Best Espresso Machine For Small Cafe

Any owner of a successful cafe, bar, or bistro knows the important role that a good espresso machine plays in this success. It is impossible in this day and age to be able to run this kind of business without at least one of these machines.

Best Espresso Machine for Small Cafe

A good espresso machine makes it possible to brew a big number of delicious, aromatic, hot beverages in a short amount of time, which is something that any person who has a passion for coffee would appreciate.

While buying a coffee machine for home use is rather easy, a bit more thought has to go into the purchase of an espresso machine to be sued in a cafe.

You need to think about what kind of drinks you want the machine to make, how many drinks it can make at once, how easy it is to clean and maintain, and a whole load of other factors.

You also need to make sure that you are buying an espresso machine that can make high-quality and delicious coffee, otherwise, it might be a bit difficult for you to sell these to customers.

If you are operating a small cafe, you can pick models with fewer complex features and systems, and there are loads of these kinds of machines to choose from.

With so many options out there, it can be a bit difficult to choose which one is right for your needs as a cafe owner.

That is why we have created this list of the top 5 best espresso machines that are perfect to be used in a small cafe.

Keep reading to find the best espresso machine for your small business!

1 – Nuova Simonelli Appia II

The Nuova Simonelli Appia II is a machine that business owners regularly purchase for their companies.

The design of the device is quite remarkable, taking into consideration its cost and its weight category.

The look of this machine is very modern, as it is made of almost 100% stainless steel, and can almost be considered art rather than a coffee machine.

A good feature of this espresso machine is that the heads are quite high on the device, meaning that it is very easy for you to mix coffee drinks in even the largest cups, but it also saves you time in the process.

Because the ergonomic Push-Pull steam switch is so easy to use, baristas won’t have to sacrifice the quality of their job. You just need to hit the switch once; after that, it will automatically climb to the specific position that it occupies.

The capacity of the evaporator is 371.95 fluid ounces. Because of the pre-implantation system, the ground espresso is wetted at the beginning phase of the fermentation process.

This ensures that the extraction is uniform and that the taste is perfect for espresso.

With the assistance of this self-loader equipment, it is possible to mix at least two different beverages quickly and efficiently at the same time.

Because it has a Cool Touch feature, the Cool Touch Wand eliminates the risk of burns when steaming milk. Additionally, it makes it less difficult to clean the Wand.

Appia II features a cleaning system that runs on a predetermined schedule. You will be informed about the need for cleaning by the machine by the device itself.

This commercial machine has been selected by several baristas all around the world because of the superior and consistent quality it possesses compared to machines of the same price.


  • Self-loading – makes the process of filling and using the machine a lot faster
  • Tells you when to clean – this takes the guesswork out of cleaning, as the machine will tell you when it is the right time to clean it
  • Gives a great taste – thanks to the pre-implantation system, uniform drinks are made with this machine, which also boosts the flavor of the espresso


  • Slightly lower build quality – as this is a relatively cheap device, you should not be surprised that the build quality of this machine is not as good as that of other high-end devices

2 – Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine

Unlike many professional coffee machines, the Breville Barista Express is safe and uncomplicated to use and holds your hand through the whole process.

It also comes with Breville’s burr processor, which we think is generally good and would cost about $200 if you bought it separately.

The Breville Barista Express has a one-year limited warranty, a brushed hardened steel exterior, a half-pound bean container, a 67-ounce water tank, and both single-shot and double-shot portafilter crates (one of each for either pre-ground or newly ground beans).

You will also get a shot-measuring razor that lets you cut extra ground off the top of your channel bin. You’ll also get an espresso scoop, a tempered steel milk container, a stable change, a cleaning plate, and cleaning tablets.

The Barista Express isn’t too big for a coffee machine. The dimensions of 15.8 inches tall, 12.6 inches wide, and 13.2 inches wide should fit on your ledge and, ideally, under cabinets, but make sure to measure them yourself.

