regular cafe-setting.

In order to save more and pay my bills meanwhile, I have another job to attend to while preparing for the cafe, which means - no possibility to do an internship, or work in a cafe for a while to get the taste of the workflow. It is the reason why I am aiming to buy the equipment and practice at home.

Cheers,