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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Choosing a...  
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evoluzione
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Fl
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 5:13pm
Subject: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

Hi everyone!

Having just moved to the US, and in the process of opening a food establishment, I'm looking for a small 1 group espresso machine that will have light use for espresso/cappuccino/caffe latte.

I am located in Florida, and it is to my understanding that NSF is not required here.

I have researched and found the La Nuova Era Cuadra II to be a good machine at the price point of around $1k.

Is there anything else you can recommend me?

ciao
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ntouch
Senior Member


Joined: 15 Dec 2011
Posts: 14
Location: Houston
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Sylvia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky
Posted Mon Jun 24, 2013, 9:47pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

From everything that I have heard about this machine, it is a nice machine. Depending on the amount of coffee that you are going to be making, I wonder though if you would be better moving up to a little higher machine.  La Nuova Era Cuadra - Wes Wong's Review has a review for this machine. The only thing that would concern me being in a restaurant would be the sides being made of plastic and that it has a water reservoir instead of being a direct connect to a water supply. Depending on the amount of drinks that you will be making this could be a problem. You may also want to take a look at the  Junior Casa DT1 by La Cimbali, it is higher in price, but may be a little better for you.
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 477
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Tue Jun 25, 2013, 3:56am
Subject: Re: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

If it's going to be used at your shop, you'd likely have it on for many hours a day.  If you really don't want to start with a more robust machine you'll want to beef up the Cuadra as soon as you get it.
In addition to setting your relief valve down to 9.5 - 10.2 Bar for the sake of your pump, you'll want to replace the cheap little sacrificial relay with a solid state one (Unless your dealer is agreeing to replace these under warranty for the first year despite commercial use).  Know that you get what you pay for, and will end up paying the remainder of the cost of a real machine eventually, when it is used as one.
If you enjoy working with the machine, the Cuadra makes a great espresso and will provide you with plenty of little repair and upgrade projects to keep you involved.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Jun 25, 2013, 7:55am
Subject: Re: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

I will give you the advice we give ALL people in business.

BUY OR LEASE FROM A LOCAL SUPPLIER WHO CAN SERVICE YOU. You count on that equipment to be up and running all day,every day, you need someone who is only a phone call away to repair your machine WHEN it has problems (not IF) They are in the best position to help you with water treatment filters and possibly training. You may need only a single group now but if you are leasing from a local dealer, when you need more machine, it is a phone call away. They can help with the grinder also, the grinder is MORE important than the machine and grinders need to be serviced too. Do not lock into a coffee bean deal with the supplier, you want to be free to choose the coffee you want, not just what they offer.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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dyqik
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Joined: 7 Oct 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Cambridge, MA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera BZ07 PM
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Vac Pot: Cona D
Drip: Bona-Vita, CCD, Aeropress.
Roaster: Gene Cafe, Modded Poppers
Posted Tue Jun 25, 2013, 7:58am
Subject: Re: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

calblacksmith Said:

I will give you the advice we give ALL people in business.

BUY OR LEASE FROM A LOCAL SUPPLIER WHO CAN SERVICE YOU. You count on that equipment to be up and running all day,every day, you need someone who is only a phone call away to repair your machine WHEN it has problems (not IF) They are in the best position to help you with water treatment filters and possibly training. You may need only a single group now but if you are leasing from a local dealer, when you need more machine, it is a phone call away. They can help with the grinder also, the grinder is MORE important than the machine and grinders need to be serviced too. Do not lock into a coffee bean deal with the supplier, you want to be free to choose the coffee you want, not just what they offer.

Posted June 25, 2013 link

I was just typing the same thing...
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evoluzione
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Fl
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jun 25, 2013, 11:42am
Subject: Re: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

calblacksmith Said:

I will give you the advice we give ALL people in business.

BUY OR LEASE FROM A LOCAL SUPPLIER WHO CAN SERVICE YOU. You count on that equipment to be up and running all day,every day, you need someone who is only a phone call away to repair your machine WHEN it has problems (not IF) They are in the best position to help you with water treatment filters and possibly training. You may need only a single group now but if you are leasing from a local dealer, when you need more machine, it is a phone call away. They can help with the grinder also, the grinder is MORE important than the machine and grinders need to be serviced too. Do not lock into a coffee bean deal with the supplier, you want to be free to choose the coffee you want, not just what they offer.

Posted June 25, 2013 link

This was what I was used to doing in Italy. But I am not aware of anyone who does this in the US, without being forced to use their coffee...

Any suggestions? Via PM maybe...

thanks for the other replies, and I will take them all into consideration.
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takeshi
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takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
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Location: Houston
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Posted Tue Jun 25, 2013, 12:18pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

evoluzione Said:

I am located in Florida, and it is to my understanding that NSF is not required here.

Posted June 24, 2013 link

You need to verify at the local level as well.

evoluzione Said:

Any suggestions?

