Best Commercial Espresso Machine: Our Top 5 Choices For The Best Espresso
Commercial Espresso Machines
If you’re a lover of coffee, you may have probably considered at one point in your life to ditch your regular job and open a café, that's what we did! As easy as the idea sounds, it may not be that simple to achieve. So, shout out to all those who are beginning to chase that coffee dream. That brings us to the reason you’re here, to find the best commercial espresso machine for your coffee shop, café or business!
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Commercial Espresso Machines
- Under $5,000: Appia Life, Volumetric
- $10,000 - $15,000: Aurelia Wave, Volumetric
- Under $15,000: White Eagle Digital, Black
- Under $20,000: Eagle One, Volumetric T3, Steelux
- Under $25,000: Black Eagle Volumetric T3, Steelux
Getting the right commercial espresso machine, and not just a good espresso machine, is one of the first essential purchase that you’ll need to make in order to run a great coffee shop, successfully. Fortunately, there are so many machines available to choose from, which if this is your first time looking into them, you may be feeling a level of analysis paralysis.
Well, not to worry! That is why we have put together this review for you of the best machines at various price points. From fully automatic espresso machines, to semi automatic machines, we bring you what we consider the best espresso machines currently available on the market. So, before you dash off to the store, make sure you consider every machine on this review list beforehand!
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$10,000 - $15,000
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1. Appia Life, Volumetric
Best Option Under $5,000
- Reverse Mirror
- Soft Pre-Infusion System
- Easy Cream Feature
- Push-Button Panel
- Aligned Cup Warner
The first entry onto our list is the Appia Life, Volumetric espresso machine. Whether you're looking for semi automatic or automatic coffee machines, this is a great option. This commercial espresso machine is available in three different group heads at three separate prices. But with a base price falling below $5,000, you can consider this coffee machine the best option for that price range.
If you’re looking for consistency in delivery, precision, and a modern look then make sure you're looking at the Appia Life, Volumetric machine. Appia Life Nuova Simonelli Coffee Machine is ideal for coffee shops, both medium to high-volume locations, with very demanding customers.
Being volumetric, this coffee machine allows the user to program different volumes and consistently work with the desired volume throughout the day. That means the coffee barista is free from the burden of needing to monitor every shot from the machine, making it possible to focus on other areas of their service or simply interact with their customers, or even work on a different order.
The Appia Life Volumetric is the perfect budget friendly option that is capable of producing high quality espresso shots, while also allowing you to keep up with a heavy volume of customers.
If you’re interested in color, this machine comes in three different options to choose from - black, white, and red. But, make sure you place a request for customized colors, if the default ones are not enough.
When it comes to features, Nuova Simonelli’s Appia Life coffee machine comes packed with impressive technology. For starters, this machine has a soft infusion system (SIS), which provides consistent results and even compensates for any inaccurate coffee tamping. There is also a reverse mirror feature, that gives you full control of the coffee maker, without needing to bend to verify the cleanliness of the dispensers.
You can also rely on the machine’s easy cream feature, which ensures that you automatically obtain a dense milk cream. There is a push-button panel with ergonomically designed keys, which are more responsive. Plus, you can also benefit from an aligned cup warmer. Appia Life, Volumetric coffee machine is also designed to save energy, be cost-effective, and sustain the environment.
2. Aurelia Wave, Volumetric
Best Option Between $10,000 and $15,000
- Volumetric Dosing
- LCD Display
- Auto Purge
- Raised Group Head
- Soft Pre-Infusion System
- Automatic Cleaning
- Water Level Indicator
- Reverse Mirror
- Semi Automatic
From one Nuova Simonelli commercial espresso machine to another, we have the Aurelia Wave, Volumetric. This machine easily falls into the group of the best coffee machines for many reasons. The Aurelia Wave, Volumetric machine is one of the most reliable and flexible commercial espresso machines or coffee machines out there.
At first glance, this espresso machine appears advanced, bold, and revolutionary. The Aurelia Wave, Volumetric machine is ideal for specialty coffee shops with barista competitors. It is also ideal for any kind of competitive coffee shop with medium to high volume locations. And you are expecting to deal with very demanding customers, then this coffee machine should be on your “To Buy” list.
This coffee machine model comes with several improved features. It’s standard model comes with a high-resolution screen, which offers the barista an almost unparalleled control, as it places everything within the reach of your fingertips. That means you can easily program your preferred dosages, manage energy savings settings, pre-infusion, and pre-boiler settings.
