My company is getting drawn in numerous different directions as fall festivals approach and new farmer's market's get started in our area. I currently lug our 2-group Nuova Simonnelli Appia Compact to the primary market we're in, but wish to have 1-2 more single-groups for use in other locations. I know commercial is the way to go to keep up with solid crowds, so an NS Oscar would work well. Are there other singles that you've found to work well in full portability mode? Table top models that either have a bladder inside like the Expobar series or ones that a 5 gallon jug can sustain easily? Don't have a bundle of money to spend...
I don't think you would be happy with a NS Oscar. It is more of a consumer-grade machine than commercial. NS makes a single group Appia that works quite well in situations like you described. It is tall enough to brew directly into the cup, if you prefer, and the steam wand is plenty long enough to steam enough milk in a 20oz pitcher for 16oz lattes if you are serving them. There is also plenty of pressure in the boiler to steam great foam fairly quick. Although, the machine runs about $3,500-$4,000 which could be a bit cost prohibitive.
The La Spaziale Vivaldi II is a great dual boiler option. You can get the pour-over model which doesn't require a water supply. You can pull some great shots on this machine, and steam some pretty fine microfoam, but the steam wand is fairly short, limiting the size drinks you could effectively steam milk for. You can pick up a Spaziale for right around $2,000. It comes in a 20 amp model that you can switch between 15 or 10 amps depending on the electricity available. The 20 amp model will recover temperature a little quicker than the 15.
I have used both machines in Farmer's Market and Catering applications. They both work well and have their pros and cons. I think either one would be a better choice than the Oscar. If you have more money than you know what to do with... I would also recommend the La Marzocco GS3. It will do anything you want it to... even help your children with their geometry homework!
The Vivaldi II does work great. All you need is an industrial extension cord and you can run it pretty much anywhere. It uses a small portafilter that some people don't like. Its much cheaper than an Appia one group or a GS3, both of which are great machines. Another machine that is very comparable to the Appia would be the Rancilio Epoca. They have a tank model that works great on 110 volts.
I have a nearly new NS MAC 2000 V that would work perfectly for you, it was used in a hospital cafe for about 6 months. My tech has gone through it and it is in as new condition. I'd be willing to sell it with a pump system for $2800. PM me if you're interested
Thanks for the feedback! Please keep it coming! Budget is definitely a real issue here and so is the ability to run on 110 so it is available in all locations. Jason, Mike, Phil...I'm trying to stay somewhere in a range $1800-2000 as I'll need to get another espresso grinder, too. Love the Mazzer SuperJolly but might go smaller for this application. Would really like to stick with the commercial size portafilter if possible. I've used office espresso machines like the Expobar office before with success, but the steaming is the issue on those machines.
Again, thanks and any other help any one can offer in my search is much appreciated!
I've seen the Vivaldi II and the LM GS3 and they'll work for you. If you're a bit cash crunched, have you considered equipment leasing?
The La Spaziale Vivaldi II will get you what you are looking for while staying within the $2,000 budget. You can call Chris Coffee or The Espresso Guild Cincinnati for better pricing than what is listed online. I have bought machines from both and they are great to work with!
Depending on you or your companys credit, you probably will be able to lease equipment. Basically, you negotiate with a leasing company that essentially buys the equipment for you and you pay a "rent" or lease on the gear. It can also have tax advantages for you, though I suggest you discuss the pros and cons with your accountant.
In a nutshell, leased equipment allows you to expense the monthly cost of the lease instead of depreciating the equipment over so many years. If I recall, the expense lowers your exposure to taxes while depreciation offsets the tax owed - don't know if that makes sense but again, I suggest discussing the issue with your accountant.
Well, I've looked at the Vivaldi, but it will only run one boiler at a time on 15A service, which is pretty typical of the electrical service we have available to us. We have a 8000W generator, but don't need to use that most places, but have to insure that coffee water is hot and so is steam. The GS3...well, haven't won the lottery yet. Jay, what can you tell me about equipment leasing? Again, ultimate mobility wanted in our application. I do greatly appreciate the input!!!
You would need to use the FloJet on the Vivaldi. I was skeptical when I first started using it, but I came to love the portability of the thing. I used to carry around a single group Appia, but ended up switching to the Vivaldi. The main reason being that it is so small, and I could use the pour over model and not have to add the FloJet to the mix. I still had to bring water, But I ended up buying the 2 or 3 gallon jugs of water that are rectangle shaped and fit in the trunk a little easier.
Really, the only issue I have with the Vivaldi is the size of the steam wand. I have since removed 16oz lattes from the menu, which I never liked doing in the first place, and had an excuse for not serving them for the customer that they weren't completely turned off by. For some reason, they accept "We don't serve a 16oz because the steam wand isn't long enough to fit down in the larger pitchers" better than "We just feel that our espresso tastes so great on its own that we don't want to cover it with all that milk." ;)