Just because you plan to run a small coffee shop does not mean that you can get by with just any espresso machine. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the kind of coffee and the quality of espresso beverages you serve to your customers. After all, they have come to a coffee shop, haven’t they?
Therefore, even if you can’t afford to do great décor in the shop or install fancy amenities like a sound system or Wi-Fi, you shouldn’t compromise on your espresso machine. Especially when you’ve got a small shop, it is crucial to have the best commercial espresso machine.
Small coffee shop or big, this espresso machine, as well as a few other factors, can determine the future of your business. However, finding such a machine isn’t easy either. You have to consider various factors such as your budget, how many cups of coffee you plan to serve, and perhaps even space limitations.
Based on all these, you will have to choose the best commercial espresso machine small coffee shop. The good news is that you don’t have to try too hard because we’ve got an excellent lineup of some of the best espresso machines for you as well as a handy buying guide at the end to help you choose one.
Let’s get into it!
Nuova Simonelli Appia Life 2 Group Volumetric Commercial Espresso Machine
The Nuova Simonelli Appia Life espresso machine is an all-around great espresso machine which makes it one of the best commercial espresso machine small coffee shop. It comes with tons of features that make it a popular choice among beginner and expert baristas alike.
Moreover, the two group head version is particularly great for small coffee shops as it perfectly caters to the daily or hourly serving needs. Here are some of the key features you can expect.
Automatic Volumetric Dosing
This version of the Nuova Simonelli Appia espresso machine is an automatic machine with volumetric water dispensing, which makes it a great option for coffee shops that require a fair bit of output and that don’t have extensively experienced baristas.
You can program the machine to pull a shot with the same amount of water every time without the barista having to watch it constantly. Additionally, this also allows the barista to perform other tasks or simply chat with the customer while their drink is prepared.
Soft Infusion System
The soft infusion system lightly soaks the ground coffee first for a better and more even shot of espresso. If the barista hasn’t packed the ground coffee properly, the soft infusion system ensures that all grounds are soaked properly, and the barista is still able to pull a great shot of espresso.
Raised Group Heads
Unlike many other espresso machines, this particular model has raised group heads with lots of space between the group head and drip tray. This allows you to fit several different kinds of mugs and glasses under the group head directly. Additionally, the machine comes with risers as well.
Convenient Steam Wands
The steam wands are quite convenient to use on this machine and, again, are great for not-so-expert baristas. There’s a handy automatic creaming feature that steams the milk to the right consistency and temperature itself, taking the guesswork out of it for new baristas.
Moreover, the steam wands are easily movable, and the lever allows a lot of control over the amount of steam produced.
This espresso machine has a heat exchanger with an insulated boiler which greatly increases its efficiency and makes it ideal for small coffee shops. The insulation reduces heat loss and helps maintain relatively more consistent temperatures.
Other than all this, the espresso machine has a durable built, ergonomic design, and a very affordable price tag.
La Pavoni Bar-T 2V 2-Group Commercial Espresso Machine
The La Pavoni Bar-T 2V is an excellent choice for when you want to keep pushing out great shots of espresso quickly and consistently for better customer service and higher efficiency. Features like volumetric dosing and a direct water feed allow baristas to focus on other tasks and prepare more drinks in lesser time.
The espresso machine has volumetric dosing, which takes care of the extracting part and makes sure that all cups of coffee are the same. You don’t have to work hard or keep a close eye on it yourself to ensure consistent shots. You can simply program the water dose and let the machine do the rest.
Direct Water Feed
The espresso machine has a convenient design where it has a direct water feed for a constant water supply. This is especially crucial for small coffee shops or when using an espresso machine for commercial purposes.
Without the direct water feed, you would have to constantly refill the water reservoir several times a day, and since you are running a coffee shop, you can bet that this will become a major inconvenience. With a direct water feed system, you don’t have to worry about the water supply.
Large Copper Boiler
The La Pavoni Bar-T 2V also features a large, 14-liter copper boiler. This not only ensures a constant stream of hot water to brew delicious cups of coffee but also helps in keeping the boiler system efficient, hygienic, and rust-proof.
