Best Commercial Espresso Machine (2021 Review)

Welcome to our review of the best commercial espresso machines.

We have tested and compared 10 different commercial espresso machines, considering price, performance, and capacity.

This guide will help you decide on the best machine for your business.

Stick around as we will also answer the most common questions about commercial espresso machines.

Our Commercial Espresso Machine Top Picks

1. Best Overall: La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group

La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group
  • Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Capacity: 14L
  • Portafilters: 2x double
  • Dimension (WxDxH): 78 x 56 x 53cm
  • Weight: 51kg

With over 100 years’ experience in making coffee machines, La Pavoni is the Godfather of coffee technology. The La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group is a solid, semi-automatic all-rounder that hits the middle ground in terms of price and performance. It’s the little cousin of the 3 Group reviewed below, sharing many of the same features but with a slightly smaller capacity.

The 14L boiler can produce 600 cups of espresso per day, making it the perfect choice for most coffee shops but it’s maybe not suited to the largest, busiest joints

The elegant brass and chrome plating looks great in the front shop and is enhanced by slick features, including two flexible steam jets and a flexible hot water jet.

Each of the group heads has its own radiator hydraulic system. The Bar T 2 Group has a single boiler so that baristas can steam and pull shots at the same time.

The machine is actually designed for two people to work together side by side.

We know La Pavoni for its consistency in quality, and the Bar T 2 is no exception. As long as your employees have the basic technical skills, the machine will do the rest.

This is our best overall commercial espresso machine in terms of consistent performance, ample capacity, and reasonable price point.

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Pros

Cons

Why We Like It: We appreciate that you don’t need technical skills to get the best out of this all-in-one machine. Regardless of barista capability, the Bar T 2 delivers the perfect espresso every time.

2. Best for Busy Establishments: La Pavoni Bar T 3 Group

La Pavoni Bar T 3 Group
  • Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Capacity: 23L
  • Portafilters: 3x double
  • Dimension (WxDxH): 97 x 54 x 54cm
  • Weight: 81 kg

With all the quality, durability, and sleek features we described in the T 2 Group above, the La Pavoni Bar T 3 Group is an obvious choice for our pick of top espresso machines. The difference between the T 2 and T 3 is simply that the T 3 is bigger in size and has a greater capacity.

The 23L boiler produces 800 cups of espresso per day instead of 600, using 3 group heads rather than 2. As with the T 2, they built this machine to last and it features the same durable brass and chrome design. You can remove the front copper boiler for easy repairs.

The machine has a special device that lets only hot water into each group. This keeps the brewing pressure constant, so your first cup of coffee is exactly the same quality as your last.

The Bar T 3 is perfect for larger establishments like hotels, as well as for very busy coffee shops with heavy traffic. Three baristas can work side by side to improve your customer service and retain your loyal customer base.

Pros

Cons

Why We Like It: We love the idea of producing 800 perfect cups of espresso a day, need we say more!

3. Best for High Volume Artisan Establishments: Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Digital Four Group

Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Digital Four Group
  • Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Capacity: 22L
  • Portafilters: 5x double
  • Dimension (WxDxH): 124 x 63 x 53cm
  • Weight: 119 kg

While Nuova Simonelli may not be as familiar as La Pavoni, it is an Italian brand with serious credentials. The company has twice been selected as the official professional espresso machine brand of the World Barista Championships and the Aurelia II is the only espresso machine certified as ergonomic by the European Institute of Psychology and Ergonomics.

This fully automatic machine is designed for people who take their coffee seriously. Your barista has complete control over the temperature, volume, and intensity of the coffee they are producing, so make sure your employees are up to the task.

The machine’s soft infusion system gives you more flexibility in tamping so you can produce the perfect extraction every single time. The sleek design is pure luxury, yet the features are thoughtful and easy to use. We love the built-in electric cup warmer and the option to fill either short or tall cups.

The Aurelia II Digital 4 Group is a beast; it’s both heavy to lift and heavy on price. This is the only real downside. It is more expensive than most other commercial machines on the market, placing it out of reach of many establishments.

Pros

Cons

Why We Like It: The ergonomics. Designing a machine to fit the person who uses it is a breath of fresh air in any industry, and we felt the difference using the Aurelia II.

