One Group or Two 2 ?


New member
Aug 18, 2005
Baltimore MD
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I'm opening a very small coffeehouse/bookstore and am getting a lot of conflicting advice about the limits of a one group machine.

One dealer recommended the Rancilio Epoca and said that it could pull as many shots in an hour that a human could possibly do.

The Cimbali dealer advises that with a one group I will not be able to pull consecutive shots (more than 3 in a row) without waiting.

The two group (M29 Start) is $1300 more than the Rancilio. It's hard to estimate how many customers I will have, and I don't have much time to make a decision.

Could anyone offer advice/feedback?



New member
Sep 12, 2005
Laval, Canada
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one is good enough

Each espresso should take 30 sec to make. With one group you can make 2 espresso at the same time. Most of your customers will order a cappuccino or a latte. I think you should be looking which machine can frost the milk better.



New member
One of the hardest thing to do is estimate your volumn, but you will have to come up with a number. For example, how many tables and chairs are you going to have? And what kind of turn over are you looking at? You should have a machine that can handle your seating capacity. Are you more of a bookstore or are you a coffeehouse with some books titles? If you are mainly a bookstore, then concentrate on marketing books, and have a small espresso machine, maybe even a prosumer machine; but do learn the essentials on how to make good espresso drinks as many bookstores really have horrible drinks, many coffeehoues too, for that matter. If you are mainly a coffeehouse, then invest in the best coffee equipment you can afford.

If you are going to use just one portafilter, then single group machine will be fine to start out with. Recently,the trend is to using bottomless portafilter and do away with single shot espresso. If you decided on that route, you can use a one group machine. The drawback is if I come in and order a triple latte, you are going to take a bit longer to make that drink.

If you are going with the traditional set up of using a single basket (7 grams) portafilter for single espresso shot, and a double basket (14 grams) for double shots, then you should get a 2 group machine because you need to keep both portafilters hot.

When considering milk steaming ability, bigger boiler, therefore higher power heating element, is usually better, and double boilers (more money) are better than single boiler.


Active member
Aug 11, 2004
Des Moines, Iowa
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Your problem won't be the shots you can pull but how much you can steam or froth.

A M29 Start is a manual machine, so unless you’re willing to watch each shot you won't like it. I would suggest a M29 Select, same machine but is a semi automatic which will dose your shot.

I'm not a big fan of the Rancilio Epoca line. I do like Rancilio products but I think the Epoca is nothing more then plastic and bicycle tubing.

Let me be honest with you, a single group machines will never be able to handle anytype of volume when you start producing milk drinks. One group machines look great on paper but perform poorly when a line develops. Like I said above, it will pull shots fine, but when you need to make multiple milk drinks is when a single fails. The boiler doesn't have the capacity to do more then 1 or 2 16oz drinks at a time.

Hence the 2 group! A much bigger boiler that can stand more of a beating. I have seen a 2 group M29 Select run drink after drink and be able to continue after 15 minutes. Much more then that it too will start to bomb out to being over worked due to a small boiler.

As for pulling shots, I have pulled countless shots in row on a Rancilio Silvia and never had a problem. Steaming though was rather useless, but its only purpose in life was to make espresso.

Remember, theoretically you can pull 2 shots per minute per group. So a 2 group theoretically can pull a 240 shots per hour. Now even if this is so I have yet to see anyone do this! Most people have trouble pulling even a 120 an hour!