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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Espresso machines have become more and more popular over the last decade. The first commercial espresso machines were built by Achille Gaggia in 1938. They work on the principle of hot water being forced over coffee under pressure to produce espresso coffee.The size and complexity of machines vary and consideration must be given before choosing the right system.

 

Smaller espresso machines have a single group head and low capacity boilers. Some of these single group machines have hand fill water tanks however most commercial espresso systems need a mains water supply. Single group espresso machines have a single steam wand for steaming and foaming milk and can produce either one or two cups of espresso coffee at any one time.

 

Commercial espresso machines have one, two, three or four group heads, one or two steam wands, hot water facilities and a cup warming areas. Choices of semi or fully automatic group heads are usually available however automatic group heads are the most popular. These automatic group heads allow the water doses to be pre-set providing a more constant product.

 

Each group head can produce one or two espresso coffees at a time.  Water boiler capacities vary and must be taken into consideration when selecting the right espresso machine. If high volumes of coffee or hot water are required high volume espresso machines with high capacity water boilers are necessary. It is also important to have the right power supply for the model selected.

 

Most high volume espresso machines need minimum 20 amp power supply. This allows the water boilers to recover quickly after water of steam has been drawn off. The most common espresso machines are two group machines. Usually they have two team wands allowing more than one operator to use the machine at any one time. A 10 litre boiler and a 20 amp power supply should be ample for most small to medium requirements.Three and four group espresso machines have larger water boilers and may need 30 amp or 3 phase power supplies.

 

The demand for espresso machines with high level group heads has increased due the growth of the takeaway coffee market. The requirement for large cup volumes and high volume demand has seen a growth for the more powerful espresso machines. Some of the most popular espresso machines manufactures include Wega, Gaggia, Brasilia, and Iberital. 

 

Wega espresso machines are now one of Italy’s largest machine manufacturers and produce high quality and innovative systems. Gaggia and Brasila espresso machines are also produced in Italy and have been popular for many years. Iberital espresso machines are produced in Spain. The high level group head models with high volume boilers are very popular in the takeaway market.

 

Smaller volume domestic espresso machines vary. It is very important to select the correct machine for your situation. Some smaller units do not have pressure boilers and struggle to produce both espresso coffee and steamed milk at the same time. Large espresso machines with pressure boilers are recommended particularly if more than one cup of coffee is required.