4. Best User-Friendly Features: Nuova Simonelli Appia II

Nuova Simonelli Appia II
  • Type: Automatic
  • Capacity: 11L
  • Dimension (WxDxH): 78 x 55 x 53cm
  • Weight: 72 kg

If the Aurelia II Digital Four is the beast, then the Nuova Simonelli Appia II is the beauty. This is one of the company’s most popular models. It is aimed at medium capacity establishments that make 30 to 100 coffees per hour.

Like its counterpart the Appia II is certified ergonomic, making it a dream for busy baristas who can pull shots all day with no physical side effects.

The machine uses volumetric measures to finish each shot at the right time. It is one of the most user-friendly models on the market that baristas with minimum skills can easily master. The easy-to-use functions mean the barista can spend time on customer service instead of managing machinery.

The Appia II has two brew groups with raised group heads for making coffees in various sizes. A Soft Infusion System controls the extracting time of each coffee blend. The Cool Touch Wand minimizes burn hazards during steaming and cleaning. Best of all, the machine has an automated cleaning system where baristas just press a button for the group that needs to be cleaned.

Pros

Cons

Why We Like It: If we had to pick a personal favorite, this would be it! It is so user-friendly you almost don’t have to be there to make your coffee.

5. Best for Small Counter Tops: Elektra Sixties Deliziosa

Elektra Sixties Deliziosa
  • Type: Automatic
  • Capacity: 5.5L
  • Portafilters: 2 (one single, one double), with 1- and 2-cup filter baskets
  • Dimension (WxDxH): 35.5 x 50.5 x 47cm
  • Weight: 37.5 kg

The Elektra Sixties Deliziosa is one of the smallest machines in our selection. It is ideal for small places with limited counter space. If you own an ice cream shop or a food truck, this could be the choice for you.

Sleek and chic with a steel frame and brass knobs, this semi-automatic looks great and delivers quality coffee easily. The extensive programming options include night mode, which reduces energy outside of working hours to save you money.

The Deliziosa has five automatic dispensing buttons for different types of coffee and controls your brewing temperature electronically. We found the electronic monitoring system especially useful as it prevents damage by making sure the heating element is always submerged in water.

The group espresso head has a filter for a clean water supply. Most importantly for the morning rush, the heating element has enough pressure to brew espresso and steam milk at the same time.

Baristas will appreciate the pivoting lever control for the steam/hot water tap and you’ll find that the wands are solid and durable.

Pros

Cons

Why We Like It: We love the compact footprint that doesn’t compromise on quality regardless of its small size. We tested the night mode and we’re especially impressed by how much money this could save you over the long term.

6. Best for Small Establishments: Bezzera Magica E61

Bezzera Magica E61
  • Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Capacity: 4L
  • Portafilters: 1
  • Dimensions: (WxDxH) 30 x 42.5 x 41.5cm
  • Weight: 22.7 kg

Bezzera has been around since the 1900s and was one of the first companies to manufacture super-automatic espresso machines. The Bezzera Magica E61 is the perfect blend of old school glamour and modern features.

The E61 group head is widely known as the industry gold standard after more than 50 years on the market. Water flows continuously through it to ensure the temperature stays high at all times, so you can serve espresso at the perfect temperature every time.

This feature is further enhanced by the built-in cup warmer, a personal favorite feature of ours. The joystick-style lever is ergonomic and easy to use.

The E61 has dual boilers that allow the barista to brew espresso and steam the milk at the same time. The boiler is made of copper, which naturally prevents microbes and bacteria from gathering in the water. It is also very easy to clean.

The downside of this otherwise timeless machine is that it is rather small. The boiler has a 2L capacity while the water reservoir holds 4L. It won’t suit larger businesses, but if you’re a small coffee shop owner, you can’t go wrong with the E61. It will reliably deliver top-class espresso for decades.

Pros

Cons

Why We Like It: Truly great espressos are timeless and there’s something about using an old-school machine to make them that appeals to our sense of days gone by. We love the prestige of the E61 as well as the consistent, top-class delivery. This is the machine that we would choose for our own home.

7. Best for Small Start-Ups: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express
  • Type: Automatic
  • Capacity: 2L
  • Portafilters: 1
  • Dimensions: (WxDxH) 38 x 38.5 x 41cm
  • Weight: 12.5 kg

The Breville Barista Express is the in-betweener that moves seamlessly from home use to very small business. If you’re opening a tiny coffee shop or run a bookstore, this might be the perfect starter option for you.

It is the most affordable espresso machine on our list but it doesn’t compromise on reliability. We particularly liked the option to choose between automatic and semi-automatic functionality which gives you peace of mind if you are handling the coffee duties yourself.

