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Discussions > Espresso > Q and A > What kind of...  
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ButterflyBeans
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Windsor, CO
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012, 2:24pm
Subject: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

We are opening a coffee shop in a small town (pop. 1,000) I have looked at a ton of machines online, one that really stuck out for me is one I cant discuss until I make five posts, I guess. So lets chat. what machines are people using, whats the best? I want one that is super easy to use and train people how to use. ANY help what-so-ever would be appreciated. Thanks!
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,951
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
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Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012, 3:08pm
Subject: Re: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

do you know anything about making espresso?  It would be nice to have an idea where to begin.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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sweaner
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sweaner
Joined: 16 Nov 2007
Posts: 1,121
Location: Yardley, PA
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Espresso: Vetrano, Arrarex Caravel, La...
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Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012, 3:28pm
Subject: Re: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

If I were opening a shop I would buy a machine from a local company that can service it WHEN it goes down. I would not likely get a used (?abused) machine.

 
-Scott
“Coffee - the favorite drink of the civilized world.”
Thomas Jefferson
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coffee_no_sugar
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Joined: 15 Jan 2005
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Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: pavoni pub, brasilia club
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Drip: melitta clarity
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Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012, 4:36pm
Subject: Re: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

Ashley,

  I am not a businessman but a town of 1000 seems pretty small.  Right now Starbuck has 11000 US locations, Given a US population of 311 million,  Starbucks has 1 US store per 28000 people.  

   The office building that I use to work in had about 600 workers.  The coffee shop in the building also had traffic from the nearby building and auto dealers, and the coffee shop seemed to do ok.  The coffee shop tried espresso (nice setup) and ended up selling about 6 espresso drinks a day.   When the coffee shop expanded into a classier location, they didn't serve espresso.

   If you think that your espresso market is small, you might consider a pod machine.  It takes less  experience.  The results won't be as good as a good coffeegeek setup run by a good barista but will probably be better than a good coffeegeek setup run by person who doesn't drink straight espresso.
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ButterflyBeans
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Oct 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Windsor, CO
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012, 6:51pm
Subject: Re: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

I do not know much about espresso, except for my little cheap machine I have at home. I have learned everything on the Internet. The store will not only be espresso but other items as well, like ice cream, breakfast and lunch items...small type menu of course.
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ButterflyBeans
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Joined: 29 Oct 2012
Posts: 5
Location: Windsor, CO
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012, 6:52pm
Subject: Re: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

I do plan on getting a new machine
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
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Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012, 6:55pm
Subject: Re: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

emradguy Said:

do you know anything about making espresso?  It would be nice to have an idea where to begin.

Posted October 29, 2012 link

She could begin here . . .

(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Ashley, all joking aside, welcome to CG . . .

ButterflyBeans Said:

We are opening a coffee shop in a small town (pop. 1,000) I have looked at a ton of machines online, one that really stuck out for me is one I cant discuss until I make five posts, I guess. So lets chat. what machines are people using, whats the best? I want one that is super easy to use and train people how to use. ANY help what-so-ever would be appreciated.

Posted October 29, 2012 link

Ron ("emradguy") raises an excellent point:  do you know anything about making espresso?  For that matter, do you know anything about running your own business?  Do you have financing in place?  And so on and so on and so on . . .

There is NO prohibition regarding talking about a specific machine in your first five posts, unless you are trying to SELL one . . . feel free to ask away.  The more specific, the better.  But I will tell you right now, "easy to use" and "quality in the cup" are generally two ends of the same see-saw:  you can't have both ends at the highest part of the arc at the same time.  This doesn't mean that great espresso is hard -- it's not.  But "super easy" is a super-automatic like Starbucks, and then why would people come to your café instead of theirs?

As far as what machines people are using, the answer is every machine under the sun.  Some use two-group machines, some use three- or even four- or five-group machines.  Some use lever machines, some use semi-autos, and some use full-autos.  Starbucks used super-autos, and no one here likes them.  Some cafés use HX machines, some use DBs.  Some use machines with pressure profiling, and some do not.  Some use La Marzoccos, some use Synessos; some use Cimbalis, some use Faemas; some use Elektras, some Boscos, and some use machines made by Kees van der Westen.  Some this, and some that . . .

And if you don't know or understand the differences between these terms, I strongly suggest, Ashley, that you read this.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Posted Mon Oct 29, 2012, 7:54pm
Subject: Re: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

Don't want to bring you down, but...

Food service businesses are some of the toughest to survive in. You need to figure on losing money for the first 18 months to two years, minimum. Without sufficient capital available to do that, you're looking at difficult odds. 90% of new restaurants fail without that time period.

Forget about the espresso machine. Do you have a business plan? Has somebody with some experience in the food service business gone over it with you to help you hone it?  Have you done any sort of feasibility study on your prospective locations? Location, even in a small town, can kill a coffee shop, just by being on the wrong side of the street. Have you checked possible locations for how much work they will take to bring up to code for food service? Have you familiarized yourself with the food handling requirements for your state and county?

