What Is a Commercial Espresso Machine

Commercial espresso machines are appliances often used in business to create the world’s best flavored coffee. This machine has features that promote the mass production of coffee drinks. It comes with a couple of types – among which are the semi-automatic and the super-automatic.

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You can see these industrial-grade appliances being used in restaurants and café. The machine can help prepare espresso coffee and other coffee-based drinks in those establishments. Latte is a trendy espresso-based drink that can also be prepared through this machine. This espresso machine also often features a steam wand, which you can use in steaming milk for lattes and cappuccinos.

Benefits of Using a Commercial Espresso Machine

If you want to be in the business of providing coffee lovers with their daily dose of coffee, then investing in a commercial espresso machine is a must. You can go for excellent budget espresso machines or the high-end ones and enjoy the following remarkable benefits:

Produces Numerous Espressos Every Day

This is great for your café or restaurant, especially if you don’t want to make your customers wait for long to get their coffee-based drinks. All these machines are designed in such a way that they can produce several espresso drinks in a day (even up to hundreds of them), including latte and cappuccino. It can, therefore, promote utmost convenience when operating your business.

Highly Durable

Compared to home espresso machines, or other coffee makers, the materials used in commercial espresso machines are highly durable. These machines are so robust that they stand the chance of lasting for several years. It can serve your customers premium Sumatra coffee, espresso, latte, cappuccino, or any other coffee-based drink for a long time.

Operates With the Least Amount of Noise

This machine is made so meticulously that it can operate with minimal noise. This is a good thing, especially if you do not want the entire coffee preparation process to distract your staff and customers.

How Do Commercial Espresso Machines Work

How Do Commercial Espresso Machines Work

Commercial espresso machines function by serving delicious and aromatic drinks. They are meant to meet the needs and requirements of establishments that serve various types of coffee. This makes them extremely different from home espresso machines, even the comfortable design of Ninja coffee makers for household use.

The commercial ones are built to produce high-quality coffee consistently the entire day, regardless of how crowded an establishment is. These devices can even let customers decide between a macchiato and an iced latte with ease.

Pros and Cons of Using Commercial Espresso Machine


  • Built to handle the demands and requirements of establishments offering and serving coffee-based drinks.
  • Highly durable and robust construction.
  • Capable of producing numerous delicious and aromatic drinks in one day.
  • Designed to work silently, thereby ensuring that the machines don’t bother customers in a coffee shop or restaurant.
  • Feature self-cleaning systems, making them convenient and hassle-free to clean and maintain – Keurig coffee machines are super easy to clean because of this feature. The same is true for commercial espresso machines from reliable and top-performing brands.


  • Quite expensive.
  • Can be complicated to set up.

Types of Commercial Espresso Machine


The manual/lever type tends to go back to the earlier process of preparing espresso. Here, the barista will have to put on more pressure to brew coffee. In most cases, brewing involves the use of the machine’s spring-assisted lever system.

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This type is known to hold the highest variability from one extraction to another. The reason is that the pressure involved in brewing is more prone to variability since you or your barista will be using the machine by hand. Manual or lever espresso machines for commercial use are often the ones that require the most maintenance.


The semi-automatic machine requires you or a barista to start and stop the brewing process. The only difference, though, is that the built-in mechanical pump already provides the pressure required here. This means that you do not have to apply pressure manually

It significantly increases the brewing pressure’s consistency, but note that there may still be fluctuations in the yield if you do not focus on the process. If possible, hire an expert and knowledgeable barista as they will be more than capable of making adjustments when needed.


If you have a big establishment that you want to be as modern and high-end as possible, investing in a super-automatic commercial espresso machine is advisable. It is basically a coffee robot. It is a fully automated machine that operates by grinding, dosing, tamping, brewing, and steaming beverages from the beginning to the end of the process.

You can expect this machine to do all that without you doing anything except touch one or two buttons. It is perfect for you if you have a big-box coffee shop with a more modern and advanced theme.