You don’t need significant skills to operate the Breville as the features guide you through the espresso-making process. There’s digital temperature control for extraction, volumetric controls that stop the shot at the right time, and the option for single or double shots.

The machine tells you when it’s time to clean it, and it comes with a long list of accessories so you won’t need to do additional shopping to get set up.

You can choose the color of your finish to closely resemble your shop’s decor. If you are more experienced, you can activate the manual override option for more control.

The Breville Barista Express is the ideal starter machine that can double as a cheeky home brewing system.

Pros

Cons

Why We Like It: We love how easy it is to make an espresso. Even the greenest of users won’t be frightened off by this machine. It’s also light enough to carry from your home to your place of work if you want to test it before committing.

8. Best for Offices: Jura Giga 5

Jura Giga 5
  • Type: Automatic
  • Capacity: 2.5L
  • Portafilters: none
  • Dimensions: (WxDxH) 32 x 50 x 41.5cm
  • Weight: 17.8 kg

The Jura Giga 5 has so many features that you don’t need a barista, making it the perfect choice for your office. It is the Ferrari of department coffee machines despite being a Swiss brand.

The Giga 5 is also the most luxurious model in their stable, offering 19 programmable drink options and 12 specialty coffee recipes. It combines barista technology with high performance and an easy to use programming center.

Two ceramic disk grinders feed freshly ground coffee into two independent drink spouts in seconds, ensuring the grounds are always fresh. The machine dispenses hot milk, frothed or not, without a steam wand. Once you’ve filled the water and milk reservoirs, and placed beans in the hopper, your job is done and the Giga 5 does the rest.

You can brew two drinks at the same time and customize each one individually with 5 levels of coffee strength and 3 levels of hot water. How’s that for performance! If the barista in you wants more control, you can experiment by tweaking the grind size of the two grinders or playing around with the programmed combinations.

The specialty coffee recipes will guide you through step by step, so once again you don’t need any prior knowledge to create the perfect espresso.

Pros

Cons

Why We Like It: What’s not to love! Purists may see this as the lazy option, but in a busy office when you don’t have time to brew your coffee from scratch, this is the next best thing.

9. Best for Consistency: La Marzocco Linea 2 Group

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  • Type: Semi-Automatic
  • Capacity: 7L
  • Dimensions: (WxDxH) 69 x 56 x 44.5cm
  • Weight: 59kg

Our final pick for our best commercial espresso machines is the La Marzocco Linea 2 Group. It is a classic known for its simplicity and reliability, producing perfect espressos day after day no matter how busy things get.

La Marzocco’s Italian heritage is synonymous with coffee, as is their reputation as one of the most trusted brands in the industry. The Linea 2 is a workhorse and a best friend to baristas everywhere. The rugged build and minimalist design are matched by solid workmanship that will last for years with no hiccups.

The Linea is simple to operate and requires very little maintenance. It is a no mess, no fuss choice for low-key businesses who prefer substance over style.

The dual boiler technology allows you to brew espresso and steam the milk at the same time and is designed for consistently great shot pulling. An electronic PID controls your espresso brewing temperature. The machine is easy to clean and easy to service.

Pros

Cons

Why We Like It: Every time we used this machine, the delivery was exactly the same. Not only that, but the quality of espresso was outstanding.

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Commercial Espresso Machine Buyers Guide

Espresso beans and machine on the background

Your choice of commercial espresso machine is integral for the success of your business. Each business will have different needs, so before you make your choice, it’s important that you understand the key differences and what they mean for you.

It’s also key to match the needs of your business with your budget. Here are some of the main things to consider.

Semi-Automatic or Automatic

Espresso makers have come a long way from the days of steam-powered coffee machines.

These days machines are all either semi-automatic or fully automatic (aka super-automatic), as opposed to the old machines where you had to manually pull heavy levers.

As a general guideline, semi-automatics deliver in quality while super automatics deliver in quantity. Semi-automatics give you control over the brewing process and are the best choice if you’re in the business of serious coffee making.

Automatics handle most of the operations for you, from grinding and tamping the beans to managing the extraction for consistent drinks, but they are harder to customize. It’s easier to train staff on an automatic, but technical baristas who are confident in their skill may find them too limiting.

There’s something to be said about the process of grinding coffee beans to order. It adds a touch of glamour and craft to the art of your espresso making. It’s not always practical, but if you can include it in your processes, customers love it.

If you’re a high volume business, it’s best to go with a user-friendly, automatic machine that can handle the morning rush.

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Capacity

Will you be serving hundreds of takeaway coffees a day, or will you be delivering small numbers of specialty drinks to sit-down customers? What is the floor print of your store and how many baristas will be working at the same time?

These are questions that will help you determine the capacity of the machine you need. Consider your volumes during peak hours rather than across the entire day as this is when your machine will need to operate at maximum capacity.

Capacity is decided by the number of group heads on a machine and the size of the water reservoir. According to Irish coffee guru Colin Harmon in his book “What I know about running coffee shops,” a two group head machine can usually manage around 125 shots per hour. If you need more than this, you should consider a three or four group head.

Harmon also says it’s hard to fit more than two baristas around a coffee machine, regardless of how many you have on shift. Another thought to take away as you consider your ideal capacity.

If you have a larger business, you’ll want an espresso machine that connects directly to a water line so you don’t have to manually refill the water tank. This can be time-consuming and very inconvenient if the tank empties during rush hour. A smaller business should have no issues with manual refills.

Ease Of Use

All the commercial espresso machines that we’ve reviewed will make great coffee in the right hands. The question is, how quickly, easily, and consistently will they make them?

For example, if consistency is your ultimate goal, the La Marzocco Linea 2 Group that we reviewed is right up your street. But perhaps your focus is on user-friendly features; then you can’t go wrong with the Nuova Simonelli Appia II.

When choosing your machine, look at the features and settings available. Does it have volumetric controls to stop the shot at the right time? How does it control the temperature? Does it have options for different sized drinks or can you only serve one size?

Most importantly, can you easily customize existing features to leave your personal stamp on your espressos?

The more user-friendly a machine, the less time you’ll need to spend training staff. It’s also less likely that something will break if an inexperienced barista alters a setting that should not have been touched.

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Grinder

Grinders are important to consider when choosing the right espresso machine for your business. Your grinder should have the same cup-per-hour capacity as the brewing capacity of your machine.

There’s no use spending a large amount of money on a high capacity machine if your grinder can’t match it. Check to see if you can replace your grinder if necessary and make sure you know the costs in advance.

Budget

This is your most important consideration. It doesn’t make sense to look at machines in the mid-range price bracket if you only have a small budget. What is the maximum you’re prepared to spend on your espresso machine?

You don’t want to stretch your budget to a machine with all the bells and whistles if a more affordable, simpler model will do the trick.

You also don’t want to invest in a machine that doesn’t live up to expectations, forcing you to go over budget with extra accessories to meet your needs.

Once you’ve determined what your needs are, you can look at machines that have the features you want and compare prices. Make a list of must-have, nice-to-have, and not-needed features before you start so you don’t get blinded by bling.

 

Commercial Espresso Machine FAQs

How much does a commercial espresso machine cost?

The answer varies according to the needs of your business. A good quality entry-level espresso machine will cost between $4000 and $8000.

There are exceptions like the cheaper Breville Barista Express.

Larger, multi-head machines can easily exceed $20,000.

How long does a commercial espresso machine last?

This depends largely on how much you use it as well as the durability of the materials it is made of. Fully automatic machines tend to last longer than semi-automatics. Quality machines should last anywhere from 5 to 15 years.

Should I turn my espresso machine off at night?

It’s best to turn your machine off when not in use. Leaving it on will reduce the lifetime of certain electrical parts, but if it’s turned off overnight, the gradual heating and cooling will have no detrimental effects.

How do you descale a commercial espresso machine?

If the machine doesn’t have an auto-cleaning function, you can put a commercial espresso machine cleaner or vinegar into the blind-filter.

Once you’ve added the cleaner, lock the group handle into the group head to prevent flooding.

Use the manual override function to run water into the group head. This backwashes the cleaner into the machine and de-scales it.

Don’t just turn the water on as this won’t flush the cleaner into the machine.

Conclusion

Coffee connoisseurs of the world, we have made our decision! In the end, it was a close call between the La Pavoni Bar T 2 Group and the Nuova Simonelli Appia II.

While the user-friendly features of Appia made it our personal favorite, we picked the Bar T 2 Group for its all-inclusive excellence.

It is the best all-rounder for small to medium-sized businesses and one that will deliver a consistently great cup of espresso for the many years that it is built to last. It is reasonably priced and has enough capacity for most establishments.

We can’t fault it, and neither should you. If you’re looking for a solid purchase that will take your business to the top of the espresso game, this is it.