Thinking of buying used commercial espresso machine

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

#1: Post by jmovson »

I have been looking for a good high end second hand single group machine for $1000 and have had no luck so far. There seem to be many high quality second hand commercial machines on the market for $1000-1500 dollars.

I have the space for a RIO SME2 commercial espresso machine and understand that I would need 220v, plumbing etc. This aside, what would it be like to be using a commercial machine for domestic use.
How long would it take to heat up in the morning or evening when I am going to be using it as I dont plan to run it 24 hours a day. Does it damage a machine like this to be used this way?

Thanks for any replies
JM

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HB
Admin

#2: Post by HB »

jmovson wrote:There seem to be many high quality second hand commercial machines on the market for $1000-1500 dollars.
Probably because those two group commercial espresso machines are from failed businesses. They are not in high demand among espresso aficionados. The thread Two group espresso machine in the home - would you do it (again)? and poll Have you considered a commercial espresso machine for home use? offer lots of food for thought. Apart from price, what is the attraction for you? Personally I have no interest in one for the reasons you cite (size, power requirements, heat up time).
Dan Kehn

ECM Manufacture: @ecmespresso #weliveespresso
Sponsored by ECM Manufacture
darrensandford

#3: Post by darrensandford »

I bought my used Epoca 1 group pourover on eBay for a reasonable amount. It's a great machine, but does require quite a long flush to bring the brew temperature before a shot, and I have to flush immediately before I lock the filter in, otherwise it's back to scalding within a few seconds.

It would be nice if the OPV wasn't locked at 12 bar (I can't get the nut off to add a washer - it's seized) though!

It's also a monster. It won't fit on my worktop under a kitchen cabinet, and is pushed back against the wall and still the front of the drip tray reaches the edge of the worktop.

It produces bags and bags of lovely strong steam.

I'm not sure I could get a two-group in though. I really -really- don't have the room.

If you have the space and a partner that is understanding, go for it!

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luca
Team HB

#4: Post by luca »

jmovson wrote:I have been looking for a good high end second hand single group machine for $1000 and have had no luck so far. There seem to be many high quality second hand commercial machines on the market for $1000-1500 dollars.
A few observations regarding "second hand" and "high end" ...

Second hand commercial machines are a bit of a gamble. There is a big market of cafes using and abusing their equipment; in fact, commercial machines can become utterly useless after only a few years of abuse or heavy use in a cafe. If you are looking at single group machines, rather than multiple group machines, it is unlikely that they will have seen a lot of use, seeing as busy places tend to like multiple group machines. However, if they are from a business, they might well have been from a place that simply didn't look after them well - they might well never have been cleaned. Ever! If you do decide to buy a second-hand commercial machine, you need to be prepared to accept the risk of needing to do a fair bit of work on it, including buying all of the common wearing parts.

I am not sure how you are going to get reliable information about how "high end" a commercial machine is. The fact that a machine is "commercial" or has a big boiler does not necessarily mean that it will make it easier to get a better result in the cup than a "prosumer" machine with a smaller boiler. I find it quite odd that I barely read any complaints about commercial machines on forums. Nonetheless, believe me that there are some shockers out there - particularly the older machines that are likely to be cheap.

Cheers,

Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

jhall350

#5: Post by jhall350 »

Speaking from first hand experience all the previous advice is very good about owning a larger commercial machine. I own a 1 group Reneka Viva (~6 liter boiler) and all in all I'm happy with it. It of course needs to be plumbed in and doesn't fit under standard cabinets but does not require 220v (just a dedicated 20 amp outlet). If you have access to any used restaurant supply stores that might be a good place to look for a used machine. I found my machine for $250 as is and it actually worked when I got it home. It did require a good cleaning and I've since totally disassembled, descaled, resealed and rebuilt the machine. With that being said absolutely make sure you can easily get parts for whatever you buy. Mine takes about 45 minutes to fully heat up and the best thing I ever did was buy a high power outlet timer so that it kicks on before I wake up.

Good luck in your search.