Traditional Espresso Machines – A Focus Point for Your Business

Placing a traditional espresso machine behind your counter can aesthetically often say much more to your customers than just having your well trained front of house staff serving espresso derived coffee drinks.

 It would seem at first glance that investing in a espresso machine and having it placed in full customer view would be enough to sell mountains of coffee. However their are many simple things you can do to further the quality of the drinks your machine promises to make for your customers. Furthermore you when your machine is set up right you will be able to maintain and build on the quality of your hot drinks menu, maximising the use and return on your investment.


1. Set Up Your Machine and Grinder to Match the Coffee You Sell

Your coffee supplier should be able to help you with this if you are unsure of what to do (you may have to pay for their time but this varies from one supplier to another) you should be checking the grinder to ensure the coarseness and fineness of the grind is correct to achieve optimum pour for your espresso – checking the pump pressure on the machine – checking the temperature on the machine. This can become expensive if you have to keep paying for a technician’s time so choosing your supply partner carefully and asking these kind of questions at the outset is a good idea. (in general our approach is to support the customers equipment because the customers in cup quality is a reflection of our coffee!)

2. Drink Quality

This sounds very much like a repeat of the above, but there is a great saying about how easy it is to make a poor coffee from a good bean, so once your machine and grinder are set up for your specific bean lets concentrate on the pilots training. Using a traditional machine takes some skill, confidence and practice (even the most nervous trainees have gone on to love using the traditional machines, it is just a question of patience and perseverance) normally when your machine is installed the company carrying out the installation will offer some staff training covering everything from basic operation, drink preparation, tips & tricks, to cleaning & regular maintenance. Our experience would suggest that concentrating on the simple drinks to begin with is the key to improving your operation of the machine. Heating and texturing the milk is key to this. Make the most of the training offered on installation by getting involved and having a go yourself, after all whoever is taking the training was also a beginner at some point and will most likely share what works for them. There is also an abundance of videos on Youtube offering guidance and tips on the best way to prepare milk (One nice tip is to practice with cold water, that way you can see the position of the steam wand in the water and find the technique which suits you best without wasting 50 litres of milk!!! – another is to use whole milk when making the step from water to milk as the higher fat content makes it easier to get a positive result) <Click here for useful Video guide on foaming milk for Cappuccino & Latte>

Monin Dark Chocolate sauce

3. Flexibility in Your Menu and the Volume of Drinks you serve.

Once your staff are proficient and confident operating the machine the true scope of the machine can begin to be exploited. Taken against a fully automatic machine the operator can change taste to suit individual customers (for example quickly and easily up charging for extra shots of espresso) and introducing seasonal drinks or drinks which are bespoke to your outlet. This flexibility is not available on the bean to cup machines as by their very nature they are fully automatic designed to quickly and consistently produce large volumes of drinks at the push of a button, reducing staff input and possible variations in quality, any menu changes would normally only be made by the service technician and therefore charged for! We regularly post flavoured coffee recipes here on the Dancing Goat Coffee Blog, we also have a recipe directory on the Dancing Goat My Taste Blog Page.

4. What are the Costs vs Benefits When Compared to Other Methods of Serving Coffee

A quick cost per cup analysis against the Cafeteire method of serving coffee shows a clear cost saving when using an espresso machine as a basis for hot drink preparation:

Cafetiere (4-6 cup 26g of ground coffee) – cost per cup 11.5p approx

Espresso (7g of espresso ground coffee) – Cost per cup 7p approx

Together with the cost per cup benefit there is also the possibility to expand the drinks menu when using an espresso machine. Rather than pour over/filter/cafeteire methods and the opportunity to up charge per cups the drink can be tailored by the operator (as outlined above)

The higher cost of espresso machines is sometimes an inhibiting factor when analysing the cost/benefit of investing in such equipment. To try and help add some clarity to the process I have created the guide below (some of the cost are variable but I have entered realistic costs in an attempt to show the breakeven point when leasing a 2 group coffee machine) – all figures used are intended as a guide and have been sourced online (eg.Tesco whole milk 0.57/ltr). Leasing quotes are available and subject to status.

Let us quote for your traditional espresso machines starting from under £2000

Two group coffee machine – List price £1995+vat leased over 3 years – approx £70 per month

Espresso/Americano cup cost 9oz drink – 7g Coffee = 7p added water = 0p – total 7p

Cappuccino cup cost 9oz drink – 7g Coffee = 7p Whole milk 6fl oz = 11p approx – total 18p

Selling just three cups a day at £1.75 a cup would cover your equipment leasing cost (£70 ÷ 30 days gives you a equipment lease cost of £2.33 a day) and generate a profit of £2.38  (leasing also gives you the opportunity to claim capital investment allowance against tax payable on your profit)

5. The Longevity of Your Equipment is Strongly Linked to Service and Maintenance

This can again be linked to your choice in supplier. (Suppliers with in-house service generally take a holistic approach to ingredient supply & equipment service costs) On installation your supplier should test the water PH and advise on the type of filter/scale protection to install and the exchange date for this filter/scale protection.

gaggia 3grp
Fit scale protection to avoid this kind of issue – its the heating element from a 3 group machine which had no scale protection fitted!!

Equipment manufacturers do not cover failures due to calcium and scale build up.  Regular service intervals and water treatment will increase the operational life of your machine and reduce servicing costs. (When a filter exchange is the same price as the service call out it makes perfect sense as you avoid the potential lost sales and spare parts cost.)

With all this in mind it’s clear that an espresso coffee machine can be a centre piece for your business, a tool for selling coffee, a tool for maintaining your business, a tool for expanding your business, and if chosen together with the right supply partner a match made in heaven to last for years.

Here’s an informative video from Dancing Goat HQ on how to clean your espresso machine.


Here’s our range of two & three group espresso coffee machines.