HOW TO BUY YOUR FIRST ESPRESSO MACHINE

 
 
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▼ Listen to the full talk here! ▼

 
  1. Don’t be afraid of Automation

Don’t be afraid of automation.”

”A lot of times, we want that customized manual machine, with the highly-trained barista behind the bar, but sometimes we don’t have time to invest in an extensive training program, so a super-automatic machine which gets pre-programmed by the coffee roaster or shop owner, makes your shop more productive and able to hit the ground running when you plug it in.
— MACIEJ OSTROWSKI
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2. Durability

  • On the tech side, of course, is durability. How durable is this machine? How many times do I have to do preventative maintenance? We should be looking at preventative maintenance cycles that are one preventative maintenance cycle a year. Everything that would have to get maintained as standard on the machine: one maintenance cycle a year. A lot of these machines are going to last a very long time, but they need a little bit of that tender loving care to make sure they last a lifetime.

3. Tech Support/Service

  • Supporting equipment. We’re not just buying one espresso machine, we’re also buying at least one grinder. Sometimes two grinders. We’re gonna need to buy tampers, we’re gonna need to buy knock boxes and steaming pitchers. We’re gonna need to get some scales. These are the things that we also have to add into the cost of this espresso machine.

  • If you are not located in or near a major city, maybe a super-automatic isn’t the right thing because the technician may be very far away and if something happens, your lead time could be weeks without a proper service network behind the machine. That actually is a really really big thing: technical support. You have to ask yourself: Where is your technical support coming from? How long will it take to get parts/labor from a company that is not based in your country.

4. Filtration

  • One of the biggest things for supporting equipment on your coffee equipment in general, for espresso machines and brewers, is filtration. Always, always, always use filtration. All water requires at least a little bit of filtration even just to remove chlorine, and that taste that’s in that water. But every machine will require filtration.

5. Price

  • Price. Two machines. They’re both traditional espresso machines, they both have volumetric (it will stop that shot for you) they have three groups, they have two steam wands, they will rock and roll for many many years. But there’s about $6,000 price difference between them. One is definitely more aesthetically pleasing than the other, but both will perform very well. It’s always a balance. There are always going to be small compromises with that and what you want to choose.

6. Training

  • You want everything to look pretty, you want everything to look great in your space. That’s really where a lot of these purchasing decisions are first made, design and aesthetics but you also have to consider training and staffing for that machine. Who’s gonna be training your staff? Who’s going to be working on the machine if it’s a difficult machine to work on and you have high-staff turnover?

  • If you’re trying to decide how the coffee program is going to be set up, don’t forget that you can go a little bit automation and it might make sense.

 
Maciej Ostrowski in one of his tech training classes.

Maciej Ostrowski in one of his tech training classes.

 
 

If you think a traditional epsresso machine sounds right for you, check out the Rancilio Specialty RS1.

If you like the idea of an smart and flexible superautomatic, you’ll want to take a look at the Egro NEXT lineup.