Best Commercial Espresso Machine for Small Coffee Shop: Performance + Quality

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Running a small coffee shop? Or planning to start your own small business?  Either way, you know that nothing will make your business boom like serving fresh and high-quality coffee that will keep your customers coming back for more. People love having conversations over a cup of coffee, and if you can secure the best commercial espresso machine for a small coffee shop, your business is bound to succeed.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the process of choosing the right machine and we’ll review some of the best machines on the market.

Reviews of the Best Commercial Espresso Machine For a Small Coffee Shop

Whether you’re just launching your coffee shop or planning on an upgrade, you need a reliable machine that delivers what it promises. Here are our top picks.

1.     La Pavoni KIA Isomac Espresso Machine

Isomac KIA Home Or Commercial Espresso Cappucchino Machine, 1.2 Liter Boiler, Stainless Steel
  • 1.2 liter stainless steel boiler, Side group level coffee delivery, Hot water dispenser
  • Boiler thermal retention wrap, 304 stainless case with mirror finish, Sirai pressure switch
  • Pump pressure gauge, Group pressure gauge, Multi direction wands
  • Cool touch, steam and water wands; 58mm commercial group, Single and double portafilter handles
  • Backflush group cleaning, Microprocessor boiler refill system, 3 liter pour-in water tank

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Enjoy the fresh aroma every single time thanks to this reliable and sturdy machine. It’s made of durable stainless steel that withstands everyday use and comes with side panels that provide extra support. This is a pour-in unit that you can set up anywhere you like to start serving fresh coffee in no time.

Thanks to the microprocessor, the machine checks the water level in the 1.2-liter boiler and fills it as needed so you’ll never run out of coffee. This feature is extremely helpful for a busy coffee shop owner who might get too busy with receiving orders.

It comes with a pressure switch, in addition to a double gauge system and a thermo-siphon system that allows you to pick the right temperature for the boiler. This machine highlights consistency, it also allows for some versatility as a semi-automatic machine, so you can prepare signature coffee as requested. You can easily stop the flow of water and add steamed or frothed milk for lattes and cappuccinos.

Although it can get pretty hot, the wand and switches have the cool touch feature that protects your hands from accidental burns. You can permanently use the waterline kit so you don’t have to worry about filling the boiler every time you want to prepare coffee.

The hot water dispenser allows you to prepare various drinks to help your business boom. The machine weighs 52 pounds.

For the price, the boiler size is a bit small. You can’t adjust the height of the machine to accommodate different cup sizes.

What We Like

  • Durable body and internal parts.
  • Cool touch feature to avoid accidental burns.
  • Versatile stopping of the water flow to add milk.
  • Comes with parts that allow for permanent connection to the waterline.

What We Don’t Like

  • The boiler size is rather small.
  • The height isn’t adjustable to accommodate different cup sizes.

2.     La Pavoni BAR-T 3V-R Model Espresso Machine

La Pavoni BAR-T 3V-R Model Bar-T 3V Commercial Volumetric Espresso Machine, Ruby Red; Press-forged Brass and Chrome Plated, Vertical Infusion Chamber and Pressurization System
  • Groups made with press-forged brass and chrome plated, with vertical infusion chamber and pressurisation system
  • Boiler in copper equipped with transversal heat exchangers and front injectors for each group
  • Independent radiator hydraulic system for every group, Anti-vacuum valve
  • Double scale gauge for pump and boiler pressure control, Pre–infusion function
  • Electronic automatic water level, Water level control with sight glass

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you have a compact countertop, then this is probably the right espresso machine for you. It’s made of brass and is chrome-plated so it will last for long and look amazing no matter how frequent you use it.

This is an excellent choice for a busy coffee shop as it features 3 group heads so you can keep on delivering fresh coffee on the spot. Multiple baristas can comfortably work with this machine to serve all customers with a minimum waiting time. There’s also space to save cups on top of the machine.

The copper boiler is equipped with front injectors and heat exchangers for every group to guarantee the quality of the coffee served. Moreover, there’s an independent radiator hydraulic system for every group that maintains the consistency of water circulation.