This commercial espresso machine also comes with a water softener which can be a crucial precaution. If your water line has hard water in it, it can tamper with the taste of your coffee and damage the espresso machine in the long run as well.
Using a water softener helps maintain the original taste of the coffee and protects your espresso machine from residue build-up and damage too.
Independent Radiator Hydraulic System
The independent radiator hydraulic system helps keep the water in the boiler constantly circulating. This further ensures that the water remains at a steady temperature so that you can pull espresso shots with the least variation.
Casadio Undici A 2-Group Compact Commercial Espresso Machine
When it comes to small coffee shops, it’s not always the budget that is the restricting factor. Sometimes, you could be restricted due to space issues as well.
However, that does not mean you should compromise on the quality of your espresso machine or the number of group heads, as both of these things are crucial. What you need to do instead is consider the Casadio Undici A 2-Group Compact Commercial Espresso Machine. Here’s why.
Semi-automatic and Automatic Espresso Machine
One of the great things about the Casadio Undici A 2-Group Compact Commercial Espresso Machine is that it can be used as a semi-automatic and automatic espresso machine as well.
This means that for seasoned baristas, there’s the manual brewing button which allows them more control over when they can start and stop the extraction process. At the same time, there are dosing buttons as well so that new baristas can skip the guesswork and let the machine pull consistent shots each time.
Two Group Heads
Even if it’s for a small coffee shop, you can expect a large number of customers coming your way at any time of the day. If you have just one group head, you can expect long delays in serving customers, leaving a bad impression, and delivering bad service.
That is why it is so important to have at least two group heads, even for a small coffee shop, as it can sometimes allow you to prepare four shots of coffee at a time.
If you’re thinking you don’t have space for a two-group espresso machine, the Casadio Undici A2 is here to prove you wrong. Equipped with two group heads and still designed to be extremely compact, this espresso machine packs a lot of power into its small body.
Easy to Use
The espresso machine is also quite easy to use. It has various LED lights on the buttons to make using it more convenient. There aren’t a lot of buttons or controls to confuse you. Even the most inexperienced of baristas can quickly get the hang of this espresso machine.
La Cimbali M26 BE 2-Group Automatic Commercial Espresso Machine
There are a lot of reasons why we had to include the La Cimbali M26 BE 2-Group Automatic Commercial Espresso Machine in this list today. But the most important reasons are the convenience, versatility, and cost-savings this machine offers for small coffee shops. Here’s how the La Cimbali makes it possible.
Automatic Volumetric Dosing
Small coffee shops are not always able to hire the most experienced and best baristas. For that reason, automatic espresso machines with volumetric dosing are a lifesaver.
They help baristas pull the perfect shot of espresso every time as they can program the machine beforehand to deliver the same amount of water for every brew. However, if your barista does like more control, there’s the manual option as well.
Individual Temperature Control
It’s not just the amount of water but the temperature of that water that can affect the taste of your coffee as well. This espresso machine has a heat exchanger, which can cause the temperatures to run too high at times.
That’s why it also features a cold water mixing valve so that you can easily control the temperature in each group head for the ideal cup of coffee.
Energy Efficient Boiler System
The espresso machine has an energy-efficient boiler system that uses energy-saving lights in the controls and features a boiler that automatically reduces energy consumption after detecting no activity for a while.
Long Steam Arms
This might not seem like anything significant right now. But when you have a long line of customers and just one espresso machine, you will be thankful for these steam wands. Since they have long steam arms, it will allow multiple baristas to easily work on the same machine and produce more drinks in less time.
La Spaziale S2 EK 2 Group Volumetric Commercial Espresso Machine
Another durable and compact espresso machine that packs a lot of features in a small body, the La Spaziale S2 EK 2 Group Volumetric Commercial Espresso Machine, is a strong contender for the best commercial espresso machine small coffee shop. Here are a few reasons why.
As mentioned earlier, volumetric dosing offers a lot of benefits, from producing quality shots of espresso consistently to saving time to making the espresso machine more user-friendly. If you don’t have expert baristas, this automatic espresso machine can help.