A pound’s size is easy to change. If you want a shot that is thick, rich, and almost sludgy, choose a fine crush. This is a big step forward, and it might take you a while to get it the way you want.

Overall, this processor isn’t the most difficult one out there. If you make coffee at home every day, you need a machine with 50 or 60 settings. This one only has 18, so it is not too hard to learn and understand what each one does.

We recommend that you do not go any coarser than a “4” or “5”.

If you do, your shots will become more watery, which isn’t why you bought a coffee machine in the first place. If you go too far, your portafilter container will fill up. Too little, and your drink will be ruined.

There’s a switch that lets you switch between a single-walled and a double-walled bin, but you’ll need to represent single-walled and double-walled bins.


  • “Clean Me” light – lets you know when it is time to clean the machine so that you do not have to guess
  • Pressure gauge – this is vital to making good espresso as it lets you micromanage all of the features needed to make the perfect drink


  • Hard to use – when you first get this machine, you will discover that it is pretty hard to use, and you cannot simply work it out as you go. Reading the manual is vital

3 – La Marzocco GB5 S AV – 2 Group

When you are responsible for supplying people with their much-needed daily amount of caffeine, you need a reliable workhorse of a machine that can provide consistent results each time it is used.

When you buy the La Marzocco GB5 S AV, you get just that: a well-built machine that does its purpose without making a lot of noise or requiring a lot of attention.

This machine is an improvement to the original GB5, and it incorporates dual PID controls, a hot water tap dose, and multiple boilers so that you can continue brewing even when there are a lot of other things going on at the same time.

In addition, La Marzocco has integrated built-in scales (ABR) and double-walled vacuum-insulated steam wands to improve the efficiency of the workflow behind the bar.

Automatic backflush, scale restrictors, and easy-rebuild steam valves make it simpler than it has ever been previously to keep your machine in excellent working condition.

Because company owners often want to avoid the issues that can arise with improper cleaning, the simplicity with which this equipment can be cleaned and maintained is a major selling feature for the product.

Take advantage of the fact that the La Marzocco GB5 S can deliver both a fashionable and functional design, this is an excellent coffee machine that will work well in and cafe environment.


  • Duel boiler – this allows the barista to make 2 drinks at once, meaning that they can work faster and provide more customers with drinks at once
  • Easy to clean – this machine cleans itself, meaning that your staff can spend less time around the machine and more time helping customers


  • Often need more maintenance – these machines have a habit of requiring more maintenance than others, and this can only be done by a technician

4 – Slayer Steam LPx

There is hardly a better option than the Slayer Steam LPx when looking for an espresso machine that baristas will like and consumers won’t be able to stop talking about.

The LPx is equipped with upgraded steam valves that do not need to be rebuilt regularly. As a result, it can consistently produce great milk beverages such as cappuccinos, flat whites, and lattes.

Everything is possible because of the cutting-edge technology that is powering this machine.

Baristas can make exact modifications to the temperature of the machine at any given moment because of PID temperature control, which enables them to create numerous taste profiles from a single cup of coffee.

The automatic mode makes it simple to record and store recipes based on either weight or time, and the touch screen interface of the Barista Dashboard makes programming an absolute joy.

The use of volumetric dosing along with temperature control enables baristas to draw shots with more efficacy and makes it simple to handle a wide variety of recipes, even when business is at its busiest.

A few additional characteristics worthy of mention include the enormous drip tray that maximizes bar flow, the shot light that allows for vision in dimly lit cafés or the nighttime, and the separate brew tanks for each group.

Slayer Steam LPx is the top-tier pick for specialty coffee shops and expert baristas who genuinely regard each cup as an experience.

This product ensures a flawless cup of coffee every time, making it the ideal option for those businesses.


  • Consistent – thanks to the volumetric settings, this machine can remember how to make exact coffees, meaning that your staff can consistently make high-quality drinks
  • User-friendly settings – this device is very easy to see, and changing any settings is a breeze


  • Only has 2 group heads – This means that you cannot make many drinks at once

5 – La Marzocco KB90 AV – 3 Group

The La Marzocco KB90, sometimes known as “the ultimate workflow machine,” was developed to enhance the natural workflow as well as the output of a barista.

The KB90 is the most advanced espresso machine technology available, and it can streamline operations in even the busiest coffee shops in the world.

The straight-in portafilter is perhaps the best illustration of this concept. Baristas with years of experience are aware that improper form can cause damage to the wrist.

This revolutionary design helps to prevent injuries caused by repeated action and minimizes the amount of physical stress placed on a barista.

This may make a significant impact in crowded coffee shops when the barista is drawing shots continuously throughout the day.

In addition, La Marzocco’s espresso machines come equipped with a steam flush that is activated automatically after each extraction.

This limits the amount of coffee residue that is left in the group and reduces the number of times that baristas are required to do a back flush.

As well as improving what was already a smooth process, the KB90’s pro touch steam wands, digital display, and shot lights all contribute to the machine’s overall functionality.

Customers are going to like the drinks that are produced by the La Marzocco KB90, and baristas are going to adore how the machine makes them feel after working behind it shift after shift.


  • Prevents fatigue – this machine was made with baristas in mind and helps to prevent wrist strain
  • Cool-touch wands – this ensures that the baristas are safe when they are steaming milk, and the pressure is kept consistent throughout the day


  • A lot of moving parts – the more parts you have, the more chance that the machine could break down. This also means that it could be even more difficult to fix it

Buyers Guide

Here is everything that you need to consider when buying an espresso machine to be used in a cafe.

Your Budget

Money typically factors into big decisions, and possibly even more so when you are buying a machine to use in your business.

Luckily, espresso machines are relatively cheap compared to other types of coffee machines, and you should be able to find an affordable espresso machine to suit all of your needs.

However, more money means more options. In such a situation, consider other aspects above budget.

Don’t get cheaper equipment that can’t meet your demands. The right pricey device may save money. Choose espresso machines based on functionality if your budget allows.

Pricing should be addressed while deciding what your small business needs.

Your Staff

Various espresso machines exist. Consider your or your baristas’ machine comfort.

Refilling a pour-over machine’s reservoir may be difficult if your workforce is untrained or busy.

However, pour-over machines are cheaper and less cumbersome than direct-connect ones if espresso sales aren’t a large part of your business.

Built-In Features

These extra components may give your drinks a high-end, finer quality, suitable for a boutique coffee shop. Pre-infusion and timers are examples.

Some stores might not need these though as these characteristics may not be practical for a small family-owned coffee shop.

Choose the finest commercial espresso machine based on its features.

How Much Will You Use It?

What’s your espresso tally? Consider coffee sales. Espresso sales may change daily, but a trend may emerge. If so, look for a fast-making machine.

The boiler type is one of the biggest things that affects how fast drinks can be made.

Boiler Type/Groups

Different boilers serve different purposes. Single, heat exchange and dual boilers are the three primary varieties.

A machine’s boiler maintains temperature and produces steam. Having only one boiler means your machine can only brew or steam, not both.

Businesses employ heat exchange and twin boilers to steam and brew concurrently.

Heat exchange boilers can steam and brew simultaneously. Inside, a tube delivers brewing-temperature water to the group heads while steaming water stays in the boiler.

Dual boilers feature separate steaming and brewing boilers. Slow single boilers are excellent for residential use.

So, which is best for a tiny coffee shop: heat exchange or dual boiler? This depends on your shop’s demands.

If the dual boiler system employs smaller boilers, a bigger heat exchange boiler will be faster. Cheaper heat exchange boilers. Bigger boilers also imply more powerful espresso machines and more beverages.

Drink volume also depends on group size. More groups mean more espresso shots can be created at once, hence more drinks can be made.

Small coffee businesses may just need a single-group espresso machine. Depending on espresso sales, you may require two groups.

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