Espresso machines can get surprisingly large. Finding room for them in your business is oftentimes a task easier said than done, especially if your business requires the output of a machine with multiple group heads. The more group heads you have, the greater the productivity – but also the larger the size.
This doesn’t mean that it’s completely impossible to find a compact espresso machine with a high level of output, though. The Casadio Undici A2 Compact is proof that high-volume machines can still be modest in size.
To help you determine if it’s a good fit for your business, we’ve created this Casadio Undici A2 Compact review. These are the topics we’ll be discussing:
- Noteworthy Undici features.
- Some background information on Casadio as a brand.
- Alternative espresso machines that are similar to the Undici A2 Compact.
- The people and settings that would benefit most from this machine.
- Pricing for the machines discussed in this review.
If you’re the owner of a business that’s limited on room, the Undici could be exactly what you need. With two brew groups, it has twice the output of a small single-group model, and yet it still remains compact. Additionally, its affordable price tag when compared with similar models makes it a reasonable pick for those on a budget.
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Key Features and Why They’re Important
Semiautomatic Machine Type with Dosing Buttons
There are numerous basic machine features that are important to consider on the average espresso machine. The first one, however, is usually what its basic machine type is.
In this review, we’re looking at a semiautomatic espresso machine. That simply means that the Undici requires users to both start and stop the brew cycle – something that demands impeccable timing and skill.
However, the Undici also has volumetric dosing buttons. These allow baristas to choose whether they’re brewing a single or double shot, then wait for the machine to time the proper dose for them.
In a way, that makes the Undici A2 Compact a bridge between semiautomatic and automatic machines. More experienced baristas can use the manual start and stop button to pull shots as long as necessary, and newer ones can rely on the dosing buttons.
LED Indicator Lights
Most espresso machines aren’t pieces of equipment that you can jump on and flawlessly operate with no experience. It takes time to learn their nuances so you can produce drinks effectively.
There’s a plethora of seemingly small features that can help you learn to use one more quickly, though. An example of such a feature is the Casadio Undici A2 Compact’s LED indicator lights.
Each button has a small light on it. If you choose, for example, to brew a single or double shot, the button will light up, confirming for you which option you chose.
It’s a small feature, but still one that beginners may appreciate.
Two Group Heads
One of the greatest appeals to the Undici is its double group head design. The brew groups on an espresso machine are one of the largest limitations to how much espresso you can produce at once.
A single brew group can produce up to two shots simultaneously. With a two brew groups like on the Undici, you go from being able to brew two shots to being able to brew four shots at a time.
You’ll be able to build drinks so much faster. Customers won’t need to wait nearly as long for a drink, even when there’s a line forming at your counter.
More Like This: Best 2 Group Commercial Espresso Machines
Usually, when you start increasing the number of group heads on a machine, you also drastically increase its size. This is why some smaller workspaces may choose to get multiple single-group models as opposed to those with more groups.
You won’t have a space problem with the Undici A2 Compact. Its name is incredibly fitting, because it only measures 22.71 inches tall, 21.65 inches wide, and 20.66 inches deep.
Don’t worry about it consuming every last bit of room you have. It’s one remarkably petite espresso machine.
Further Reading: Best Mini Commercial Espresso Machines
Heat Exchange Boiler
You don’t want to keep your customers waiting long when they walk in your door. Although multiple group heads can help reduce each customer’s wait, there’s another factor at play here: the Casadio Undici A2 Compact’s heat exchange boiler.
A heat exchange boiler is just a boiler with a tube running through it. The tube separates water for brewing and water for steaming from each other, making it possible for the machine to perform both functions at the same time.
Imagine if, every time you made a latte, you had to wait in between brewing espresso and steaming milk as the machine adjusts to different temperatures. Obviously, that would make it take longer to finish each drink. On the Undici, however, you can steam and brew handily at the same time.
User-Friendly Button Controls
While having more buttons and settings can give you the flexibility to make specialty drinks, those additional buttons and settings are really only useful if you know what to do with them. If you don’t, an excess of options to select can simply be confusing at worst and useless at best.
The Undici’s answer to this problem is simplicity. Rather than having tons of confusing buttons, it has a simple, easy-to-understand button panel. Each button either has a clear icon or it or text that makes the function obvious.
As a result, employees won’t feel overwhelmed when they use the machine. Even your newest baristas will be able to quickly adjust to using it.
Read Also: Best Espresso Machines for Catering
Available in race car red or a polished black, the La Pavoni Two-Group Bar Star looks like the speed demon it truly is. If what you want is an espresso machine that can help you whip through specialty drinks as quickly as possible, this one is a particularly beautiful option.
It has a number of features that make it similar to the Undici A2 Compact, including the following:
- A heat exchange boiler.
- Dual steam wands.
- Two group heads.
But beyond these similarities, it really is a machine on its own level. It has an extra-large 14-liter boiler that can keep going all day long, in addition to durable press-forged groups.
Here are some other highlights to the Bar Star:
- Telescopic side handles so you can easily transport it.
- Anti-vacuum valve that prevents milk from clogging the steam wand.
- A hot water button that you can program with specific doses for tea or Americanos.
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Are you looking for another espresso machine that can be easy to use even for beginners? The Unic Mira Two-Group Volumetric is another possible candidate for you.
Here are a few things it has in common with the Undici:
- Programmable volumetric dosing buttons.
- Dual group heads.
- Sleek stainless steel panels.
There are plenty of other reasons to consider this one, too. Its rotary pump is one compelling reason, as it makes the machine unusually quiet. Furthermore, the pump is extremely durable, so you won’t need to replace it for a long time.
These are additional Unic Mira highlights:
- A built-in cup-warming shelf on top.
- Pre-infusion to prevent barista tamping errors from interfering with your drink quality.
- A shot timer, so baristas will never lose track of the time on the brewing cycle.
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About the Brand
Many of the world’s best espresso machines come from Italian manufacturers with decades of experience. This is true for Casadio, as well, since the company was founded in Bologna in 1950.
In the beginning, Casadio produced bar equipment. In time, though, they switched focus to high-end coffee and espresso gear, eventually joining the Cimbali group.
Ideal Machine Applications
Since it has two group heads, the Casadio Undici A2 Compact is a bit too much for small businesses. We’d recommend it specifically for medium-volume establishments, including coffee shops and restaurants.
In particular, it’s a great fit for medium-sized businesses that don’t have much counterspace. The Undici’s compact design won’t require you to struggle to find the space for it.
What Customers Say
We’re still waiting for feedback from our customers regarding the Undici. But as a machine produced by the Cimbali group, it’s already got a leg up on its competition; this company knows what they’re doing and consistently designs some of the best options on the market.
We can say with confidence that the Undici is an excellent machine, and we think our customers will love it.
All equipment in the Majesty Coffee Store is offered to our customers at the best prices online. Every machine mentioned in this review was carefully priced to put it at a competitive price point.
We offer the Casadio Undici A2 Compact for $3,995. You can also find the Unic Mira Two-Group Volumetric in our store for $7,493 and the La Pavoni Two-Group Bar Star for $6,500.
Want to learn more about these machines? Call us at 888-978-5224 or click on the links below: