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!
In every cup of coffee, there’s a story waiting to be told, and it all begins with the right machine.
In New Zealand, where cafes are as beautiful as the landscapes they're set in, it's essential to serve coffee that matches the scene.
This isn't just about brewing; it's a marriage of technology and the barista's touch.
As the love for coffee grows, picking the perfect machine for your cafe isn't just a choice, it's a promise of quality.
This guide is here to simplify that choice, introducing you to the types, features to look for and the best machines out there.
Let's ensure every cup you serve narrates a story of excellence.
Types of commercial coffee machines
So, you're setting up a café, or maybe revamping an old one.
With a sea of choices out there, how do you pinpoint the perfect coffee machine that's just right for your venue?
Let's roll up our sleeves and delve deep, breaking down the essence and mechanics of each commercial coffee machine type.
Super automatic commercial coffee machines
Imagine a machine that does it all, from grinding to brewing to frothing at the push of a button.
That's the simplicity of super-automatic coffee makers.
These machines sport a tidy and sleek design that brings together all the parts needed to whip up espresso, as well as make milk-based coffee beverages too.
They have a built-in grinder, a brew unit, a water tank, a milk container, and a control panel.
How it works
Operating this machine is effortless.
Just fill the water tank and the bean hopper, select your desired beverage from the menu, and press a button.
The machine will execute each step automatically—grinding the beans, tamping them, brewing the espresso, and frothing the milk to your specific preferences.
Adjustments can be made for grind size, coffee strength, water volume, milk temperature, and milk foam levels.
Benefits for café owners
Ideal for places where coffee isn’t the main event but is still important.
Reduces the need for trained baristas and delivers consistent coffee every time.
For small café owners, a super-automatic coffee machine is a smart investment.
It's efficient, requires minimal training, and guarantees a good cup of coffee every visit.
Commercial automatic coffee machines
The commercial automatic coffee machine combines ease-of-use with precision. Let's explore how it elevates your brewing game.
These machines share similarities with semi-automatic models, but they incorporate a built-in timer or a volumetric pump to regulate water flow through the coffee grounds.
Comprising a distinct grinder, portafilter, group head, steam wand, and control panel, they strike a balance between innovation and tradition.
How it works
To run this machine, you need to grind the beans and tamp them into the portafilter, attach it to the group head, select your desired water volume via the panel, and press a button.
The machine will halt water flow automatically upon reaching the pre-set volume.
You can also manually froth milk for milk-based drinks using the steam wand.
Customizations extend to water volume and brewing temperature.
Benefits for café owners
Offers a balance between automation and manual control.
Suitable for cafés wanting to maintain some traditional coffee-making elements while streamlining the process.
Provides consistent coffee with a touch of barista flair.
Commercial semi-automatic coffee machine
Embodying the middle ground between manual operation and automated functionality, the commercial semi-automatic coffee machine appeals to a wide spectrum of café owners.
Here's an overview:
Characterised by a classic and refined aesthetic, these machines incorporate a manual pump or switch to regulate water pressure during brewing.
Elements such as a separate grinder, portafilter, group head, steam wand, and pressure gauge complete the ensemble.
How it works
Operating this machine involves grinding the beans, tamping them into the portafilter, attaching it to the group head, activating the pump or switch, and monitoring the pressure gauge.
You'll manually cease water flow at your desired espresso volume.
The steam wand serves the manual frothing of milk for milk-based beverages.
Further customization encompasses grind size, tamping pressure, and brewing time adjustments.
Benefits for café owners
The semi-automatic machine offers greater control over the coffee extraction process.
It's perfect for cafés where the art of coffee-making is part of the allure.
While it demands skilled baristas, it promises an authentic coffee experience with every cup.
Commercial manual coffee machine
Diving deep into the essence of traditional coffee-making, commercial manual coffee machines (often called "lever machines") offer the purest form of the barista's craft.
Here's the lowdown:
These machines exude a timeless elegance, featuring a lever mechanism responsible for generating water pressure for brewing.
Comprising a separate grinder, portafilter, group head, steam wand, along with a spring piston or direct lever mechanism, they embody a nostalgic sophistication.
How it works
The process entails grinding the beans, tamping them into the portafilter, attaching it to the group head, engaging the lever to infuse water into the coffee grounds, and releasing it to extract the espresso.
Each pull necessitates manual control of pressure and duration.
Benefits for café owners
A manual machine is the epitome of coffee craftsmanship.
It allows for a personalised touch to every cup, making it ideal for specialty cafés or those championing the authentic espresso tradition.
While it requires a seasoned barista, the result is a unique coffee experience, captivating customers with both taste and technique.