Direct Water Feed
The La Spaziale S2 EK 2 Group Volumetric Commercial Espresso Machine is another machine with a direct water feed through a built-in pump and automatic boiler refilling.
You will not have to constantly fill the water reservoir every time it gets low, and instead, you can focus on making delicious coffees and providing better customer service.
Durable and Aesthetic
If the looks of the machine are important for you, the La Spaziale is certainly winning in that regard. Its stainless steel body looks sleek and powerful and will make the perfect addition to your small coffee shop. Additionally, it is built like a tank and made to last as well.
Besides all that, the espresso machine comes with many other handy features, such as a pressure gauge for pump and boiler pressure control, two steam wands, a hot water outlet for other hot beverages, control of malfunction alarms, and an electric cup warmer.
Slayer Steam LPx 2-Group Commercial Espresso Machine
Last but not least, if you do have a big budget and can afford to get something fancy for your small coffee shop, there’s nothing better than the Slayer LPx 2-Group Commercial Espresso Machine.
This espresso machine not only looks premium but is equipped with tons of features that justify its high price tag. Here’s what you can expect.
Semi-automatic and Automatic Volumetric Dosing
This espresso machine comes with both semi-automatic and automatic features both. It has a volumetric dosing option for both group heads to pull perfect shots of espresso every time.
However, if you have expert baristas who prefer more control or you have to serve a customer with a very specific type of coffee, the manual dosing feature is available as well.
Furthermore, you can actually program the volumetric dosing according to the weight rather than the time for even more accuracy and consistency across drinks.
The machine allows you to infuse your coffee grinds with a little bit of hot water first to allow a more even extraction with more taste and flavor of the coffee coming through. This is also handy for inexperienced baristas who might not be experts at packing and tamping the grounds in the group head.
Perhaps our most favorite part about this espresso machine is the barista dashboard, which allows you to program and control the espresso machine from one single spot without having to move around much or even moving away from the customer.
The machine is equipped with a fast and user-friendly interface which only makes it more convenient and efficient.
Other features include electronic solenoid steam valves, onyx duratex actuators, adjustable drip tray, wide working space, wing leg channels, and PID-controlled independent brew tanks.
Buying Guide for Best Commercial Espresso Machine for Small Coffee Shops
We’re sure all of these seem like the best commercial espresso machine small coffee shop, and you want all of them in your store. Alas, your budget may restrict you to just one or two. But which one or two machines should you choose? This buying guide should help. Keep in mind the following factors when you’re choosing, and they should help you come to a decision.
One of the most important things you need to consider is the output you expect from your commercial espresso machine.
For coffee shops specifically, you have to think in terms of how many cups of coffee you need to serve throughout the course of the day. Since it is primarily a small coffee shop, you will probably need to serve about 50 to 200 cups in a day.
As a result, you will need an espresso machine that can handle that much load. For this, you have to consider two things.
First, you have to look at the number of group heads on the espresso machine. Since you could have certain rush hours during the day where you might need to serve several drinks back to back, having more than one group head is definitely important and a big lifesaver.
Therefore, you will want to consider two or three group head espresso machines. Four group heads can be too excessive for a small coffee shop and will just take up unnecessary space, and can be expensive as well.
The second thing you need to consider is the boiler size and how powerful the heating element is. This also determines how quickly and efficiently you can serve delicious hot beverages to your customers.
If the boiler size is too small or the heating isn’t powerful, it can take the espresso machine several minutes to recover the temperature for the next drink.
As a result, it can slow down your production and annoy customers who might have to wait too long or drink coffee that is not optimally brewed. Besides that, you will also want to think about your coffee shop’s location and setting to determine the predicted output.
For instance, if the coffee shop is located within a larger restaurant, you probably won’t have that much demand. If the shop is within an office district and in a busy location, you can expect a long queue of customers constantly.
If the shop is near a school or university campus, you can expect a lot of customers occupying your tables but perhaps not that many sales. Consider all this when forecasting your sales and choosing an appropriate espresso machine.
Another super important consideration is your budget. In fact, it is a good way to drastically shorten your list. Commercial espresso machines can retail for several thousand dollars, and not everyone can afford them.
