Top 9 Commercial Espresso Machines to Elevate Your Coffee Shop

19 min read DEC 15, 2023

Imagine this: a bustling coffee shop with a constant flow of customers. The air is filled with the gentle hum of conversations and the alluring aroma of freshly brewed coffee. It's the stuff dreams are made of for small coffee shop owners. And you have decided to bring this dream to life by opening your coffee shop or perhaps you're upgrading the brewing equipment at your existing café.

It's safe to say that you're now searching for a top-notch commercial coffee machine for your business. As a savvy coffee business owner, you understand the importance of investing in high-quality equipment to maximize revenue. And that's where they come in to assist you in making the right choice.

They know you've done your research, identified your requirements, and carefully budgeted for equipment and expenses. You need a concise overview of the finest commercial espresso machines available. So, let's delve into it and explore your options.

The Best Commercial Espresso Machines In 2023


Venturing into the realm of commercial espresso machines without establishing your budget and needs can leave you inundated with many choices, swiftly leading to overwhelming. That is precisely why they have dedicated the efforts to meticulously curating a comprehensive list of the most exceptional commercial machines currently accessible in the market for 2023.

1. La Marzocco Strada AV

  • Boiler capacity: 1.3 liters per group
  • Steam boiler capacity: 8.2 liters
  • Number of groups: 2 or 3
  • Operation mode: Auto Volumetric

The Marzocco Strada holds a legendary status among commercial espresso machines. It is the first machine designed with direct input from baristas and industry professionals, continually evolving to meet their ever-changing needs.
Four models are available, each offering varying degrees of control for the barista. The Auto Volumetric model, in particular, caters to high-volume settings where consistency is paramount, utilizing advanced automation.

In contrast to the more common E61 groups, the Strada boasts saturated groups, a characteristic found in many La Marzocco machines. These saturated groups provide improved temperature stability, resulting in more consistent shots. Although they come at a slightly higher price, the Strada's boilers with PID controllers allow precise temperature control for each group, making it ideal for extracting shots using different roasts on the same machine.

The well-exposed groups on the Strada offer enhanced ergonomics and visibility for the barista – a small detail that receives regular praise from professional baristas.

Moreover, the Strada features the innovative Performance Touch steam wand, ingeniously combining high performance with a no-burn design. Utilizing a steel inner wall instead of plastic, this steam wand delivers perfect dry steam while remaining cool.

Overall, the La Marzocco Strada exemplifies excellence in espresso machine design, prioritizing the needs and preferences of baristas to consistently deliver exceptional results with every cup.

2. Victoria Arduino Black Eagle 3-Group

  • Brew boiler capacity: 0.7 liters.
  • Steam boiler capacity: 18 liters.
  • Number of groups: 3 or 2.
  • Operation: Auto Gravimetric.

If your coffee shop consistently has a line stretching out the door every morning, investing in an espresso machine that can handle the demand is wise. It will result in excellent outcomes, keeping your customers and baristas happy. When it comes to finding the perfect espresso machine for the job, the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle stands unrivaled.

Featuring programmable gravimetric dosing with integrated scales in the drip tray provides the most precise way to measure a shot. Along with a soft pre-infusion system that reduces the need for tamping, it ensures unparalleled consistency from shot to shot.

Each group of the Black Eagle is equipped with a TFT screen, making programming easily accessible. Like the Victoria Arduino Eagle One, the Black Eagle is equipped with the T3 system, giving baristas control over each brew group's temperature and steam and water infusion. It also provides real-time feedback, ensuring optimal performance.

In terms of design, the Black Eagle is nothing short of stunning. Its lower profile enhances user-friendliness and fosters better interaction with customers. The steam wands have been updated with more levers and enhanced insulation. The back plate has a polished mirror touch, letting you observe shots from below without bending over.

Keeping up with current trends, the latest model also emphasizes environmental consciousness. The interior is well-insulated to prevent energy loss, and the materials used, such as steel, copper, and aluminum, are all recyclable. With the Victoria Arduino Black Eagle, you get exceptional performance and contribute to a greener future.

3. Synesso MVP Hydra 2-Group

  • Brew boiler capacity: 1.9 liters per group
  • Steam boiler capacity: 7.7 liters
  • Number of groups: 1, 2, or 3
  • Operation modes: Manual, Manual Program, or Volumetric Program

Synesso espresso machines are meticulously crafted by hand in Seattle, a city that has become a thriving hub for specialty coffee and espresso machine innovation. Among their impressive lineup, the MVP Hydra stands out as a true testament to their ongoing commitment to excellence.

