Whether you’re looking to open a new coffee shop or are just in need of a coffee machine upgrade, choosing a new commercial coffee machine is not a decision to be taken lightly.
There’s an ever-growing number of options on the market that you have to choose from. You’ll need to consider not only aesthetics and price but also what features a machine includes which may or may not make life easier in a busy service environment.
In this article, we take a closer look at our picks for the best commercial coffee machines available in Australia. By discussing these options we will try to break down exactly what details you should be looking at when choosing a commercial espresso machine to best match the needs of your coffee offering
The Linea Classic is one of the most iconic commercial espresso machines and has supported the growth of specialty coffee over the last 20 years.
It is equipped with a PID temperature controlled insulated dual boiler system that ensures perfect temperature stability and an adjustable brew temperature.
On the 2 group model, the espresso boiler capacity is 3.4 litres and the steam boiler is 7 litres.
A lot of professionals see the La Marzocco style steam wand as one of the best in the business, balancing power and quality to allow for consistency when steaming milk.
There are several variations of the Linea Classic, but the Semi-Automatic machine ‘EE’ is the go-to in this range and is available equipped with 1 to 4 group heads.
The traditional stainless steel design fits seamlessly into most coffee shop aesthetics, but it is also very easy to get customised if needed.
This coffee machine is an absolute workhorse and can easily see out a busy coffee service, day after day for many years without a hitch if maintained properly.
Wega is a company with a history embedded within the classic world of Italian coffee machines, and have built their reputation on producing espresso machines that are robust and energy-efficient.
The Wega Polaris Tron EVD is a stainless steel commercial espresso machine equipped with all tools needed to produce fantastic coffee.
The machine can have up to four different volumetric settings per group head, all controlled through a nicely designed illuminated touch screen, which also displays the boiler pressure, time, date and shot clock.
The Wega Polaris 2 group has a 12-litre boiler with a centralised hot water spout and adjustable brew temperatures ranging from 88-98c.
The Tron EVD’s modern, futuristic design will make this semi-automatic coffee machine a focal point in any coffee shop.
The Sanremo Zoe Competition Tall is available in either 2 or 3 group head editions and has a perfect minimalist design that offers individual shot clocks for each of its group heads.
The 2 group edition is kitted out with a 10-litre boiler, and the 3 holds 14-litres.
The Sannremo Zoe can easily accommodate coffee cups of varying sizes whilst also minimising the potential mess that can occur when pouring espresso from higher up, with its easily adjustable drip tray height.
This coffee machine also features auto-cleaning cycles, cool touch precision steam wands and an activated infusion system, which all help a barista to work effectively, efficiently and safely during service.
The Expobar Ruggero 2 is a commercial coffee machine that is made to order and offers customisable colour panels and lights, with the potential for additional advertising.
This highly affordable coffee machine is hand-assembled in Melbourne and has a huge 17.5-litre boiler.
It offers a lot of features you would expect to find on a high-end espresso machine, including volumetric semi-automatic control, infusion chambers and individual heat exchangers that allow for optimum temperature throughout the brewing process.
The Rancilio Classe 7 is an intelligent espresso machine that looks to optimise the users and customer experience.
Its built-in CPU automatically adjusts the temperature of the 11-litre boiler to bring a more consistent temperature and steam pressure, which is important when serving customers during the busiest periods in a commercial setting.
The steam wand lever control is designed with ergonomics in mind, eliminating unnecessary stress on a hard-working barista.
There is also the option to upgrade the milk steaming to an automatic system that can froth milk to different textures and temperatures, at the press of a button.
The Linea PB is one of the latest La Marzocco models that have kept the manufacturer’s reputation in high regard within the modern coffee machine market.
This commercial coffee machine can be customised up to the highest specs, with the potential addition of integrated coffee scales in the drip tray allowing for an automatic workflow with more precision and consistency from the volumetric settings.
Easily adjustable group temperature and steam pressure help set up the machine to the user’s specifications and assist in achieving the desired quality of coffee over and over again.
The Linea PB also has an ‘Eco Mode’ setting, that allows the machine to save energy in quieter periods.
The Cafe Racer is one of San Remos most premium coffee machines and has been designed with style, accuracy and innovation in mind.
San Remo has designed the Cafe Racer in a style that pays homage to the automotive industry, with the coffee machine having a roll cage-like structure on the outside, and its display screens looking like a race car speedometer.
Each group head has its own designated digital screen where you can adjust infusion time, volumetric settings and temperature, whilst also monitoring the shot clock when making a brew.
The Steam EP is the entry-level model from the high-end commercial coffee machine manufacturer, Slayer. Its low sitting structure is designed with the barista’s customer service in mind, allowing staff to fully interact with customers, without the machine acting as a barrier.
This coffee machine includes all the features anyone would be looking for when purchasing a high-end espresso machine. It has individual brew tanks with PID temperature control that can be adjusted in 0.1℃ increments, pre-wet, volumetric, and multiple individual group settings.
The Steam EP also has a quite unique large drip tray that helps to extend the available workspace that a barista works within.
Nuova Simonelli offers varying levels of coffee machines, from several home espresso machine models, up to world-class commercial equipment.
Nuova Simonelli has embedded itself into the high-end coffee market with its range of espresso machines which have previously been used in barista championships around the world.
The Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II is one of the brand’s most recognised commercial coffee machines. It is fitted with a powerful 14-litre boiler that makes it a great option for medium-sized coffee shops.
It is ergonomically certified and has the full range of advanced features, like double soft pre-infusion (SIS), automatic back flushing and push-pull milk steam control.
Victoria Arduino is the sister company of Nuova Simonelli and has found itself as one of the market leaders when looking for the latest technology in espresso machines.
T3 technology was developed to help control the three crucial temperature variables found on an espresso machine; the brewing group, pre-infusion system, and the steam.
