What’s inside this buyer’s guide
- Types of commercial coffee machines
- Styles of commercial coffee machines
- Things to consider before purchase
- Best makes of commercial coffee machines
- Used commercial coffee machines — worth considering?
- Frequently asked questions
- Commercial coffee machine glossary
- Keep your cash, Use ours!
Canada's heartbeat syncs with the rhythm of brewing coffee.
From the Maritimes to the Rockies, it's not just about caffeine—it's a shared embrace, as comforting as our sprawling terrains. And, at the core of any cherished coffee moment? A reliable coffee machine.
The essence of a perfect brew isn't just in the beans, but in the blend of tradition and technology.
Searching for that perfect coffee partner for your café?
Let this guide light your way.
Dive in, and let's ensure your café brews memories, not just coffee.
Types of commercial coffee machines
So, you're starting a café or thinking about giving your old one a makeover.
With so many options available, how can you find the ideal coffee machine for your place?
Let's get down to it and explore the ins and outs of each type of commercial coffee machine.
Super automatic commercial coffee machines
Picture a machine that handles everything – grinding, brewing, and frothing – with just the press of a button.
That's the beauty of super-automatic coffee makers.
These machines feature a clean and stylish design that combines all the components necessary for crafting espresso and preparing milk-based coffee beverages.
They come equipped with a built-in grinder, a brewing unit, a water tank, a milk container, and a user-friendly control panel.
How it works
Using this machine is a breeze.
Simply fill the water tank and the bean hopper, choose your preferred beverage from the menu, and push a button.
The machine will handle every step automatically, from grinding the beans to tamping them, brewing the espresso, and frothing the milk according to your exact preferences.
You can also fine-tune settings for grind size, coffee strength, water volume, milk temperature, and milk foam levels.
Benefits for café owners
Ideal for places where coffee plays a supporting role rather than the star attraction.
This machine eliminates the need for highly skilled baristas and ensures a consistently excellent cup of coffee.
For small café owners, investing in a super-automatic coffee machine is a smart choice.
It offers efficiency, requires minimal training, and guarantees a consistently delightful coffee experience.
Commercial automatic coffee machines
The commercial automatic coffee machine blends user-friendliness with precision.
Let's dive into how it enhances your coffee brewing experience.
These machines share similarities with semi-automatic models but include a built-in timer or a volumetric pump for precise water flow control through the coffee grounds.
Comprising unique components like a grinder, portafilter, group head, steam wand, and control panel, they strike a harmonious balance between modern innovation and traditional craftsmanship.
How it works
Operating this machine involves grinding the beans, tamping them into the portafilter, attaching it to the group head, choosing your preferred water volume from the control panel, and pushing a button.
The machine will stop the water flow automatically once it reaches the pre-set volume.
For milk-based drinks, you can manually froth the milk using the steam wand.
You also have the flexibility to customize water volume and brewing temperature to suit your preferences.
Benefits for café owners
This machine achieves a balance between automation and manual control, making it suitable for cafés that want to maintain traditional coffee-making elements while streamlining the process.
It provides consistent coffee with a touch of barista expertize.
Commercial semi-automatic coffee machine
The commercial semi-automatic coffee machine stands between manual operation and automated functionality, appealing to a wide spectrum of café owners.
Here's an overview:
These machines have a classic and refined aesthetic.
They use a manual pump or switch to control water pressure during brewing.
Components like a separate grinder, portafilter, group head, steam wand, and pressure gauge complete the setup.
How it works
To operate this machine, grind the beans, tamp them into the portafilter, attach it to the group head, activate the pump or switch, and monitor the pressure gauge.
You'll manually stop the water flow when you reach your desired espresso volume.
The steam wand allows for manual milk frothing for milk-based beverages.
You can also customize the grind size, tamping pressure, and brewing time to suit your preferences.
Benefits for café owners
The semi-automatic machine provides enhanced control over the coffee extraction process.
It's an excellent fit for cafés that embrace the art of coffee-making as part of their charm.
Although it requires skilled baristas, it ensures an authentic coffee experience with every cup.
Commercial manual coffee machine
Exploring the heart of traditional coffee preparation, commercial manual coffee machines, often referred to as "lever machines," embody the most authentic expression of the barista's skill.
Here's the breakdown:
These machines radiate timeless elegance, showcasing a lever mechanism that creates water pressure for brewing.