As the latest addition to the highly successful MVP line, the Hydra represents the perfect fusion of manual and volumetric programming. While "MVP" officially stands for Manual or Volumetric Program, it symbolizes the Most Valuable Player in espresso machines.

What sets Synesso machines apart is their unparalleled programmability, and the Hydra takes this to new heights. Similar to the MVP, each group on the Hydra allows you to program six distinct brew modes, giving you precise control over boiler temperatures and the hot water tap. Notably, each mode is accompanied by a digital shot timer, ensuring precision and consistency.

However, the Hydra introduces an exciting new feature: the ability to fine-tune your espresso recipe by adjusting the pressure. Each group functions as an individual espresso machine, complete with its pump and motor. A unique bypass system empowers you to regulate the flow rate during each stage of the shot. The result? A nearly limitless array of variables to explore on your quest for the perfect espresso.

Additionally, the Hydra boasts no-burn steam wands equipped with ergonomic handles, a thoughtful choice catering to high-volume environments.

With its unwavering commitment to craftsmanship and innovative engineering, Synesso continues to redefine the art of espresso making. Experience the precision and versatility of the MVP Hydra and take your coffee game to extraordinary heights.

4. La Marzocco Linea Mini

  • Brew boiler capacity: 0.6 liters
  • Steam boiler capacity: 3.5 liters
  • Number of groups: 1
  • Operation mode: Semi-automatic Paddle

Since its release, the Linea Mini, inspired by the iconic Linea, has become a best-selling machine for La Marzocco. Its popularity stems not only from its sleek aesthetic, which sets it apart from the typical "chrome box" appearance of prosumer machines but also from its ability to bridge the gap between commercial and home use. It makes it a favorite among small businesses and passionate home baristas.

While it may lack the programmability in larger commercial models, the Linea Mini boasts a user-friendly interface that perfectly balances simplicity and control. The manual brew paddle provides a sense of command, even though it primarily functions as an on-off switch with pre-programmed pre-infusion. It ensures consistency and workflow efficiency.

Its impressive steaming power is what truly sets the Linea Mini apart from other home espresso machines, making it an excellent choice for commercial settings. With a double boiler system, it features a compact 0.6-liter brew boiler and a generous 3.5-liter steam boiler. This configuration allows you to create a microfoam perfect for latte art in seconds.

While La Marzocco typically uses saturated groups instead of the more common E61, the Linea Mini showcases a unique integrated group. This innovative design delivers the same level of temperature stability as a saturated group but in a much smaller and more streamlined package. The temperature is adjusted using a stepped wheel, although some may find it slightly less intuitive than a digital display.

La Marzocco has created a machine that excels in form and function by optimizing the Linea Mini's performance, design, and functionality. Whether you're a professional barista or a passionate home brewer, the Linea Mini offers an exceptional espresso experience.

5. Slayer Steam LP 2-Group

  • B boiler capacity: 1.7 liters per group.
  • Steam boiler capacity: 7.4 liters.
  • Number of groups: 2 or 3.
  • Operation: Manual or Volumetric.

A third-wave coffee shop is a delightful alternative to Starbucks, focusing on brewing specialty coffee beans to bring out their unique flavors. If you dream of running such a café, you must acquaint yourself with the esteemed brand: Slayer.

Slayer has gained recognition for its groundbreaking flow profiling technology. By incorporating a needle valve for slow pre-infusion, they enable finer bean grinding and extract flavors to their fullest potential. With the Slayer Steam, this technology is complemented by an impressive advancement in milk steaming.

Slayer has developed an exclusive vaporizer between the steam boiler and steam wand, producing hotter and drier steam. Those who froth plant-based milk, particularly, will appreciate the remarkable difference. Furthermore, the steam wands utilize electronic solenoid valves, which offer enhanced responsiveness, efficiency, and durability compared to mechanical valves.

The LP version of steam flawlessly combines manual control with programmability. Once you've dialed in the perfect shot, you can save the program and effortlessly replicate it throughout the day.

Slayer machines are renowned for their impeccable style. While quality surpasses aesthetics, it's a delight when the two seamlessly blend. Their sleek machines maintain a low profile, which is especially important in third-wave cafes where customers are actively interested in their brew.

