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Need advice. outfiting mutli-use trailer to reach our community. 110v vs 220v
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Need advice....  
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Senior Member

Joined: 13 Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Location: North Carolina
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Apr 21, 2014, 9:40am
Subject: Need advice. outfiting mutli-use trailer to reach our community. 110v vs 220v

Hey all,
My name is Chris and I'm new to coffeegeek.  I'm writing this post because I need some advice on espresso machines.  I've worked in the coffee industry and absolutely love the coffee house atmosphere and relationships it promotes.  We've recently moved to a more rural area that is not a "coffee culture."  I'm embarking on a venture to establish a mobile coffee trailer/truck that allows us to bring this experience to our community.  The goal is not to make profit, but rather sustain our outreach to the community while building relationships with folks.  I can share more about this later to keep ya'll updated on progress... Right now im doing research in outfitting a trailer.  One of the biggest questions for the time being that I've got to answer is this... 110 vs 220v machines.  It is my goal to be as versatile as possible.  Churches or organizations within our community may host us.  That being said, what im wanting to do is create a cart that can be fastened securely in the trailer.  But, if we're invited inside a church or community building, we're able to take this all inclusive cart and set up to operate without the trailer.  My dilemma lies in electrical capabilities for most facilities.  If we have a 220v machine (which I know is best for high demand situations), we will be greatly limited in our functional abilities in these facilities as 220v outlets aren't readily available in most public areas of most facilities.  This would be a reason why we'd want a 110v.  However, I've never used a 110v machine and am concerned that if we're serving a lot of people that we would not have adequate steam and hot water to sustain a busy outreach event.  I have connection with grindmaster through coffee connections and we can get a wholesale price on grindmaster.  So-ive been looking at the Venezia II ESP1-110V (1 GROUP, 110V, 6QT BOILER). If I were to go with a 220v I would go with the 2 group Venezia II (13QT boiler.)  The limitations of 220 in the trailer is the difficulty with not being able to plug in on site as well. We would be limited to a generator power source. We would need to purchase a generator and have it installed that could support our electrical needs.  This is also a huge expense in our set-up. I am unaware of any generator in which we would want to run inside of a building (loud and fumes..)
These are some initial questions we face in establishing this coffee outreach right now.  I am very open for any advice anyone can give.  My question is somewhat tunnel visioned on 110 vs 220 with the grindmaster.  Big picture is outfitting a trailer that can be multifaceted to serve people with the trailer as well as inside a building when those opportunities arise.  Any advice on any part of this venture is welcomed.  Initially, for us, this is where we're at in our research... I look forward to hearing from as many as will respond!

With much thanks,
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Senior Member

Joined: 18 Feb 2013
Posts: 168
Location: Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Commercial Only
Grinder: Commercial Only
Roaster: Has Garanti HG5
Posted Mon Apr 21, 2014, 4:07pm
Subject: Re: Need advice. outfiting mutli-use trailer 110v vs 220v

Hi Chris,
As an industry professional I am limited in the ways in which I can respond publicly to your question. Mobile catering environments are especially challenging for an espresso program due to power limitations as you point out. Fortunately, Astoria is one manufacturer (there are others) that offers lever-group commercial machines with propane gas burners, in addition to 110V heating elements. Their pricing is competitive with the models you are using as an example. Indoor events will not always allow you to use the gas system, but as long as it is being used in a ventilated area of at least 12 cubic meters, it is as safe as any other gas-powered kitchen appliance.
This would be a much cheaper, simpler, and environmentally friendly route than procuring a gas-powered generator set to feed a 220V machine. You could run a two-group lever with a propane bottle and a 110V standard branch circuit, and run it at full capacity. Good luck
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Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,226
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Apr 22, 2014, 6:05am
Subject: Re: Need advice. outfiting mutli-use trailer 110v vs 220v

It is the indoor feature that I see causing the most trouble.

220v machines do have a higher capacity but there are good single group 110 machines that would be able to keep up no problem too. La Cimballi makes several as do other makers.  I have an older M32 on my coffee bar and I have no doubt it would be fine in a catering situation. It has the advantage of also having a built in water tank to allow use in non plumbed in situations. A commercial duty single group running on 110 is probably the most common seen in places that want to serve espresso and espresso based drinks but not at volumes that a coffee house serves. Do look at only commercial machines though, a semi auto, prosumer grade machine will not have the capacity or the durability to "go the distance" in the long haul.

Gas while great for a permanent setup on a trailer, has issues when moving inside, the two biggest is the gas tank and the exhaust from the flame. While you might get by for a while with a gas machine, I suspect that there could be some negative issues with fire insurance and local building codes if there were ever a "problem" or if the wrong health inspector happened to walk by.

You need not run a generator indoors, it can be outside and the extension cord run into the building so 220 is not entirely out. If you need more capability than a single group machine and do not want the expense of a 220 v multi group and a generator, you might think about two 110 machines but they would need to be on different circuits in the building as each setup will max out a 20 amp line by it's self.

I think from a practical point of view, you need to be totally self contained, not relying on anything from a hosting facility. A LP powered generator on your trailer and a good large gauge extension cord can power your cart up to 100 feet away, that is quite a distance and at that point, I would suspect that water would be more of an issue than electric power.

In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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