With components like a separate grinder, portafilter, group head, steam wand, and either a spring-piston or direct lever mechanism, they epitomize a nostalgic sense of sophistication.
How it works
The process involves grinding the beans, tamping them into the portafilter, attaching it to the group head, using the lever to infuse water into the coffee grounds, and then releasing it to extract the espresso.
Each pull requires manual control of pressure and duration.
Benefits for café owners
A manual machine embodies the essence of coffee craftsmanship.
It enables a personalized touch for each cup, making it perfect for specialty cafés or those dedicated to upholding the genuine espresso tradition.
Although it demands an experienced barista, the outcome is a distinctive coffee experience that captivates customers with both flavour and technique.
For café owners aspiring to embrace the timeless artistry of coffee-making, the commercial manual coffee machine is not merely a choice of equipment but a declaration of their passion for the craft.
Styles of coffee machines
Commercial coffee machines are primarily available in 1-group, 2-group, and 3-group configurations, designed to accommodate different café sizes and customer traffic.
The term "group" indicates the number of espresso shots the machine can prepare at once, playing a crucial role in determining service speed and efficiency.
Refer to the table below for a more straightforward comparison:
High-volume coffee shops
1 espresso at a time
2 espressos simultaneously
3 espressos simultaneously
Good balance of size & capacity
High throughput, allows multiple baristas simultaneously
Takes up more countertop space
Needs a lot of counter space + higher operational & maintenance costs
Things to consider when buying a commercial coffee machine
Type of coffee
To ensure the perfect coffee experience, begin by defining the kind of establishment you want to create.
Do you envision a high-end café that emphasizes specialty blends and aesthetics, or do you aim to operate a high-volume hub that serves a large number of coffees, focusing on speed and quantity?
This decision will dictate the type of coffee machine you need. If you're aiming for precision and craftsmanship to cater to coffee enthusiasts, invest in a specialized machine.
However, if your goal is to offer cost-effective options to a broad audience, prioritize an efficient machine designed for high volume.
Let your coffee vision be your purchasing guide.
So, start by asking yourself: What story do you want each cup to tell?
Your answer will lead the way.
Find a roaster or coffee bean supplier
Now that you've got a clear idea of the coffee experience you want, let's dig a bit deeper.
Start by checking out local coffee roasters to find that perfect bean.
Remember, a great roaster is not just someone who supplies beans – they're like your coffee confidant.
They can give you fantastic advice on beans and coffee machines.
So, try out a few batches, brew some magic, and have a chat with your roaster.
They'll help you find the beans that match your café's vibe to perfection.
Venue size, staff numbers and customer volume
Picking the perfect commercial coffee machine goes beyond just making a cup of Joe.
It's about knowing your space, the skill of the hands making each brew, and the coffee lovers who'll be lining up daily for their caffeine fix.
As your café grows and changes, don't forget how valuable flexibility in your equipment choices can be.
It lets you upgrade and adjust smoothly.
So, let's delve into these factors and uncover what makes a café truly exceptional.
Deciphering the venue size
It's not just about measuring walls; it's about understanding the soul of your space.
Does it radiate a warm, intimate ambience, or does it resonate with the lively buzz of a spacious, airy hall?
Your coffee machine should blend in effortlessly, neither dominating your counter nor disappearing amid other equipment.
If space is limited, consider a compact machine, like a single or double group – it might be the perfect solution.
Reading the strength of your team
Your baristas are the heart and soul of your establishment, and it's essential to sync with their flow.
Having a massive 4-group machine won't do any good if it's too cumbersome for a single barista to handle.
Assess your team's speed and skills, making sure they aren't struggling with overly complex machinery during the morning rush.
Pacing with your patrons
It's important to foresee the shifts in your customer base.
If your café attracts a fast-paced, coffee-loving crowd that's always on the move, you'll want a machine that can match their pace.
On the other hand, if your customers prefer relaxed, unhurried moments with their coffee, you might not require a turbo-charged model.
Size and weight
In a café, every inch of counter space counts.
When choosing a commercial coffee machine, it's not just about the brew.
You need to think about its dimensions and weight.
Will your counter comfortably and securely accommodate it?
An oversized or excessively heavy machine can create hazards and disrupt your workflow.
So, before making the purchase, ensure the machine's size matches your available space.
