THE ESPRESSO MACHINE - GENERAL INFO
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An Espresso machine in the home and commercial espresso machines have become more popular in the UK in recent years. There have been many changes in the UK’s interest in coffee in the last 10 – 15 years and we are now officially a nation of coffee drinkers. In 1938, Milan coffee bartender, Achille Gaggia filed a Patent for a steam-free coffee machine. Unlike its predecessors, Gaggia's design used a revolutionary piston mechanism which forced water through the coffee grounds at high pressure. It was his quest for the perfect espresso in 1930s Milan that gave birth to one of Italy's most iconic brands, and heralded the production of the Espresso as we know it. Traditional Espresso Coffee Machines are the type you see in Café Nero, Costa Coffee etc. There is a separate Grinder, which usually sits on top of a Knockout Drawer which is used for the spent coffee pucks. Although most Traditional Espresso Machines have automatic dosing these days, the coffee making process is by hand (Artisan). The coffee shot; single or double, is prepared using the machine. The milk is foamed using the machine Steam Wand. The coffee is then put together to make any one of the most popular coffees. Cappuccino, Latte, Mocha, Macchiato etc. The size and complexity of espresso machines vary. Choosing the right machine to suit business requirements is important and must be given consideration.
Smaller espresso machines have a single group head and low capacity boilers. Some can be considered as domestic machines for the coffee enthusiast. Others are low volume commercial espresso machines which are only suitable for venues where coffee is not the main focus of the business. Single group machines can have have hand fill water tanks, especially domestic machines. However, most commercial espresso machines need a mains water supply. Single group espresso machines have a single steam wand for steaming and foaming milk and can produce either one or two cups of espresso coffee at any one time.
A Commercial espresso machine has one, two, three or four group heads, one or two steam wands, hot water facilities and a cup warming areas. Choices of semi or fully automatic group heads are usually available however automatic group heads are the most popular. These automatic group heads allow the water doses to be pre-set providing a more constant product.
Each group head can produce one or two espresso coffees at a time. Water boiler capacities vary and must be taken into consideration when selecting the right espresso machine. If high volumes of coffee or hot water are required then a high volume espresso machine with a large capacity water boiler will be required. The standard range of commercial espresso machines to satisfy most needs will have a total power requirement in excess of 3.4 Kw and will require the right power supply. Most espresso machines will need a minimum 20 amp power supply for a 2 Group machine. This allows the water boilers to recover quickly after water or steam has been drawn off.
The most common espresso machines are two group machines. A two group should be ample for most small to medium requirements up to 200 coffee per day. If the daily requirement is 200 – 350 coffees per day then a three group should be considered. Over 350 plus a four group or two two groups should be considered. Usually espresso machines will have two steam wands allowing for two staff to use the machine simultaneously. Some will have an additional auto steam wands with temperature control that doesn’t require operator attention. Ideal for large orders and only one member of staff. Three and four group espresso machines are more powerful and will need 30 amp or 3 phase power supplies.
The demand for a espresso machine with high level group heads has increased due the growth of the takeaway coffee market. The requirement for large cup volumes and high volume demand has seen a growth for a more powerful espresso machine. All brands we supply have Takeaway height models available. The most well known range of commercial espresso machines that we can supply are Expobar, La Spaziale, Wega, Sanremo, Rancilio, Fiamma, La Marzocco, and Iberital.
Espresso coffee can be purchased either pre ground or in pods however the best way of producing high quality coffee is to use Coffee Beans and a coffee grinder. Water quality is very important when producing espresso coffee. All commercial espresso machines should be installed with an appropriate water filter. Correct water treatment is especially important in hard water areas. limescale can cause permanent damage to a machine and extensive and costly repairs will be required. Bottled or filtered water is highly recommended for use with smaller light use models. Whilst most commercial and domestic espresso machines are very reliable it is important to ensure that they are purchased with back to base or on site warranties.