La Cimbali M1 Review: Is it Right for You?
There are countless ways to make a mistake in every single coffee shop drink. A barista might tamp too hard or light, generate too much or too little milk foam, or even over extract the espresso.
A barista’s job is complex. Unfortunately, this means that the quality of a drink can vary based on the person who made it for you. But does it have to be this way?
The answer is no. With a superautomatic machine like the La Cimbali M1, making a top-notch beverage can be as simple as pressing a couple buttons.
In this La Cimbali M1 Review, we’re going to dig into the machine and help you determine if it’s the right fit for your business. Here’s what you’ll learn:
- Highlights of the M1 and how they impact your use of the machine.
- Alternative machines to the M1.
- Some quick background information on La Cimbali as a company.
- Who we think would get the most out of the La Cimbali M1.
- Prices for the machines mentioned in this review.
Everything the M1 represents can be broken down to two words in its name: “super automatic.” It’s designed to handle every aspect of the drink-making process for you, from grinding your beans to foaming your milk. The result is consistent beverages across the board regardless of who’s making them.
Important Features and Why They’re Important
Superautomatic Machine Type
The single most important feature of the M1 is its basic machine type, which is super automatic. There are three basic types for espresso machines: semiautomatic, automatic, and super automatic.
The difference between them is how much the machine will do for you. In a semiautomatic machine, for instance, baristas must grind the coffee beans, time the duration of the brew cycle, and froth milk. They are generally the most difficult type of espresso machine to master.
Automatic machines will end the brew cycle at the right time for you. Baristas must still grind beans and froth milk on their own.
Super automatic machines take care of the whole process for you. There are multiple benefits to this design.
For one thing, it can reduce the time you need to train new hires, since super automatics are so simple to use. Additionally, super automatic machines can eliminate inconsistencies in quality, as the machine is programmed to handle many aspects that would otherwise be susceptible to human error.
Super automatic machines come in one- or two-step formats, which means that they’ll either do everything in one step or that you’ll be required to add the espresso to the frothed milk at the end, which adds a second step.
The M1 is a two-step machine, so your baristas will need to add the espresso to the milk or vice versa. Keep in mind that the machine still froths the milk for you.
If this sounds inconvenient, consider how it feels adding milk yourself. It’s a much more tactile sensation than just waiting for the drink to be built, which helps keep your employees feeling invested in the process.
Furthermore, two-step machines tend to be slightly more affordable than one-step machines.
An espresso machine’s group head is where the espresso dispenses. The number of groups a machine has will therefore limit the amount of espresso you can brew at one time.
The La Cimbali M1 is a single-group machine. Because of this, the most espresso it can brew simultaneously is two shots.
This might not be a problem for your establishment, especially when you factor in the time your employees save simply by virtue of using a super automatic. They won’t have to time shots or froth milk themselves, so they can multitask while the machine works, increasing their output and keeping customers happy.
Related Article: Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines for Offices
All super automatic espresso machines have a range of beverages that they can make. Drink menus can vary from machine to machine, so this is a vital thing to consider before you buy.
The M1 supports eight different drinks: espresso, cappuccino, café crème, Americano, caffe latte, latte, double espresso, and cappuccino with a double shot. These drinks cover the basics for what is offered in your standard coffee shop.
You can easily make modifications to the flavor by adding your own flavor syrups afterward. Similarly, you can pour the drinks over ice to make an iced version.
Many espresso machines are hulking behemoths that need more than a little counter space. One of the best things about the La Cimbali M1 is that this isn’t a problem for it.
It measures at 13.8 inches wide, 24.4 inches deep, and 32.5 inches high. While it won’t fit under your average cabinet, it still is a pretty petite machine.
Remember that it combines the functions of both an espresso machine and a grinder. You could be saving on space by adding it to your business.
Steaming milk is much harder than it looks. Your barista has to hold the pitcher at the optimum angle and submerge the steam wand to the correct depth to properly aerate the milk.
