There are many types of espresso machines and beverage equipment available. Before you choose you will need to consider how the equipment meets your needs in terms of the style of operation you’re running. The demand you’re expecting and the skill level of your staff. Finally, of course, your available budget.
Where possible, we would always recommend opting for a traditional espresso machine. Traditional machines deliver higher quality drinks, and because of their flexibility they can offer a wider menu of drinks. With the right training, they are easy to operate and can accommodate high volumes of business. When machined have regular maintaince and servicing, there is not much to go wrong, resulting in minimal down-time. They’ll operate with a wide range of coffee beans and every milk option that’s currently available. Importantly, traditional machines make great drinks. They really are the complete package!
Our Top Recommended Espresso Machines
For exceptional performance and efficiency we would recommend the Conti CC100 range, available in one, two or three-group format and a choice of three colours. It looks the part in any location, it is full of features and offers great value for money.
The quality of the beverage will to some extent be determined by the standard of the equipment. But these days most machines, particularly bean-to-cup and pod style, are very good at producing consistently high-quality drinks time after time once they have been set up correctly. Then of course, traditional espresso machines, in the hands of a capable barista, can produce exceptional results in the cup.
Conversely however, rather than the standard of equipment, it’s usually the human factor that can cause poor consistency and quality. This can occur through incorrect machine set-up, poor maintenance and cleanliness routines, or poor skill levels in terms of making and serving drinks. Fortunately, this can easily be addressed through ongoing staff training. Your investment in training is as important as your investment in the equipment itself.
There will always be a need for a self-serve operation but the majority of customers paying a couple of pounds for a hot beverage expect this to be created for them personally.
Naturally it’s a more value to offer your customer a choice of drinks by a trained barista. Most people prefer this rather than a ‘help yourself service’ for which they are often paying the same price.
Today’s Espresso Machines
Today’s machines are full of features that make them easier to use. Offer more consistency in their delivery of drinks and more energy efficient. For example, look for boiler temperature control via PID. This is the most advanced method of maintaining a constant water temperature – critical in espresso extraction. Eco Mode can be helpful in minimising your energy bills. This reduces the water temperature in the boiler when the machine is idle, but keeps it ready for a quick start-up. Auto Clean features not only help keep the machine clean but can also reduce the intervals between servicing.
Coffee is like a pint of Guinness; it simply can’t be rushed! The Ideal espresso extraction time is around 28 seconds whether it’s a bean-to-cup or a traditional machine. Milk is either foamed by the barista in the conventional way or by the automatic machine whilst the espresso is being created, so the production time can’t really be speeded up. The only benefit with a bean-to-cup machine is that the staff member can get on with something else for these 30 seconds.
If you’re looking for a quicker service or have greater volumes of customers at peak times, an ideal way to manage the queues is to offer a good filter coffee. This can easily be ready to serve with the right temperature and quality busy times. Great coffee made simple!
Invest in your Staff
Make sure you invest in staff training to get the most out of your investment in beverage equipment. The coffee journey takes over five years of careful nurturing from the seed to the cup; yet it’s all too easy to ruin the drink in the final 30 seconds of preparation. That’s why you need to invest in staff training because a good barista will ensure the best possible result from the coffee. They will be your best ‘selling’ tool, advising and recommending drinks to customers. They’ll understand extraction times and grind sizes. Will be able to foam the milk correctly and will be able to serve the drink just as your customers expect.
They will also minimise your wastage, maintain stocks, keep the production area clean and workable, and carry out preventative maintenance on your equipment. Ultimately, good training will help you get the best return from your investment.
We believe that staff education and training is so important for your business that we offer this to our customers free of charge and on your own site. This ensures that you’ll be able to consistently deliver the highest quality drinks for your customers, keeping them coming back for more, time after time.
The daily routines of cleaning and adjusting your machines are really important. So here are some tips to keep your equipment in tip-top condition:
- Clean your machines thoroughly every evening
- Check your grind every day to ensure correct extraction
- Change your water treatment unit regularly
- Service machines in good time
- Regularly sample the drinks you’re serving to ensure high quality