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How to Find the Best Coffee Machines to Suit Your Coffee Shop Operation




 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 time).

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!!!!

1 Group traditional:

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.



Compact size

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)

 Coffee output:

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.

2 Group traditionals:

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 simultaneously

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.

Coffee output:

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.

Coffee output:

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

Water 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

Coffee output:

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 fitted.

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 inconsistent coffee.

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:




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