What is a standard width between the edge of the bar and where the espresso machine starts? 5"?

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I'm not sure there's really a standard. A couple of inches of counter out front lets you park a steaming pitcher or cup in that space, which is nice but not a big deal.

You'll have more space if you don't put the machine's outlet directly behind it, by the way - those twist-lock plugs take up a fair amount of room.

Working height is way more critical than depth in my book (assuming sufficient depth to accommodate the machine).

Here's some more considerations regarding the espresso machine working surface:

For traditional machines, "standard countertop height" of 36 inches will typically be comfortable for baristas of average height. Most machines come with optional extra-tall feet for use in situations where health inspectors want a little more room under the machine.

The typical undercounter or worktop refrigerator is 36" tall, including castors. I do not recommend placing espresso machines directly on these - they typically must be rolled out for cleaning which complicates the espresso machine drain setup. However, if a counter is installed above the refrigerator the additional countertop height can position the espresso machine a little high for comfortable use by shorter baristas, especially if the tall feet are necessary.

Review your espresso machines installation spec sheet carefully, and note recommended distances to connections. If your water supply, power, and drain connections are below the countertop, there will need to be a hole or other way for things to drop down. Drain hoses plug up if you run them over the top of a backsplash - they need to fall off uniformly. Please keep in mind that these lines have a diameter, so there will need to be room for them to run between the countertop and any under-counter stuff. An empty cabinet is ideal, as there's lots of room for this stuff to run, as well as water filters. You can always use this as storage space after installation.

Keep in mind the weight of the espresso machine, when full of water, and make sure your surface is well supported. Stock cabinets are usually sufficient.

Your work surface will need to be impervious to water (it will get wet) and easy to clean (there will be lots of espresso grounds to clean up). I'm not a fan of stone surfaces - easier to break shotglasses and mugs on them.

You'll want enough workspace to accommodate your grinder(s), machine, knockbox, tamping area, a "drink assembly" location, and convenient locations for "other ingredients" - chocolate, any syrups, etc. The ideal is that everything the barista needs to produce drinks is within reach with a minimum of steps.

Please feel free to post any specific concerns or questions you may have and we'll try to answer them here.

Below is the spec sheet for my machine. I plan on placing the espresso machine directly above my 48" wide undercounted fridge. The countertop will be a full-spanning 50" top. Will that support this machine? If the undercounted fridge is 31 1/4" tall and the distance from the floor to the underside of the bar is 34 1/2" will that fit with all the draining tubes and electrical from above?

The times I've seen 2 or 3-group machines on top of countertops that spanned 48" fridges, they developed pretty serious dips over time. I'd take a close look at the bracing structure under the countertop. 235 pounds is substantial.

On clearance, you only really need an inch or so of space between the fridge top and countertop bottom, but make sure you take the bracing into account.

Thanks for the heads up! Is the 2.5" circle where the drainage is located? Where is the plug on this machine? Is it a cord coming out the underside near the drainage and water lines? The backend will be exposed to customers.

That 2.5" hole is meant to accommodate all lines running to and from the machine, so everything is pretty convenient from the machine to the location shown. Exact position of the hole is not super critical though, and it's position can be changed a bit to accommodate different things happening underneath (cabinet sidewalls, supporting braces, etc.).

I like to keep it far enough under the machine so it isn't visible from the side or back. If you do that, it should look great from the customer side.


Rick Astley said:

Thanks for the heads up! Is the 2.5" circle where the drainage is located? Where is the plug on this machine? Is it a cord coming out the underside near the drainage and water lines? The backend will be exposed to customers.

Here's a few things I thought of based on Brady's comments: At my shop we have 3 machines. The counters are on a fabricated steel structure and look like granite but I think it's a composite material. (They are strong enough to stand on to clean the walls!) We have about 6-8 inches to work with for the baristas on 2 of them. It's only a drive-through so there is no "customer side". In my experience at other jobs it's helpful to have room to set down drinks to the side of the machine but not in back because only the customer would be utilizing it. You can even extend the face of your cabinetry (on the customer side) upwards to hide the underside workings that may be visible. It may only need to be a few inches or some places go the full height of the machine. Either way it keeps the back looking nice and you can eliminate things rolling off the counter that direction or kids from touching the machine.

As far as the counter hole goes it needs to be left of center for a Simonelli because of where the drain is located.

Our counters are JUST high enough to fit the refrigerators under and one has a drain line basically right on top of it. We use hockey pucks to get the height of the machine we want since they are nearly indestructible.

Space certainly is a premium based on what flavors you intend to offer. We have 6" diameter open bottom knock "boxes" that dump straight to garbage cans below the counters. Most of our syrups fit on a 4-tier riser (32 bottles in each station) and separate service carts to hold our powdered flavors' canisters and open milk gallons. Overall each station is about 20 sq ft.

The depth of my tamping pad plus a bit for knuckle clearance.

Our counters are JUST high enough to fit the refrigerators under

Do you know exactly how high that is?

I am having to wedge my UC fridge and freezer in tight spaces. One inch on either side and three and half inch clearance on top. 

Is the knockbox-to-trashcan something you can buy from a retailer?

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