6. Nuova Simonelli Appia Life 1-Group

  • Brew boiler capacity: not applicable
  • Steam boiler capacity: 5 liters
  • Groups: 1, 2, or 3
  • Operation: Automatic Volumetric

The Nuova Simonelli Appia models have long been an integral part of coffee shops, and the new Appia Life continues this proud tradition. It is available in three versions: semi-automatic, compact, and volumetric. If simplicity is your priority, the volumetric version is the perfect choice.

The Appia Life is particularly well-suited for scenarios where extensive barista training, such as restaurants, hotels, or offices, is not a priority. It offers a high level of automation, allowing virtually anyone to consistently produce exceptional espresso.

With a heat exchange boiler, the Appia Life enables simultaneous coffee extraction and milk steaming. Each group has four programmable volume settings, eliminating the need for manual control. This feature saves time, enabling baristas to focus on steaming milk or engaging with customers. The XT version includes a digital display for added convenience, making programming a breeze.

Nuova Simonelli machines have always delivered exceptional performance and are renowned for their impressive steam power and four-hole steam tips. Appia Life is no exception. The volumetric model can enhance your experience with the new Easy Cream system. This innovative technology automates the frothing process, using a probe to detect the ideal milk texture and temperature.

In addition to its outstanding performance, Appia Life also prioritizes sustainability. Independent analysis confirms that it is 13% more energy-efficient and has a 20% lower environmental impact than previous models.

With Appia Life, Nuova Simonelli has created a machine that combines excellence, ease of use, and a commitment to sustainability. It is a testament to their dedication to providing exceptional coffee equipment.

7. La Spaziale S2 EK Spazio 2-Group

  • Brew boiler capacity: Not applicable
  • Steam boiler capacity: 5 liters
  • Number of groups: 2
  • Operation mode: Auto Volumetric

While commercial espresso machines may come with a hefty price tag, impressive options are still available, especially if you're working with a tight budget. Consider the La Spaziale S2 Spazio 2-Group, a little brother to the renowned S2 model. Despite its slightly smaller 5-liter boiler, it matches its larger counterpart in almost every way. Surprisingly, it is priced similarly to the single-group Linea Mini.

The S2 Spazio boasts the same copper heat exchange boiler and volumetric dosing system as the S2, cleverly incorporating extra-long steam arms with an enhanced range of motion. This compact design allows two baristas to comfortably work side by side.

The S2 is available in volumetric (EK) and semi-automatic (EP) versions. The volumetric model offers a more efficient workflow in high-volume settings, as dosing can be pre-programmed, eliminating any guesswork. On the other hand, the semi-automatic option provides more control to the skilled barista. Moreover, it is even more affordable than the already excellent value EK version.

8. Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Wave Volumetric 2-Group

  • B boiler capacity: Not applicable
  • Steam boiler capacity: 14 liters
  • Number of groups: 2 or 3
  • Operation mode: Auto Volumetric

In a charming café, the espresso machine takes center stage, capturing functionality and beauty. Allow you to introduce Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Wave, renowned for its eye-catching wave-shaped profile and elegant C-shaped swoop. Available in matte black, pearl white, or glossy red, it can also be customized to seamlessly blend with your décor in countless ways.

Aurelia's claim to fame lies in its heritage as the official World Barista Championship espresso machine. It means it boasts advanced technology that caters to every need. You have complete control with four programmable shot volumes per group, conveniently managed through the large LCD. Adjust the boiler temperature, on/off time, cleaning functions, and hot water temperature, and explore various other intelligent features while using the display as a timer. For high-volume establishments, this comprehensive system ensures unwavering consistency throughout the day.

Honoring the Nuova Simonelli tradition, the Aurelia Wave exudes remarkable steam power with its distinctive four-hole tip. Ergonomic steam levers and cool-touch wands make achieving the perfect microfoam effortless.

In its latest iteration, the Wave offers optional Smart Water Technology. This innovative feature monitors water quality and promptly alerts you to any changes. As the significance of water in coffee is increasingly recognized, this edition will become a standard among leading brands.

9. Bezzera Magica

  • Boiler Capacity: Not applicable for brew boiler
  • Steam boiler capacity: 2 liters
  • Number of groups: 1
  • Operation: Semi-automatic

With a rich history dating back to the early 1900s, Bezzera revolutionized the world of espresso machines with their pioneering patent. Over a century of expertise has honed their craftsmanship to perfection. The Bezzera Magica seamlessly blends classic, time-tested elements with modern, practical features, making it an impeccable addition to your home or small commercial setup.

