In every coffee shop, whether large or small, quiet or busy, rustic and artistic or chic and sleek, the ultimate goal is to turn everyone who comes into the door from a one-off customer into a regular. There are many ways to accomplish this: talented and friendly employees, a welcoming atmosphere, competitive prices, or even location – just to name a few. However, by far one of the most important selling points your coffee shop will have is obviously your coffee.
So how do you prepare coffee so consistently good, it keeps each customer coming back for more?
Well, the answer is simple: the best place to start is having an espresso machine that you can rely on. If you’re new to the world of espresso machines, it can seem overwhelming, and many of them can seem impossibly expensive, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
There’s an espresso machine available for every budget you can imagine. This article will go over some of the best espresso machines you can buy for your coffee shop – all for under $5000.
What to Consider When Buying an Espresso Machine Below $5000
If you’re buying an espresso machine on a budget and don’t know where to begin, there will be a few basic aspects you’ll need to consider first: the type, the number of groups, and last but not least, the cost. For those with more experience, there are a number of other factors that can be considered, but these ones can be a good start. Examining each of these qualities and determining what best fits your needs will give you a clearer idea of what you should look for.
There are two types of espresso machines you’ll commonly find as you conduct your research in this price range: automatic and semiautomatic. Although there are espresso machines that combine qualities from both types, automatic and semiautomatic are the kinds you’ll usually see. What’s the difference between the two, and how does it affect your decision?
Automatic, or volumetric, espresso machines can almost be described as being able to function on autopilot. They’re ideal for beginning baristas and shops that want a perfect consistency to each drink they make because they measure out a specific amount of water when brewing and stop automatically when the volume has been achieved. This automated aspect makes it so that your employees don’t need to carefully eyeball the machine until it’s finished, freeing them up for other tasks in the shop such as talking to your customers.
Alternatively, automatic espresso machines can be a good choice for those looking to purchase for their own personal use. If you don’t have a lot of experience but would love to begin or if you want to have the option to move around the kitchen while your morning coffee is brewing, the automatic stop feature will be a major factor to look at.
The downsides are that automatic machines can be more expensive and don’t allow for on-the-fly customization. If you get frequent customers who really like to personalize their drinks, then an automatic machine may not fit the bill for you.
If customization is your ideal or if your employees are experienced baristas, a semiautomatic machine might be more your style. With a semiautomatic machine, rather than have set brew times programmed in, the barista is in charge of deciding when to start and stop. This is perfect for experts or customers with complex orders.
Of course, the downside is that drinks have the potential to be much less consistent, and employees have to carefully monitor the machine while brewing. If your shop has a high rate of turnover and you find yourself having to frequently train employees, a semiautomatic espresso machine might not be the best fit. Similarly, you might want to think about whether the benefit of customization outweighs the possible inconsistency if you’re looking to purchase a semiautomatic espresso machine to use at home.
A second important factor to consider when selecting your espresso machine is how much it can brew at once. This particular quality is called a group. For example, a single-group machine might be perfectly sufficient for your shop if you don’t have a high volume of drink orders and can afford to make one drink at a time. If you’re making your drinks from home, you might also find that single-group machines meet your needs.
On the other hand, if your shop is busier and has lines out the door often, you might want to consider a two-group espresso machine. With a two-group machine, baristas can work on more than one drink at once, speeding through your line of customers without sacrificing quality.
If you’re on a budget, cost will be as important – if not more– to consider than the machine type or group combined. One thing to keep in mind is that qualities like the machine type and the number of groups a machine has contributed to the price. You’ll need to carefully consider these features when purchasing your espresso machine and decide which ones best fit your shop, as well as if the benefits outweigh the cost.
Keeping these factors in mind, below is a list of five espresso machines we’ve found for under $5000 with their basic features and some of their most interesting qualities outlined. These are some of the best options out there for all skill levels and those who have a budget to stick to.
Best Espresso Machines for Under $5000
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar II is a versatile machine, perfect both for small shops and for at-home coffee connoisseurs who want to brew barista-quality drinks from the comfort of their own kitchen. A single-group model, it’s ideal for shops with low volumes of espresso orders.
- Machine Type: Semiautomatic
- Programmable dosing: Get the best of both worlds, with a consistent semiautomatic machine that allows you to program the brew time for shots if desired.
- Reverse Mirror: A gorgeous stainless steel finish will allow you to watch the shots being poured to ensure the right color and body.
- Majesty Coffee Price: $1,295
If your coffee shop enjoys a chic and sleek atmosphere, then this espresso machine might be just what you’re looking for. The Nuova Simonelli Musica Lux is the picture of grace and cleanliness, and its glistening steel surface would look right at home on a runway. Some configurations of the machine even come with LED lights around it, providing light so your baristas can see their work and your customers can be dazzled.
- Machine Type: Automatic + manual dosing, so it’s effortlessly consistent.
- Groups: 1
- Push-Pull Steam: An ergonomic steam trigger will keep your employees comfortable all shift long
- Majesty Coffee Price: $3,240
With a name that has “Dream” in it, you know you can expect quality. The La Spaziale S1 Dream is a user-friendly machine, perfect for new baristas. Aside from being affordable, it can also come with a number of upgrades that could bring any coffee shop into the twenty-first century, such as a touch pad and an SD card reader.
- Machine Type: Automatic + manual dosing, making it easy to learn for anyone.
- Groups: 1
- Programmable Hot Water Spigot: Choose the right amount of hot water for every tea and Americano you make.
- Majesty Coffee Price: $2,395
The La Pavoni 2 Group Volumetric Commercial Espresso Machine comes from La Pavoni, a manufacturer established in 1905. With over 100 years of espresso machine manufacturing experience behind each of their machines, you can rest assured that any La Pavoni you purchase will be a real asset to your shop. Although one of the more expensive options on this list, this machine is well worth the price, with two groups that will allow you to handle multiple customers at a time and a convenient shelf for cup storage right on top, within easy reach.
- Machine type: Automatic, which means your baristas can brew multiple drinks at a time without worrying about losing track.
- Groups: 2, so you can ensure even during the pre-work coffee rush that each customer is served in a timely fashion.
- Color options: Red or black, allowing you to have an espresso machine that fits your style
- Majesty Coffee Price: $4,950
The Nuova Simonelli Appia II is an espresso machine that can mean both business and pleasure. Designed for all skill levels, this automatic machine can be ideal for novices and experts alike. Its smooth, rounded contours with black, red, or white color choices mean it can look stunning on the counter before your customers or in front of guests in your very own home.
- Machine Type: Automatic
- Groups: 1, making it compact for both smaller shops and homes
- Raised group heads: Need larger drinks? Not a problem with raised heads, which allow taller cups to be placed beneath them
- Majesty Coffee Price: $4,275
Let us help you pick the best equipment for your needs.