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triabella
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 2
Location: NM
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 25, 2005, 4:57pm
Subject: Commercial Machine Advise, please...
 

Hi, I've been enjoying my daily latte for years and regularly make my own lattes at home.  A new venture has my husband and I opening an internet cafe where we plan to serve specialty coffees.  We have been trying to research machines:  how many groups will we need, which brand/model is best, etc.  I know this depends on several variables... but we're looking for any advise out there from someone whos 'in the know'.  Here are some of our considerations:

1) We are located in a small town (pop: 30K) with only one small coffee shop that delivers very inconsistent quality drinks and may or may not be open on a given day (throws one into a panic when you need that latte!).  So, we are expecting a fairly good flow of traffic as we will do whatever it takes to be consistent, delicious and open as expected.

2) We will have a drive-thru option for customers, as well as your typical walk-in and order style service.  So, we would like to be able to deliver drinks quickly to avoid back-up in the drive-thru.

3) We would prefer the machine to be somewhat independent since there will be times that the barista will have to handle the order, make the drink and cash-out the customer at one time.  Features that we've seen that seem to make this process smoother are: thermostatically controlled steamer, semi-automatic/programmable dosing buttons, etc.

4) We are somewhat limited on space, so we'd like to go with the smallest footprint/group that we can get away with, but will not easily outgrow.

5) We are located in a very remote location -- about 3 hours from the nearest city that would service espresso machines.  So, we are looking for a machine that requires as little services as possible -- and that is easy for us to keep maintained so that it requires minimal repairs.

6) We would prefer to spend less than $5000, but would pay a bit more for the perfect machine.

Obviously, we want what everyone one wants:  dependability, delicious output, consistent quality and somewhat economical.

We are currently considering the Brasilia 2-Group that has the digital read-out  for shots pulled, maintenance requirements, etc.  It comes with the thermostadt-controlled steamer as well.  Is this a good machine?  I know that I like the features, but I don't know much about the inner-workings regarding what's good/bad/doesn't matter much.

I've ready that the double-boiler is really important.  The Brasilia mentioned above only has a single-boiler.  Should this be a show-stopper?  Any others?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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nobbi4711
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nobbi4711
Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 338
Location: Germany
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Dallacorte Mini EX4
Grinder: Casadio Instantaneous
Vac Pot: none
Drip: French Press
Roaster: Mini-500/800N drum roaster;...
Posted Mon Apr 25, 2005, 7:38pm
Subject: Re: Commercial Machine Advise, please...
 

1) Sounds like an unconventional solution:
I would start with a 2group machine. Not the super compact ones (like Brasilia America), but the "usual" size. As you will have to do a lot of cappuccinos and lattes (and probably quite few espressi), a boiler of 10+ liters is a have to. If 2 groups won't do it anymore, you will surely have the money to buy an additional machine, like one of the Brasilia America Line (1 or 2 groups). They are extremely compact, but with quite small boilers. Doesn't matter since you have your "Big One". If one of the machines breaks down, you will still have the other, so your business won't break down completley. By the way, the most reliable machines are the lever machines...no dosing devices, not even motors or pumps...but they require a really good barista :-))

2) An espresso-based drink lasts up to 30sec. If you want to sink the time, you sink the quality. There are coffees  that taste still good when pulled for 17sec or so. But many coffees will loose strength and tend to taste sour. One possibility could be to have 2 or three shots "in stock"; you pull them in small steel cans which are usually used to do the espresso for latte drinks if the machine is not tall enough to put the latte glasses under the group. From those cans you pull them in the cappu or latte cups while the next ones for the following customers are already running into other steel cans. This works only if you have good traffic and the espresso doesn't stay more than 1 or 2 minutes in the cans.

3) Programmable dosing buttons are a have to. I don't know what you mean by "thermostatically controlled steamer". If you mean a cappucinatore, then you should look after a machine that's equipped with a prgrammable cappucinatore (programmable amount of steamed milk into the glass; best would be 2 separate amounts for cappu and latte)

4) see 1)

5) see 1)

6) I don't know american prices for brasilias, but in europe they are much cheaper than cimbali or marzocco. They are good reliable machines without any nonsens. No double boiler, no PID controlling, just the typical heat exchanger technique that is simple but good. Only thing you have to take care of is that the machine (like all HX machines) tends to overheat when idling for more than 5 minutes. You will then have to pull a blank shot to cool it down before making espresso. I don't think you will be able to get a new 2group double boiler machine for less than $5000.

What do you mean with "digital read out"? A connection to the cash desk? This will (in my eyes) only make sense when you're not in the shop yourself but will have to rely on employees.

Hope it's helpful :-)

Greetings \\//

Marcus
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triabella
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 2
Location: NM
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 25, 2005, 7:52pm
Subject: Re: Commercial Machine Advise, please...
 

Hi Marcus,

Thanks for you information, very helpful!  To answer your questions:

- Thermostatically controlled steamer -- the steamer wand has a thermometer attached to it so you can program it to shut off the steam automatically when it reaches the threshold temperature.  This allows you to start steaming and walk away without the worry of burning the milk.

