Affar Senior Member Joined: 4 Mar 2008 Posts: 4 Location: Saudi Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Mon Dec 10, 2012, 8:32am Subject: Espresso Machine for Office use
My office colleagues are considering buying an entry level espresso machine (no espresso shops near us). So I am wondering if the Breville BES860XL Barista can handle up to 6 espresso shots on daily base. I know the machine is intended for simple usage but this is the best I could reach for a grinder and espresso machine.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 5,645 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Mon Dec 10, 2012, 9:10am Subject: Re: Espresso Machine for Office use
UH, well I suppose so but we advise against buying machines with built in grinders.
First, the grinder is not of a high quality and you can do much better and if a part breaks, you loose both the machine and the grinder.
Next, the beans are stored in a hot container, next to the moisture from the brew system, not a great place to store beans.
Third, for the most part, Breville does not have a good reputation for quality here, they tend to be throw away counter top appliances that are better suited as wedding gifts that will never be used than as day to day machines. The possible exception to this is the BDB which seems to be of better quality than most other Breville products based on the reports of the members here who have this machine. However, that machine is $1K and you still need to buy a grinder so it is not in your running anyway.
It is hard to say what you can find where you are, you might be better served with mail order if available. The grinder is more important than the machine and this is yet another reason to not look at the machine you referenced. It would be better to spend $350 on a grinder an $200 for an espresso machine, used will give more value than new but you are subject to the "use" that someone else has given a starter class machine.
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
qualin Senior Member Joined: 30 Jun 2012 Posts: 458 Location: Calgary, AB Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3 Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A Vac Pot: Looking to buy Drip: Manual Roaster: Considering?
Posted Tue Dec 11, 2012, 1:06am Subject: Re: Espresso Machine for Office use
First of all, what is your maximum budget?
That budget should include a machine and a grinder. It should also include accessories like a tamper, a knockbox, grouphead cleaning brush, shotglasses to measure the shot, (Optional, but recommended) a scale which has a 0.1 gram resolution so the coffee can be weighed before the shot for consistency, any cups/mugs/saucers, cleaning cloths, Cafiza espresso machine detergent and Grindz grinder cleaner.
If someone plans on making lattes or cappuccinos, you'll also need a steaming thermometer and steaming pitchers (12 oz and 20 oz) as well as a sink nearby to rinse and clean the steaming pitchers.
I thought I should mention, are you already aware of how noisy a grinder and a vibratory pump on an espresso machine can be? The noise of the grinder and the pump may be considered to be disruptive in an office environment, depending on where it is located. If it is located in a break room, it probably won't be that bad. If it is located in an open coffee bar in an open cubicle farm, your non-espresso drinking co-workers will probably grow to hate the machine. :-)
Now, I do have a question.. You mention six espresso shots a day. Are you sure that nobody will be making milk drinks? This will have a huge impact on the kind of machine you need to buy.
Let me explain.. A Single-Boiler Dual-Use machine can become very time consuming to use if one is making milk drinks with it. For example, I don't consider myself to be a barista in any means, but to make a Latte in the morning using A SBDU machine takes me about 10 minutes.
If the SBDU is being used exclusively to make straight espresso shots or Americanos, then this isn't a problem.
Heat Exchanging espresso machines are capable of brewing and steaming at the same time, unlike a SBDU. Even if one is only brewing or steaming, they can switch between either function instantly. With one of these kinds of machines, I can make a milk based drink in roughly about 4 minutes for example, because the machine waits on me, not the other way around.
The capacity of an espresso machine shouldn't be considered by the maximum number of shots it will make in a day, but rather the "Peak output" of the machine. For example, if six people are waiting in line to make a morning latte and each one of them takes 10 minutes to do it, you can understand that the person at the end of the line will be really mad and the machine will have to be replaced with a more capable model.
You should consider a budget for an entry-level Heat Exchanging machine and grinder without accessories to be around approximately $1400. If everyone will be making straight espresso shots, then your budget can be roughly around half that for a SBDU espresso machine and grinder.
Now, I could talk about Thermoblock machines which have a boiler for brewing and a thermoblock for steaming, which get around the problem of having to wait on the machine, but in all honesty, I don't see one of those machines lasting all that long in an office environment. Again, IMHO.
Also, have you considered the idea of buying a machine that the whole office could use rather than just a select few people? This changes your requirements again, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
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