9 Best Commercial Espresso Machines for Small Coffee Shops [2021]

There’s a range when it comes to the best commercial espresso machines for small coffee shops. There’s variety in how many shots you can expect them to make in an hour.

There’s also the aesthetic to consider. Want sleek and modern or vintage-inspired? Something to think about.

My Top Pick for Small Coffee Shops

There are a LOT of options to choose from, but the best overall performer that we tested was the La Spaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi unit, providing a great mix of capacity, counter space economy, and consistently good performance over time.

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The 9 Best Commercial Espresso Machines for Small Coffee Shops

Here are the top nine best commercial espresso machine for small coffee shops. They can help get you through minor rushes, long days, awkward silences (if the machine’s interesting to look at), or just get you over the hump of starting up a small coffee shop on a budget.

These may not hold up to the traffic of some of the larger, busier coffee shops, but they’ll be perfect for the volume at smaller ones. There are still plenty of professional espresso machine options and features to choose from even within this list.

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Product
Our Top Pick
  • Ideal for smaller shops with limited space
  • Built-in water softener
  • Extremely easy to use (and train on)
  • Mid-range price
Best Budget Pick
  • Small footprint
  • Easy to use
  • Extremely reliable and consistent
  • Affordable option (see latest prices)

Best Overall Commercial Espresso Machine: La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi S1-II

La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi S1-II

This is a machine for the smallest of shops, but it’s a pretty basic coffee machine that’ll get the job done when it comes to brewing high-end espresso. 

La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi Features

  • 1.2-liter boiler size with 1250 watt heating element
  • .45 liter group boiler with 800-watt heating element
  • Double boiler
  • Volumetric dosing
  • Dual pressure gauges
  • 2.4-liter water reservoir
  • Swiveling stainless steel arm
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • LED display
  • Comes with accessories: double and single spout portafilters, plastic tamper (for tamping), double basket, triple basket, blind basket, cleaning brush
  • 15.25” x 16.5” x 16.5”

Pros

  • Only around $2000.00 (frequently discounted for less here)
  • Easy to use
  • A double boiler allows for faster brewing turnaround time
  • You’re in control of the temperature, which means you can customize espresso shots
  • The boiler automatically refills and regulates the temperature
  • The water softening patch inside makes the espresso taste better
  • At 62 lbs, it’s heavy enough for you to know it’s a substantial machine, but not exceptionally heavy and difficult to move if you need to
  • The touchpad makes it easy to operate the machine

Cons

  • Not enough for even brewing 50 shots per hour, so this will only be good for a low volume store
  • Basic design that will fit almost any coffee shop’s aesthetic, but nothing special to look at
  • Water reservoir vs direct water
La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II BLACK Espresso Machine
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Best for Espresso Machine for Busy Cafes: Nuova Simonelli Appia II

Nuova Simonelli Appia II

Here’s a coffee machine that can keep up with low to medium volume with no problem. There’s a lot of variety here, so you can hopefully get exactly what you want within the Appia II line.

Nuova Simonella Appia II Features

  • Comes in two choices: volumetric and semi-automatic espresso machines
  • Get it with single, two, or three group heads
  • There’s a Compact version that’s nine inches narrower than the original Appia II, perfect for small coffee shops that have low to medium volume and not a lot of room for a big machine
  • Reverse mirror
  • Comes in black, red, and white

Pros

  • It can handle a growing, successful coffee shop location with ease
  • You get a lot of options within the Nuova Simonelli Appia II umbrella
  • It has a modern look with its sleek chrome finish—it’s beautiful and looks impressive on the counter
  • Ergonomic design so it’s comfortable to use
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • This is one of the more expensive machines, at right around $7000.00
  • Because there are so many options within this line, even if it sounds perfect overall, you’ll need to do a bit more research to determine exactly which Appia II you should get.
Nuova Simonelli Appia II Semi-Auto 1 Group Espresso Machine MAPPIA5SEM01 with Free Espresso Start...
$3,750.00
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07/23/2021 06:16 pm GMT

Best Budget Espresso Machine for Small Coffee Shops: Breville Barista Express

Breville Barista Express

This is a solid machine that has a lot going for it. However, it could be risky to choose it if you plan to use it for years. Good starter machine for a very small shop (for example, in a quiet bookstore)? Possibly.