Make sure your café not only serves fantastic coffee but does so safely and efficiently.
Settings, features and functionality
To serve up the ideal cup of Joe that both locals and tourists adore, getting the lowdown on your machine's key features isn't just a nice-to-have; it's downright necessary.
Here's the scoop on what to keep in mind:
Ever wonder why some machines make coffee faster than others?
They let you brew and steam at the same time, cutting down those annoying wait times.
This is especially handy during the morning rush when every second matters.
Features- not just bells and whistles
Portafilters, baskets, steam wands – these aren't just fancy words.
They're essential components that shape the consistency, flavour, and quality of every cup.
Don't forget to have a conversation with your barista – their firsthand know-how can offer insights you might not even be aware you need.
Canada enjoys a wealth of water sources, but this can pose challenges for coffee in certain regions.
For instance, areas like parts of Ontario and British Columbia may have water with elevated mineral content.
Without suitable filtration, this mineral-rich water can influence your coffee's flavour and potentially accelerate the wear and tear of your coffee machine.
To maintain the integrity of your coffee's taste and extend the lifespan of your equipment, it's prudent to explore the option of investing in a high-quality water filter, particularly in regions where mineral-rich water is prevalent.
Your coffee machine is more than just a piece of equipment; it's a reflection of your café's character.
Whether you're catering to trendy urbanites or the laid-back beachgoers, the design of your machine, from sleek chrome finishes to vibrant colours, helps establish the ambience.
But why settle for the ordinary?
Many top machines offer customization options.
Picture your café's logo proudly adorning a state-of-the-art coffee maker, reinforcing your brand with every glance.
When selecting a machine, it's not just about technical specifications.
It's about harmonizing with your café's unique story.
In the competitive coffee scene, these distinctive touches can truly set you apart.
Commercial coffee machine wattage
Moving beyond the coffee, the ambience, and your cafe's identity, there's one more critical factor to think about: the machine's wattage.
Why wattage matters
The wattage of a coffee machine reflects its power and its ability to heat water rapidly.
A higher wattage translates to quicker heating, especially vital during busy periods.
However, it's essential to keep in mind that greater power can also lead to increased electricity expenses.
In Canada, the standard supply voltage is 120V with a frequency of 60Hz.
Coffee machines designed to work within these specifications will function effectively and securely.
Always verify the machine's power requirements to confirm that they align with Canada's wattage standards.
Evaluate your café's peak hours and customer traffic.
If your café stays busy from morning to evening, investing in a higher-wattage machine might be a wise choice.
However, for smaller cafés or those with specific rush periods, a mid-range wattage machine could be a better fit.
When searching for the ideal coffee machine, always strike a balance between your café's requirements and the machine's wattage, ensuring it complies with Canada's standards.
It's not just about brewing the perfect cup; it's also about efficiently powering your business.
Ease of use
Your coffee machine is like a member of your team.
It should wake up ready for action, just like your newest hire, and be as reliable as your most dedicated barista.
Here's what you should look for to make sure you choose a coffee machine that's a breeze to use:
Digital displays and straightforward buttons save valuable time for your baristas, especially during the morning rush.
Many modern machines offer touchscreen controls and customizable settings.
A coffee machine that's been thoughtfully designed with the barista's comfort in mind, including details like handle placement and group head height, leads to fewer mistakes and less fatigue during those long shifts.
Incorporating features such as automatic tamping, customizable shot volumes, and automated milk frothing can enhance consistency in drink quality and accelerate service, a crucial advantage for cafes serving high customer volumes.
Easy maintenance alerts
Machines equipped with notifications for cleaning and bean refills help maintain smooth operations and extend the equipment's lifespan.
Easy access to internal components simplifies maintenance tasks such as descaling and cleaning, ensuring that your machine operates efficiently for an extended period.
Consistent temperature control
Consistency in brewing temperatures is essential to maintain flavour uniformity. Seek out machines with dependable temperature control systems that demand minimal manual adjustments.
While searching for the ideal coffee machine, keep in mind that its user-friendliness significantly influences service speed, beverage consistency, and barista job satisfaction.
Investing in an easy-to-use machine ultimately means investing in your café's future success and the contentment of your team and devoted patrons.
Ease of cleaning
The durability and quality of a café's coffee rely on the cleanliness of its machine.