Equipped with the industry-standard E61 group head and a copper heat exchange boiler, the Magica empowers you to simultaneously pull a shot and steam milk. Convenient gauges on the front panel allow for effortless boiler and pump pressure monitoring, ensuring consistent and exceptional results. While the Magica is a semi-automatic machine, it demands more barista skill and attention than its automatic counterparts.

In a fast-paced commercial environment where efficiency is paramount, the Magica's steam and hot water wands are intuitively operated with joysticks, guaranteeing ergonomic ease when preparing consecutive drinks. Its mirror-polished stainless steel casing not only adds a touch of sophistication to your setup but also ensures durability, especially if you frequently transport it to and from events.

Despite its compact size compared to most commercial machines, the Bezzera Magica boasts a generous 4-liter water reservoir, one of the largest in its class. This feature makes it ideal for mobile businesses like catering companies or espresso carts, where plumbing may not be an option. Furthermore, the Magica's versatile design, suitable for home and commercial applications, offers affordability surpassing purely commercial machines.

How To Choose The Right Commercial Espresso Machine For Your Coffee Shop

Commercial espresso machines are meticulously crafted to cater to the demands of café businesses, even the compact ones. These machines exhibit significant differences from home espresso machines, especially those designed for beginners. Moreover, they possess distinct specifications compared to espresso machines in office settings. Their ultimate goal is to consistently produce top-notch coffee throughout the day, regardless of the bustling nature of the establishment.

However, it is imperative to acknowledge that not all espresso machines are created equal. The machine you select can profoundly impact your business, akin to choosing the perfect name for your coffee shop. Hence, it is crucial to approach this decision with utmost care and deliberation.

To aid you in making an informed choice, It is recommended acquainting yourself with the inner workings of espresso machines. Armed with this knowledge, you can align your understanding with the four pivotal factors listed below, enabling you to pinpoint the most suitable commercial espresso machine for your business.

1. Semi-Automatic Vs. Automatic

Since the era of steam-powered machines, professional makers have made remarkable advancements. What was once an uphill task of manually running heavy levers has become effortless with recent automatic machines and semi-automatic, also known as super-automatic machines.

Automation is truly a blessing when you or your barista continuously pull shot after shot from morning to evening. You can't go wrong regardless of which machine you choose from the options mentioned earlier. However, as a business owner, you must decide between an automatic and a semi-automatic espresso machine, not solely based on the initial upfront cost.

For most businesses, an automatic machine is the wiser choice as it offers greater efficiency and ease of operation. You won't have to worry about grinding the beans, tamping them, or achieving consistent extraction levels. Moreover, it eliminates the need for extensive staff training. Even those without prior barista experience will find the learning curve of a super-automatic espresso machine to be gentle enough.

On the other hand, if you don't anticipate serving hundreds of cups of coffee daily and enjoy manually fine-tuning the extraction process, a semi-automatic machine will be the perfect addition to your equipment list.

2. Capacity Of The Espresso Machine

When selecting a commercial espresso machine, choosing the right capacity is important based on your business's scale. Consider whether your café will primarily serve a high volume of 'to-go' cups or if you're a local roastery catering to a smaller clientele with specialty brews. Consider the available space for machine storage and the number of baristas operating it simultaneously. These factors are crucial in selecting the best espresso machine for your needs.

The machine's capacity is determined by the number of group heads and the size of the boiler. Professional coffee machines typically come with 2, 3, or 4 group heads, allowing multiple baristas to work simultaneously. Each group head can produce two drinks at a time. However, it's important to note that having a higher number of group heads may not always be advantageous, as space constraints behind the counter could limit your options.

Boiler capacity is also a significant consideration when choosing the right coffee machine. It should be large enough to provide sufficient hot water during peak hours. Generally, machines with more group heads also have larger boiler capacities.

Additionally, it's crucial to keep the machine's size in mind. While a larger machine may have a higher price tag and require more space, it can greatly boost staff morale and improve service efficiency.

By carefully considering these factors, you can ensure that your espresso machine meets the specific needs of your business while consistently delivering exceptional coffee.

3. Ease Of Use And Maintenance

Proper maintenance is key for professional, high-performance equipment, including automatic espresso machines. It is crucial to regularly clean and ensure easy repairs for technical issues.

