Ok im sure this question has been asked before here. But what is the best 2 to 3 group espresso machine out there, keeping cost in mind. I going to open my own coffee shop here soon and i need some expert opinions on which are the overall best. THANKS!!!!

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I am still a rookie, but I can tell you this....brace yourself. LOL

Still, the La Marzocco Linea is the workhorse of the industry. The LM GB/5 is a big hit. Personally, the FB/80 I used at Counter Culture's Training Center is by far my favorite. Just love it.

What am I going to put in my shop? Since I am also having to consider cost, probably a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia, 2 group, without the smart wand.

Chris Deferio has one in his new shop in Muncie, IN. Vecinos is the name. Love that shop. Hope to visit it someday.
I think the Rancillio Class 8 represents a great value. It is a durable well built machine and there are good deals to be had. Just a good all around workhorse of a machine. If your shop will sell a lot of skinny vanilla lattes and not many straight espresso shots the Class 8 is a good choice.

Going up a bit in price the Simonelli Aurelia is a great machine. Again a very reliable machine and Simonelli has a good repair and service network. The Aurelia has an uncanny ability to level the playing field between baristas and I find it to be an easier machine to train people on. We use the Aurelia in our cafe.

The La Marzocco is available at about what you will pay for a Simonelli, I think it takes a bit more craft to operate but for a skilled barista but in skilled hands the results can be exceptional. Cynesso is also in this league also really any of the WBC qualifying machines are excellent choices though not really budget conscious.
This is topic is bound to bring down the BX server with the volume of replies and opinion. I reckon let your fingers do the walking through the website and see what you come up with :)
Somebody better tell Matt that BX is likely to crash...then all of us will go into pathetic BX withdrawal...

I forgot about the Rancilio. Foolish of me.

Ah, and the Astoria. Although the Plus 4 U I recently saw had WAY too many buttons. I am easily confused...
Do you realize you mentioned almost every big name out there? I will also be looking for a new (or used) machine fairly soon. Can you suggest a machine around $4,000. There will be a fast paced drive thru, mostly lattes and caps, if that matters.
i would plan on spending more than $4k on an espresso machine, since it's by far the most crucial part of your operation. i was lucky to snag a 3 group gb/5 semi for $6k. you might be able to get a linea for 4ish used (2 group) but you'll wanna PID it, i reckon.
I think Jared said it best, this is the CORE of your business, UNDERSTAND THIS!!! AND I MEAN UNDERSTAND....if your machine goes down, so do you and your register......think long and hard about the investment your going to make. Its more important to have a well built RELIABLE machine, then to put a budget around it. I cant stress this enough.

see...I didnt even mention a machine.
In the Cafes I was part of we had all LaMarzoccos,you cant go wrong. The Simonelli is a well respected machine. The Synesso and Slayer are also great. I really like the Dalla Corte and people that have them love them. I don't think you could go wrong with any of these machines. I agree get a good (great) machine get well trained and realize that your reputation and ultimately how well you do is based on how good you are and a big part of that is going to be based on the right tools. I always thought getting a good grinder as well was enough and after being lucky enough to play with a lot of different conical burr grinders I can say they do make a noticeable difference in how your espresso tastes. Combine a conical burr grinder , with a stable temperature machine, a skilled barista and the opportunity to work with one of many great roasters and that will give you your best shot(every pun intended) for success.
Paul,
I work with Chris in muncie. We love our Aurelia digital, but they are nearly the same price as a GB/5 or a synesso cyncra. I don't know that there is much price discrepancy in top end machines, but at that level it seems as though it might just come down to preference in terms of features or needs.

Paul Yates said:
I am still a rookie, but I can tell you this....brace yourself. LOL

Still, the La Marzocco Linea is the workhorse of the industry. The LM GB/5 is a big hit. Personally, the FB/80 I used at Counter Culture's Training Center is by far my favorite. Just love it.

What am I going to put in my shop? Since I am also having to consider cost, probably a Nuova Simonelli Aurelia, 2 group, without the smart wand.

Chris Deferio has one in his new shop in Muncie, IN. Vecinos is the name. Love that shop. Hope to visit it someday.
LM 4 group Lineas are plentiful and cheap. Starbucks used to have thousands of them, and they sell cheaper than 2 & 3 groups used. You need a lot of counter space to use them, but if you have to steam a lot of milk, having that huge steam boiler will come in handy.

I hear that's why Sbux used 4 group machines, because otherwise they couldn't get the steam throughput they needed for all the 20 oz lattes they served.
LOL

James Liu said:
LM 4 group Lineas are plentiful and cheap. Starbucks used to have thousands of them, and they sell cheaper than 2 & 3 groups used. You need a lot of counter space to use them, but if you have to steam a lot of milk, having that huge steam boiler will come in handy.

I hear that's why Sbux used 4 group machines, because otherwise they couldn't get the steam throughput they needed for all the 20 oz lattes they served.
Jordan Jed said:
Do you realize you mentioned almost every big name out there? I will also be looking for a new (or used) machine fairly soon. Can you suggest a machine around $4,000. There will be a fast paced drive thru, mostly lattes and caps, if that matters.

Yep... that's about right. All machines have some benefits and fans, or else they wouldn't be in business.

For a fast paced drive-thru, I'd say make sure it is a big boiler and quick steamer. Forget the two groups... you'll be 3 group territory. You'll probably need to bump that dollar figure a bit, sorry to say. No skimping here. Ask yourself how long you can afford to have it be broken... time is money.

Ask around for recommendations for a trustworthy tech and see what they have. Sadly, there are a fair number of good, gently-used machines on the market (probably about to be more soon). A top-quality used machine can represent a good value assuming that it is not very old, has been well cared for, and has been checked out thoroughly by said tech. However, there is still lots of garbage out there as well, so tread very, very carefully if you go this route. I'd insist that you have the opportunity to use the machine before buying it so that you can be sure that it works as advertised, then give it a thorough check yourself. Buy it from the guy that is going to install it... if something is wrong, they'll be there to account for it in person. And allow plenty of time for something to go wrong at install.

That said, the new machine market is kinda soft right now. There are lots of dealers out there that haven't sold a machine in months, so you might just be able to negotiate a pretty sweet deal on something new. Its coming up on inventory tax time, after all...

OK, enough dithering. Best solid, get-the-job-done commercial espresso machine? The Linea. Honorable mention to everyone else already mentioned: Simonelli Aurelia, Astoria Argenta, Rancilio Classe 8... each has positives and negatives. Good luck.

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