As a semi-automatic machine, this one features a big boiler that accommodates 22.5 liters of water. It is designed to deliver 800 cups every day and features an electronic water level control that you can check through the sight glass. There’s a double scale gauge for pump and boiler pressure control. In addition to the flexible water jet, there are 2 flexible steam jets for milk.

This is not a portable machine because it weighs 226 pounds. If you’re looking for a machine that you can move around then you should stay away from this one. Moreover, it represents a huge investment so you might need to wait until you know you can cover the cost of the machine before paying its hefty price.

What We Like

  • Sturdy machine made of brass.
  • 3 groups to prepare a huge amount of coffee.
  • Electronic water level control that you can check through the sight glass.
  • Can be used by multiple baristas.
  • Space to store cups on top of the machine.

What We Don’t Like

  • The machine is expensive compared to other commercial-grade machines.
  • It’s quite heavy.

3.     Nuova Simonelli APPIA II Compact Volumetric 2 Group Espresso Machine

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This is another space-saving machine that has a small footprint. It is an automatic machine that does the job on your behalf. It will help you provide your customers with freshly brewed coffee that tastes the same every single time.

One of the perks of automation is that you will save time preparing the same amount of coffee you can get from a semi-automatic machine. It’s also an excellent choice if your staff isn’t trained because it reduces the guessing to a minimum. You can add steamed or frothed milk to prepare multiple drinks on the menu.

There are two groups on the machine and the heads are adjustable. This means that you can fill multiple size cups with no issues. The heat exchanger boiler maintains the temperature of the water to prepare the best coffee that will guarantee the success of your coffee shop. The boiler size is 7.5 liters.

Stay safe while using and cleaning the steam wand because it remains cool to touch. This also prevents the milk from sticking to the wand, minimizing cleaning time at the end of the day. You can also activate the automatic cleaning feature by pushing the button that connects to the group.

On busy days, you won’t feel any strain or discomfort because the push-pull wands are extremely easy to use. There’s a reverse mirror that allows you to check the espresso shots for quality control.

To ensure maximum extraction, the machine comes with the soft infusion feature. This involves wetting the ground coffee to guarantee the best brewing and richest aroma.

It’s quite heavy weighing 300 pounds so you shouldn’t plan on moving it around. It comes with a high price tag so it’s the right choice for a busy business that only wants to invest in the highest-quality equipment.

What We Like

  • Automated machine for consistent results.
  • Small footprint.
  • Adjustable heads to fit multiple size cups.
  • Push-pull wands to minimize strain.
  • Automatic cleaning.

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavy machine that can’t be moved around.
  • More expensive than other models on the market.

4.     La Spaziale Vivaldi II Dual Boiler BLACK Espresso Machine

FVLFIL La Spaziale Vivaldi II Dual Boiler BLACK Espresso Machine
  • Programmable Passive Pre Infusion
  • Programmable Off Set Differential
  • Dual Manometer
  • The Vivaldi II Now comes equipped with the NEW .9 mm four hole steam tip as standard
  • New LED display

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

For a small coffee shop, this automatic espresso machine is an excellent affordable choice. It features a 25-liter dual boiler with amazing steaming abilities that allow you to satisfy all the customers’ needs while guaranteeing exceptional quality every time.

You don’t have to keep an eye on this machine as it’s a direct-connect version with a 5-feet braided waterline. You won’t have to worry about stopping operation to refill the boiler. This machine will serve about 20 espresso shots per hour.

It comes with a passive pre-infusion feature that you can set from 1 to 8 seconds to guarantee maximum extraction for the best brew. This will give you the chance to modify the coffee you’re serving every time.

With a dual manometer, this machine will help you prepare an excellent cup of espresso. The boiler pressure gauge notifies you of when you can brew and steam for the best results. At the same time, the pressure group gauge helps you find out the optimum brew ratio for the perfect aroma.

This machine is made of durable stainless steel and features a single group head. Using the touchpad, you can set the group temperature in one-degree increments, so you can prepare the perfect cup of coffee.

Since it’s a suitable model for a beginner barista, this machine features self-diagnostic tools. It will analyze the performance of the machine and alert you when something isn’t working as it should so you can take the right action. A barista can activate the volumetric dosing feature so that every shot is exactly like the next. Moreover, it comes with an LED display and easy to use buttons that will make your job easier.