- Digital read out -- The Brasilia model we're looking at has a digital display on the front at the bottom.  It is "smart" in that it will sense if the shots are pulling too slowly and notify the barista that the grind is probably too fine.  Also, it will tell you statistical information like how many shots were pulled per day, when the filters need to be changed, etc.  I guess it is sort of like a built-in computer component.

Here's a link to the model we're considering:
http://www.brasilia.co.uk/product/exclusive_plus_filter.htm

One last thing... could you clarify what "PID controlling" is?  Also, what is an "HX" machine vs. another type.  I'm new to the techie terms.

THANKS!
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nobbi4711
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nobbi4711
Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 338
Location: Germany
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Dallacorte Mini EX4
Grinder: Casadio Instantaneous
Vac Pot: none
Drip: French Press
Roaster: Mini-500/800N drum roaster;...
Posted Tue Apr 26, 2005, 3:27am
Subject: Re: Commercial Machine Advise, please...
 

The thing with the built in mikroprozessing unit sounds cool, but its pretty new. How reliable is that? I just know that the electronical units are the most expensive spare parts of the whole machine (in Germany up to €1000, and those are not even mikropreozessors like the one you mention). I would have thougt about the standard Portofino, eventually with an additional cappuccinatore instead of one steam wand. Don't worry too much about coffee running too slowly; after a short time the barista will get an eye for it. If the grinder is adjusted at least once in the morning you can't go that wrong on quality even if you won't be able to control the grind for the rest of the day.

The "additional machine" i would chose from the compact program of brasilia:

http://www.brasilia.it/en/compact/main.htm

Haver a look at the america or the super america. Chriscoffee sells them in the US so you will surely be able to buy one.


A PID is also a microprocessing unit used to control boiler temperatures. It doesn't work like a thermostat (which switches the resistance on or off), but controls the heating power (when cold -> full power; when hot -> low power) So it's able to stabilize the temperature at +- 0,5 Fahrenheit. It works best in double boiler machines.

An HX (heat exchanger) machine has only one boiler which is heated to steam temperature. In this boiler there is a small chamber which is connected to the water line (inlet) an the brew group (outlet). If you pull shots, the cold water from the water line mixes with the hot water in the chamber and will end in the brew group at espresso temperature. A schematic drawing i found here:

Click Here (www.olympia-express.ch)

Maybe this will help to explain. Otherwise some senior members will surely do it better than the new kraut ;-)

Greetings \\//

Marcus
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sheygetz
Senior Member


Joined: 29 Mar 2005
Posts: 77
Location: Düsseldorf - Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: NS Oscar
Grinder: Brasilia RR45
Drip: French Press
Posted Tue Apr 26, 2005, 7:12am
Subject: Re: Commercial Machine Advise, please...
 

nobbi4711 Said:

1)... like one of the Brasilia America Line (1 or 2 groups). They are extremely compact, but with quite small boilers. Marcus

Posted April 25, 2005 link

Out of curiosity - seeing that you are in Germany, too: Where would you get one of these here? I googled for ".de sites only" but only found Espressoxxl and they only sell replacement parts.

sheygetz
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fredrik_bt
Senior Member
fredrik_bt
Joined: 27 Nov 2004
Posts: 222
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Tea, laPavoni EPL
Grinder: Macap M4, Isomac Macinino...
Drip: Never
Roaster: Oven, hot air popcorn...
Posted Tue Apr 26, 2005, 7:50am
Subject: Re: Commercial Machine Advise, please...
 

triabella Said:

- Thermostatically controlled steamer -- the steamer wand has a thermometer attached to it so you can program it to shut off the steam automatically when it reaches the threshold temperature.  This allows you to start steaming and walk away without the worry of burning the milk.

Posted April 25, 2005 link

You cannot just leave the milk even if the steam will stop when it's at the right temperature. You need nice microfoam and this can only be obtained by a lot of skill and attention to the milk. With a double boiler machine with great steam power this won't be a problem since steaming won't take so long time.

I would never visit a cafe that didn't steam the milk properly and if you want to be known by your quality you need to steam manually.

 
//Fredrik

http://www.kaffeforum.se - Swedish coffeesite
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nobbi4711
Senior Member
nobbi4711
Joined: 20 Apr 2005
Posts: 338
Location: Germany
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Dallacorte Mini EX4
Grinder: Casadio Instantaneous
Vac Pot: none
Drip: French Press
Roaster: Mini-500/800N drum roaster;...
Posted Tue Apr 26, 2005, 8:55am
Subject: Re: Commercial Machine Advise, please...
 

@sheygetz:

I for myself wouldn't buy a new machine. ebay has more than enough opportunities to get a good restauration object. What has typically to be replaced? pump, steam wand, some gaskets, a good cleaning and descaling...that's it. €200 to €500 for the machine, another €200 for spare parts...seems a good deal for me.

Besides that, you have to got to the local suppliers. The german business suppliers always hide their prices; it's almost impossible to find a price in the internet. The Brasilia America 1group would have to be around €1800 in Germany as far as i know.

You can also send me a pm in the Kaffeeboard. Send it to nobbi-4711 (minus included). Maybe german is the simpler language for us :-)

Greetings \\//

Marcus
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