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine Features

  • Comes in black, red, or stainless steel
  • 15 bar Italian pump
  • 1600W thermo coil heating system
  • Conical burr grinder (built-in grind and brew)
  • 67 oz water reservoir
  • Precision dosing coffee grounds
  • Volumetric controls
  • Low pressure at the start for better extraction
  • Make one or two shots coffee
  • Comes with accessories: dose trimming tool, water filter holder and filter, stainless steel milk jug, cleaning kit, single and dual wall filter baskets
  • Half-pound bean hopper
  • Removable drip tray
  • 13.2” x 12.5” x 15.8”

Pros

  • Everything you need is right there, starting with the grinder
  • Color options for matching the coffee shop aesthetic
  • It lets you know when it’s time to clean it
  • Adjustable steam wand
  • It’s designed to stay still on the counter when in use (no-slip feet!)
  • Reprogrammable shot volumes
  • Manual override option
  • It’s under $600.00

Cons

  • You’ll have to refill the water reservoir.
  • Based on some reviews, this one may not be the best for long-term use in a coffee shop with steady business. It’s a good coffee machine, but a gamble in the long run.
Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine
$699.95
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07/23/2021 06:28 pm GMT

Breville the Infuser

Breville the Infuser

This coffee machine is easy to learn how to use. You get a lot of features for a relatively low price. There’s a lot going on here, but make sure it’s up to the task of your shop before taking the leap.

Breville the Infuser Features

  • Single or double shot
  • 1600 watt Thermo coil heating system (heat exchanger)
  • Volumetric control
  • Automatic override
  • 13.7” x 11.5” x 13.2”
  • Comes in black, red, and stainless steel
  • Comes with accessories: coffee scoop, stainless steel jug, cleaning tool, cleaning disc and tablets, water filter with holder, and single and dual wall filter baskets
  • BPA free
  • 15 bar Italian pump
  • Extra tall cup clearance (ideal for a travel cup or mug)
  • Storage tray
  • 61 oz. removable water tank
  • Removable drip tray
  • One-year warranty

Pros

  • Applies low pressure at first for optimal extraction
  • Comes in different colors so it’s more likely that you can find a perfect match for your coffee shop’s aesthetic
  • Auto-purge adjusts water temperature after steam, so espresso tastes better
  • The steam wand swivels 360 degrees
  • Making Americanos is easy, thanks to a hot water outlet
  • Usually around $500.00 or less

Cons

  • You can’t set a brew temperature control
  • It doesn’t hook up to a water supply, which could be annoying in a busier shop
Breville BES840XL/A the Infuser Espresso Machine
$579.95
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07/23/2021 06:36 pm GMT

Bezzera Magica

Bezzera Magica

The Bezzera brand has been around since the early 1900s, so it’s no wonder one of their machines made the list. For a machine that doesn’t directly connect to the waterline, this one seems like it’ll have you covered in most small coffee shops.

Bezzera Magica Features

  • Four-liter water reservoir (one of the biggest reservoirs on the list!)
  • Two-liter boiler
  • One-year warranty
  • Stainless steel body with a mirror-like finish
  • E61 group head
  • Boiler pressure gauge (0-3) and pump pressure gauge (0-16)
  • Steam wand and hot water wand are both adjustable
  • 15 bar pump
  • Joystick controls instead of knobs
  • Comes with single and double spout portafilters, a one- and- two-cup filter baskets, blind filter basket, tamper, scoop, and group head cleaning brush
  • 16.5” x 12” x 17”
  • 1450 watts