Preparing lattes and other drinks like a flat white is possible thanks to the 4-hole steam wand. The machine is extremely safe to use as it’s designed to keep the steam away from your hands to reduce the risk of accidents. There’s space at the top to keep your cups. It weighs 65 pounds and is available in 2 color options; red and black.

Installing the machine takes a little time and you’ll need the help of a professional plumber and electrician. You should also think about installing a water filter and softener to improve the taste of your coffee. These extra costs add to the initial price of the machine. The machine has short legs so you might need to pair it with longer legs to make cleaning a little bit easier.

What We Like

  • Affordable machine with a built-in waterline.
  • Passive pre-infusion feature to customize your espresso shots.
  • Touchpad to control the temperature.
  • 4-hole steam wand minimizes the risk of accidents.
  • Suitable for a small coffee shop and a less experienced barista.

What We Don’t Like

  • Professional plumbing and electricity work are needed to install this machine.
  • Cleaning under the machine is a bit problematic.

5.     Breville BES990BSSUSC Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

Breville Oracle Touch Espresso Machine BES990BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use.Grind Settings : 45 precision grind settings. Portafilter : Commercial grade 58mm portafilter.Portafilter : Commercial grade 58mm portafilter

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A first-timer can easily prepare the best coffee thanks to this fully-automated machine. The machine features a home screen with espresso-based drinks and custom creations that will help you introduce new items to your coffee shop menu. Just swipe and choose your favorite drink and the machine will do the rest. There are 5 pre-programmed drinks and you can add 8 customizable coffee settings.

This all-in-one machine stores the beans, grinds up to 22 grams of coffee and releases the ground coffee into a portafilter. After that, it tamps and pre-infuses the grounds for better extraction to maximize the flavor and intensify the aroma of your espresso shots. The dual boiler has a capacity of 2.5 liters.

Moreover, it features a micro-foam steam wand that allows you to prepare lattes and other drinks where steamed milk is a crucial ingredient. The wand controls the texture of the milk to enhance the flavor of your coffee then cleans itself to maintain the condition of your machine.

For a busy barista, this machine offers a chance of full customization so you can create coffee according to the requirements of your customers. Moreover, the automation guarantees the consistency of the quality so you’ll never serve bad coffee even if you don’t have much experience.

If you’re looking for a lightweight and affordable machine, you should definitely consider this one. It weighs 38 pounds so it’s not difficult to move around until you find the perfect spot to set it up. Moreover, it costs almost half the price of other commercial-grade espresso machines.

The digital temperature control allows you to set the precise temperature for the best results. The Over Pressure Valve controls the extraction pressure for an even result without a bitter taste.

Using this machine is easy and fun thanks to the LED lights that illuminate your work area, so you can check the tank level. The hot water spout allows you to prepare all the beverages that you can think of but there’s a single customized button where you can add this setting. Finding the replacement filters is a bit problematic so you will have to contact the manufacturer to get them.

What We Like

  • Affordable machine with programmed options.
  • Stores and grinds the beans to prepare the coffee.
  • Micro-foam steam wand to prepare various drinks.
  • Lightweight machine.
  • Digital temperature control.

What We Don’t Like

  • There’s a limit to adding new customized drinks.
  • Finding the replacement filters isn’t easy.

6.     La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II BLACK Espresso Machine

Last update on 2024-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

This affordable commercial-grade espresso machine is a suitable choice for a small coffee shop. It features a 3-liter water reservoir to save you the hassle of direct plumbing that adds to the overall cost of this affordable machine. It’s made of stainless steel that looks excellent on your countertop.

Featuring an LED display and a dual manometer, this machine will make your job easier when you’re serving coffee in your small coffee shop. The unique dual boiler system allows you to brew coffee and froth milk at the same time.

The first boiler has a capacity of 1.2 liters and there’s another boiler with 0.45 liter capacity for preparing espresso shots when the machine is in use. Both boilers are properly insulated to prevent heat damage that might affect the internal components of the machine. The LED control panel allows you to pull shots for a specific amount of time thanks to the automatic dosing feature.

