How to Find
the Best Coffee Machines to Suit Your Coffee Shop Operation
THE BIGGER THE BETTER?
By Glenn James of Coffix
The most common question that is asked to
our company especially by first time buyers of all types of
coffee machines is what size machine do we need?????...
This must be the hardest question to answer
due to the many different situations that a café or restaurant
can open in. For example a high street coffee house will
require a higher output machine then a little pub in a country
village, this doesn’t mean though that the coffee should suffer
because of a different machine and usage.
We have a few general questions that we ask
to start off with to gauge whether our buyer has an idea as to
how many coffees they are expecting to sell throughout the day.
However, the most important question is to
ask whether they expect a very high peak usage time (lunch
Here are a list of suggestions that we
advise our customers on when deciding on what machine to buy.
Also some pro`s and cons as to why and why not!!!!
Excellent machines for small low volume
businesses that don’t have a big rush time. These machines have
the advantage of fitting where space is a premium.
Same excellent quality coffee is possible as bigger machines
Hand fill versions are available (no mains water feed necessary)
Standard plug so you can plug it into a normal socket.
Low volume output
Small boilers so capacity is lower.
Low water output (water for teas or Americanos)
Coffees per day. 50 to 100
N.B. The most important information you need
about a 1 group is the size of the boiler as this will give you
an indication as to the machine’s capacity. Most 1 groups are 3
litre boilers but there are a few manufacturers now offering a 5
litre boiler which is a great bonus on a 1 group machine due to
the increased output.
These are the most common machines that we
sell to either start-up businesses or established businesses due
to their versatility in output.
Higher output per hour due to 4 drinks being prepared
2 steam arms (on some machines)
Bigger boilers with some machines up to 15 litres
Versatility (these machines can normally cope with the growth of
your business for a substantial amount of time.)
Easy one person operation
Check the size of the boiler as a few 2 groups have small
boilers but still look the size of a larger machine.
Size restrictions, most of these machines measure around 750mm
upto 1m in width.
Mains power connection is required for most 2 group which means
having access to a 20 or 32amp power supply.
Up to 300 coffees a day
N.B: 2 group machines can come in a couple
of sizes normally; they are a standard size that I have
explained above or a compact version. These are smaller in width
allowing them to fit in to restricted areas but still offer the
advantages of being able to serve 4 drinks at once.
These are our biggest sellers to start ups
as they can handle a wide range of usage, BUT please once again
check the size of the boilers on these machines as they vary
greatly from one to another.
200 coffees a day
3 Group Traditionals:
These machines suit any café or restaurant
that is a heavy volume site serving drinks continuously
throughout the whole day.
High volume output
Boiler capacity is normally between 15 and 21 litres.
Greater steam capacity (for frothing milk)
Easy access for 2 baristi to work at the same machine
Quite a large area is required due to the width normally around
1m or over.
Expensive option to start up with if you have no real idea as to
what your turnover will be
Loads and loads
4 group machines:
Our opinion at Coffix is it is better to go
for 2 x 2 group machines than a 4 group due to the reason that,
you can arrange them in a more work efficient system than having
everyone around the one coffee station. If you require a 4 group
then work efficiency is utmost to getting your coffees out
quickly, meaning separating your machine even slightly (for
example putting your grinders in between both machines).
Variations in machines:
Most machines are available with an upgraded
element nowadays. This means that if you have a power supply
that can supply a larger element it may well be worth having one
The benefits of this would be a quicker heat
up time in the morning but more importantly a quicker recovery
time during your service time. The bigger the element the
quicker the recovery time is.
Take Away / High group versions:
These types of machines are great for cafes
or businesses that provide mainly take away drinks or serve
their drinks in a high cup or glass.
The best version of these machines that we
have found are with trays that slide in when using the take away
option but then slide out when pouring an espresso so keeping
the heat in the drink.
Other versions have group heads at different
heights (e.g.; 1 for espresso and 1 for high cups)
Hot Water Boilers;
Coffee machines ARE NOT water
boilers. If your business supplies a lot of tea or Americano`s
especially in large cups please use a water boiler.
Firstly the water boiler will supply water
at a higher temperature then a coffee machine but most important
of all, the taking water from your coffee machine will result in
a varying of coffee water temperature resulting in an
The steam pressure in your machine will also
suffer if cold water is continually pushed into your machine;
this will result in low steam pressure causing quality milk
frothing to be compromised.
Coffix is an independent
engineering company specialising in the repair, service,
installation and sale of espresso and bean to cup machines.
You can visit their website at: