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5+ Best Espresso Machines for Catering


best espresso machines for catering

Are you a caterer looking to bring delicious espresso to your customers? 

A portable, high-quality espresso machine is just what you need. But if you’re just beginning your search for the right one, it can be difficult to figure out what all the terminology means or what exactly to look for.

In this guide, we’ll show you what we feel are the best espresso machines for catering. We’ll also clear up some of the terminology for you and walk you through your decision-making process.

This is what we’re going to cover:

  • Basic types of espresso machines and what they mean for you
  • How to decide which espresso machine to choose
  • The 5 best espresso machines for caterers

BASIC ESPRESSO MACHINE TYPES AND WHAT THEY MEAN

First things first: learning the basic types of espresso machines available to you is a great place to begin.

As you start shopping, you’ll see the espresso market is overwhelmingly dominated by two main types of machines: semiautomatic and automatic. 

There are other types beyond this, such as superautomatic and manual machines, but these are not quite as common.

You may also run into the phrases direct-connect (also known as plumb-in) or pour-over. 

We’ll explain the differences between all these types and terms for you.

AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES

Automatic espresso machines are a beginner’s best friend.

Once you’ve ground your espresso and put the portafilter in the group, all you need to do is start the extraction process and the machine will stop when the shot is ready.

In other words, these machines are user-friendly. New baristas are able to learn to use them quickly, and drink quality is more consistent no matter who’s pulling the shots. 

Nevertheless, there are downsides to this type of machine. Because so much of the drink-making process is streamlined with automation, they’re less flexible and they can be a bit more of an expenditure.

SEMIAUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINES

Semiautomatic machines are often beloved by espresso experts with good reason.

Instead of the machine ending the brew cycle for you, semiautomatic machines rely on their users to begin and end the cycle when the shot is done. This means you can pull Ristretto shots or long shots as needed.

The drawback to this flexibility is that it takes time to learn how to make tasty espresso every time on this machine. Because it relies so heavily on the user’s ability, the quality of drinks can vary based on who’s making them. 

DIRECT-CONNECT VS POUR-OVER MACHINES

In a nutshell, direct-connect (plumbed-in) and pour-over refer to how an espresso machine replenishes its water supply.

Direct-connect is typically all you’ll see in commercial settings. This is because these types of machines hook into a water line and refill themselves automatically, which is convenient and low maintenance. 

But this kind of design is also immobile. As a caterer, you’ll likely prefer a pour-over machine that can function from anywhere because its water tank is refilled by hand.

We do advise using a water filter or softener with pour-over machines for two reasons: guarding your machine from damaging scale buildup and boosting the quality of your water.

HOW TO DECIDE WHICH ESPRESSO MACHINE TO CHOOSE

Since catering is such a unique type of business, thinking about what types of espresso machines can meet your requirements is a bit easier.

For instance, catering is a mobile format of business, so you’ll probably benefit most from a pour-over machine that you can take anywhere.

But another thing to take into account is the construction of the machine. If your espresso machine is made from durable stainless steel, you can rest easy during transport without having to worry about it getting banged up.

Your or your employees’ skill level is something else worth noting. Beginners or those who just don’t want their quality to depend on the experience of the user should look further into automatic espresso machines.

At the same time, if you’re going to provide highly customized or specialized drinks, you’ll appreciate the ability to customize or tweak drinks on the fly that comes naturally to semiautomatic machines.

Size is also important. An espresso machine that’s small and light will be a lot easier to move than one that’s larger. 

5 BEST ESPRESSO MACHINES FOR CATERERS 

ROCKET DUAL BOILER R58

ROCKET DUAL BOILER R58

Small and strong, the Rocket Dual Boiler R58 has the energy to make drinks all day long without taking up too much room.

As a semiautomatic machine, it’s true that the R58 will take time to master, but the end result will be worth it. Your customers will be blown away by how easily you’re able to make drinks tailored to their taste preferences.

You can also rest assured that the R58’s gleaming 304-grade stainless steel case can handle the rigors of travel.

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $3,000
  • Machine Type: Semiautomatic
  • Plumbing: Pour-over
  • Size: 16.25 inches tall, 12.25 inches wide, 17.50 inches long
  • Boiler: Dual boiler
  • Rotary Pump: Famously quiet and robust, you won’t need to be concerned with having to replace this pump anytime soon.
  • Matching Rocket Metal Tamper: The sleek profile of the R58 is complemented by its matching metal tamper, which is heavy enough to provide ample pressure for tamping.
  • Low Water Sensor: Rather than constantly checking the water level yourself, the machine will let you know when it needs a refill.
  • E-61 Commercial Group: With an E-61 commercial group, you automatically get improved temperature stability as the group head will circulate hot water from the boiler to group continuously. 

