Howdy. I’m looking for a fully automatic espresso machine to start serving drinks at a event I run every Sunday night. There are around 200 people that come every time. I don’t except that amount to order drinks, but still a good amount. My budget is up to $500. I use to work at starbucks for 2 years so I know how to make all the drinks just need help finding a good machine. If anyone knows of one please let me know! Thanks!

Andrew

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BTW, I gave an initial response that answered all of his questions excatly as I would have answered them had he asked me in person. Calling people douchebags for being frank is, well....
Mike Sabol said:
...And for the record, if any of you have trolled Craigslist for espresso equipment you know that machines show up for $500 and under all the time. What Andrew is looking for is not impossibe. Jeeezus. Get off yer high horse.


Frankly, I'm a little skeptical. Though I'd agree that you'll see $500 machines if you look, people tend to forget things like grinders and a budget to get it all running. That's the reason I responded the way that I did... trying to fill in some of the things that he might not have considered.

Did you find some aspect of that response unreasonable?
I don't want to get yelled at, but, I didn't for a moment think that he was looking for a used commercial machine at that price.

My assumption was that he was looking for a machine which would cost about $2,500.00 new, here in Canada, so a fraction of that in the States. Used for $500.00? Sure. Working...um, I'm not sure about that part. But, he certainly could buy a used home machine, or something like a Nespresso machine if that met his requirements for his event.

He's looking to make a few drinks after some event; he's not entering a regional barista competition.
OK... lets get this discussion back to the original questions, and leave the discussion of the value of Starbucks as a company for another time, please.

I think it is a perfectly valid observation that 2 years of experience using a superauto has its limitations. Anyone disagree with this?


There's no need for insults or name calling. That's definitely not in the spirit of this community. Let's try to keep the discussion civil, eh?
Wow. First off I am proud that I worked at starbucks. I have as well worked at a little private owned coffee shop as well. The guy that wrote it is right. Without starbucks people would be still excepting to pay .95 cents for a cup of coffee. They opened the market in a huge way. I mostly go to small little private owned shops but I like going to starbucks some. I never said I was a professional and knew everything. If I did then i wouldn't have started this thread. While I worked at starbucks I took a hell of a lot of outside coffee training classes as well as taking a 8 month coffee master class. So yes I do feel like i know a thing or two. 2nd. I know that 200 is a lot of people but it will be in a span of a little over two hours so there won’t be a big rush at once. I wish I could up my budget but it’s just not possible right now. So that’s why I ask. Thank you to everyone that added real info to this.
Fraser Jamieson said:
I don't want to get yelled at, but, I didn't for a moment think that he was looking for a used commercial machine at that price.

My assumption was that he was looking for a machine which would cost about $2,500.00 new, here in Canada, so a fraction of that in the States. Used for $500.00? Sure. Working...um, I'm not sure about that part. But, he certainly could buy a used home machine, or something like a Nespresso machine if that met his requirements for his event.

He's looking to make a few drinks after some event; he's not entering a regional barista competition.

Yeah, he was looking for a prosumer-type machine. Do you think that would be adequate for, say, 50 drinks in the span of an hour? I've not tried doing that, but was a little skeptical that it'd do the job. I could be wrong though.
Well, I'm glad that you didn't get turned off by some of the comments.
But hey, everyone here was actually trying to help. Sometimes tough love is the best love there is.

Sorry, but I'm in Toronto so I'm of no help to you in shopping. I'd think about looking for a place which sells high end super auto consumer machines and let them know your budget and requirements. Maybe there's a way for them to use it as an opportunity to market their products to your group!

As for other comments re. Charbuck's: Well, I happen to think they suck. I also happen to think that the company I work for sucks almost as much. But you know what? The store I'm at is possibly pushing out the best drinks in town, with the exception of straight espresso shots which are best out of the shop down the road where my K10 is in use.

By working at a mass market shop I've learned to do things quickly. Hell, we fire out more on a "dead" shift than any of the indi shops could even dream about doing on a "busy" shift.

