Best Commercial Espresso Machines in 2018

Commercial espresso machines are integral for the success of your coffee shop, cafe, or restaurant, so I’m here to help you make this crucial decision.

I’ve rounded up the best commercial espresso machines in 2018 for you to take into consideration — which requires a little more analysis and math than should ever be associated with coffee.

Better get a strong cuppa joe to make this decision! 

The Vocabulary

Let’s get a few terms out of the way — a commercial espresso machine is made for mass production of coffee beverages, aka, the ones used in businesses to provide customers with caffeine.

There are typically two types of these commercial machines: semi-automatic or super-automatic, and they both have some lengthy price ranges depending on how much capability your staff has. (Technically, there are also manual (or ‘lever’) commercial machines, but they’re quite rare to find.)

Semi-automatic machines require much more skill to use, so you’re staff will need some Barista training to make sure that they’re capable of pulling shots and frothing milk with a consistent quality.

There are two types of super automatic machines — one step or two step. One-step machines require no training or skill. You can throw the 16-year old neighbor’s kid at the helm of one of these beauts with reasonable confidence that the coffee drink will turn out delicious.

Two-step machines are the middle ground between a semi and a super-automatic — but it’s still considered a type of the latter. These machines will make the shot without much effort from staff, but will require them to froth the milk using a wand.

Deciding between Semi-Automatic and Super-Automatic

This is the point where you’ll have to figure out your main purpose of this machine.

Are going to be opening up a they going to nice cafe’ serving up espresso drinks?

Or, are you looking for an espresso machine where the customers can make the beverage themselves?

If quality is your priority, then you should go with a semi-automatic. But if ease of use is more important, than go with a super-automatic.

The reason for this is because there will be some ‘give and take’ when it comes to ease of use and your ability to customize a drink with a semi vs. a super.

As we previously mentioned, semi-automatic machines require more effort, but you’ll be able to make adjustments and ‘tweaks’ to your drinks to get it just right.

With a super-automatic, you’re essentially at the mercy of a button. Other than changing out the beans, there isn’t a whole lot you can do to customize your drink.

Final Considerations

So, knowing all of that, let’s throw out a few things to keep in mind while looking through this list of commercial espresso machines:

  • 1
    How many cups of coffee will the machine be producing each day?
  • 2
    What types of coffee drinks do you offer on your menu (or want to offer)?
  • 3
    What’s the skill level of your staff?

We’ll tackle these machines, which range from affordable to what most would label as an “investment.” Let’s go started!

Best Commercial Espresso Machines - Our Top Picks in 2018

La Pavoni PUB 1EM-R-1 Group Commercial Espresso

This cute machine is compact and capable, as well as totally portable (as long as you can hoist around 80 pounds) with no direct plumbing required. It’s a semi-automatic with a 1.8-liter pour-in reservoir, 6.5-liter boiler, and it’s handy for well-trained staff. It can produce up to 150 shots of espresso or cappuccinos a day, making the La Pavoni Commercial Espresso maker a good choice for restaurants — especially if you cater!

PROS

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    Compact and totally portable
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    Large boiler
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    Cup rack built in
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    Stainless steel
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    Made in Italy
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    1.8-liter reservoir
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    Affordable

CONS

  • Requires skilled staff to mix drinks
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    Pour-in reservoir
  • Only two types of caffeine, espresso and cappuccino, dispensed
Elektra Sixties Deliziosa Commercial Espresso Machine

Affectionately referred to as a “monster” by Elektra, this isn’t the type that hides under your bed and grabs a dangling ankle in the middle of the night. This shiny beaut will be the star of the show with its steel frame and brass knobs. While this machine is still considered a semi-automatic, it has 5 automatic dispensing buttons to use for different types of caffeine.

PROS

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    5 automatic dispensing buttons
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    Compact
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    Steam/water tap with pivoting control
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    High-precision gauge
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    Reduced energy consumption (programmable night function)
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    Electronic control of brewing temperature
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    Affordable

CONS

  • They’re not open about machine capability — must request information
  • Skilled staff members required
Nuova Simonelli Aurelia Ii Digital 4 Group Espresso Machine

This bad boy is quite a leap from the previous two — clocking in at 264 pounds with a price tag that exceeds 17k, the Nuova Simonelli Aurelia takes you up to championship level — seriously. That’s not an exaggeration. This machine is the only espresso machine certified as ergonomic by the European Institute of Psychology and Ergonomics, as well as the official espresso machine of the World Barista Championships. It’s totally automatic, so you can have anyone (wo)man this machine, but, for what it costs you, you’ll want to trust them implicitly.

PROS

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    Automatic model ensuring consistency and quality
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    22-liter boiler capacity
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    Soft Infusion System for a perfect extraction every time
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    Steam wand cool-touch system
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    Electric cup warmer
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    Able to fill low or tall cups
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    Nuova Simonelli has 70 years of experience producing espresso machines
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    Easy to use

CONS

  • That price tag, though $$$
  • Requires a Nema L6-30 Twist power receptacle
Nuova Simonelli Musica Pour Over Tank Version Lux Espresso Machine

Are you interested in having the reliability and quality of a name brand that’s been doing its thing for a while now without the huge price? Well, the Nuova Simonelli Musica Pour Over Tank Version is a model to consider. It’s output isn’t nearly as high as the Aurelia, and it’s a semi-automatic, but it does have programmable sizes, such as ristretto and espresso. This machine is compact and able to make about 60 cups a day, so it’s for small locations or offices primarily.

PROS

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    Affordable
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    Programmable cup sizes
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    Brand name reliability
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    Front-mounted pressure gauge
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    Digital LCD menu
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    Insulated boiler

CONS

  • Caps out at 60 cups
  • Needs skill for mixed drinks
Jura WE8 Professional Automatic Coffee Machine

The Jura WE8 Professional is like your most agreeable friend. You know, the one that never has a problem driving and has a flexible schedule. They’re generally pleasant and provide engaging 1-on-1 conversation, but they’re also delightful in small groups, too. The Jura WE8 professional is a lot like that person — it has a 101-ounce reservoir and a 17.6-ounce beans and grounds container, which is enough for 25 portions. The Thin Film Transistor (TFT) display makes it easy to use any one of the 12 pre-programmable coffee types!

PROS

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    Automatic machine at an affordable price
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    12-programmable options
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    101-ounce reservoir
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    17.6-ounce beans and grounds container
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    8 levels of coffee strength
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    2 brewing temperatures
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    3 hot water temperatures
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    Pulse Extraction process

CONS

  • Maxes out at 30 cups of specialty coffee per day
La Pavoni BAR-T 2V-B Commercial 2 Group

This machine hits a nice middle ground in price if you’re serious about coffee — this is a good option for coffee shops, cafes, or anywhere with a decent output of caffeine required. This press-forged brass and chrome plated machine is pretty enough to display prominently, and the built-in cup rack across the top encourages that. Multiple users can operate this semi-automatic machine at the same time, as well as the two flexible steam jets and one hot water jet. At 149 pounds, this machine certainly has presence and capability.

PROS

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    Quality material
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    Multiple users can use it at the same time
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    Two flexible steam jets
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    One hot water het
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    Boiler Auto-Fill system
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    Mounting pressure gauges
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    Stainless steel waterline (installation included)
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    Water softener included
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    Continuous brewing and stop button

CONS

  • Must install water softener to maintain warranty
  • Inching towards a higher price
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    Skilled workers required
Nuova Simonelli Aurelia II Volumetric 2 Group Espresso Machine

This is Nuova Simonelli’s third entry on our list and (spoiler) not the last. There’s a reason for that — they’re known to take everything into account when crafting their machines, from the owner of the establishment, to the barista, to the coffee drinker. The Aurelia II Volumetric 2 has an ergonomic design and clear displays, and it’s automatic, so anyone can make creamy cappuccinos.

PROS

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    External pump regulation, so no technician is required
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    Auto-steam wand
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    Display allows for easy control of the temperature
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    Ergonomical
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    Automatic flushing system
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    Soft infusion system
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    Can meet any required level of volume and quality
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    Extraction mirror

CONS

  • On the pricier side
Nuova Simonelli Talento Espresso Machine

As the second-most expensive model on this list and the fourth entry for Nuova Simonelli, you know that this sleek machine packs a punch. This super-automatic has an included grinder, dual boilers, and a hot water nozzle. It’s able to produce 150 espresso shots per hour. So, if your demand is high, this machine is in high demand. It comes with a Smart Wand® that really does allow for some top-notch magic — hook it up to an external milk cooler and the Talento can make up to eight different drinks with nothing but a button push from you. Pure magic.

PROS

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    Super-automatic machine
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    150 espresso shots per hour
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    Smart Wand® makes magic
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    Dual boilers (2.5-liters)
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    Automatic cleaning program
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    Grinds a double shot in 3.5 seconds
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    Large menu display

CONS

  • Have to drop some dollars to get this level of functionality
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    Must hook up to an external milk cooler for the advanced functions

In Conclusion

Did you keep those questions in mind? Then you’ll know that there’s no way to pick just one and say it’s the best. Obviously, the Nuova Simonelli Talento Espresso Machine is the holy grail, but not everyone needs that much volume.

The Jura WE8 Professional Automatic Coffee Machine is ideal when your needs aren’t demanding, while the La Pavoni BAR-T 2V-B Commercial 2 Group is a great middle ground.

Ultimately, you need to assess the needs of your business, determine your circumstances, and buy a machine that’ll best accommodate your daily endeavors!

Best of luck, coffee connoisseurs!