For café owners seeking to embrace the age-old artistry of coffee-making, the commercial manual coffee machine is not just an equipment choice but a statement of passion for the craft.
Styles of coffee machines
Commercial coffee machines primarily come in 1-group, 2-group, and 3-group styles, catering to various cafe sizes and customer volumes.
The "group" denotes the number of espresso shots a machine can produce simultaneously, making it a vital factor in determining service speed and efficiency.
Look at the table below for a clearer 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
Requires 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, first, decide what kind of establishment you want to create.
Will it be a high-end café that emphasizes specialty blends and aesthetics, or a high-volume hub that serves hundreds of coffees, prioritizing speed and quantity?
This decision will determine the type of coffee machine you require.
For precision and craft, invest in a specialized machine, to appease the coffee aficionados.
Conversely, if you want to serve the masses with cost-effective options, prioritize an efficient machine designed for volume.
Your coffee vision should guide your purchase.
So, start by asking: What story do you want each cup to tell? The answer will guide you.
Find a roaster or coffee bean supplier
After nailing down the type of coffee experience you want, it's time to dive deeper.
Scope out local roasters to find that perfect bean.
Remember, a top-notch roaster isn't just a supplier – they're your go-to for great advice on beans and machines.
Sample a few batches, brew up some magic, and have a good chat with your roaster.
They'll help align those beans perfectly with your cafe's vibe.
Every cup counts for your customers, so get that blend spot-on!
Venue size, staff numbers and customer volume
Choosing the right commercial coffee machine isn't just about brewing a cup.
It's about understanding the space you work with, the expertise of the hands that will craft each cup, and the daily tide of coffee enthusiasts who'll be seeking their caffeine fix.
As your establishment grows and evolves, remember the value of flexibility in your equipment choices, allowing you to upgrade and adapt seamlessly.
Let’s dive into these elements and distil the essence of a perfect café.
Deciphering the venue size
It's not just about measuring walls but recognizing the heartbeat of your space.
Does it exude a cosy, intimate vibe, or does it echo the bustling hum of a large, airy hall?
Your coffee machine should fit seamlessly, neither overpowering your counter nor getting lost amidst other apparatus.
Tight on space? A compact machine, perhaps a single or double group, might be the answer.
Reading the strength of your team
Your staff are the lifeline of your cafe, and understanding their rhythm is essential.
There's no merit in a grand 4-group machine if it's too hefty for a single barista.
Gauge the team's pace and expertise, ensuring they aren't wrestling with over-complicated machinery when the morning rush hits.
Pacing with your patrons
It's important to anticipate the ebb and flow of your clientele.
If your café thrives on a quick turnover with a caffeine-hungry crowd, you'll need a machine that can keep up.
On the flip side, if your patrons lean towards leisurely sips and conversations, you might not need that turbo-charged model.
Size and weight
In a cafe every inch of counter space matters.
When selecting a commercial coffee machine, it's not just about the brew.
It's crucial to consider its size and weight.
Will your bench comfortably and safely support it?
An oversized or overly heavy machine can pose risks and disrupt the workflow
So, before buying, double-check the machine's measurements against your available space.
Make sure your cafe isn't just serving great coffee, but doing it safely and efficiently.
Settings, features and functionality
For the perfect cuppa that locals and tourists alike crave, understanding the key features of your machine isn’t just beneficial—it’s essential.
Here’s a breakdown on what to consider:
Do you ever wonder why some machines can churn out coffees faster than others?
They allow simultaneous brewing and steaming, cutting down those pesky wait times.
Especially handy during the morning rush when every second counts.
Features- not just bells and whistles
Portafilters, baskets, steam wands — these aren't just fancy terms.
They're integral components that determine the consistency, taste, and quality of every cup.
Remember to have a chat with your barista – their frontline experience will provide insights you didn’t even know you needed.
New Zealand is blessed with diverse water sources, but this blessing can sometimes be a mixed bag for coffee.
Some regions have water rich in minerals that, without a good filter, might just tinker with your brew's taste.
Not to mention the wear and tear on the machine.
So, invest in a good filter; it'll keep the coffee true to its taste and your machine humming smoothly.
Your coffee machine is more than just equipment—it's a reflection of your café's personality.
Whether you're targeting trendy urbanites or relaxed beachgoers, a machine's design—from sleek chrome finishes to vibrant colours—sets the tone.
But why settle for generic? Many top machines offer bespoke options.
Imagine your café's logo proudly displayed on a cutting-edge coffee maker, strengthening your brand with every look.
When choosing a machine, it's not just about specs. It's about aligning with your café's narrative.
In the competitive coffee scene, these distinctive touches can make all the difference.