The Aurelia Wave, Volumetric machine is available in variations (number of group heads), with each variation coming with a different price-point. Each variation offers unprecedented performance and almost unmatched reliability.
These features make this coffee machine one of the most reliable and flexible espresso machines currently on the market. If the name Aurelia is anything to go by, this espresso machine offers a unique look but also the constant movement of this espresso technology.
One of its high tech features is the Aurelia Wave Smart Water technology, which is optional on the machine. This feature can help you detect basic water conditions and notify the barista when there is any change in quality.
Because water forms the main part of any espresso, this feature acts as a safeguard for the owner of the machine and helps to reduce long-term costs. Furthermore, when you combine all the above features with the ergonomics, its low energy consumption rate, and focus on detail, the Aurelia Wave, Volumetric easily raises the bar.
3. White Eagle Digital, Black
Best Option Under $15,000
- Cool Touch
- Reverse Mirror
- Energy Saving
- Automatic Cleaning
- Shot Timer
- Volumetric Dosing
Moving on, we have the White Eagle (VA358), Black, Digital espresso machine. The first three words that should come to mind after using this device are style, efficiency, and elegance. This espresso machine is also available in variations (number of group heads), with each variation coming with a different price-points. The White Eagle (VA358), Black, Digital is ideal for high-quality coffee shops that have demanding professionals in a high-volume location.
The White Eagle (VA358) machine is set to continue in the same trend of making specialized espresso makers available for cafes. If you’re thinking about owning a café, then this impressive machine comes highly recommended, as it offers efficiency, consistency, and reliability. Plus, with its other variations, this coffee machine will boost the relationship between any barista and their demanding customers.
The White Eagle machine pays attention to the smallest details in its design. It has ridged side panels that flow with its chrome finish. It combines classic and modern styles in perfect balance.
And when it comes to technology, this impressive-looking commercial espresso machine was built to incorporate the latest technology available in the industry. To begin with, you can program up to four volumetric doses per head. It features an in-built shot timer, which allows you to time each brewing head independently without needing an extra timer.
This espresso machine also comes with an automatic cleaning system, meaning that you can take your orders while washing at the same time - no need to wait until the end of the day to do your cleaning.
It’s energy saving feature also allows you to program it to go on and off whenever you want - saving time and energy in the process. There is a cool touch feature that comes with thermal insulation and a reverse mirror technology to monitor the coffee filter output without needing to bend down.
4. Eagle One, Volumetric T3, Steelux
Best Option Under $20,000
- T3 Technology
- 7 Liter Capacity
- Auto Purge
- EASY CREAM With Four Different Settings
- Programmable Hot Water Doses
- Thermal Energy Recovery
- Display Touch Screen
- Steam Wands
The next entry onto our list is the Eagle One, Volumetric T3, Steelux machine, which is also available in variations (number of group heads), with each variation coming with a different price-points. If you think our previous entry is tech-centered, wait until you have tried the Victoria Arduino Eagle One, Volumetric T3, Steelux.
This machine is one of the most reliable commercial espresso machines that places focus on reducing environmental impact. So, if you’re concerned about the carbon emissions created by power consumption in your coffee shop, you should consider having this coffee machine in your cafe. It uses a mix of new material in its unique design to ensure that you save a lot of money on your power consumption. The materials used guarantee extreme thermal insulation.
The Eagle One, Volumetric T3, Steelux machine comes with features like thermal energy recovery system (TERS), which makes use of discharged water in a recycling method to preheat the incoming water. That means it helps you to minimize waste considerably. There is also a touch display screen, which makes it possible to modify the settings to suit your preferences.
The Eagle One, Volumetric T3, Steelux commercial espresso machine also features a soft infusion system (SIS) to help create one of the best extraction processes within the commercial market.
For anyone planning to operate more than one café, the My Victoria Arduino app allows you to connect several machines. It also enables you to modify their settings right from your smartphone without needing to interrupt your baristas.
The steam features on this appliance also includes programmable hot water doses, EasyCream with four different settings, a Cool Touch steam wand, electronic steam control, and an ergonomic steam lever. You can also rely on the impressive T3, which allows a barista to program three different temperatures for the brewing group, the steam, and the water infusion.
5. Black Eagle Volumetric T3, Steelux
Best Option Under $25,000
- T3 Technology
- Volumetric Coffee Dosing
- Semi Automatic
- Push & Pull Steam
- Soft Infusion System
- LED Display
- Cool Touch Steam Wands
Up next, we have one of the best espresso machines - the Black Eagle (VA388), Volumetric T3, Steelux machine. This is also one of the best commercial espresso machines from Nuova Simonelli with unparalleled consistency. It is ideal for a specialty cafe, a high-quality coffee shop, and a high volume location. Plus, this machine is available in variations with each variation coming with a different price-points.
The Black Eagle (VA388), Volumetric T3, Steelux machine is stable, volumetric, and consistent. Its volumetric system makes it automatic and allows you to obtain a higher quality repeatable product as compared to using the manual system. It offers impressive temperature stability and can easily be any barista’s perfect workmate.
This device also uses the T3 technology which makes it possible for the barista to operate three different temperatures for the steam, hot water infusion, and brewing group. That offers better control over your water’s thermal accuracy, as this affects the temperature stability when creating the perfect espresso.
The Black Eagle is the top standard for commercial espresso machines. Capable of keeping up with the busiest amount of traffic, this robust machine can deliver consistently perfect shots of espresso with ease.
Still on technology, the Black Eagle (VA388), Volumetric T3, Steelux also comes with a LED display screen, which shows all the important information provided by the T3 systems. The display provides data in real-time, to make sure that your customer receives the best espresso experience. Each group display shows the barista the coffee group, the temperature of the steam boilers, the amount of liquid contained in the cup, and the expected delivery time.
The Black Eagle (VA388), Volumetric T3, Steelux also takes the safety of the barista into consideration, as it ensures maximum operation comfort as you work with the hot water. For example, there is a “Push & Paul” feature, which is the drive system for the steam nozzle, and cool touch steam wands. It helps to eliminate any unnecessary stress on the barista’s arm.
Best Commercial Espresso Machine
When buying an espresso machine for your business, you need to be aware of the volume of customers that enter your facility daily. Not only that, but you also need the ability to handle the times with the heaviest amount of traffic.
For that reason, you'll notice that we included the different prices for both one, two and even three group head machines. Each group head is capable of pulling 50-60 single or double shots of espresso per hour, but we do not recommend pushing it to that type of capacity. Nor would a professional barista be able to even keep up with that demand.
When choosing a commercial grade espresso machine, it is critical to be aware of your water limitations. Most professional establishments will pipe right into their water supply to be compliant and to allow for an easier brewing process. However, some businesses may not have the ability to hook their espresso machine straight into their water lines, which will require a machine that can be manually and easily filled.
Depending on your water situation, you'll also need to be aware of the best practices in regards to water quality for espresso, and brewing in general, as well as what filters are available or needed for your system. Despite what you may think, your water needs minerals in order to perfectly extract your coffee, which is why it is important to do research ahead of time.
When espresso machines first were invented, the only option was a manual lever espresso machine. However, as technology advanced, so too did the level of automation in the espresso making process. Today, you can still use a manual espresso machine, or you can choose between semi automatic or fully automatic espresso machines.
If you are looking to stand out as a professional grade coffee business, then you will most likely need some form of automation, which is why we recommend sticking with either the semi or fully automatic equipment. With this automation comes a whole slew of pros and cons that we will cover in greater detail below.
Semi automatic machines are great for those that would like to save a little bit of money, enjoy the process of manually preparing espresso based beverages, and would like to avoid relying on a single piece of equipment. These appliances are also great in that they are fluid and can be easily adjusted. You'll come to learn how important that is once you become a barista and deal with inconsistent roasted coffee, water quality issues, temperature, humidity and the list goes on!
With this level of control comes a down a downside as well, and that is time. With the increased time it would take to prepare a latte manually, with a semi automatic machine, you would be missing out on multitasking, or possibly taking another order, which may lead to less gross revenue for your coffee establishment.
Fully Automatic machines are a great resource for new and inexperienced baristas as it takes the entire process out of their hands. With a fully automatic espresso machine, you'll be able to get more done, ensure consistency and not have to worry about every small faucet of the business that most new owners struggle with.
A downfall of these machines is that they are a single point of failure. If something breaks on the device, it is possible that you are now without your coffee grinder, espresso machine, steam wand, etc. Another con is that they essentially handicap your employees. Rather than relying on learning and improving your skills, you are now at the mercy of your machine.
Easy to use
Having a machine that is easy to use is an important requirement if you plan to operate a successful coffee business. When it comes to hiring and managing your employees, the trainability of the device is crucial for not only the employee, but your business as a whole. For that reason, we only recommend a machine that is simple, yet intuitive, while also allowing for an easy learning curve for both new and experienced baristas.
