Pro-sumer espresso machine for work environment (~10 users)

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.

Postby delete000 » Feb 11, 2019, 12:09 pm

Hi all,

I am looking for recommendations on a pro-sumer level machine, to be used by ~10 members of a research group in a university, that fulfills the following criteria:

  • allows espresso enthusiasts to pull decent shots,
  • is easy to use for non-enthusiasts that simply want to be caffeinated,
  • has a reasonably good steam wand,
  • is heavy duty, i.e., can survive moderate day-long use with little maintenance for as long as possible, and
  • costs less than $2000.
All criteria are roughly equally important.

I have read several reviews on this and other websites, but the setting here is somewhere between home and professional usage, and I am wondering whether there are machines that fit this profile?

The long story: We currently have a Breville Dual Boiler, which is malfunctioning. We have had to have it repaired twice for what I suspect is a heating element issue (trips GFCI in outlet while heating up). Breville were kind enough to do it for free both times, but are asking for $499 now, so I am considering whether we should instead upgrade to a more heavy-duty machine. In total, we were able to get 2.5 years out of the BDB. I think part of the reason for the issues we've had with this machine is that it stays on for pretty much the entire day, and also ends up being used after its daily backflush, due to people's different schedules. Ideally, it would be good to graduate to a machine that can withstand this sort of "abuse" (scientists are rather undisciplined....).

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Postby baristainzmking » Feb 11, 2019, 1:50 pm

In your price range,I would consider La Spaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi II. It checks all your boxes and Chris Coffee offers a 3 year warranty on it. ... ldi-ii.htm


Postby JonF » Feb 11, 2019, 1:50 pm

Here is one option would fit into a work environment: ... ldi-ii.htm

You can get plumbed or order the mini with a tank. For work, I think the concept of having programmed volumetric would be handy--no one can leave accidentally drain the machine by leaving a valve open or switch on. Buttons are logical and well marked. You can order (optional) a timer so that it's warm in the morning, but shuts off automatically at the end of the day. At home I couple this with a grinder programmed to deliver a single or double dose, so both grinding and shot volume are automated.

EDIT: LOL, typing my reply at the same time!]

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Postby mivanitsky » Feb 11, 2019, 2:48 pm

Londinium R is perfect in a work environment, but exceeds your price by a bit. I'd look at midrange prosumer dual boilers like La Spaziale, or good HX, such as Profitec 600 or Rocket equivalent.

In the work break room environment, I strongly suggest banning the use of the steam wand, as hygiene will be an issue, and eventually, someone will suck milk into the boiler.


Postby jgood » Feb 11, 2019, 3:09 pm

I would am not sure that 10 folks of varying abilities can share a machine! But, that said, most all prosumer machines are designed to stay on all day -- my Quickmill does that without complaint. Is there someone who is willing to be responsible for maintenance? I doubt that without that any machine will be satisfactory. I would advise against a HX as the temp management for the barista is a little trickier than a double boiler. The other caveat is that as these machines are heavy, most minor repair is done by the user, under the guidance of the dealer, even under warranty, as the shipping costs are high -- unless you have a local dealer. All things to consider. As well as a grinder - do you have one - and if so what? But I believe that most of the established prosumer brands are better built and more durable than the Breville.


Postby delete000 » Feb 11, 2019, 3:30 pm

Thanks for the replies, and apologies for miscategorizing the thread.

I am the one responsible for maintenance. I realize that 10 users is a lot, and that this can lead to compromises in machine lifetime and coffee quality, but there is not much control over this. I even considered a two-machine strategy, but I believe it is doomed to fail, as people will just use the better one believing it will magically make better coffee with zero effort.

We have a Rancilio Rocky grinder.

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Postby Nunas » Feb 11, 2019, 4:52 pm

I suggest you need a DB/volumetric machine, which is essentially what you now have. As others have pointed out, La Spaziale makes these, alas most are a bit more money than your budget. However, they often come on sale at fairly good discount, putting them within striking distance.

Now, for making good and consistent espresso, I suggest you also upgrade your grinder, ideally to one that can dose programmed shots. The Rocky is tough, but no longer considered to be anywhere near state of the art. Changing the grinder will make more difference than changing the machine. Although I really like my Sette 270Wi, and it would do a great job paired with a La Spaziale, the jury is out on how long it would last in a setting like yours (10 persons, several coffees a day...that's quite a lot for a plastic grinder).

Of course, changing both the grinder and the machine will add another $1000 or so to your budget :( .


Postby MemPast » Feb 11, 2019, 5:06 pm

How about a used commercial grade machine, with one group and 4~7 Litre boiler.
Several small bakeries and restaurants retire their espresso equipment because they are not getting much use. You can get decent machine for 1500 or less, and some has volumetric capabilities. Look for astoria jr, and Nuova simonelli Appia/Mac, Rancilio Epoca. There are actually some "new" machines on Ebay for around 1700 with large boilers and one group. They are not made by reputable makers, but they use fairly standard parts. I assume the machine can be plumbed in the office.

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Postby sweaner » Feb 11, 2019, 5:07 pm

Has Breville ever replaced your machine? For $500, it still might be worthwhile to repair it or ask them to replace it.
LMWDP #248


Postby delete000 » replying to sweaner » Feb 11, 2019, 5:10 pm

They have repaired it once and replaced it with a new one once, both for free. I am skeptical about repairing the BDB, because it seems that $500 would get us 1 more year of coffee machine at most.