6 Best Plumbed Espresso Machines with Water Line Hookup
Are you wondering if an espresso machine with a water line connection is for you?
If that’s the case, look no further – in this article, we’ll discuss not only why a direct-connect machine is a great choice for any business, but we’ve also created a list of our picks for the top 6 greatest espresso machines with water line direct connections.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
Why you should choose a direct-connect espresso machine
Things to consider before purchasing one
Who gets the most out of a direct-connect espresso machine
Our choices for the top 6 greatest espresso machines with water line direct connections (and why we picked them)
WHY SHOULD YOU CHOOSE A DIRECT CONNECT (PLUMBED) ESPRESSO MACHINE?
There are many reasons why direct-connect machines are considered an absolute must for any business.
In a nutshell, though, the main reasons are these:
Ease of use
Improved water quality
Advanced pre-infusion options
EASE OF USE
Direct-connect espresso machines are simply easier to use.
Unlike with pour-over machines, users don’t need to be concerned with how and when to refill an emptied water reservoir. Direct-connect espresso machines are connected to your water supply, so they refill themselves for you.
When you don’t have to stop several times a day to fill the reservoir, you save on time and serve customers more quickly.
With pour-over machines, you’ll need to spend time fussing with the water tank or filtering water prior to adding it to the machine’s reservoir.
These hassles are completely eliminated when you use a direct-connect machine. You won’t need to stop mid-rush to fill the tank or worry about half-pulled shots when the tank runs out in the middle of espresso extraction.
IMPROVED WATER QUALITY
Don’t let your water hold back the quality of your drinks.
Direct-connect machines make using a water softener simple. This will remove metals like calcium and magnesium from your water.
In addition to improving the taste, removing these metals means scale buildup – which can eventually damage your machine - is minimalized.
Pre-infusion can be a real game-changer when it comes to boosting the flavor of your espresso.
What pre-infusion does is saturate the espresso before extraction, helping gently settle the grounds and smooth out any errors that may have happened while the baristas were tamping it.
While some pour-over machines do offer automatic pre-infusion, you’ll need a direct-connect machine for more customizable options.
Fans of espresso-centric drinks such as espresso shots or Americanos will notice the benefits with your ability to adjust pre-infusion times to accentuate each drink profile.
WHAT SHOULD YOU CONSIDER BEFORE PURCHASING A WATER LINE MACHINE?
Since every setting is different, there is no one-size-fits-all option.
Like visiting a tailor for a custom-made suit or dress, you’ll need to take stock of different “measurements” to ensure the best fit.
You’ll need to take a moment to think about your specific situation.
Here are the main factors you should take into consideration:
Your business layout
Water softener or filter
Convertibility from Direct-Connect to Pour-Over
Budget is usually a top concern with anyone looking to invest in something, and rightfully so.
The best espresso machine for you, whether it’s direct-connect or pour-over, will be within your budget.
Fortunately, there are many affordable espresso machines to fit budgets of all sizes, so you’ll be able to find something that fits you.
Keep in mind, though, that just because a machine costs more initially doesn’t mean it’s a worse investment – the right espresso machine for you will also save you money over time with a variety of convenient features that keep you and your customers happy.
While direct-connect machines do tend to be more expensive than pour-over models, they are well worth the price. A direct-connect feature also usually doesn’t increase the price that much.
Some users may find that a pour-over machine is preferable for their settings, especially if it’s for casual use at home. However, businesses and prosumers are drawn to direct-connect models because their low maintenance and ability to guarantee a more consistent level of quality.
This is the bottom line:
While your budget should be important, also remember the long-term benefits of any given espresso machine and how they may serve you in the future – not just the price tag.
YOUR BUSINESS LAYOUT
Your very location can have a bearing on your decision to purchase a direct-connect espresso machine.
Because they need to be hooked up to a water supply, where you set up will be extremely important to plan out in advance.
Take measurements and map out viable areas near water supplies. Also remember that it’s possible you might have to cut into countertops to install your direct-connect machine.
These things can shift the flow of your business, so may want to plan out the shape of your work area to incorporate the direct-connect machine.
WATER SOFTENER OR FILTER
To help protect the quality of your water and the longevity of your machine, we recommend using water softeners or filters with direct-connect models.
Doing so will remove metals from your water supply, such as calcium and magnesium, which will reduce the need for descaling. Additionally, it will improve the taste of your drinks by providing higher quality water to use in your espresso.
Some espresso machines may also require that you use water softeners or filters to comply with warranty requirements. This is something you’ll need to check for every specific model beforehand.
Some manufacturers require that their own company water softener or filter be used to comply with their warranty. Again, you’ll want to check if this is the case with whichever model you are considering.
CONVERTIBILITY FROM DIRECT-CONNECT TO POUR-OVER
For businesses on the go, such as coffee carts or companies serving drinks at events, mobility is another aspect to think about.
Direct-connect machines generally can’t be moved around much because they need access to a water supply.
However, there are machines that can convert from direct-connect to pour-over or vice versa.
You’ll find this option especially attractive for times a water line won’t be nearby, such as for catering at events, mobile coffee trucks, or carts.
Generally, our recommendation is to use direct-connect machines because of their unrivaled convenience. There are times, however, when the convenience of having a water line at hand is outweighed by the ability to move.
If you’re planning on using your espresso machine just in a coffee shop or restaurant, though, you’ll find that a direct-connect is more than sufficient for your needs.
