leroygibbs Senior Member Joined: 2 May 2011 Posts: 4 Location: over yonder Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Silvia Grinder: Vario
Posted Mon Oct 8, 2012, 2:15pm Subject: Office machine advise
I'm in need of some advice, for an admittedly, luxury problem. After countless years of complaining about the coffee in the office, I've been given a budget from the boss (yeah, the wife) for a new espresso machine. I want to stay under $5,000 and we need a 2 group machine. It's an office if about 20 people, 6 of which are espresso addicts, me included. To give an idea on volume, we average about 40 shots a day, (now from a local coffee shop that's gone down hill after new management) excluding guests and events. We usually have a dozen or so guests for seminars a couple days a month. I've got a "spare" Mazzer Mini at home that's never been unpacked to donate to the cause.
Now, do I go new or used? What are some solid options until I can swing a La Marzocco GB 5 (probably day after hell freezes over)? Any recommended places to buy from?
In an office, I'd want something with a service contract, so nobody's time is taken up doing repairs or larger maintenance. I'd also want to arrange a training for all the espresso addicts in the office. Consequently, I'd find out who are the local suppliers who do commercial installation and service, and find out what they carry and what kind of deal you can get. You may even be able to get a lease deal on a machine with service that'll enable you to save up for that GB-5.
At $5k, you have a lot of options, from Magister and Fiorenzata up to some Elektra and Faema dual group machines.
OK, first of all, let's look at average, day-in, day-out operations:
How serious do you want to get? Seriously.
How skilled are your fellow "addicts"? Who is going to train them in how the machine works? Who is going to be responsible for the weekly cleaning and routine maintenance? (Or do you think what you need is a super-automatic, because the truth is all they want to do is push a button . . . )
I see no reason for you to get a 2-group machine. That's for a busy café that has multiple drinks running at once. With 40 shots a day, in an eight hour day, that's an average of 5 shots an hour. Even presuming all six of the "addicts" want coffee at roughly the same time, it's only going to a matter of a few minutes wait time. At most (IMHO), you need a 1-group commercial (or prosumer) machine, and two grinders -- one for regular, and a second for decaf and/or a special Single Origin espresso.
OK, now -- regarding the times you'll be having those "dozen or so guests for seminars" . . .
Once again, you need to designate someone as the official "barista" for seminars, and someone as a "runner" to serve the drinks. Yes, the guests will (probably) have to wait a bit longer if you have a single-group machine, so you need to weigh whether the extra expense is worth it for the 2-4 days a month it will be advantageous to have it.
Jack, while I agree that a commercial lever is indeed an option -- I thought seriously about linking a 2-group Pompeii to my list -- I'm still concerned about the logistics of who will operate and maintain the machine . . . and levers have their own requirements in that department.
I definitely think it's important to understand who is capable of using the machine and who isn't. Anyone could use it, but do you really want a bunch of novices playing with your new $5k machine? I would take a look at how it will be used... you MAY want to go with an easier solution for a work office. Yes, you sacrifice quality, but, if the machine won't be maintained correctly or used properly, it's a waste of your $$.
Thanks for the replies, I appreciate the inputs....
So, the thinking with the need for 2 groups is exactly the wait. While it's not high volume, people tend to drink coffee at the same time, and that could be an issue, especially when we have visitors and a set schedule. This becomes 10-20 drinks in 15 minutes, hence my concern. On a positive note, we do enlist a part time person, so they'd make coffee or run drinks them when we have visitors. Dquring regular days, then each person makes their own... I don't mind people using it, heck, it can be fixed, and if they screw things up too bad, then they can pay to fix it...
With regards to the lever, I didn't think Pompeii was in the budget, but I haven't come across a 2 group for sale. I do miss the old La Marzocco of my youth, though. Good thought, though.
Super-auto? Never. Now I'm being selfish, but I don't want to drink that....
In terms of maintenance, that is mine. I actually enjoy it, and grew up in a coffee bar, albeit 100 years ago...I thought of a commercial service, but we're kind of in the boonies, and the closest company is in the "big city", making this unviable.
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