How to Choose the Best Commercial Espresso Machine

How to Choose the Best Commercial Espresso Machine

Undeniably, commercial espresso machines are expensive, so it is advisable to make your choice thoroughly and carefully. In that case, the whole process of selecting the right machine for you can be made easier by considering these factors:


Apart from the simplicity of instant coffee machines, the huge capacity or output produced by a high-quality commercial espresso machine is also recognizable. Pick a commercial espresso machine depending on your business’ present scale. For instance, ask yourself how many cups you intend to serve daily.

Determine the available space in your coffee shop, too, to determine if a high-capacity one is indeed the right choice. Ask yourself about the number of baristas you intend to run the machine at the same time. Note that in most cases, the capacity of this machine is influenced by the boiler’s size and the actual number of group heads.

Many of these machines come with around 2 to 4 group-heads, indicating the number of baristas who can work on them simultaneously. However, keep in mind that higher numbers do not necessarily mean they are better. The reason is that the available space for it may serve as your limitations, too.

Boiler Type

Check and assess the type of boiler used in the commercial espresso machine. Note that its boiler setup contributes a lot in identifying how various parts of the machine heat, store, and use water. In most cases, your options for the boiler type come in two classifications – the dual or multi-boiler machine and the heat-exchange machine.

The dual or multi-boiler commercial espresso machine makes use of various boilers for various purposes. One of these is to produce steam while at least one will be used in heating brewed water. With that, it is possible to have better and more accurate control over the set point of the brewing temperature.

On the other hand, heat-exchange machines make use of just one boiler to produce steam and heat water that you can use in brewing coffee. It is necessary to keep the boiler above boiling point or at an extremely high temperature. This should help in creating pressure that you can sue for the steam.

One point to remember is that heat-exchange machines may still lose pressure and temperature quicker than the dual- or multi-boiler. That said, you can expect them to be not appropriate for use in areas with high volume.

Machine Features

It is also advisable to check and assess the features integrated into the machine. Examine all the add-ons, extras, upgrades, and adornments you can see in the machine. Make a comparison so you can determine which one truly contains all the features you need. For instance, you need to study the electric draw of a particular machine before buying. The reason is that this can have a say on the speed through which it heats up or recovers from use.

You can also find some commercial espresso machines holding two steam wands or more. Making foamy milk with a built-in frother is no longer necessary in this one, as the steam wands will do it for you. It can steam or froth milk for the beverages prepared using an espresso base.

It also helps to invest in one that already features a demineralized or filter since high-quality coffee filters can help brew a delicious cup of coffee. If your chosen machine does not have a filter, then you may want to buy a demineralized or filter on your own. This is especially true if you are aware that you use hard water for your establishment.


The automation level of a commercial espresso machine should also influence your decision. One thing to note is that you can no longer only find a machine with a manual lever. You can also find advanced and modern ones that can up their level of automation. If you prefer the manual type, though, then go for it. However, it would be much better to choose between the semi-automatic and the fully automatic machines.


How you intend to use the commercial espresso machine should also influence your final decision. You need to figure out what type of machine perfectly suits the kind of business you are running. For instance, if you plan to use it in your coffee shop, both the manual and the semi-automatic types will work for you.

Usage of Commercial Espresso Machine

If you intend to use it for a bigger café, then a semi-automatic or a super-automatic machine will be your best bet. If you are operating a restaurant, then you should go for a regular drip machine. It is also crucial to narrow down your options based on the services you plan to offer.


Another crucial factor that should impact your final decision is the regular maintenance it needs. Make sure that your chosen unit is easy to clean, maintain, and fix when needed. You should never find it bothersome to maintain your chosen commercial espresso machine.


The grinder also has to be scrutinized and evaluated before picking an espresso machine. You can expect some of these units to feature a grinder. Others, on the other hand, lack this feature. If possible, pick a machine that already has a high-quality grinder. The reason is that the grind consistency and size play a major role in creating the best shot of espresso. With that, you have to spend time checking the built-in grinder and find out if it is indeed the one you need.


