If you were opening an espresso shop, what would you buy?

breve'man

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I am brand new on this board but smart enough to realize that the best advice usually can be found in places like this. I live in a college town and am thinking about filling a void in the drive through espresso market. There are none so far. To do this I would need some advice on types of machines you might recommend keeping in mind that I would probably be limited to those requiring 110v and no plumbed-in water. Any help would be appreciated,
Mike
 
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breve'man

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I suppose it's possible. Just thinking of the possibilites and limitations I might encounter wherever I happen to set up.
 

topher

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I used a 110 at the ice palace in Tampa...man did that suck!!! The person had 5 carts in different areas....all had 110 machines....I hated it because the owner would pre- brew the espresso and put it in pump pots...the reason was that it didn't have enough power to brew and steam at the same time! I would definately forget about 110...just my opinion.
 

aabreetech

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Nov 2, 2003
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First of all, What is your budget? How many drinks do you think you will be doing? There are a few 110 machines that can do the job if you are doing less than a 30 an hour and just 1 person. You need one that is NSF certified in most states. Your are going to need a machine and a grinder. How many people are going to work in the shop? Questions! Questions! Questions!
 
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breve'man

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Budget? :shock: What the hell is that?! lol
I guess my budget would be basically getting the best bang for the buck and getting what I need to produce quality drinks for my customers. Dependability and ease of operation is also a big concern. I am envisioning a two sided drive up only business with 1 to 2 people working it. I suppose 30 drinks per hour would probably be at peak times and if I could do that much business at the start I would be happy. I mainly want to get this going for a way to make a few bucks and/or provide employment for my 2 college student kids. Either one would be great. I am thinking that with some sweat and smart shopping I oughta be able to start up for<$10k?. Am I close?
Thanks,
Mike
 

topher

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10 grand for the whole set up....or for your espresso machine? I am just wondering....I just bought 2 new 2 group espresso machines..and paid around $6,300 each...Then again I just sold a rebuilt espresso machine to a consulting client for $1,900 including a grinder...depends on what you are looking to do....I serve a crap load of specialty drinks...and have done well over 50 drinks an hour....oh well good luck!
 
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breve'man

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Well I can do the building for 2 to 3 grand so yea, I'm thinking for the whole deal
 

aabreetech

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Southern Oregon
Check with your health inspector to find out what his requirements are. Do you have to have an NSF certified machine or can you get by with just a good machine. Do you need 220 or do you only have 110? Do you need a 2 head or will a single do OK to start? The Livia 90 is a small machine that is NSF certified and can crank out quite a few drinks an hour. If something goes wrong with it you can fix it yourself and don't have to call a specialist to make the repairs. You can get 2 machines for about a third the price of a good 2 group machine. If one breaks you still have one to keep you going.
 
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breve'man

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Thanks for the info. I'll check with the health dept and see what is required. The Livia 90 looks like a pretty decent machine especially for the money and the fact that this is a new venture in untested waters. So you think 2 of these machines would suffice?
Mike
 

javaman

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Dec 22, 2003
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New York
Mike,
A few critical questions you should be asking yourself before purchasing new equiptment. One is what kind of traffic will you be expecting? 15-30 per hour? More hopefully. A 110 machine cannot handle large volume and you certianly do not want your customers to wait in line for a long time. I run 5 coffee shops on a college campus, we push through upwards of 50 transactions in a 15 minute period, this is important because students are between classes and we have to be able to serve a great drink in a limited amount of time. I have recently switched all my espresso machines over to ranchillio, a few reasons for that is..Starbucks uses them and they are the top of the line. We too started off with little cash flow but we looked into every available resource. The machine that one person quoted for $6,500 I was able to find in Canada for half the cost (same machine) so I bought 2. May be some frachise options too. like java joes, who will supply the equiptment while you use all there products.

Hope this helps some. feel free to email me
Dave
 

topher

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ummmm...javaman...where you refering to me? How did you get the same machine I did for half the cost....thats a neat trick...seeing I never told you the brand....and to get a 2 group La Cimbali for only $3,200 new is amazing. :shock:
 

javaman

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Dec 22, 2003
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New York
Sorry Topher

I was useing the prise you mentioned $6,500 as a referance. I priced a Rancilio espresso machine for the same cost and found it half cost in Canada. I am good but how could i ever guess what you priced? :roll:
 

Coffee Guy

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Oct 19, 2003
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Seattle,Washington USA
Hello breve'man:

First may I ask you what part of the country are you in? This will make a difference in your approach to starting this kind of business. If you are located somewhere where espresso drinks are already established it will be a little easier to reach your goal. However, if you are located where these drinks have not caught on yet, you will have to introduce it. If this is the case, you may have a long uphill battle. I'm not trying to discourage you, just wanting to put this up front. It will be virtually impossible to put together this kind of business (drive thru) for 10K including the equipment and building unless you get a major buddy deal or find someone having a distress sale and just wants out. Also, if you are looking to get into this business cheap, that is what you will produce, CHEAP. As in any business, do your home work properly, plan properly, and build properly. May I suggest that you visit our website and print out the FREE catalog we offer for people like yourself. This will give you a better idea of what to expect and then you can determine for yourself if this is what you want to do.

I do agree with topher's points regarding the use of a 110 machine. It won't survive in a drive thru enviroment. We've built a number of drive thru locations in addition to assisting others in doing the same with our no nonsense approach. They are all doing well. We have customers from Hoonan, AK to Binghampton, NY with drive thrus and I'm sure they will tell you as well, that if you invest the money, do it right.

The espresso drive thru business in Seattle has been strong for a number of years, and now it is beginning to finally catch on else where.

If you are serious about wanting to do this, contact me. This is what we do.

"Happy New Year!"
 

jez

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Jan 26, 2004
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Brooklyn Center, MN
Espresso Machines

Wow! Valuable info on the espresso machine purchase questions. I am in the market for a machine match. My concept is coffee/beverage catering (on-site) for 15-50 person events/meetings. I read on Whole Latte Love that the Salvador semi-auto/110 has a capacity to pump out steam for an(8oz cup) in 6 seconds simultaneously w/coffee. It is also NSF, and UL approved. It offers options of pour over and plumming. Hope I have the name right, If not, I'll correct it later.
 
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