WHO GETS THE MOST OUT OF A DIRECT-CONNECT ESPRESSO MACHINE?
Do you have lines of customers to serve? Do you need to be able to serve customers quickly and guarantee a consistent level of quality at the same time?
If your answer to either or both of those questions was yes, then you can see why direct-connect machines are considered the ideal for businesses.
It’s extremely rare for a coffee shop to use a pour-over espresso machine. Direct-connect machines are just so efficient at handling water quality and supply, that pour-over machines are impractical for them in comparison.
Likewise, you’ll see restaurants, hotels, or any other business that offer coffee using direct-connect machines for the same reason.
Unless your office is comprised of trained baristas, your employees are probably not going to know when or even how to refill an empty water tank, much less install water softeners or filters.
This makes direct-connect espresso machines ideal for use in office settings.
Office workers won’t need to worry about the difficulty of refilling the reservoir or a dip in quality mid-shot when the water runs out. This also means they can get back to their offices or desks more quickly when they have one less thing to be concerned about.
At the same time, if the office is tiny and espresso drinks will be few and far between, then you may find a pour-over model is enough to meet your needs.
If you have more employees and foresee more coffee breaks, though, it may be better to consider direct-connect espresso machines instead.
Consider the number of employees, the office type, and the experience levels of those who will be using it most often when you choose an espresso machine for your office.
Many people make the assumption that direct-connect machines are appropriate for businesses and not necessarily for personal use.
You might be surprised to learn that this isn’t necessarily the case.
All the benefits of a direct-connect machine that are essential to business are also a boon for at-home espresso enthusiasts: water softeners and filters for better water quality, simple maintenance, and advanced features like pre-infusion options.
Connoisseurs who want to enjoy the experience of a professionally made drink without having to leave their homes will need quality equipment, and a direct-connect machine is a huge part in making that possible.
It’s true that direct-connect machines are essential for businesses, while users at home usually have the flexibility to choose between pour-over and direct-connect. But home users shouldn’t disqualify direct-connect machines simply on the assumption they’re better-suited to businesses.
BEST PLUMBED ESPRESSO MACHINES WITH WATER LINE CONNECTIONS
Now that you’ve learned more about direct-connect espresso machines, here are our personal selections for the top 6 greatest espresso machines with water line direct connections.
We’ll provide you with a high-level overview of what makes each machine an outstanding option.
The Rocket R58 brings the power of commercial espresso machines to the home or small business.
Its dual boilers mean you can make drink after drink without running out of steam. You’ll also be able to brew and steam at the same time.
This is a machine that can be as flexible as you need it to be. It can convert from pour-over to direct-connect for businesses on the move or home users who don’t have a water line readily available.
Machine Type: Semiautomatic
Majesty Coffee price: $3,000
Plumbing: Convertible pour-over to direct-connect
Boiler: Dual boiler
E-61 Commercial Group: Machines in this group provide automatic pre-infusion and temperature stability for brewing by circulating water between the boilers and groups, preventing disastrous temperature fluctuations.
Stainless Steel Case: Customers will be impressed by the glistening (and durable) stainless steel case.
Low Water Sensor: When you use the pour-over tank, this machine will tell you when you need to fill the tank so you don’t get caught off guard by the water running out mid-pull.
Rotary Pump: Quiet and sturdy, your customers won’t be disrupted by noisy brewing.
Cup Warmer: Stay-in customers will be able to appreciate warm drinks for as long as possible using pre-warmed cups from this machine’s heated tray.
No-Burn Hot Water and Steam Wands: Prevent painful burns from the steam wand, making it easier to clean.
The La Spaziale S1 Dream is proof that good things come in small packages.
Its automatic with manual options mean anyone can enjoy its use, from novices to espresso experts.
Dual boilers ensure it can keep up with demands effortlessly. You’ll never need to worry about the embarrassment of running out of steam in front of customers. On the other side, your customer won’t ever need to wait for steam, keeping them happy with shorter waits.
Machine Type: Automatic (volumetric dosing)
Majesty Coffee Price: $2,395 to $2,645 (varies based on color)
Boiler: Dual boiler
Shot Counter and Timer: Save yourself from needing to buy timers to attach your espresso machine – the S1 dream already has them built right in.
SD Card Reader: Access and edit coffee profiles of your own.
Adjustable Programmable Hot Water Spigot: Ensure each Americano and tea gets the perfect amount of water by using programmed options for the hot water spigot.
Dual Pressure Gauge: You won’t need to spend time looking for gauges – you’ll be able to monitor the boiler and brew pressure conveniently side by side.
Stainless Steel Panels: Not only lends an air of polish to the machine, but increases its longevity.
Programmable Passive Pre-Infusion Options: Variations in quality from tamping errors are prevented by pre-infusion options that settle grounds with saturation for balanced extraction.
Really happy with the service I received from MajestyCoffee on my order. Needed my order in a pinch, and they shipped the PEAK out the same day, but it arrived with a missing part. I emailed them and they sent the replacement piece out the next day without any hassle. Will definitely be ordering more machines from them. ”
- Jonathan C. (Mahlkonig PEAK Espresso Grinder Customer)
“Painless transaction, prompt delivery. ”
- Arthur S. (Mahlkonig K30 Customer)
“Great job y'all. Love the machine, packaging for shipment was awesome. I was afraid there might be damage but it was fine. Great job of taking the order and keeping me up to date on shipping. It arrived on the exact date you said it would. ”
- Allen (Quick Mill QM67 Evo Espresso Machine Customer)