Of course, the price should also be a primary factor in your final buying decision. In this case, you may want to decide beforehand your actual budget for the espresso machine. That way, you can narrow down your options. Note that these machines differ in price, so you have to know how much you are willing to spend for them initially.

Do not forget to assess whether the price of a particular machine matches its build quality, material, and capacity before buying. That way, you can decide immediately if it is worth the investment.

How to Use a Commercial Espresso Machine

Step 1 – Fill the machine with water

Note that the machine has built-in water reservoirs you have to fill. Other machines have water lines. You just have to connect these lines to a source of water. You can use the water to cool the machine or make espresso.

Step 2 – Switch on

You should also let it heat up a bit so that it can boil the water. Once warm enough, begin the espresso preparation process.

Step 3 – Grind the coffee beans

Just prepare your roasted coffee beans, then put them in the grinder. Grind them while filling your portafilter. Alternatively, you can collect ground coffee powder with the aid of any container.

Step 4 – Level and fill the portafilter

You can level the powder inside the portafilter using your fingers. Just remove all the excess powder. Make sure to fill the portafilter to the brim. There should not be any air pockets, too.

Step 5 – Tamper the coffee powder

Using your tamper, put a bit of pressure on the powder inside the portafilter. Check for excess powder on the tamper’s interior walls. Knock one more time, though; you have to do it gently this time to ensure that any excess powder will move at the center.  Apply pressure once again with the help of the tamper while turning. Do this continuously until you notice the coffee powder compressing at a specific level.

Step 6 – Brew the espresso

Just put the portafilter back to the machine’s group head. After that, put a cup at the openings or valves of the portafilter. Push the start button to begin the brewing process. Wait for the process to be completed, then turn off the machine.


How to Clean a Commercial Espresso Machine

Step 1 – Use a damp cloth to wipe steam wands

Get rid of all milk that scorched the wand. If it has a threaded tip, unscrew it so you can clean it, too. Also, ensure that its end is clear and free.

Step 2 – Put hot water in a plastic bucket

Pour a bit of espresso machine cleaner. This should create a solution that you can use to soak all machine parts overnight.

Step 3 – Take off the group handle

To remove the filter basket, seek the aid of a screwdriver. Clean the basket using running warm water. Use soap and scouring pad during the process, too. You should then put the basket in a bucket containing the solution. Soak it overnight.

Step 4 – Turn off your machine

After that, open the wands as a means of purging steam and releasing pressure from the machine. Let it stay open overnight.

Step 5 – Remove the group handle

Take out, then rinse the blind filter, too. Put such parts and materials away. With the aid of your scouring pad, clean the group handle’s basket end beneath running water.

Step 6 – Remove the other parts

You also have to remove the brass plate and the screen. Use a scouring pad to scrub the two, then add them to the parts soaked in the bucket.

Step 7 – Pull gratings from the drip tray

Clean not only the gratings but the tray, too. Let them dry overnight. Avoid putting these parts back in the machine until it is already morning. This should be enough to dry the parts completely.

Step 8 – Buff up the machine with paper towels

Use a cleaner to buff it up to restore its cleanliness and shine.


Most Popular Commercial Espresso Machine Brands

La Pavoni

La Pavoni refers to an Italian manufacturer that focuses more on commercial and domestic products. What’s great about this brand is that it is well-recognized for the classic designs it integrates into its machine’s builds. With that, expect the brand’s machines to be durable and unique – among which are its famous commercial espresso machines.

Nuova Simonelli

Another famous brand name for a commercial espresso machine is the Nuova Simonelli. As a matter of fact, it is a leader in the field of providing commercial espresso machines. It started to receive such recognition in this field in 1936. The good thing about the brand is that it has commercial-grade products. You can also expect to find machines here both for use in households and coffee shops.