Posted June 25, 2013 link

It would help to know where in Florida you're located.  The service provider needs to be local to you unless you want to shut down your shop while you freight your machine for service.
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evoluzione
Senior Member


Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 4
Location: Fl
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jun 25, 2013, 12:57pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

takeshi Said:

You need to verify at the local level as well.


It would help to know where in Florida you're located.  The service provider needs to be local to you unless you want to shut down your shop while you freight your machine for service.

Posted June 25, 2013 link

Central florida, in flagler county

When I wrote to the florida plan department, they told me that NSF is not required in Florida. This was for equipment and utensils etc. I had asked regarding the three compartment sink.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,775
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Jun 25, 2013, 2:21pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

I would start by looking in the yellow pages, under commercial food service equipment or restaurant equipment. Pick the closest thing if nothing jumps out at you then ask them for a referral I would guess that within about 4 or 5 phone calls, you should be in contact with who you need. YMMV!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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1stline
Senior Member
1stline
Joined: 24 Jan 2002
Posts: 496
Location: Freehold, NJ USA
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Undisclosed
Grinder: Indisclosed
Vac Pot: Bodum Electric
Drip: None
Roaster: None
Posted Wed Jun 26, 2013, 8:25am
Subject: Re: Choosing a prosumer/light commercial espresso machine
 

calblacksmith Said:

I will give you the advice we give ALL people in business.

BUY OR LEASE FROM A LOCAL SUPPLIER WHO CAN SERVICE YOU. You count on that equipment to be up and running all day,every day, you need someone who is only a phone call away to repair your machine WHEN it has problems (not IF) They are in the best position to help you with water treatment filters and possibly training. You may need only a single group now but if you are leasing from a local dealer, when you need more machine, it is a phone call away. They can help with the grinder also, the grinder is MORE important than the machine and grinders need to be serviced too. Do not lock into a coffee bean deal with the supplier, you want to be free to choose the coffee you want, not just what they offer.

Posted June 25, 2013 link

Actually, this is good advice for mission critical espresso and coffee establishments where coffee is the main business.  The reason is that their main income depends mostly upon coffee and espresso sales. To add fair balance, not every local company will provide 7x24 on-call service.  And, in most cases, these mission critical businesses need service contracts where a service visit occurs within the noted hours from the time of a service call. These contracts are a premium and there are usually preventative maintenance contracts as well. Otherwise, they fall into line and it could be more wait time, which I have seen could be 1-2 days or more with different companies. The other option is to have a back up machine or even 2 working machines (ie two single groups).

To make a flat out statement that this is advice for 'ALL people in business', in my opinion, should be avoided. For example, offices with espresso machines, are less business critical than a coffee shop. Restaurants are more critical than an office, but less critical than a coffee shop. In other words, there are different levels of service needs based on the type of business. In addition, one should also look at a supplier's business history: how many years in business, how many customers, recommendations by other customers, etc. As these look better, it has to be balanced with pricing and affordability. All of which the the different types of business owners need to calculate and decide on the route they feel most comfortable with.

Sometimes, there is no one local. We have a customer in Maine with the nearest service provider over 3 hours away. We have another customer in South Dakota with the same issue.

In this particular case, I already had email correspondence with the poster prior to his post. From my understanding he is opening a food establishment (as he even states in the first post), and there was no mention of coffee shop. I had asked him if NSF was required and enforced by his local health department because the Cuadra at this time does not have NSF. I do suggest he get this in writing from them.

After this, we would start asking the right questions to make sure the machine would fit the customer's needs. As an aside, the local supplier may not have a machine to meet those needs as closely as we would have. On the flip side, we may not have the right machine either, and at that point we would refer the customer to another company or brand. We also would ask why the customer wants the Cuadra. Could it be price? Could it be because it because he is only expecting to serve 10 espresso beverages per day? There was a reference to install a Cimbali. However, was it asked how much counter space was available or was a water line for a direct plumbing connection available?

The forums are a good place to learn, ask questions, and share, and Coffeegeek is one of the top sites. However, I sometimes do see recommendations coming out from left field without having a full grasp of the business owner, their type of business, their circumstances, etc. In others, the 'entire picture' needs to be evaluated, and this is performed by one of the many qualified espresso machine suppliers in our industry.

As for grinders, if the proper one was chosen, there would be very little service except for cleaning and changing the burrs. I would gave less worry here. And, my opinion, the grinder is important, but there is the law of diminishing returns. Sometimes, there is too much grinder. For example, I had customers looking to buy a Kony or Robur for their Silvia. Unless they are looking to upgrade their espresso machine in the near future, I would advise them to not upgrade the grinder unless their usage was very high. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend to customers that the grinder should cost between 30 and 50% of the machine to make a good match.

edit: 2 spelling errors corrected on 06/28/2013

 
Sincerely,
Jim Piccinich
Business Partner
1st-line Equipment, LLC
www.1st-line.com

Follow us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/1stline
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