Pros

  • Bezzera obviously knows what they’re doing since they’ve been around for so long.
  • Bigger water reservoir than some other models
  • Gorgeous shiny finish, slightly unusual design
  • Costs around $2000.00, which may actually be a “con” for some, but it’s a middle-of-the-road price as far as the best espresso machines for small coffee shops go, and seems fair for what you’re getting
  • You can make espresso, steam milk (milk frother to froth milk), and pour hot water all at the same time.
  • Cup warmer (keep that cup of coffee warm while waiting for a large order)
  • Only weighs about 50 lbs

Cons

  • If you find yourself in the middle of a brewing rush, the Bezzera Magica might not be able to keep up. If your store’s pretty low volume almost all the time, though, you should be okay with this model.
  • You may still want a frothing pitcher for busy rushes and high frother demand
  • The water reservoir will have to be refilled, which can be inconvenient sometimes.
Bezzera Magica Espresso Machine
$2,199.00
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07/23/2021 06:39 pm GMT

Elektra ART.SX (or SXC) Microcasa

Elektra ART.SX coffee maker

Want a quality espresso maker that looks cool while it works and inspires customers to strike up conversations with your professional barista while drinking their specialty coffee? Look no further than this one. This is the most unusual-looking one on the list. It won’t out-perform some of the other models in volume, but it could still be perfect for a low-volume shop.

Elektra SXC Features

  • Cool vintage design in chrome (SXC), stainless steel boilers, or copper boiler and brass (SX)
  • Eagle on the dome and a potential conversation starter (great for building relationships with customers)
  • Semi-automatic machine
  • One-year warranty
  • Somewhat of a minimalist design
  • Buttons for refilling the boiler, controlling the brew, and power
  • 800-watt heating element

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Looks more interesting than your typical espresso machine
  • The 10-inch base means it won’t take up a lot of counter space
  • It’s easy to keep an eye on the water level and pressure
  • Brass spring piston operation, which is less likely to break than plastic pieces

Cons

  • Might not match the aesthetic of your coffee shop
  • If you run a fairly busy shop even though it’s small, it might not be able to stand up to the demand
  • It’s pretty tall, so space might be an issue depending on the setup of your café
  • Price is higher than some others at around $2200.00 to $2500.00 (shop around if you’re interested in this one!)
  • Takes about 15-20 minutes to warm up
  • It uses a reservoir (about 67 ounces); it’s not plumbed
Microcasa Semiautomatic Commercial Espresso Machine
$2,259.00
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07/23/2021 06:38 pm GMT

Shaerer Coffee Art Plus with Best Foam™

If you want to impress your customers with delicious, silky foam and beautiful latte art, this coffee maker can help you do it.

Shaerer Coffee Art Plus Features

  • Make up to 350 beverages per hour
  • Amazing foam on top of the beverages you make
  • Easy to clean
  • Combines milk foam with crema
  • Lockable bean hopper
  • Adjustable beverage strength
  • Room for toppings (like cocoa powder)

Pros

  • It makes it easy to get consistent espresso drinks from employee to employee
  • Foam settings can be different
  • Programmable temperature for steaming milk automatically (or you can do it all manually)
  • You can program up to 40 beverages

Cons

  • It may leave skilled, experienced baristas feeling like they want more control and room for creativity since so much is programmable and simple
  • The price: $15,000.00+
Schaerer Coffee Art Plus Espresso Machine Model Cofeeartplus
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La Pavoni Bar T

La Pavoni Bar T

Pavoni is well-known for its elegant high-end Italian commercial espresso maker units. This is a machine that should be able to grow with you as your coffee shop grows. It’s designed to work, has a direct water feed, and even has built-in features to make the water you make your espresso taste better (which, in turn, makes your espresso better).

La Pavoni Bar-T Features

  • Includes a water softener
  • It can make up to 600 drinks in a day
  • Stainless steel water line installation
  • 27.5” x 20” x 20.5”
  • Hot water tap
  • Automatic
  • Two steam jets
  • Comes in black or red
  • 14 liter boiler
  • Anti-vacuum valve (three-way solenoid valve)
  • Electric internal pump

Pros

  • One of the machines most likely to stand up to heavy use and grow with your coffee shop
  • Espresso should taste amazing thanks to the water softener
  • Built to last

Cons

  • This one is one of the most expensive ones on the list at around $6000.00 to $7000.00.
  • Heavy (159 lbs)
  • If you don’t install the water softener, you void the warranty
  • Though smaller than the T 3 model, this is still not a “small” machine, so it’ll require a good bit of counter space
La Pavoni Bar-T 3V-B Commercial Espresso/Cappuccino Machine
$11,216.91
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07/23/2021 06:37 pm GMT

Rocket Espresso Boxer

Rocket Espresso Boxer

If you’re low on space, the Rocket Espresso Boxer could be the one for you. It’s a compact coffee maker that comes in high cup and espresso cup versions.

Key Features of the Rocket Espresso Boxer

  • Thermosiphoning heating system
  • Compact size
  • Stainless steel body
  • Volumetric programming
  • Adjustable temperature control
  • 18.5” x 25” x 19.5”
  • 13.2-liter boiler
  • 4300 watts
  • Plumbed, so no need to refill reservoirs
  • Programmed or manual extraction

Pros

  • The steam wands are heat-protected for your safety.
  • Compact and efficient, so great when you have limited space
  • Easy to clean
  • Nightly automatic backflush so you don’t have to worry about it
  • You can make quality espresso and steam milk at the same time for coffee drinks.

Cons

  • This is not going to work in busy shops. It won’t be able to keep up with the demand.
  • It’s pricey—up to $6500.00 (but check this listing for cheaper discounts).

Other Espresso Machines for Coffee Shops to Consider

While these didn’t make our top list above, they ARE definitely worth mentioning as an excellent option for comercially brewing delicious cups of coffee:

  • Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine: This Gaggia machine is ideal for VERY small spaces coming in at 9.5 X 8. X 14.2 inches and priced at under $500 (Gaggia is known for affordable pricing middle-tier espresso machines).
  • Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine: Consider this a step up from the Gaggia above, but still affordable at around $750. 
  • La Pavoni Pub Espresso Machine: This is another alternative to the Spaziale and Pavoni machines mentioned in this list, offering a chrome-plated exterior with a direct line water connection to keep the drinks coming. Expect pricing under $4,500 here. Again, Pavoni is one of our TOP recommended brands, so hard to go wrong with ANY of their models (super-automatic, semi-automatic, or manual).
  • La Marzocco Linea Mini Espresso Machine: Marzocco is another more obscure but high-end commercial grade fully automatic espresso machine, pricing at just under $5,000.
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How to Choose the Best Espresso Machine for Coffee Shop Commercial Use

When you’re shopping for the best commercial espresso machine for a small coffee shop, there are a few things to consider off the bat:

  • Do you need one that’s plumbed or is a reservoir okay?
  • How skilled are your employees?
  • How much business does your coffee shop do in an hour?

What is your budget, and what is your expected return on this investment? Do you plan to keep your shop small and cozy, or do you need a machine that’s equipped to grow with your shop as it gets busier and busier?

How much control do you want over the shots of espresso? Automatic will do it all, semi-automatic will let you tell it the shot is done, and manual lets you have all the control over each shot for a fully customizable cup of espresso experience (that also means you’ll need to spend extra time training your staff, though)

Best Groupheads Configuration for Your Coffee Shop

If you’ve done any research, you have probably come across references to “group heads”. Group heads refer to the number of effective nozzles (or coffees) that can be used.

  • 2 Groupheads: 4 coffees brewed simultaneously.
  • 3 Groupheads: 6 coffees brewed
  • 4 Groupheads: 8 coffees brewed

Depending on staff and foot traffic, this can help isolate the appropriate espresso machine for your establishment.

Which commercial espresso machines are you considering for your small coffee shop?

My Top Pick for Small Coffee Shops

There are a LOT of options to choose from, but the best overall performer that we tested was the La Spaziale S1 Mini Vivaldi unit, providing a great mix of capacity, counter space economy, and consistently good performance over time.

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Further Reading on Espresso Machine Reviews & Guides

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