Most automatic espresso machines today are designed to make everyday maintenance easier for you and your staff. However, it is still important to consider the practicality of each model. While most automatic machines have self-cleaning capabilities, regular descaling is still necessary. They usually lack detachable group heads, relying solely on the machine's self-cleaning functions.

An automatic commercial espresso machine with removable parts may be a better option for those seeking more flexibility. It allows for occasional manual deep cleaning, but it will require training your staff to disassemble and reassemble the components. On the other hand, semi-automatic machines typically have removable parts and require manual descaling. They are generally easier to maintain than their automatic counterparts, as they lack built-in coffee grinders and other complex machinery.

Regardless of the type of commercial espresso machine you choose, durability and ease of repair should be top priorities. It is crucial to ensure that your espresso machine has comprehensive warranty coverage in case any issues arise. Additionally, consider the espresso-making process, from preparation to cleaning. If the machine you are considering does not include a knock box, you can refer to this list for an espresso knock box that can assist you.

In summary, prioritizing maintenance and understanding the espresso-making process is crucial when selecting the right commercial espresso machine for your needs.

4. The Espresso Shot


Above all, the satisfaction of your customers should be the top priority. Once you have narrowed your choices to two or three machines based on the factors mentioned earlier, dive into user reviews that discuss the taste, quality, and consistency of the espresso shot for each machine. Since purchasing an espresso machine requires a significant investment, evaluating your menu and determining which coffee beverages you will serve is wise.

THE VERDICT


This article aims to clarify choosing the best commercial espresso machine for your coffee shop. While your budget will heavily influence your decision, each machine discussed here can effortlessly produce delicious espresso.

Ultimately, the ideal choice depends on your business requirements and personal preference. However, the recommendation is the La Marzocco Strada. Additionally, using demitasse cups can enhance the presentation of your espresso.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best commercial espresso machine?


The ideal choice for a commercial espresso machine depends on your business requirements and personal preference. However, one of our top recommendations is the La Marzocco Strada AV.


How do I choose an espresso machine?


When selecting an espresso machine, consider factors such as the type of coffee shop you have, your menu items, how many drinks you'll need to make quickly and simultaneously, the level of automation you require, and your budget. Additionally, be sure to read user reviews about each espresso machine's taste, quality, and consistency before making a final decision.


How do I make the best espresso?


Making great espresso can take practice, but some tips may help. First, use freshly ground coffee of good quality and appropriate grind size. Next, apply the right temperature and pressure to ensure a well-extracted shot. Lastly, use demitasse cups for presentation if desired. Following these steps should result in a delicious espresso every time.


What is the importance of coffee grinders for cafes?


Coffee grinders are an essential part of any cafe's equipment. They ensure that espresso shots are correctly ground and extracted, resulting in a consistently great-tasting cup. For this reason, choosing the best commercial grinder for your cafe is essential to get the most out of your coffee. To learn more, be s


What are the benefits of investing in a commercial espresso machine?


Investing in a commercial espresso machine can result in many benefits for cafes and restaurants. Commercial machines are generally designed to handle higher volumes of drinks than home machines, meaning they can keep up with the demands of a busy cafe. Commercial machines often come with features such as pre-programmed settings and automated cleaning cycles that make them easier to use. Investing in a commercial espresso machine ensures your customers enjoy superior espresso drinks every time.


How do I maintain an espresso machine?


Regular maintenance of an espresso machine is essential to ensure it runs smoothly and delivers quality drinks consistently. After each use, the machine should be cleaned using a brush, cloth, and recommended cleaning products. For more thorough cleaning, descaling and backflushing should also be done periodically. Finally, frequently check the pressure gauge to ensure the machine operates correctly.


What is the importance of barista training?


Barista training is key in ensuring that customers enjoy the best possible espresso drinks. A trained barista can properly operate an espresso machine, pull shots, and steam milk. Additionally, they understand coffee terminology and can make suggestions about different types of coffee based on the customer's preferences.

Check out Lifeboost Coffee Pour Over Coffee Machine.

References:
https://www.espressoparts.com/blogs/news/best-commercial-espresso-machines
https://majestycoffee.com/pages/best-commercial-espresso-machines
https://www.homegrounds.co/best-commercial-espresso-machine/

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Mark Wolfson

I believe that the LA Pavoni Pub series still has the best overall build quality in the world, and is not even mentioned on any web reviews. Shameful.