Adjusting the temperature is quite easy so you can customize the espresso shots you’re serving. This programmed machine is a suitable choice for a beginner barista who doesn’t have much experience.

With an external thermostat, this machine will restore the original temperature even if it drops by half of a degree. The tank has a built-in water softener and features a front-filling access point for straightforward use.

Using this espresso machine is extremely safe as the steam wand is perfectly insulated to protect your hand from burns. There’s a hot water spout that you can use to create your signature Americano or hot chocolate.

Moreover, there’s a stainless steel cup warming tray that will keep your coffee warm until it’s served. The machine has space at the top where you can store your cups for later use. This semi-automated machine weighs 62 pounds so you can easily move it around.

The legs of this machine feel a bit flimsy and they need tightening. The machine’s user manual is a bit confusing to understand.

What We Like

  • Affordable machine for a beginner barista.
  • Dual boiler system to boil water and steam milk at the same time.
  • Safe to touch steam wand and hot water spout.
  • Built-in water softener.
  • Cup warming tray.

What We Don’t Like

  • The legs of the machine feel a bit flimsy and need regular tightening.
  • The manual is difficult to understand.

How to Choose the Best Commercial Espresso Machine for a Small Coffee Shop

Commercial-grade espresso machines are different from the ones designed for home use as they’re meant to help you keep up with the different requests of your clients. These espresso machines represent a significant investment so you need to be sure about the right one to pick.

Here are a few factors to consider.

Most Important Factors for the Best Commercial Espresso Machine For a Small Coffee Shop:


Generally speaking, fully automated machines cost more than semi-automatic machines. However, the price tag shouldn’t be your only concern when you’re shopping for an espresso machine.

Automatic machines allow any barista to serve excellent coffee, guaranteeing consistent results regardless of the level of experience and no matter how crowded your coffee shop is. The machine does the whole job from grinding the beans to tamping them until your coffee is served, thus guaranteeing the best extraction for a rich aroma.

Moreover, most of these machines are self-cleaning so they will minimize the time you spend on cleaning up at the end of the day. Having removable parts is a big plus since you’ll probably need to descale regularly.

Nevertheless, if you’re running a small coffee shop where you don’t expect to serve hundreds of cups every single day, you can invest in a semi-automatic machine. These machines allow for some versatility but you should buy a grinder or buy your coffee grounds from a trustworthy source.

There’s a learning curve to using semi-automatic machines. Moreover, the quality of the coffee prepared will vary drastically from one barista to another.

Reservoir Capacity

The size of the reservoir determines how much you will worry about filling the water reservoir thus affecting the time needed to deliver coffee to your clients. However, if your machine is plugged into the main waterline, this shouldn’t be a problem.

If you have to fill the machine, you should be able to monitor the water level so you can fill the reservoir as needed. However, having a big boiler means that your machine will probably have a large footprint so it might not suit a small countertop.

Number of Group Heads

This will determine how versatile the machine will be. The larger the number of group heads, the more drinks you can serve at the same time. It also means that multiple baristas will be able to use the machine at the same time, maximizing the value of your investment.

Generally speaking, if you have several group heads on your machine, you should have a large boiler to be able to serve multiple drinks during peak hours. However, having more heads is only helpful if there’s enough space behind the counter so several people can use the machine at the same time.

Best Commercial Espresso Machine For a Small Coffee Shop: Final Thoughts

To provide your customers with the best coffee, you need to invest in a professional machine that can deliver consistent results no matter how crowded your coffee shop is. We chose the La Pavoni BAR-T 3V-R Model Espresso Machine as the best commercial espresso machine for a small coffee shop.

It’s well-built and can be operated by multiple baristas at the same time so you can satisfy all your customers’ needs. It allows you to monitor the water level so your customers will never have to wait to receive their delicious coffee.

With the help of the right machine, your coffee shop will become the biggest hit in town. If the machine we recommend is out of your budget range, there are 5 other options that you can browse to select the one that suits you. Every machine on our list is well-built to help you launch and maintain your business. Stick to the models we suggested and you won’t be sorry.

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