When choosing a machine that prioritizes ease of cleaning, here are some features and factors to keep in mind:
Modern machines have built-in self-cleaning cycles that flush the system to prevent coffee residue and scale buildup.
Features such as removable drip trays, steam wands, and group heads can be easily taken out, simplifying and enhancing the deep cleaning process.
Choose machines with fewer crevices and seams.
Smooth surfaces are simpler to wipe down, preventing dirt and coffee splatters from hiding in hidden spots.
Accessible water tank
If your machine isn't connected to a water source, having a water tank that's simple to remove and refill is essential.
Regularly cleaning the tank helps prevent the growth of mold and algae.
Certain advanced machines offer alerts when it's time for a cleaning cycle, ensuring you stay on top of maintenance and keep the machine in excellent condition.
Quality water filters
A high-quality built-in water filter not only improves the taste of your coffee but also reduces scale, making the need for regular descaling less frequent and more straightforward.
Best makes of commercial coffee machines
Originating from Switzerland in 1931, Jura has become synonymous with premium coffee machines.
The GIGA X8C and WE8 models stand testament to their commitment to excellence.
Here in Canada, Jura is celebrated not only for their unwavering quality but also for the ease they bring to every coffee pour. Alongside stellar machines, Jura offers an array of accessories to perfect your brew.
Their emphasis on sustainability? That's just the cherry on top. For cafes, choosing Jura translates to cherishing exceptional coffee moments.
Shop Jura commercial coffee machines now.
Established in 1927 in the artistic heart of Florence, La Marzocco, envisioned by Giuseppe and Bruno Bambi, has epitomized espresso artistry for decades.
Inspired by the majestic Marzocco lion, iconic to Florence, the brand led the way with ground-breaking innovations, notably the horizontal and dual-boiler systems.
In the world of espresso, La Marzocco represents both resilience and sophistication.
Prominent models like the La Marzocco 3AV 3 Group and KB90 - 2 Group are more than just machines. They promise precision, consistency, and a timeless design, making them top picks for Canadian cafés that prioritize excellence.
Shop La Marzocco commercial coffee machines now.
La Spaziale, straight out of Italy, crafts top-notch commercial coffee machines. Since its inception in 1969, it's stood out for its innovative and trusty machines.
Locally, cafes often lean towards La Spaziale, valuing its consistent quality.
They provide everything from automatic machines to essential accessories and upkeep tools, ensuring your coffee game is always on point. If you're scouting for a recommendation, the La Spaziale S2 EK Espresso Machine stands out.
With its durability and user-friendliness, it's perfect for businesses, big or small. Also, don't miss out on the S11 Melodia 2 Group Coffee Machine. Another stellar pick!
Shop La Spaziale commercial coffee machines now.
Nuova Simonelli, with its Italian roots dating back to 1936, has etched its reputation as a premium name in the world of espresso machines.
For cafes, where consistency and quality matter, this brand offers an unmatched blend of reliability and innovation.
The APPIA 11 V GR2 L 2 Group stands as a testament to their commitment to excellence. It ensures a steady brew and spot-on extraction every time. Features like a unique infusion system enhance coffee flavours, while its tall group head accommodates various cup sizes.
The APPIA Life 2 Group further showcases their dedication to the environment without compromising on functionality. It not only guarantees uniform heating but also smartly adjusts water pressure based on coffee volume.
Shop Nuova Simonelli commercial coffee machines now.
Emerging from Seattle in 2007, Slayer Steam swiftly carved a niche for itself with its ground-breaking approach to coffee craftsmanship.
Renowned for its innovative, high-performing machines, Slayer Steam boasts patented espresso brewing and milk steaming techniques.
Their premier lines, the Steam LP and the Steam EP, cater to diverse café needs with options in both two and three-group configurations. These models have become buzzwords in the Canadian coffee circuit.
Beyond just machines, the brand offers a suite of professional products, from accessories to maintenance kits, ensuring that every cup poured is perfection.
Given their dedication to sustainability and seamless service, it's no wonder they stand as a go-to choice for Canadian establishments eyeing top-tier coffee gear.
Shop Slayer Steam commercial coffee machines now.
Used commercial coffee machines — worth considering?
Spending thousands of dollars on a commercial coffee machine can put a strain on your budget and cash flow.
If you’d prefer not to invest a lot of money in a coffee machine, a cheaper, pre-owned appliance might be the solution you’re looking for.
