Looking for an espresso machine for your business that costs as little as possible without sacrificing quality?
If your answer to that question is yes, then we’d like to introduce you to the top 2 best commercial espresso machines under $1,500: the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II and the Quick Mill Alexia Evo.
We’ll go over the details on these espresso machines and explain why they’re the best for small businesses on a budget.
Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- Key features of the Oscar II and Alexia Evo
- Who benefits the most from these machines
Let’s jump in.
The Oscar II and the Alexia Evo are, at their core, both semiautomatic machines.
But what does that mean and how does it translate to daily use?
Let’s compare them to another common type of espresso machine: an automatic one. In an automatic machine, the dosing for the espresso is pre-programmed into the machine.
This means users begin the brew cycle, but the machine stops it at exactly the right time on its own.
With semiautomatic machines, the dosing is entirely controlled by the barista – they choose when to start and stop it.
The Oscar II is really kind of a hybrid, though, because it also comes with programmable dosing. This allows you to program the time for espresso shots in advance instead of manually ending the brew cycle.
One thing every espresso machine has in common is that they need water to operate, and the Oscar II is no exception to that rule.
An espresso machine gets the water it needs in two main ways: with a pour-over design or direct-connect design.
The Alexia Evo is only available as a pour-over machine.
The Oscar II, however, can be purchased as either a direct-connect or pour-over machine. For the purposes of this review, however, we’re focusing on the pour-over configuration because it’s under $1,500.
With a pour-over machine, you’ll need to refill the water tank yourself as the level gets too low.
The greatest advantage to this design is that it’s portable, because it doesn’t need to be hooked up to a water line like a direct-connect machine does. On top of that, pour-over machines tend to be more inexpensive.
But the disadvantage is that you’ll need to be stopping to refill the water tank. You’ll need to keep a close eye on the water level to ensure your machine doesn’t run dry and damage itself.
We also recommend using a water softener or filter in your pour-over machine to reduce scale buildup that could harm your machine.
In commercial settings, the standard is using a direct-connect machine connected to a water supply. That’s because it’s simply more convenient when the machine is able to refill its water supply automatically.
However, if your business has a lower volume of espresso orders or you need to be able to move your machine, then you’ll benefit from a pour-over design.
HEAT EXCHANGE BOILER VS SINGLE BOILER
One huge difference between the Alexia Evo and the Oscar II is their boiler design.
The Alexia Evo uses a single-boiler system. This kind of design is particularly inexpensive and energy efficient because only one boiler needs to be heated.
But the drawback is that this design does not allow you to brew and steam at the same time. You will need to wait after steaming to brew or after brewing to steam.
The Nuova Simonelli uses a heat exchange boiler (also known as an HX boiler).
This is great for you because it means you can brew and froth milk at the same time. This is accomplished with a tube in the boiler that carries brewing water to the group head while steaming water is stored independently.
A heat exchange boiler is also energy efficient, and like with a single-boiler system, it will not take long to warm up once you turn the machine on.
TOP 2 BEST COMMERCIAL ESPRESSO MACHINES UNDER $1500
The Quick Mill Alexia Evo is a graceful-looking machine that would look at home on just about any counter.
Innovative Pulsar technology makes it so the pump within this machine runs 25% more quietly. You won’t need to sacrifice a peaceful atmosphere to enjoy a good shot of espresso with this machine.
Its huge 3-liter water tank also means it won’t need to be refilled too often, allowing your employees to enjoy drink after drink uninterrupted.
- Machine Type: Semiautomatic
- Majesty Coffee Price: $1,395
- Boiler: Single
- Plumbing: Pour-over
- No-Burn Steam Wand: Your employees can safely operate this machine with a steam wand that will never burn them. This also keeps milk from burning onto the end of the wand, so it’s easier to clean.
- E-61 Commercial Group: Protect the quality of your espresso from disastrous temperature fluctuations with an E-61 commercial group that continuously carries water from the boiler to the group.
- Large Water Tank Capacity: At 3 liters, you’ll be able to make drink after drink without needing to worry about frequently stopping to refill the tank.
- Hinged Top Cover: Refilling the water tank is a snap – just flip open the top cover instead of having to remove it completely.
WHO SHOULD BUY THE QUICK MILL ALEXIA EVO?
Get the Alexia Evo if you’re looking for an affordable espresso machine to add to a small office or business that isn’t coffee-centric.
Its single-boiler system means it can’t brew and steam simultaneously, which may hamper businesses with a higher demand for espresso. If your business has a lower demand for espresso, however, this likely won’t be an issue for you.
Its large water tank makes it so it won’t need to be refilled too often even when multiple people are using it, while its extra quiet pump is particularly appropriate for low-volume office settings.
Not to be outdone, the Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is an espresso machine that combines style, function, and advanced features under one small price tag.
With programmable dosing, you can input the correct times for different doses in advance so that inexperienced employees don’t need to worry about timing shots themselves. Its powerful heat exchange boiler allows you to speed through drinks with the ability to steam and brew at the same time.
- Machine Type: Semiautomatic
- Majesty Coffee Price: $1,295
- Boiler: Heat Exchange
- Plumbing: Pour-over
- Raised Group Heads: Fit cups of just about any size under the group head, allowing you to save time by brewing directly into the cup.
- Push-Pull Steam: Keep your employees comfortable for their entire shift with steaming that can be operated with the easy flip of a switch.
- Reverse Mirror: You’ll be able to monitor your espresso for any quality issues from all angles using the reflective back plate.
- Automated Cleanings: Save time at the end of the day on cleaning up with the Oscar II’s automatic cleaning setting. Once you choose this option, the machine will clean its group for you.
WHO SHOULD BUY THE NUOVA SIMONELLI OSCAR II?
The Oscar II is an espresso machine that will shine in a variety of settings – and not just because of its stainless steel exterior.
Pick the Oscar II if you’re a home user looking for an advanced machine, or a small to medium-sized business that offers espresso-based drinks.
With its heat exchange boiler and programmable dosing, you’ll be able to rapidly make drinks that are consistently high in quality every time. Your more experienced employees will also love its manual options that allow them to personalize drinks by pulling shots for as long or short as needed.