Power consumption info on espresso machines?

Need help with equipment usage or want to share your latest discovery?

#1: Post by keithcutter »

30 years of espresso experience w/ 4 different machines. Last one was Vivaldi II. Now live off-grid (solar power) so power consumption is a concern.

Does anyone have kWh consumption info on espresso machines?

Most machines seem to be at their best after they have been left on for a while (temp stabilization) -- please correct me if your experience is otherwise. I'm guessing that there are not any really-well insulated machines that I could leave on all day with less than one to two kWh consumption for the day. Anyone have actual measured usage to the contrary?

If I can't find a well-insulated machine w/ low kWh consumption, I'll settle for a machine that can be powered-on and comes to 'performance stability' rapidly w/ reasonable total kWh consumption. A smaller boiler would likely be a help with this.

Thanks so much for your help!

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#2: Post by tekomino »

Off-Grid totally? Wow! Very cool. To go with that, why not get Rossa Hand Espresso machine, pressure profiling is a bonus :D ?
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#3: Post by another_jim »

Power consumption is mostly about how well insulated the boiler and groups are, rather than the wattage of the heating elements. For all day use, you are looking for machines with shrouded groups, insulated boilers and "econo-modes" that reduce steam boiler pressure (or turn it off entirely). Reneka and Dalla Corte make machines that do this (there are other "green" models by various manufacturers -- you'lll need to do some research).

The alternative is a machine that gets up to operating speed very fast. The fastest good ones I know are the Bezzera BZ07, BZ10 and Strega. These have 1400 watt electrical elements that get their 2 liter boilers up to pressure in about 7 minutes, along with group head heaters that get these hot in the same time. The machines do OK shots within 15 minutes, and are at thermal equilibrium after about 25 minutes. However, while they are on, they pull a good deal of power, and that may be an issue.

For machines that use no electricity at all and have heat to spare, gas powered lever machines are the way to go. Get one with four groups and a 16 liter boiler, and it can double as your hot water heater :wink:
Jim Schulman

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Randy G.

#4: Post by Randy G. »

I thought the same thing- Gas powered lever.
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#5: Post by UltramaticOrange »

Hi Keith,
The math is dead simple. Take the wattage rating on the machine, convert to kW and multiply by the hours you expect to run the machine.

My Gaggia Classic rated at 1425W and run for 1hr would be:
1425W / 1000 = 1.425kW * 1hr = 1.425kWh
If your tiny coffee is so great, then why don't you drink more of it?

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#6: Post by Bob_McBob »

That's assuming the element is powered the entire time the machine is turned on, which isn't the case.

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#7: Post by UltramaticOrange »

Yeah, I went back and re-read the original post and realized Keith is looking for the practical usage, not the max. One of these days I'll learn to sit on my hands...
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#8: Post by HB »

keithcutter wrote:Anyone have actual measured usage to the contrary?
I posted this awhile back in Leaving a Prosumer HX Espresso Machine On DOES NOT SAVE ENERGY:
HB wrote:Rather than try to recall my college physics lessons, this evening I measured my Elektra Semiautomatica using the Kill-a-Watt. The cumulative kWh data from a cold start:

1 hour consumed 0.30 kWh
2 hours consumed 0.45 kWh
3 hours consumed 0.60 kWh

Based on the last hour of usage, it consumes around ~0.15 kWh per hour when fully heated, or 3.6 kWh per day (0.15 * 24). If you were so inclined to cycle it four times per day for two hours per cycle, allowing it to cool completely between each cycle, it would consume 1.8 kWh per day (0.45 *4). The additional energy cost of 24/7 operation in this case would be 1.8 kWh (around $0.20 in our area).
Given that the Semiautomatica's boiler is completely exposed, it's probably among the worst on energy conservation. If you search on "Kill-a-Watt" or "24/7", you'll find previous discussions of power consumption. Here's a few I skimmed:

Leave it on, or turn it off?
Do you leave your espresso machine on all the time?
Electricity Usage Monitor
Cost of leaving machine on 24/7?
How power hungry is your coffee hobby?
Dan Kehn

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#9: Post by Eastsideloco »

I work in the solar industry and occasionally meet a solar bozo who is also a coffee nerd. One of my colleagues who who fits this description has lived off-grid on an island off the coast of British Columbia for decades. He recently upgraded to a Nuova Simonelli Oscar and loves it:


The boiler is like any other resistive heating load (hair dryer, electric kettle, electric heater, etc.). It's a significant load in terms of the power it draws. Therefore, the trick is to find a machine that reaches its thermal equilibrium relatively quickly, since energy = power x time. You want to be able to power up and power down as quickly as possible. Smaller machines with less thermal mass to bring to temp-like an Oscar, an Elektra, an Olympia Maximatic or similar-are probably best for your application.

The other thing to keep in mind is that most off-grid systems run a surplus in the summer months. The batteries are usually full before noon and just getting a light float charge. If this is the case, you could probably leave an espresso machine on for hours at a time for convenience. You'd still want to turn it off at night or put it on a timer to protect the batteries when there is no solar input. In winter months or during extended periods of bad weather, you'll need to reduce the run time for large loads. However, most off-grid systems will have a generator for backup battery charging. So you should never have to do without.

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#10: Post by Randy G. »

Can we assume that there will be solar heating of water to some extent?
Run a copper tube through the boiler as a secondary heat exchanger (or a pair of lines connected to the existing heat exchanger) and connect it to the solar water heating system in the home so that the boiler is preheated. Insulate the boiler. This should greatly shorten the preheat time. if there is a thermosyphon group heating, placing an insulation blanket on the group would conserve the thermal energy and shorten the preheat time even more.
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