Commercial coffee machine wattage
Beyond the brew, the buzz, and the brand, there's another vital factor to consider: wattage
Why wattage matters
The wattage of a coffee machine indicates its power and how quickly it can heat water.
A higher wattage means faster heating, which is crucial during peak hours.
But remember, more power can also mean higher electricity bills.
New Zealand operates on a 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.
Therefore, coffee machines designed for this standard will operate efficiently and safely.
Always check the machine's power requirements to ensure it aligns with NZ's wattage standards.
Assess your café's peak hours and customer flow.
If you're bustling from morning till evening, a higher wattage machine might be worth the investment.
But for smaller cafés or those with distinct rush hours, a mid-range wattage machine might be more appropriate.
When scouting for the perfect coffee machine, remember to balance your café's needs with the machine's wattage, ensuring it meets New Zealand's standards.
It's not just about brewing the perfect cup; it's about powering your business efficiently.
Your coffee machine is an extension of your team.
It should be as eager to start the day as your freshest recruit and as dependable as your most loyal barista.
Here's what to look for to ensure you pick a user-friendly gem:
Digital displays and clear buttons save baristas precious time, especially during the morning rush.
Modern machines often feature touchscreen controls and programmable settings.
A machine designed with the barista's comfort in mind, from handle placement to the height of the group head, ensures fewer mistakes and less fatigue during long shifts.
Features like auto-tamping, programmable shot volumes, and automatic milk frothing can help standardise drink quality and speed up service, especially vital for cafes catering to large volumes.
Easy maintenance alerts
Machines that notify when cleaning is required or when beans need refilling keep operations smooth and protect the equipment's longevity.
Simple access to internal parts can streamline maintenance tasks like descaling and cleaning, ensuring your machine runs efficiently for longer.
Consistent temperature control
Stability in brewing temperatures is crucial for flavour consistency.
Look for machines with reliable temperature control mechanisms that require minimal manual intervention.
In your search for the perfect coffee machine, remember that its user-friendliness directly impacts service speed, drink consistency, and barista job satisfaction. Investing in a machine that's easy to use is, in essence, investing in your cafe's future success and the happiness of your team and loyal customers.
The longevity and quality of a cafe's coffee hinge on the cleanliness of its machine.
When selecting a machine that champions ease of cleaning, here are some features and aspects to consider:
Modern machines come equipped with self-cleaning cycles that flush the system, keeping internal components free from coffee residue and scale build-up.
Features like detachable drip trays, steam wands, and group heads can be taken out effortlessly, making deep cleaning simpler and more thorough.
Opt for machines with fewer crevices and seams.
Smooth surfaces are easier to wipe down, ensuring grime and coffee splashes don’t find hidden spots.
Accessible water tank
If your machine isn’t plumbed in, a water tank that’s easy to remove and refill is crucial.
Regularly cleaning the tank prevents mould and algae build-up.
Some advanced machines provide alerts when it’s time for a cleaning cycle, ensuring you never miss a beat and that the machine stays in prime condition.
A quality built-in water filter not only ensures better tasting coffee but also minimises scale, making regular descaling easier and less frequent.
Best makes of commercial coffee machines
Fiamma, a brand born in Portugal in 1977, transitioned from crafting cars to mastering espresso machines in 1980.
Their renowned CARAVEL line combines reliability with user-friendliness.
With a range of colour options, these machines can cater to varying coffee needs, from individual servings to larger batches.
Designed with precision, they promise an impeccable brew and come equipped with thoughtful features like a cup warmer and illuminated buttons.
CARAVEL stands out as a hallmark of quality without breaking the bank.
Among its line-up, the CARAVEL 2 TC 2 Group and Caravel II 2 Group are particularly sought after.
Shop Fimma Caravel commercial coffee machines now.
Since 1927, La Marzocco, founded by Giuseppe and Bruno Bambi in Florence, has been a symbol of artisanal espresso craftsmanship.
Inspired by Florence's iconic Marzocco lion, the brand pioneered innovations like horizontal and dual-boiler systems.
La Marzocco sets the gold standard for espresso, blending durability with refined design.
The La Marzocco 3AV 3 Group and Linea Classic AV - 2 Group stand out, exemplifying precision brewing, consistent temperatures, and timeless aesthetics, making them favourites in elite cafes.
Shop La Marzocco commercial coffee machines now.
La San Marco
Since 1920, Italy's La San Marco, founded by Luigi Sbrogio, has set the benchmark in espresso machine craftsmanship.
The brand offers unmatched reliability, elegance, and user-friendly designs in New Zealand's thriving coffee scene.
