Professional espresso machine for outdoor event

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

#1: Post by A-String »

Dear all,

I spent quite some time with google and within this forum but still feel a bit lost so I hope you can help me with my query. While I do know how to run barista machines, I am far from being a pro, so apologies if any of the below statements do not make any sense.

I am an active member of the burning man community, attending the big one in Nevada, but also a lot of regionals throughout Europe. For a smaller one in Germany me and my friend are planning to open the Starfucks, a nice little cafe under a weather-proof tent construction with cosy places to sit, a little open stage and of course first class coffee. We plan to be open 3 days in a row with only 2 hours a day but within these 2 hours we want to putout as many coffees as possible.

I talked to a professional barista and understood these should be our requirements:

- Professional machine with constant output that can keep up the pressure to output coffee 2 hours in a row without any breaks (understood cheaper home machines cannot keep up the pressure)

- Refillable water tank since we cannot expect to have direct (and stable) water supply outside

- One group since only one person will run the machine and we understood we are not gaining any output improvement with a second group

- Pre-definable water output so we get constant results and the person running the machine can walk away and prepare the next charge while one coffee is running

- A plus for us non-professionals would be easy handling and maintenance

The barista I talked to recommended the La Marzocco GS3 but after some research I understand this is the ferrari of coffee machines and we hope there are cheaper machines that would still match our requirements. We are not running a daily business, we only want good performance for a few days during an outdoor event.

Can you recommend any other machines that would fit?

Thank you so much in advance!

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#2: Post by Chert »

What setups have you observed at Burning man in Nevada?

Surely a two group lever has been put in service there. It's heavy, but it's what I would want.
LMWDP #198

A-String (original poster)

#3: Post by A-String (original poster) »

I did not observe any setups there. The one group advice was coming from the barista I talked too.
The event we are aiming for is approx 1000 attendants so we think that we can serve enough people within 2 hours with one group.
Also we are no pros, so without the experience we doubt a second group would make us faster.

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#4: Post by Chert »

I've seen Burning man referenced on these pages.

Examples : A lever, not sure if ever went to Burning Man - see first post

But I think this one has been there: Playa
LMWDP #198

Team HB

#5: Post by ira »

I'd look for a propane powered lever. They are rare, but not unheard of. Something like my Rancilio Classe 6 Leva 2 which doesn't have the burner, has all the mounts and connections to be converted to propane.


#6: Post by braxtonjens »

Surely a lever would do great. With repeatable shots,
Yes some can run on LPG. But less common to find.
Check out Astoria I believe they have a single group lever that can be set up for LPG.
“Coffee is always a good idea”
LMWDP #617


#7: Post by palica »

Is it me or serving hundreds of espressi in 2 hours with a lever single group sounds like a really bad idea? :shock:

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#8: Post by HB »

Chert wrote:Surely a two group lever has been put in service there. It's heavy, but it's what I would want.
Me too. It's dated, but see Ideal espresso machine for a mobile coffee cart from 2012 for discussion.

Dan Kehn


#9: Post by sambuist »

I think you need to look at the decent espresso machine. It can be a complicated machine or a plug and play machine , what ever you pick.

If you pair it with a dedicated milk frother or buy the high end decent then you could easily match a GS3.

And best of all, it comes with a suitcase!

Now the question is - what grinder !

Supporter ♡

#10: Post by Jasper_8137 »

You might consider a Rancilio Classe 5 ST. Single group. It is a commercial machine with tank (there is a plumbed version as well). It is a heat exchanger but has relatively good temp stability. I had it's predecessor, the Epoca ST and found it to be a very reliable machine.