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QUICK MILL QM67 EVO 

 

QUICK MILL QM67 EVO

From top to bottom, the Quick Mill QM67 Evo was built to last.

It’s constructed from long-lived 304 stainless steel, from its case to its steam and hot water arms, to its boiler. As an added bonus, the polished steel simply looks refined.

With the QM67, your customers will enjoy professional-quality drinks undisturbed, as the machine is also built for quiet settings.

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $2,195
  • Machine Type: Semiautomatic
  • Plumbing: Pour-over
  • Size: 16.5 inches tall, 11 inches wide, 17 inches long
  • Boiler: Dual boiler
  • Large Water Tank Capacity: You won’t need to stop what you’re doing to refill this huge 3-liter water tank often.
  • Hinged Cover: When you do need a refill, the water tank is quickly accessible by just flipping open the cover.
  • Cup Warmer: If you’re not serving drinks in paper cups, pre-warming mugs is a thoughtful touch your customers will appreciate. You’ll be able to warm up your mugs just by placing them on top of the machine.
  • Pulsor-equipped Pump: This makes the espresso machine even quieter, so you won’t disrupt any event you cater at.

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 LA SPAZIALE S1-DREAM

 LA SPAZIALE S1-DREAM

The La Spaziale S1-Dream brings technologically advanced features and user-friendliness together.

Because it’s an automatic machine, you’ll make uniformly high-quality drinks everywhere you go. You’ll also get the power of a dual boiler system that’ll have you speedily steaming and brewing through each drink you make.

An especially nifty feature is the memory card, which allows you to read and write 4 different beverage profiles right into the machine itself for easy access.

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $2,095
  • Machine Type: Automatic
  • Plumbing: Pour-over
  • Size: 15 inches tall, 16.5 inches wide, 16.5 inches long
  • Boiler: Dual boiler
  • Barista Lights: Even when you’re catering at events that need to lower the lights, you’ll be able to see clearly around your espresso machine with lights next to the group.
  • Shot Counter and Timer: If you use the semiautomatic option to pull extra-long or short shots, you’ll be able to time them using the S1-Dream instead of having to use a separate timer.
  • Memory Card Reader and Writer: Store up to 4 programmable coffee profiles in your machine so your most common drinks are easier to make.

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LA SPAZIALE MINI VIVALDI II

 

LA SPAZIALE MINI VIVALDI II

 

Small layouts aren’t a problem for the La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II. 

Its incredibly condensed size means it’s able to squeeze in comfortably at any event, regardless of how cramped the space may be. Regardless of its tiny size, you’ll still enjoy a buffet of advanced features that make it competitive with any pour-over machine.

A dual boiler design makes the Mini Vivaldi II an absolute powerhouse that can brew and steam back-to-back drinks and operate consistently under pressure.

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $1,895
  • Machine Type: Automatic
  • Boiler: Dual boiler
  • Size: 15 inches tall, 16.5 inches wide, 16.5 inches long
  • Diagnostic System: The fault diagnosis alarm system will notify you when there are any system failures, so you’ll never be blindsided by unexpected repairs.
  • Group Temperature Adjustment: Defend your espresso quality from temperature fluctuations by making tweaks to the group temperature as necessary.
  • LED Display: Operation of the machine is consolidated into a central LED display so you won’t need to struggle with a bunch of confusing buttons.

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ROCKET APPARTAMENTO 

ROCKET APPARTAMENTO

Our customers have absolutely loved the Rocket Appartamento for a variety of reasons.

The Appartamento is affordable enough for home users but also powerful enough for small businesses that don’t mainly focus on coffee. Its E-61 commercial group fortifies a stable temperature so your espresso won’t be harmed by cold pockets and it automatically smooths out any mistakes made while tamping by soaking the grounds before extraction.

The end result is a latte, macchiato, or cappuccino that tastes just like it came from a coffee shop. 

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $1,690
  • Machine Type: Semiautomatic
  • Boiler: Heat exchange
  • Size:  14.25 inches tall, 10.5 inches wide, 17 inches long
  • Appealing Design: While pretty much every Rocket machine looks top-quality, the Appartamento is especially attractive with the artistic circular accents on the sides available in copper or white colors.
  • E-61 Commercial Groups: Any machine that comes with E-61 commercial groups gets a sort of two-for-one deal. You get increased temperature stability to protect your espresso from dips in temperature, and you also get automatic pre-infusion, which boosts a more even extraction.
  • Low Water Sensor: Don’t let yourself get caught off guard by a low water level – a flashing light on the Appartamento will tell you when it needs a refill.
  • Rocket Metal Tamper: With the beautiful Appartamento, you’ll get a heavy-duty metal tamper that will make it easy to apply the right pressure to espresso grounds.

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