SilverChef’s range of ‘Certified Used’ commercial equipment is mostly ex-rental equipment sourced from businesses we know and trust.
The equipment is typically less than two-and-a-half years old, has been fully refurbished by us, and is backed by a three-month parts-and-labour warranty.
Considering the effective, or useful, life of a coffee machine is much longer, you can be sure our Certified Used commercial coffee machines have plenty of life left in it.
You can either buy or finance the ‘Certified Used’ (and clearance) equipment on our website. (We’re one of the few financiers, if not the only one, in Canada that funds second-hand commercial kitchen equipment).
Read more about ‘Certified Used’ equipment
Frequently asked questions
How does a commercial coffee machine work?
Commercial coffee machines combine precision and efficiency in several steps:
Heating water: First, they heat water to the perfect brewing temperature.
Grinding: Many machines include built-in grinders, ensuring freshly ground beans for the best flavour.
Dosing and tamping: The ground coffee is then precisely dosed and tamped down.
Extraction: Water is forced through the coffee, extracting its rich flavours.
Milk frothing: Some machines can froth milk for specific drinks using steam wands or automated frothers.
Customization: Advanced models offer customization options, allowing adjustments to variables like temperature and pressure.
While the core process – grinding, heating, and brewing – remains consistent, nuances vary across machine types, catering to the unique needs and preferences of each café.
Do coffee machines come with a built-in grinder?
You'll find some commercial coffee machines that come with a built-in grinder – we call them "bean-to-cup" machines.
These clever gadgets do it all: they grind the coffee beans and brew your coffee with just a push of a button, making life simpler.
Now, while they're super convenient, especially if your space is limited or you want to serve coffee efficiently, there's one important thing to remember.
Make sure the grinder in these machines is top-notch, just like the machine itself.
That way, you get a consistent grind, which leads to the best-tasting coffee.
It's all about giving your customers the finest brew they deserve.
Commercial coffee machine glossary
An expertly designed metal sieve tailored to enhance your coffee-making experience.
This part crucially impacts the quality of extraction, resulting in a more robust and flavourful espresso.
The core element that holds and heats water uniformly.
In dual boiler systems, one takes care of the brewing while the other focuses on generating steam.
Key pieces in a grinder that achieve a uniform coffee grind, which is vital for even extraction when it's brew time.
A standard measurement indicating the coffee amount needed for one shot of espresso.
A finely-tuned device meant to disperse set amounts of coffee grounds into the basket, ensuring a consistent brew every time.
An advanced approach where the coffee quantity is based on its weight rather than volume, providing precision in brewing.
Equipment crafted to turn roasted coffee beans into a consistent grind, an essential step for optimal extraction.
A term that refers to the machine's capability to brew coffee.
For example, a two-group machine can make up to four coffee servings at once.
A pivotal part where the portafilter is attached, enabling pressurized water to course through and extract the best from the coffee grounds.
A feature in single boiler machines where water gets a pre-heat treatment via a heat conduit before reaching its optimal brewing temperature.
A handheld device loaded with coffee grounds and connected to the group head during the espresso brewing process.
Inside, the basket holds the coffee grounds.
A tool that steams milk to give it that creamy texture and foam beloved in many coffee drinks.
A metric that depicts the coffee consumption rate for an establishment over a week.
For example, a bustling café might go through over 40 kilos of beans in a week.
A feature in commercial machines that guarantees consistent amounts of water or coffee are used, ensuring every beverage is uniform in taste and strength.
Keep your cash, use ours!
We hope this guide has helped you better understand what you need to look for in a commercial grill and how to choose the right model for your needs.
If you want to know more, you can always reach out to the SilverChef team.
Hospitality equipment can be expensive, and paying for it outright can put pressure on your business’s cash flow.
Our finance solutions allow you to get the equipment you want now and to pay for it in small, regular amounts out of the revenue it generates for you.
Rent–Try–Buy® not only helps you maintain your cash flow, it gives you unrivalled flexibility to adapt your equipment to the changing needs of your business.
You can upgrade or buy the equipment at any time or, after 12 months, return or continue renting it.
If you decide to buy the equipment, we’ll give you back 60% of the net rent you paid in the first year and 20% of any rental payments thereafter — to put toward the purchase price.
Read more about Rent–Try–Buy.