I am opening a small espresso bar in the next few months and would like opinions on the absolute best machine. I am interested in dependability, ease of use, coffee quality and appearance. Any help would be much appreciated.
That is a very subjective question and can only be answered after you've had an opportunity to actually see some machines in action. I would suggest that you either visit some espresso businesses, see them in operation and ask the owner or manager why they bought what they have. Or find the manufacturers and/or local distributors and visit their showrooms for a demo. Ask those questions and decide your budget. Some think that price dictates better quality, when that may not be the case. Just my two cents. You'll find you can't go wrong when you've armed youself with good information as well as a good demo. Hope this helps... :wink:
I like coffee guy's mainstream, yet sometimes unordinary point of view. The visuals are great, but the test comes down to evaluating it under a controlled enviroment, which can be hard to do since the demo is going to be limited to how it's preset on location.
You are mainly looking for a couple of numbers, heating element wattage and boiler size, these are the most crucial elements of any machine as far as it being able to handle capacity. Secondary's are parts, third is being able to locate people that are close enough to your area to service it.
Look under the hood is all I'm saying, as CG said, price shouldn't be an indicator, we know this industry is unique in this area when it comes to this, so look past the fluff and get to the bottom line when you purchase.
Something I have to add on, yes, demo's and showrooms are nice, but there are always exceptions to the rules and in fact, you may find yourself paying for some guys overhead within the machine cost that's not necessary from a mom and pop's operation.
I've dealth with the the Magister line, it's basically a cobrand machine line created by another manufacturer and is distributed by a few people, you'll need to track down the originator's source to get to the bottom line for parts if you want it to be cost effective going to fix your own machine route, but currently the top dog in my opinion $'s verses what's under the hood is the Conti line.