So, while I think that Charbuck's work experience isn't the best coffee experience, it sure can be great work experience. Add to that a few courses on your own and you're off to the races.

I'm not ashamed to work where I do. I do a hell of a good job. Given coffee worth drinking I could do an even better job. ;)
Brady, I think it just could work. Just.

A month or so ago I went with my friend Marichka to look at consumer equipment for her Sister. We looked at different machines and were offered drinks from a couple of them. The quality was like something out of a vending machine but they moved fast enough.
Andrew,
Do you have 220V available to plug the super auto into? If so, you may need an electrician to help you get it hooked up? Do you have water to plumb in to? Can you do the plumbing? If not you can run off bottled water however you will need a pump that costs almost $200.
I think you can see where I'm going with all this...
I can tell you from extensive coffee catering experience that with a group of 200 you won't serve a lot of drinks at night. Maybe 20-30 if your drinks are good.
Your better bet would be a 120v pour over machine. But then you still need a grinder.

If I were you, I would do french press and maybe do a drip station.
You could buy all the stuff you need, press' ,airpots, kettles, drippers and grinder for right around $500.
Order in really good fresh roasted coffee and then you could really impress your guests with a quality cup.

You would also get a chance to learn more about coffee then you ever would with a super auto.
If you decide to go this route, ask about what equipment to get and where to get it, many of folks here would love to chime in and help you assemble a setup, including me.
Good Luck!

Andrew McGinnis said:
Wow. First off I am proud that I worked at starbucks. I have as well worked at a little private owned coffee shop as well. The guy that wrote it is right. Without starbucks people would be still excepting to pay .95 cents for a cup of coffee. They opened the market in a huge way. I mostly go to small little private owned shops but I like going to starbucks some. I never said I was a professional and knew everything. If I did then i wouldn't have started this thread. While I worked at starbucks I took a hell of a lot of outside coffee training classes as well as taking a 8 month coffee master class. So yes I do feel like i know a thing or two. 2nd. I know that 200 is a lot of people but it will be in a span of a little over two hours so there won’t be a big rush at once. I wish I could up my budget but it’s just not possible right now. So that’s why I ask. Thank you to everyone that added real info to this.
I checked eBay for "superautomatzics" and found they range from a high of $12,995 to a low of $2,500 for a single use machine that looks like a non commercial pour over. So indeed the comments about the price not being within range is valid.

I do however have a suggestion. Why not find a local barista and pay them to cater your function. Thing is with your wiring I strongly suspect you will only be able to use a 115v 15 amp machine... And that might be a problem.

All the best
Mike Sabol said:
Alright. You guys, Chris, Jared, Bry and and Kevin are being DOUCHE BAGS. Stop it. I am ashamed to be counted as a coffee industry profesional if your behavior is what it means to be such.
What Andrew is looking for is not impossible. Jeeezus. Get off yer high horse.

First off, I don't have to listen to you, you're not my real dad!
Second, I think that your assumption that I'm not answering his questions in an honest and forthright (if somewhat un-subtly straightforward) manner is insulting. Calling me a douchebag kinda seals the deal, too.
I suggest that the holier-than-thou approach be toned down a notch, and if I say something that can be taken as slightly less-than kid glove honesty or douchebaggery, I meant it in the first way.
It would be polite to ask before you start in o the name calling, though.
History is prologue. Starbucks used to be a contender, used to be an influence, used to be a fertile ground to plant new baristi and have them succeed and prosper. Those days are now gone. Long gone, and their greed and profiteering are the only lessons one might take away from employment there.
I salute their past work, and thumb my nose at the fast-food cheese that they provide their customers nowadays.
Teaching someone to use a super-auto is like teaching someone to use the fry machine. It's a handy skill, but it won't make you a chef.

And $500 for a commercial coffee venture is absolutely possible. But it absolutely will not be easy, and the odds of it happening are just slightly better than winning the state lottery.

Personally, I think that encouraging this guy to jump in with his experience and his budget is the douchebag thing to do.

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