Along with its visual appeal, the Black Eagle has been designed with the needs of the barista followed closely. Cool touch steam wands, precision volumetric control and even a reverse mirror to help staff keep their eye on the busy cafe during busy service periods, as well as all other high-quality features you could dream of.
The optional addition of Gravitech; an integrated drip tray scale system that helps bring higher levels of brew accuracy, makes this machine as close to a fully automatic espresso maker as possible, whilst still requiring the knowledgeable touch of a well-trained barista.
Each head has its own designated 0.7-litre brew boiler, as well as housing a large 14-litre boiler for hot water and milk steaming.
Things to Consider When Buying a Commercial Coffee Machine
Semi-Automatic vs Automatic
Semi-automatic espresso machines are favoured over super-automatic in a quality-focused setting due to the requirement of a barista keeping full control over the output.
A super-automatic machine will grind, tamp brew and heat milk, all at the touch of a button. These are useful for businesses where coffee isn’t the main focus or they aren’t able to invest the time required for professional-level coffee preparation.
However, some of the newest semi-automatic machines on the market do offer intuitive automatic espresso machine features.
The Black Eagle and the Linea PB can both be modded to a point where the barista only needs to monitor the coffee grinder setting to ensure consistency in espresso extraction.
This can eliminate a lot of human error, whilst still allowing the barista to keep a close eye on the quality of all espresso drinks being served.
Heat Exchange vs Multi Boilers
The biggest difference between a heat exchanger machine and a multi boiler is that multiple boiler machines are able to utilise the variable temperatures needed for brewing and milk steaming with more accuracy. This is because the steam boiler is kept at a higher temperature, and the espresso boiler is able to be matched to the type of espresso you are brewing to achieve optimal results.
Heat exchange systems are better suited to cafes whose primary focus is on milk-based coffee drinks, when the temperatures needed don’t need to be as precise.
Multi boiler machines tend to be more expensive than those with heat exchange.
The number of drinks an espresso machine is expected to handle in a high volume setting is one of the biggest considerations cafe owners need to make before investing in their new equipment.
A large tank will be needed for a busy coffee shop, especially so if you intend to use the hot water tap for tea or to top up coffee for a long black.
Choosing a machine with the right amount of group heads for your needs is another important detail. Single group machines are not good for a high volume workflow, as you have to wait for a shot to finish before preparing the next.
Two group heads tend to be enough for most busy cafes, but if you are planning on having two or more baristas working on the machine at the same time, three group heads or more may be useful, but also remember that space can become an issue with larger machines.
Overall you want your espresso machine to be user friendly, which in turn helps to create a more efficient workflow in your cafe service.
Dedicated group shot timers will help the barista to accurately monitor how long each espresso takes to extract, but with the added demand for perfect coffee, built-in scales have helped to eliminate a lot of human error when in service, with the machine programmed to stop pouring once it hits a certain weight.
Ergonomics is another area that has become more of a focus in the design of a machine. Steam wand levers and buttons are found to be more forgiving to potential stress injuries.
Understanding power requirements for a commercial coffee machine is important before you make the move and invest.
You will generally need a steady single phase, 240v power supply for a commercial espresso machine.
Machines using heat exchange technology will generally require a minimum 15A power supply, but more complex machines, with extra groups and boilers, can easily require up to 40A.
If you are looking at going all out for a 4-5 group espresso machine, a three-phase power supply may be required.
Water Storage and Filtering
Even if the local water supply is well suited to coffee making, having an additional filtration system to take out anything that can cause mineral build-up in boilers and steam valves and will help keep your espresso machine healthy for longer.
Harder water areas may require a more comprehensive filtration system, like reverse osmosis (RO), to achieve the desired mineral content in order to get the most flavour out of the coffee being used.
If you are looking to use an RO system, remember to get a water tank large enough to fulfil the needs of the cafe, as once the tank is empty, it can take a long time to fill up.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Regular maintenance is needed for all espressos machines in order to keep them working for as long as possible.
Backflushing the group heads after a busy service period is a good start, then the addition of a cleaning chemical at the end of a shift will help to break down any mineral build-up.
A lot of modern espresso machines now feature an auto-clean cycle option that allows the machine to function unattended while it flushes itself.
Reliability and Servicing
One of the reasons that an espresso machine manufacturer becomes one of the biggest names in the industry comes down to the reliability of the machines they have on offer.
A coffee shop needs to be able to rely upon its machinery to deliver a quality service to customers.
Before investing in a quality commercial espresso machine, make sure to look into whether servicing is available in your local area in case of emergency. Having technicians close by can give peace of mind in a worst-case scenario.
One of the biggest decisions you need to make is how much money you can comfortably spend on an espresso machine.
With a lot of machines, the more precision focused features you require, the more the espresso machine will cost.
There will always be more economical solutions to things like in-built scales, but depending on the style of a cafe and its workflow, the additional cost may make life a lot easier in the long run.
Leasing vs Buying
Choosing between leasing or buying a commercial espresso machine will depend on a few different factors.
Purchasing a coffee machine outright, even with a structured payment plan will usually require a bigger upfront cost, and the owner of the machine will be the one liable for any kind of repair that is needed.
Leasing a machine may give the business more flexibility and it removes the need for a large initial capital outlay.
Rental also means you have the option to swap the machine in the future if you don’t feel it is the right one for you.
Commercial Coffee Machine FAQ
How much does a commercial coffee machine cost?
Commercial coffee machines can cost anywhere from $5,000 up to $30,000
Do commercial coffee machines need plumbing?
Commercial coffee machines will require a direct water source. The easiest and most consistent way of supplying the machine is by plumbing it into the main water supply.
Alternatively, you can use a separate water tank, although with this method an additional pump will be needed.