The only reason I'm asking these types of questions is that enquiring about espresso machines when you admit to knowing very little about espresso indicates that other research may be lagging behind as well. Having known a lot of friends who have decided to go into the restaurant/food service business with insufficient preparation, I hate to see it happen to anyone.
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qualin
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qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 649
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 Oct 30, 2012, 1:49am
Subject: Re: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

]Before I even begin, let me start off by saying that one of the things I would recommend is that you purchase a regular consumer espresso machine and grinder for yourself, get into the habit of making espresso-based milk drinks
daily for yourself or just making straight shots and seeing what they're like. When you become familiar with the ins and outs of how to make espresso for yourself, then you are on the right road to making it professionally.

Any business should be figuring out a ROI or "Return on Investment" on anything before they consider purchasing any equipment. Any equipment purchase represents a risk to the business. Let me explain...
There isn't just the matter of buying the equipment and setting it up, it's also about learning how to use it properly, learning how to maintain it, cleaning it as well as service contract costs. In some cases, repair
costs may have to be factored in if the machine is abused or misused. Also keep in mind the cost of operating that equipment from a power and supplies perspective. Some businesses lease the equipment rather
than purchase it, this may be an option depending on your vendor.. Leasing at least gives you a chance to "Try out" the market and if it doesn't work out, your business isn't on the hook for the asset. Everything
I just said applies to ANY piece of restaurant equipment.

Purchasing espresso equipment is a large investment for a small business, even if it is leased. You can't cut corners and buy a cheap machine and expect it to last.

Now, in saying that, the "Super Easy" machines to use are the Super Automatic machines, you put beans in and coffee comes out. There still has to be training on how to use the machine, but it isn't as extensive.
You are looking at an initial investment which is at least around $3000, if not more, depending on what your local vendors can offer you.

Let me give you something to look at:
Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)

In that link, there is a video demo. This should at least give you an idea of how a super automatic operates and what is entailed as well as what it can do. Now, I don't have any personal experience with this
particular machine that I linked to, so I'm not the right person to ask in regards to recommending it for use with your business or not.

Now, if you are just starting out, I would probably focus on just making straight drip coffee, since the buy in for drip coffee equipment is fairly cheap and presents low risk if people do not buy any.
You can buy into a complete drip brewing system for less than a grand. They are simple to operate, simple to maintain and very easy to clean. Maintenance costs are also quite low for these machines as well.  

The huge upside to buying used drip coffee equipment is that it is very common, inexpensive, cheap to repair and presents low risk to your business. Only after you become familiar with your clientele and determine
if there is any kind of a business need for espresso based drinks, should you consider even remotely thinking about buying a Super-Automatic.

One thing you will find is that everyone usually likes to drink drip coffee, but specialty espresso-based milk drinks are a niche market. I think it may be too niche for your particular situation.

Good luck.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Oct 30, 2012, 6:41am
Subject: Re: What kind of machine should I buy?
 

]

qualin Said:

Now, in saying that, the "Super Easy" machines to use are the Super Automatic machines, you put beans in and coffee comes out. There still has to be training on how to use the machine, but it isn't as extensive.  You are looking at an initial investment which is at least around $3000, if not more, depending on what your local vendors can offer you.

Posted October 30, 2012 link

Bud?  Can you name two independent cafés (versus Starbucks) that use super-automatics that you would recommend?

qualin Said:

Let me give you something to look at:
Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com).  In that link, there is a video demo. This should at least give you an idea of how a super automatic operates and what is entailed as well as what it can do. Now, I don't have any personal experience with this particular machine that I linked to, so I'm not the right person to ask in regards to recommending it for use with your business or not.

Posted October 30, 2012 link

In order to use an espresso machine in a commercial environment, as opposed to your home, it must be NSF certified and comply with a whole array of state and local health regulations.  To the best of my knowledge, the Monza does not.  I don't want the OP to get the wrong idea re: budget.  

Now, personally, I would never (voluntarily) use a super-auto were I setting up a café, nor (given a choice) would I patronize one as a customer -- and I believe most people here would agree -- IF someone were to opt for a super-auto, at least it should be a realistic one.  A link to the commercial espresso machines offered by Chris' Coffee Service (as opposed to home and "prosumer" models) can be found here.  One specific example of a super-automatic commercial machine would be this Cimbali M1 Turbo Steam Commercial Super Automatic Espresso Machine.  If you click on that link, you will quickly see that the machine has all of the commercial certifications for use in the US and Canada.

But in terms of budget, the OP is looking at prices MUCH higher than the cost of the Monza.  For example, here is a link to a Faema X1 "Granditalia" which sells for $13,986 -- on sale and shipping included.

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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