Commercial Espresso Machines

An espresso machine for use in restaurant and coffeehouse environments provides a way to make espresso shots with less physical effort and a more consistent quality. The equipment is often at least partially automated and typically includes a plumbing connection for easy access to filtered cold water. The hallmarks of a high-quality espresso drink prepared by a commercial espresso machine are an exit temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit within a range of plus or minus four degrees, a percolation time of 25 seconds with a range of plus or minus five seconds, and a cup temperature of 153 degrees Fahrenheit plus or minus three degrees.

What are the features of a commercial espresso machine?
  • Automatic brewing - In a commercial environment, the volume of brewed espresso and the steeping time are important to customer service. The machine may be semi-automatic or fully automatic, allowing it to adjust the machine's pressure and volume. The automation is accomplished with an in-line flow meter to the group head.
  • Multiple group heads - Commercial machines have multiple group heads. This allows for different sized shots of espresso and for the production of other drinks made of coffee beans.
  • Built-in grinder - A super-automatic commercial machine for espresso includes a grinder. This means that workers do not have to separately grind the coffee.
What are the types of commercial espresso machines?
  • Piston-driven - A piston-driven machine was first developed in Italy by Achille Gaggia. These machines work by using a lever to pressurize hot water and send it through a boiler to the ground beans. The piston may be manually or automatically driven.
  • Steam-driven - The first type of espresso machine was a steam-driven unit. These espresso machines use steam generated by the boiler to force water through the grinds. There are no moving parts in this type of equipment, making it easier to maintain.
  • Pump-driven - A pump-driven espresso machine was first introduced in 1961. A motorized pump provides the force needed to brew espresso from the coffee beans by using a cold-water line attached to the pump. There are multiple sub-types of pump-driven espresso machines, including single-boiler single use, single-boiler with double or multiple use, heat exchanger, and double boiler. Air pumps are a recent addition to the functionality of espresso machines in the commercial environment.
How does a commercial espresso machine work?

An espresso machine uses pressure to force nearly boiling water through ground coffee beans in order to produce a beverage that is thicker than coffee. The machinery for making espresso tamps down the pile of grinds in order to produce the thicker drink. It also promotes a more even saturation of the grinds for a higher extraction of the oils from the beans. The result of the espresso brewing process is called crema.