1. EXPECTED USAGE

Type of Business:

Glossary of Terms

– these machines have 4 programmable buttons (for short/long/single/double shots) plus one manual button; buttons are programmed by Barista; more expensive than semi-automatic/manual machines, but makes it easier to manage consistency of shot-lengths & drink recipes between staff.

…or prosumer design”
– unlike the large, rugged machines found in most establishments, these scaled-down lower wattage versions use 110 volt and have a built-in water supply and drainage; originally designed for home use, they also work for offices and very small establishments because they are self-contained, and for catering small events because of their portability
– a special steam wand that draws air into the steam when placed in the cold milk to automatically foam the milk as it heats, instead of the Barista introducing air manually; some types automatically draw cold milk inside the machine, mixing air and steam and dispensing hot foamed milk; a good auto-steamer allows you to adjust the air intake to make a creamier milk foam and a temperature probe that will stop heating the milk when a pre-programmed temperature is reached in the cup.
– the heart of the espresso machine, where water is boiled for steam & tea-water, and where the water for espresso is heated in a “heat exchanger” as it passes through on its way to the brew group

– a separate brewer for hot water only; some models allow Barista to pour different pre-programmed volumes and temperatures automatically (higher temperatures for black tea and lower temperatures for green or white tea and Americano); some are integrated into a drip/filtered coffee brewer as a hot water spout but often these have undesirable results

– theWBC” is the world’s largest barista competition, where a Barista has 15 minutes to prepare 3 rounds of espresso-based drinks under the scrutiny of 2 teams of judges (technical and sensory); typically, winners of regional competitions compete for their national title, with those winners competing for the world title; started in Norway in the late 1990’s, it is owned and run by the Specialty Coffee Associations of America and Europe (SCAA and SCAE)

– a “proportional-integral-derivative” controller on an espresso machine employs a combination of digital pressostats, temperature sensors and switches to actively maintain precise pressure and temperature levels, thereby sustaining temperature stability and accuracy from one drink to the next.

– pre-ground espresso compressed into a small tea-bag-like disc or a plastic cup that allows the machine operator to skip the whole process of fresh-grinding, dosing, tamping and knocking out loose espresso grounds.

A busy café, selling a variety of espresso-based beverages (espresso, latte, macchiato, etc.) throughout the day, would require a larger-volume espresso machine than a small restaurant selling espresso or cappuccino along with regular or “drip” coffee at the end of a meal. A 2- or 3-group machine would allow the café staff to prepare up to 6 espresso-based drinks simultaneously.

Because of the high volume of business they do, Little Nicky’s Coffee (on Queen West in Toronto) and Fire Roasted Coffee’s two locations (on King Street in London, Ontario) all use the 3-group Nuova Simonelli Aurelia T3 machines to manage the hundreds of espresso drinks they sell daily.

With restaurants, the number of seats is a very useful indicator in determining the size of equipment; but always keep in mind that restaurants which cater large parties may be required to produce dozens or hundreds of drinks in a row. A basic rule of thumb is as follows:

Number of Seats in Restaurant Size of Machine
40 or less 1-group minimum
40 to 150 seats 2- or 3-group
150 or more 3-group

If you are uncertain about the need to invest in quality equipment and training, according to an article in Foodservice and Hospitality Magazine “a well-designed coffee program attracts new customers … and increases revenue.” Robert Carter, Executive Director of Foodservice Canada, also stated in the article that “average eater checks that include an espresso beverage are 20-per-cent higher than average eater checks with brewed coffee.”

Menu items:

A restaurant serving only after-dinner espresso or cappuccino can use a more basic setup than a busy urban café with a large menu, larger drink sizes and high customer turnover. And if the café decides to serve “Americano” instead of regular coffee, the espresso machine is the source for all coffee drinks unless they install a hot water tower.

An espresso grinder is also required, and there are different types from traditional doser grinder models to doserless and low RPM versions. Also, a small secondary grinder like the Nuova Simonelli MCI or the Grinta may be required for decaf espresso drinks, and for cafés like Café Domestique (in Dundas Ontario) who offer a selection of different espressos (such as a traditional espresso blend along with a single-origin bean).

Location of business:

A café in Little Italy (or other ethnic areas where espresso is preferred over regular coffee) needs to produce a large quantity throughout the day with even higher demand during peak periods. The same is true for establishments in busy urban centers or with a large take-out business.

If only occasional or limited demand is expected, you might start with a smaller machine such as a one-group or the compact Elektra Sixties 2-group  (with single steam arm or steam wand) and upsize later if demand increases (reputable companies will allow you to trade-up for a higher-volume machine). In their first location, Jimmy’s Coffee (on Portland Street in Toronto’s King West) started with a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia 2-group but upgraded to a 3-group after only about 6 months due to their huge success.

Training of staff:

If the drinks will not be made by a dedicated “Barista” , you might consider a “Super-Automatic” machine, which can be easily operated by anyone (e.g. a waiter or casual user), though the quality and visual appearance of the drinks may be greatly diminished if the machine is not commercial-grade.

If only occasional or limited demand is expected, you might start with a smaller machine such as a one-group or the compact Elektra Sixties 2-group (with single steam arm or steam wand) and upsize later if demand increases (reputable companies will allow you to trade-up for a higher-volume machine). In their first location, Jimmy’s Coffee (on Portland Street in Toronto’s King West) started with a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia 2-group but upgraded to a 3-group after only about 6 months due to their huge success.

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) chose a gorgeous traditional Elektra Blue Barlume for their café, but selected the FRANKE Evolution 2-step in their other three foodservice establishments. This was so their large number of servers (with varying barista skills) can each quickly produce consistently high quality lattes and cappuccinos, as well as hot espresso topped with the all-important “crema” .

Visibility & Aesthetics:

Will the machine be a highly visible focal point of your establishment? Or hidden away in a kitchen or service area? If aesthetics as well as performance are key issues then brands such as Victoria Arduino or Elektra – featuring shining chrome or copper & brass exteriors, backlighting and various designer looks – could be the machine that sets your establishment apart.

If only occasional or limited demand is expected, you might start with a smaller machine such as a one-group or the compact Elektra Sixties 2-group (with single steam arm or steam wand) and upsize later if demand increases (reputable companies will allow you to trade-up for a higher-volume machine). In their first location, Jimmy’s Coffee (on Portland Street in Toronto’s King West) started with a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia 2-group but upgraded to a 3-group after only about 6 months due to their huge success.

Many businesses have chosen the Elektra Sixties espresso machine, because it is a compact machine offering great performance at a very competitive price-point, with the added benefit of being able to match any décor, with its stunning metal body composed of highly-polished stainless steel.

Diana Olsen, owner of Balzac’s Coffee Roastery, found the turn-of-the-century styled Elektra “Belle Époque” perfectly complemented her Parisian-style café in Toronto’s historic Distillery district. The owners of The Sovereign Espresso Bar found the vintage look of the Mosaic Green Elektra Classic Barlume was the perfect match for their eclectic neighbourhood café on Davenport Road in Toronto’s west end.

Meanwhile, L’Espresso Bar Mercurio chose the Victoria Arduino Adonis for its stunning looks and great performance. Another Adonis owner stated that “the Adonis is an iconic piece of equipment synonymous with luxury and is the only espresso machine that can live up to the beauty and elegance of the café experience.”