One critical component to deciding which commercial grade espresso machine to buy, that often gets overlooked, is maintenance. Having an appliance that is easy to maintain, easy to clean and easy to fix is an invaluable quality. Although you shouldn't let this sway you in your purchasing decisions, especially if the machine fits the bill in all of the other categories, it is something to be aware of when evaluating your options.
Another valuable selling proposition for these espresso makers is your budget. A budget should only be changed if it makes financial sense for your business. Unfortunately, we have seen far too many businesses splurge on an expensive espresso machine, only to find out that these would never use it to it's full potential.
If you find yourself fitting into this category of needing the newest toys, then we highly encourage you to double and triple think your decision before committing to a new espresso maker. Luckily, all of the machines listed above are the absolute best performance appliances for their price range. Knowing your budget and needs will make purchasing a breeze since we narrowed it down based on price.
You may be wondering why we are bringing up grinders when this is an espresso machine guide. Well, that is because the grinder is the second most important piece of the puzzle, and one that needs to be evaluated before you can choose an espresso maker. Some machines come with a built-in grinder, while others do not.
Obviously you know by now that the grind size and consistency is important for pulling the perfect shot of espresso, but you also need to choose a grinder that is equally as good as your espresso maker. If you go cheap on any one critical component, the quality will suffer. Remember, you are only as good as your weakest link... don't let that be the grinder!
The last item that should play a role in any buying decision, is the performance of the device. Since this is an espresso machine, we are strictly referring to the quality of the espresso shot. You won't know until you have had a chance to use it, so for that reason, we urge you to do your due diligence in reviewing your options. Whether that be reading reviews like this article, or talking directly with other coffee businesses, you should be vetting your espresso maker for the highest performance possible.
Cheap Commercial Espresso Machine
If you are looking for a cheap commercial espresso machine then you need to weigh out what is important to you. Additionally, if this cheap commercial espresso machine is for a business, then you'll need to know how many shots of espresso will be needed to keep up with supply and demand.
If you only require a few uses every hour, or less, then most home espresso machines will get the job done. However, if you are in need of something that can consistently produce great shots of espresso while keeping up with the demand, then we recommend the Appia Life which is listed at number one on our list.
You may find cheaper alternatives, and can always buy a used commercial espresso machine, but we recommend investing in something new as most older and used machines will need to be serviced. Also, anything less than the Appia Life will probably pull a pretty inconsistent shot of espresso. If you haven't done so already, be sure to check out our guide above on the things to consider when buying that first commercial machine.
How much does a commercial espresso machine cost?
A commercial espresso machine can vary in price depending on the level of automation, the number of group heads, and the overall quality of the machine. Generally, most commercial products will start around $4000 to $5000 for the lower end models, while the more expensive and automated machines may cost upwards of $25,000 to $30,0000.
Why are commercial espresso machines so expensive?
Commercial espresso machines are so expensive simply because of the build quality, capacity and the level of automation. While a home espresso machine may be enough for most homes, a commercial grade espresso machine needs to be capable of keeping up with the demand, even at the busiest times of the day. For that reason, many commercial machines have built in automation, higher quality parts that can stand the constant use, and more overall features.
How to open a coffee shop?
In order to open a coffee shop, there are a number of things to consider and to have put into place well before opening your shop. Although you may need an espresso machine if that is a type of beverage that you will be serving, it is only a minor piece of the business puzzle. The best place to start when opening a coffee shop would be a to write a business plan, do market research for your area and simply talk with other coffee shop owners in non-competing areas.
Summary: Commercial Grade Espresso Machines
If you are searching the market for an espresso machine that is capable of keeping up with your commercial needs, then you'll first need to understand how many customers you'll be serving. Whether you already know this data, or need to do market research, it is critical that you buy a machine that can keep up with the supply and demand, while also now breaking the bank.
Once you know how many customers you'll be providing espresso shots to, then, you'll need to know what type of budget you are working with. We have laid out the best commercial espresso machines from as little as $5000, all the way up to $25,000. Of course there are other options as well, but these are the ones that we recommend from user feedback.
If you are considering another model that was not listed in our review, feel free to reach out to us as we can most definably provide you with some of our own feedback on the machine you are considering, as well as offer you a competitive deal no matter what the machine is that you are looking to purchase. Thank you for reading and we hope that you have taken away some value from this!