Commercial Espresso Machines/Doser Grinders

LadyNimrodelle

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Jun 13, 2012
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Hi all,

New here, but I'm trying to buy a new espresso machine for my college campus coffee shop. We are a tiny little hole-in-the-wall place but we do quite a bit of business nonetheless. I have several issues that I'm trying to work out with this purchase, the first being that in the first 3 years we've been open we've used a superautomatic machine (which was not built for the volume we do, among its many other problems), so I was looking for a traditional automatic machine for its replacement...however as 90% of my employees are students who are getting paid through federal work-study to work 10 hours or less per week, I don't really have the time to properly train anyone on proper tamping techniques (not to mention that I need the kids to be ready to make drinks within a week of their arrival on campus). Issue #2: As I said...we are a tiny place - and I have a maximum of 38" wide counter space for a new espresso machine and grinder...and perhaps an autotamp? Issue #3: I got some info on one of the compact 2 group machines that I was looking at which said that the machine could only steam milk for 200 drinks a day...if that is standard (?!) then I need a full size machine, which basically means I can only have one doser grinder, which I can deal with and pre-grind my decaf...its kind of a mess.

My question boils down to this: what company makes the best quality product(s) for my challenges? I'm currently looking at a La Cimbali M29 Selectron Full Size 2 Group, a La Spaziale New EK 2 group tall cup, a UNIC Rumba 2 Group Tall Cup, and a La Spaziale S40 Selectron, and I have a pipe dream of getting a La Marzocco Linea...but I am up for suggestions if you know of anything magical that would solve all my espresso needs. As far as the doser grinder goes, well, ideally I'd get a Swift grinder, but it just takes up too much space if I am going to get a full size espresso machine, so I really don't know what else to get - will take suggestions for that as well.

Thanks in advance for any help!
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
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Des Moines, Iowa
Going the traditional route is always preferred but in your case if your going to be working with students for that little of a time period sticking with super auto's isn't a bad idea. The real beauty of the super is no training required which in your case is going to prove highly beneficial.

I don't know what you have now for a machine but I can tell you most of the higher end supers have no issue with 200 drinks a day. The Cimbali M2, Rancilio Egro, and even the Franke Evolution will handle those kinds of volumes. In a high output environment I would suggest 2 machines. Mainly because of steam production and you can pump out 2 drinks at a time. All 3 machines should be able to steam roughly 20 ounces of milk in 30 seconds. So in theory each machine should pop out 2 drinks a minute. At that rate your doing 240 drinks an hour and that's far more then average Starbucks is popping out.

The real issue here is not what type of machine to buy but who's going to service it. I'm assuming you already have a service guy who may sell equipment. You need to make sure what ever your going to purchase can be backed up by support. Also just because someone tells you they can sell you what ever you want you NEED to make sure they have the support behind it. I could sell you a UNIC today but I have nothing for one in my inventory of parts. Service is your key issue. Before you buy make sure you have it. Otherwise what good does it do for you to get advise on a forum from other people who have used that equipment but you can't get it serviced in a timely manner when it breaks AND everything breaks at some time in its life.

As for your selections they are all good picks. Nothing wrong with any of those machines. I'm a Cimbali man myself so I'm biased. I can tell you that if you feel the Marzocco is a pipe dream your severely mistaking. Its nothing more then another espresso machine. I know in the espresso world that Marzocco made a name for itself. That's about it. There are plenty of other good machines out there. Sadly Marzocco has fallen from grace. No longer embraced by Starbucks and no longer represented by the SCAA Competitions.

Names come and go.
 
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LadyNimrodelle

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Jun 13, 2012
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The thing is...I have a La Cimbali M2 Barsystem right now and its broken every other month for the last 3 years. We do roughly 500 drinks a day which is way too much volume for any of the Superautos I've looked at - and we can't afford to spend the money for 2 Superautos so we're kinda stuck with a traditional machine. I'm in the L.A. area so finding someone to service the machine isn't really the issue so much as getting the best machine for our business.
 

eldub

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Mar 28, 2012
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Are you sure you aren't misreading the specs concerning the 200 drinks/day on the supra autos? I think CC is saying that 240/hour would technically be possible on the machines he mentioned.

lw
 
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LadyNimrodelle

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Jun 13, 2012
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I am getting the information from either the technicians who service the machines or the sales people. Theoretically it is possible to make 240 drinks/hr on any 2 group machine, but the machines aren't necessarily built to withstand that kind of volume, which is why I've had to have technicians out so often, or so I'm told.
 

CCafe

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Aug 11, 2004
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Des Moines, Iowa
If your doing 500 drinks day you need another M2. Most places that have high volume around here have 2 or more machines. At 500 a day your saying your pumping out roughly 180K worth of drinks every year? If so your preventative maintenance schedule is killer. Are your techs PM'ing your machine at least every other month? The PM cycle on a M2 is 40,000 cycles or 185 days.
 

shadow745

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Aug 15, 2005
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Central North Carolina
I agree with CCafe... go with what works for you, not just a brand name. I've had alot of experience on a LM Linea and IMO it was a polished turd, nothing more/nothing less. Also used a LM FB/80. That was a refined step ahead of the Linea, but not much else.
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,553
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Des Moines, Iowa
I agree with CCafe... go with what works for you, not just a brand name. I've had alot of experience on a LM Linea and IMO it was a polished turd, nothing more/nothing less. Also used a LM FB/80. That was a refined step ahead of the Linea, but not much else.

LOL never thought of one like that! I shall like this post!
 

etccoffeehouse

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Jun 26, 2012
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Just wanted to say that I worked at a coffee/sandwich shop a few years ago that was insanely busy, doing thousands of dollars of business per day, and our machine was a 3-group La Spaziale New EK. I absolutely loved that machine. Extremely consistent, simple operation, and it was a tank-- took tons of abuse and I saw it go down and need a tech called in once in the year I worked there, even with how much use it got. I now manage two shops and am replacing one of our machines and thinking about going with the same Spaziale EK Tall Cup.

On another note, you may want to read the sticky in this forum about espresso machine myths-- the tamping section? I would say that getting a tamping system might not be as much of a concern, since as long as they can dose the portafilter fairly consistently, the tamping itself doesn't necessarily affect the shot by much. At least, when I train, my biggest focus is on steaming and foaming milk properly... so I wouldn't lose too much sleep over only having enough space for a standard espresso grinder. (And if you need a tiny grinder, like for decaf, I would totally recommend the Rancilio Rocky. Doesn't grind very fast or dose quite as easily, so it's not great for higher-volume regular espresso, but it's small and lasts forever.)

Okay, sorry about the rambling. New upgraded equipment is so exciting. Good luck!!
 
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