Holding the pitcher incorrectly or submerging the wand too far or too shallowly could result in a variety of disappointments. You could end up with watery milk or not enough foam.
In other words, it’s easy to mess up. The M1’s TurboSteam system was created specifically to save your employees from these common mistakes by handling the frothing for you. The result is consistently smooth milk foam each time.
Further Reading: Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines for Coffee Shops
Hot Water Nozzle
There’s indirectly a ninth drink on the M1’s menu that you can craft, thanks to its hot water nozzle: tea. Of course, the hot water nozzle can also be used to dispense water for Americanos, as well.
It may not seem like much, but it can be indispensable. Aside from making drinks, you can even use the hot water nozzle to preheat cups by pouring hot water in them.
Some people may even like drinking hot water! If you ever get a customer requesting a cup, you’ll be able to provide it to them easily.
Nuova Simonelli is one of the most famous espresso machine and grinder manufacturers out there. They make some truly high-end machines that baristas all around the world love to use.
It’s not shocking that they’ve also produced an excellent super automatic like the Prontobar. This machine is designed to give you options, such as the option of adding on a milk cooler or the ability to get it in one- or two-step configurations.
As far as super automatics go, it’s also a steal. If you’re worried about a convenient super automatic breaking the bank, the Prontobar may be an excellent fit for you.
Here are some other Prontobar features:
- Dual hoppers and grinders.
- Six programmable drink buttons.
- A quiet pump that won’t disrupt customers.
- Automatic washing program for effortless maintenance.
Looking for something that’s firmly in the twenty-first century? The Franke A600 FM CM is an example of how powerful modern technology can be.
It’s so well-designed that anyone would be able to use it. In fact, you don’t even necessarily need to limit it to staff – you could put it out on a counter for customers to serve themselves with.
What makes it so simple is its touchscreen panel. Each drink is displayed in crisp, full-color illustrations so the user knows exactly what they’re getting.
These are some other reasons you may want to consider this Franke:
- Pre-infusion step that rounds out the flavor of each coffee and espresso.
- Built-in powder containers for drinks such as hot chocolate.
- Automated milk frothing that gives users selections to customize their foam.
- CleanMaster system to handle cleaning the machine for you.
About the Brand
Italian manufacturers like La Cimbali are often the gold standard when it comes to espresso machines and grinders. This is because they usually have decades – sometimes even up to a century – of experience in the industry.
La Cimbali has been around since the early 1900’s. Their passion and dedication to the craft has helped them perfect models for every generation, starting with early vertical boiler models to electronic models used today.
They’re a dependable company to purchase from. Each La Cimbali machine has around a hundred years of manufacturing experience behind it.
What Customers Say
We’re still waiting for feedback regarding the La Cimbali M1. However, we’ve had customers love other La Cimbali models in the past, giving them excellent reviews.
With that and the company’s experience in mind, we feel confident in assessing the M1 as an excellent machine.
Ideal Machine Applications
The M1 is designed to meet the needs of a medium to large business. It would work wonderfully for restaurants, offices, or hotels.
We strongly recommend it in establishments where coffee and espresso are offered to customers and staff, but the employees aren’t necessarily focused on making these drinks. It’s a super automatic machine, meaning it’s significantly easier to use than the standard espresso machine.
It could also be beneficial for coffee shops. However, if you’re a specialty coffee shop with skilled baristas, they may find themselves feeling bored or disconnected from the process since the machine is so easy to use.
Majesty Coffee is proud to have a range of high-end coffee and espresso gear for the best prices online. Let’s take a look at the prices of the machines in this review as an example.
We have the La Cimbali M1 for $14,900. In addition, we have the Franke A600 FM CM for $14,032 and the Nuova Simonelli Prontobar for $9,855.
You can learn more by clicking on each machine below:
Have any additional questions? Give us a call at 888-978-5224, and our skilled team will be more than happy to help you find the best espresso machine for your unique needs.