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5+ Best Espresso Machines for Food Trucks


BEST ESPRESSO MACHINES FOR FOOD TRUCKS

Food trucks are a business growing in popularity. Many people love that they can get high-quality and delicious food at various events or locations instead of having to go into a restaurant.

With an espresso machine, you can also offer your customers professional-level espresso beverages on the road, too. 

So how do you know which espresso machines to get for your food truck?

The goal of this guide is to clarify common espresso machine components and provide you a list of the best espresso machines for food trucks.

We’ll go over the following:

  • An introduction to the basics of espresso machines
  • What you should think about so you choose the right espresso machine
  • Our hand-picked list of the best espresso machines for food trucks

Let’s get going.

INTRODUCTION TO ESPRESSO MACHINE FEATURES

AUTOMATIC OR SEMITAUTOMATIC MACHINES

One of the best first things you’ll hear about when it comes to espresso machines is whether a machine is automatic or semiautomatic. 

What does that mean? 

To begin with, automatic machines are just that – automated. You’ll grind the espresso, put the portafilter in place, and start brewing the shot, but these machines will stop brewing themselves.

In contrast, semiautomatic machines must have their extraction process both started and stopped by the user. 

Which one is better? 

Truthfully, neither of them is the clear winner when it comes to taste, and they both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Automatic machines are much easier for beginners to learn, and because the dosing is handled by the machine, you’ll get much more uniform drinks. But the main drawbacks are that they’re less good for experimenting with drinks and they can be pricier. 

Semiautomatic machines, since you’re able to pull shots for as long or short as you want, are fantastic for experimenting. However, it takes skill to make a great shot every time on one, so you’ll need to take time learning to use it.

DUAL BOILER OR HEAT EXCHANGE BOILER

You’ll often hear espresso enthusiasts debating over the merits of different kinds of boilers. 

Typically, you’ll see three main types of boiler designs:

  • Single boilers
  • Dual boilers
  • Heat exchange (also called HX) boilers

For the most part, the names make the designs of each boiler self-explanatory, but some clarification may be necessary.

Single boiler systems use only one boiler for both brewing and steaming. Since different temperatures are required to brew or steam, and there’s only one boiler, you would not be able to steam and brew at the same time on this kind of machine.

For a busy commercial setting, single boiler systems can be much too slow. The upside is that they tend to be more affordable, but if you’re going to have lines of customers who want to order espresso, you need a machine that can pick up the pace.

Dual boilers make simultaneous brewing and steaming possible by having two boilers. These types of machines can fly through back-to-back espresso orders with ease.

Their main drawbacks are that they can have a longer heat-up time when you first turn the espresso machine on and they can be more expensive.

Heat exchange boilers are a sort of middle ground between single and dual boilers. Even though there’s only one boiler in this design, brewing and steaming at the same time is possible because of a tube in the boiler that carries water for brewing to the group head while steaming water is stored separately.

Since there’s only one boiler, the initial heat-up time is reduced. But you will need to purge the group head before each shot to make sure the water inside is up to temperature.

DIRECT-CONNECT OR POUR-OVER 

Keeping your espresso machine supplied with water is vital – no water, no espresso.

Pour-over machines have to be filled by hand. This makes them portable, and oftentimes less expensive than the alternative. 

However, it’s important with pour-over machines that you use water softeners and filters to reduce scale buildup that can damage your machine.

Direct-connect machines attach to a water line and fill themselves automatically. You don’t need to pay attention to water levels so closely or refill the tank.

But they are predictably immobile as a result of their design, so if your food truck doesn’t have a way to fix an espresso machine to a water line, you may prefer a pour-over one.

WHAT YOU SHOULD THINK ABOUT BEFORE CHOOSING AN ESPRESSO MACHINE

DIMENSIONS

It’s no secret that the inside of food trucks can get cramped. 

Tons of equipment has to be packed into a much smaller space than with traditional restaurants, and there isn’t a lot of wiggle room. Because of this, it’s critical for you to know the dimensions of your espresso machine so you can plan its spot in your truck.

If this sounds difficult, don’t worry – there are many models of espresso machines specifically built to be modestly sized.

CERTIFICATIONS

Like other kinds of equipment in restaurants, espresso machines can have certifications from agencies for specific qualities.

There’s some variation in the certifications available between locations, but nationally recognized ones exist. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), for example, can certify espresso machines that meet their high standards.

You may not need certifications to run your food truck, but having them means your espresso machine meets particular standards and that it will pass official inspections in safety and sanitation. 

Certifications are worth considering whether you just want the assurance that comes with it or if you want to be confident your machine will do well in examinations.

USER-FRIENDLINESS

How familiar are you or your staff with espresso machines?

Those who are beginners will adjust better to automatic machines, where dosing is controlled by the machine instead of the user. This will guarantee uniform taste from order to order.

But if you’re a food truck that aims to offer specialty coffees, you may prefer semiautomatic machines for the freedom to easily adjust the length of time shots are pulled for. 

BEST ESPRESSO MACHINES FOR FOOD TRUCKS

NUOVA SIMONELLI APPIA II COMPACT

NUOVA SIMONELLI APPIA II COMPACT

 

Fitting the Nuova Simonelli Appia II Compact into your routine won’t be a hassle.

This machine is not only built to fit into cramped layouts, but it’s also built for convenience. Raised group heads will allow you to brew right into cups of pretty much any size, and an automated cleaning system will let you end the day by setting the machine to clean itself for you.

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $5,445 (semiautomatic) or $6,030 (automatic)
  • Machine Type: Semiautomatic or automatic
  • Boiler: Heat exchange
  • Plumbing: Direct-connect
  • Dimensions: 21 inches tall, 22 inches wide, 22 inches long
  • Certification: NSF
  • Two groups: Got a line of customers? The Appia II’s double-group setup means you can make multiple drinks at once and get your customers served even faster.
  • Raised Group Heads: Brew directly into cups as large or small as you need to, so you can hand the cup to the customer when you’re done rather than having to transfer the shots to the cup yourself.
  • Automated Cleanings: Reduce time spent on tiresome cleaning. At the end of the day, select which groups to clean on the Appia II and let the machine take it from there.
  • Soft Infusion: Don’t let errors from tamping harm the taste of your espresso. The Appia II’s soft infusion system will neutralize these errors with a gentle stream of water before the extraction process to settle the grounds.

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NUOVA SIMONELLI MUSICA 

Nuova Simonelli Musica

The Nuova Simonelli Musica makes it possible to concoct barista-quality espresso in comfort.

Its articulating steam wand allows you to steam from any angle you need, which is also good for producing silky microfoam. The push-pull steam lever keeps your wrists comfy during long days of use because you turn it on or off with a gentle push or pull.

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $2,245 (Pour-over without LED edges) or $2,515 (Pour-over with LED edges)
  • Machine Type: Automatic + manual dosing options
  • Boiler: Heat exchange
  • Plumbing: Pour-over (also available as direct-connect)
  • Dimensions: 17 inches tall, 16 inches wide, 13 inches long
  • Certification: NSF
  • Indicator Lights: Bright indicator lights will come on to let you know when the water level is too low so you can prevent your machine from being damaged by running dry.
  • Reverse Mirror: Visually monitor drinks from all sides without having to hunch over using the reflective back plate.
  • Push-Pull Steam Lever: Instead of getting tired out from turning a valve constantly, steam is operated by moving a lever back and forth.
  • Pre-Infusion: Allows a more balanced extraction by immersing the grounds in water before full pressure is applied, settling the coffee. This means that even if you’re in a rush and tamp improperly or you have new employees with improper tamping technique, your espresso will still taste great.

LA SPAZIALE S1 MINI VIVALDI II

LA SPAZIALE S1 MINI VIVALDI II

The La Spaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi II was built to craft professional-level drinks in small spaces.

With adjustable volumetric dosing, brewing the perfect shot can be as easy as setting the portafilter in place and pressing a button. You’ll still have the ability to customize, though, with the Mini Vivaldi II’s ability to adjust group temperature in precise increments of one degree. 

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $1,895
  • Machine Type: Automatic
  • Boiler: Dual 
  • Plumbing: Pour-over
  • Dimensions: 15 inches tall, 16.5 inches wide, 16.5 inches long
  • Certification: NSF
  • Group Temperature Adjustment: Able to tweak group temperature in one-degree increments, the Mini Vivaldi II allows for experimentation with drink profiles.
  • Compact Design: Originally designed to fit in on crowded home counters, this machine easily transfers to food trucks with limited space.
  • Fault Diagnosis Alarms: The Mini Vivaldi II will let you know instantly if there are any system failures so you’ll know when repairs are necessary.

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ROCKET APPARTAMENTO

 

Need a sturdy espresso machine that can withstand long hours of travel? The Rocket Appartamento is for you.

With a 304-grade stainless steel case, the Appartamento isn’t just pretty – it’s built to last. It’s also protected from drops in water temperature through its E-61 commercial group, which circulates water between the group head and boiler nonstop.

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $1,690
  • Machine Type: Semiautomatic
  • Boiler: Heat exchange boiler
  • Plumbing: Pour-over
  • Dimensions: 14.25 inches tall, 10.5 inches wide, 17 inches long
  • Certification: N/A
  • Stainless Steel Case: On top of looking great, the Appartamento’s case is exceptionally sturdy.
  • E-61 Commercial Group: Two advanced features come with E-61 commercial groups: pre-infusion and thermal stabilizing. With pre-infusion, the grounds are settled by a stream of water to ensure even extraction, and thermal drops are prevented by circulating water between the group and boiler constantly.
  • No-Burn Hot Water and Steam Wands: It’s easy to bump into things when you don’t have much room. With the Appartamento, accidentally brushing against its hot water spigot or steam wand won’t result in a nasty burn.

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NUOVA SIMONELLI OSCAR II

NUOVA SIMONELLI OSCAR II

 

Advanced espresso-making features and small size make the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II a remarkably flexible machine that can benefit many types of businesses.

Using its programmable timed dosing buttons, you’ll be able to fly through espresso orders without sacrificing speed or quality. Its extended steam arm can reach into deeper pitchers to distribute heat evenly for larger drinks and create better microfoam.

  • Majesty Coffee Price: $1,295
  • Machine Type: Semiautomatic + programmable timed dosing
  • Boiler: Heat exchange
  • Plumbing: Pour-over
  • Dimensions: 16 inches tall, 16 inches wide, 12 inches long
  • Certification: NSF
  • Programmable Timed Dosing Buttons: Allows you to program the times for single and double shots so you can get consistent espresso every time.
  • Extended Articulating Steam Arm: Able to reach into deeper milk pitchers, the steam arm helps promote more even heat distribution and provide aeration for smooth microfoam.
  • Push-Pull Steam: Long days of work on the Oscar II won’t leave your wrists sore, as you can steam just by flicking the lever backward or forward.

Get the Lowest Price Here >>

 


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