This name is famous for being one of those who got the first patent for an espresso machine. The brand’s offers from the time it was introduced last 1901 are semi-professional and professional espresso machines. They also focus primarily on the research and development of modern features and innovations to integrate into their products.


Built-in 1947, this manufacturing company based in Italy focuses more on artistically brewing espresso. This company is one of just a few that refused to manufacture automatic machines. This means that Elektra exclusively specializes in semi-automatic and manual machines.

Does More Spending Mean More Quality

In terms of commercial espresso machines, the answer to this could be a yes. The reason is that these machines are undeniably expensive. However, this does not necessarily mean buying the most expensive commercial-based espresso machines right away because you guarantee their quality.

It is still crucial to study their features and compare all your options. Find out which one fits your unique preferences, needs, and requirements the most. That way, you will not regret spending your money on this quite costly machine.

Do’s and Don’ts With Commercial Espresso Machines


  • Preheat the machine before each use. Give it around fifteen minutes to preheat or warm-up. This is necessary for heating the water while building up the pressure needed to force the heated water through the coffee grounds. If you have a larger machine, then it may take around forty-five minutes to warm up. Consult the manual to determine the required preheating time.
  • Remove the water tank every time you fill it. Take the tank out of the machine every time you intend to fill it. Also, ensure that you are using fresh water when filling the tank.
  • Descale the machine regularly. You should schedule this task, so you won’t end up forgetting this important process.

Do’s and Don’ts With Commercial Espresso Machines


  • Do not forget to clean the espresso machine. Make it a habit to clean the machine after each use. All parts should be clean, so you can continue maximizing their use.
  • Do not take out the coffee grounds container or drip tray when the espresso machine is still operating. Wait for it to finish the task before taking out those parts.

FAQ About Commercial Espresso Machines

What is the best brand of the commercial espresso machine?

The answer to this actually depends on the specific machine you need. Your goal should always be to find a brand that offers commercial espresso machines that can satisfy your business needs and goals. A prominent brand in the industry that you may want to check out is La Pavoni.

Being around since 1905, you are sure that it has already earned a good name for a long time. It is even a leader in producing commercial espresso machines, with most of its products showcasing excellent quality according to the majority of users.

What is the best espresso machine for a small coffee shop?

If you have a small coffee shop, then an ideal choice for you is the single-group espresso machine. It would suffice since your shop may generally see low volumes. If you have higher espresso drink sales, though, then you may want to go for a two-group espresso machine. It allows you or your barista to whip at least two drinks simultaneously.

How much does a commercial espresso machine cost?

A number of factors actually affect the actual cost you will be paying for your chosen commercial espresso machine. Among these factors are the brand, design features, materials used in constructing the machine, range of functions and options, and the operations it can perform.

In that case, expect the machines to range from $300 to $5,000. There are even those that go higher than that. If you intend to go for the more expensive ones, do not forget to read reviews, so you will know which one is worthwhile to invest in.

What are the differences between commercial machines and domestic ones?

The first major difference is that the commercial espresso machine can handle higher volumes compared to the ones used in the household. It can brew a lot of drinks in just one day. The entire brewing process is also usually speedier than when you are using a domestic one.

Another difference is that commercial machines have a high level of automation and programmability. You can expect them to create specialty drinks with more precise tastes. Moreover, they are heavier, larger, and more robust than those you have at home.

How long should a commercial espresso machine last?

In most cases, the machine will last for around two to fifteen years. This will depend on the quality of the machine. Ensure that you are also very meticulous in its maintenance as it also has a say on how long the machine will last. The daily production can also affect its lifespan.

Should I buy a used commercial espresso machine?

If you are on a budget, rest assured that a used commercial espresso machine is a great option. Just make sure to go for one that is still in good running condition. Test it and determine if it can still function the way you expect it to.


Investing in the best commercial espresso machine can contribute a lot to the success of your business. Just pick the one that perfectly meets your standards and requirements and you will be on your way towards serving your target customers with the best coffee-based beverages guaranteed to entice them to come back to your shop frequently.

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