Since you are starting with a small coffee shop, you might have a limited budget, and while the espresso machine is very important, you don’t need to spend all your money on just this machine. There are several commercial espresso machines on our list today that make for great affordable options.
Moreover, it’s important to remember that a high price does not always equal better performance or higher output. Sometimes, certain high-priced machines are expensive just because of arbitrary reasons like their design or build.
There are different types of espresso machines as well. These will determine how your baristas use the machine and what kind of skills they will require to efficiently produce a great cup of coffee. Machine types usually consist of manual, semi-automatic, automatic, and super-automatic machines.
Also known as a piston machine, a manual espresso machine requires the barista to apply the full pressure themselves to brew a cup of coffee. It has a simple mechanism that makes it easy to maintain and repair and lasts a long time.
However, it also leads to a lot of variation between each brew as it entirely depends on the barista. It’s also not great for high-volume shops as it takes time to make a cup of coffee using a manual machine.
Next up, you have the semi-automatic machines, which do take away much of the hard work that a manual requires. In such machines, there’s a mechanical pump that helps extract the shot of espresso.
However, the baristas still need to watch the timing, and it can be easy to mess up a drink if the barista isn’t attentive or not used to working with such a machine.
Therefore, manual and semi-automatic espresso machines are best used by baristas who have years of experience and can comfortably use such machines without compromising on quality. If you don’t have such baristas on your team, it’s better to go for automatic and super-automatic espresso machines.
Automatic espresso machines have become pretty popular as they come with many convenient features and offer a lot of ease. These machines can be programmed to deliver a pre-set amount of water to brew the same kind of espresso shot every time without much effort from the barista.
They also come with the option of manual control in case baristas have to make a very specific kind of drink for a finicky customer.
Super-automatic espresso machines are exactly what they sound like. They basically do everything for you, from grinding, packing, extracting, and pouring the shot in a cup.
Machines like these are great because they allow the barista to multi-task while preparing a drink, and they can serve customers more quickly. However, of course, these are quite expensive as well.
Another component you have to look at is the heating mechanism or the boiler within the espresso machine. Most commercial espresso machines usually have a heat exchange system or a multi-boiler system.
Espresso machines with a heat exchanger have just one boiler, which is responsible for heating water for the brew as well as producing steam. The boiler is mainly there for producing the steam, and there is an additional metal line going through the boiler, which helps heat the water for the espresso shot.
The problem with these is that there is a lot of fluctuations in temperature if you don’t know how to control them. If the incoming water is exposed for a shorter time to the boiler heat, the resultant shot of espresso is brewed at a lower temperature and can, therefore, taste different.
So if you are serving coffees back to back during rush hour, the espresso machine won’t have enough time to maintain the same temperature after every brew and can result in differing beverages.
This is why a multi-boiler system is better for commercial uses as it has two or more boilers that cater to both needs separately. As a result, you can brew the same type of coffee consistently.
Besides all those major components, you can think about several add-ons and other features as well. For instance, there are certain espresso machines that come in a tall variant with more space for taller cups.
If you plan to sell a lot of takeaway beverages, such a machine can come in quite handy. Similarly, you can look for insulated steam wands to protect yourself from burns while steaming milk for the coffee.
You can consider machines with PID controllers for more control over the heat or look for machines with customizable exteriors.
All espresso machines on this list make for the best commercial espresso machine small coffee shop. However, if we absolutely had to choose a favorite, it would have to be the Nuova Simonelli Appia Life 2 Group Volumetric Commercial Espresso Machine.
It is simply a great machine overall and especially brilliant for small coffee shops. It delivers adequate output with two group heads and a heat exchanger. The volumetric dosing makes it easy for any barista to consistently deliver good-quality espresso shots.
The machine is built to last, will fit your shop aesthetic, and best of all, is great for your wallet too. But if this doesn’t seem like the one for you, there are plenty of other great options to check out as well.
Café Last is your number one destination to find the best commercial espresso machines and other essential accessories for your small coffee shop. Browse our products today and get started on your coffee shop dreams.