The 2GR E DTC 2 Group Coffee Machine shines with its precision temperature control and informative touchscreen.
Equally impressive, the 20/20 CLASSIC 2 Group boasts a multi-boiler system for heat consistency and an intuitive interface for easy recipe programming.
Both models exemplify the brand's commitment to innovation and tradition.
Shop La San Marco commercial coffee machines now.
Nuova Simonelli, originating from Italy in 1936, is a hallmark of espresso machine excellence.
It's a go-to for those seeking durable, high-performance coffee solutions.
The APPIA 11 V GR2 L 2 Group is renowned for its consistent brew temperature and precision extraction.
It introduces features like a soft infusion system for improved coffee quality and a raised group head for diverse cup sizes.
Alternatively, the APPIA Life 2 Group combines environmental consciousness with efficiency.
Its multi-boiler system ensures uniform heating, and the machine smartly adjusts water pressure to the coffee amount.
Designed thoughtfully, it also prioritises user comfort, making it a favourite among baristas.
Shop Nuova Simonelli commercial coffee machines now.
Since 1985, Wega, spearheaded by Nello Dal Tio, has combined artistry and function in crafting espresso machines.
Embodying Italian elegance, the Wega EVD range offers both aesthetics and dependability.
These machines, ideally suited for New Zealand's discerning cafe culture, balance style with user-friendliness.
The standout Wega EVD./2-AT 2 Group ensures consistent temperature and superior extraction, thanks to its volumetric design and heat exchanger system.
A soft infusion approach boosts coffee quality, and its raised group head caters to larger cups.
Meanwhile, the WEGA EVD/2-WA 2 Group showcases modern adaptability with its multi-boiler system, ensuring thermal stability and energy efficiency, coupled with a user-centric interface.
Shop Wega 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 New Zealand that funds second-hand commercial kitchen equipment).
Read more about ‘Certified Used’ equipment
Frequently asked questions
How do commercial coffee machines work?
Commercial coffee machines blend precision and efficiency.
First, they heat water to the ideal brewing temperature.
Many come with built-in grinders, ensuring freshly ground beans for optimal flavour.
The ground coffee is then dosed, tamped, and water is forced through it, extracting rich flavours.
Some machines froth milk for specific drinks using steam wands or automated frothers.
Advanced models offer customization options, adjusting variables like temperature and pressure.
While the core process – grind, heat, and brew – remains constant, nuances vary across machine types, aligning with cafe needs and customer preferences.
Do coffee machines come with a built-in grinder?
Yes, some commercial coffee machines come with a built-in grinder.
These integrated units are often referred to as "bean-to-cup" machines.
They automatically grind the coffee beans and brew the coffee at the touch of a button, offering a streamlined process.
While they're convenient, especially for establishments with limited space or those aiming for efficiency, it's essential to ensure the grinder's quality matches that of the machine.
This ensures consistent grind and optimal extraction, leading to better coffee quality.
Commercial coffee machine glossary
A precision-engineered metal filter designed for the optimum brewing process.
It significantly influences the extraction quality and subsequent flavour profile of the espresso.
A central component responsible for storing and consistently heating water.
Dual boiler systems delineate tasks: one exclusively for coffee brewing and another for steam generation.
Critical components in the grinder responsible for achieving a consistent coffee grind size, ensuring even extraction during the brewing process.
A standardised measurement referring to the quantity of coffee required for a single shot.
A calibrated mechanism designed to distribute precise amounts of ground coffee into the portafilter basket, ensuring consistency across servings.
A sophisticated technique where coffee doses are determined by weight rather than volume, providing higher accuracy in the brewing process.
A machine designed to reduce roasted coffee beans into a consistent grind, a critical step for achieving optimal extraction.
A specification indicating the machine's simultaneous brewing capacity.
For instance, a two-group commercial coffee machine can concurrently produce four individual coffee servings.
An integral component where the portafilter is secured, allowing for pressurised water to flow through and extract flavours from the coffee grounds.
A mechanism in single boiler machines where water is pre-heated by passing through a heat exchanger before reaching its brewing temperature.
A handled tool filled with ground coffee and secured to the group head for the espresso brewing process.
It houses the basket which holds the coffee grounds.
An instrument used to introduce steam into milk, creating a velvety texture suitable for coffee beverages.
A metric indicating the weekly coffee consumption of an establishment.
For instance, a high-volume café may process over 40 kilograms of coffee beans per week.
A technologically advanced feature in commercial automatic machines.
It ensures the delivery of uniform water or coffee quantities, crucial for beverage consistency.
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 50% of the rent you paid in the first year and 25% of any rental payments thereafter — to put toward the purchase price.
Read more about Rent–Try–Buy.