Coffee machines for the catering and hotel industry

Let’s put ourselves in the following situation: you are about to open a hotel business (restaurant, cafeteria, bar, etc.) and, as you know, coffee is sacred. Almost a social ritual, you start looking for the best option to buy a coffee maker for your business.

But you find that the world of industrial coffee machines for the hospitality industry is unknown to most people and that it has nothing to do with the world of coffee machines for the home. So, where do we start? Which is the best coffee machine for the hospitality industry? Bezzera, Expobar, Lelit, Fracino, single-dose coffee machines for the hotel and catering trade. Which coffee machine for bars do you recommend?

⚠️ These are safe options if you don’t want to read the full guide: The Pavoni Domus Bar, the Lelit PL62, or the Riviera&Bar 1700w.

We will try to answer all those questions little by little along with our guide. But let’s start from the beginning:

What is a catering coffee machine?

Best coffee machines for business? We won’t be so blunt, but you’ll find plenty of information in this guide. In this sense, we want to differentiate very well what we call professional coffee makers for home and coffee makers for hotels and bars, which are the ones we include in this article. The former are top-of-the-range machines, designed more for professional than domestic use, but which usually only have one group of coffee and sometimes are quite compact.

Many of them are automatic coffee machines for the hotel and catering industry: a public service-oriented evolution of the mighty super-automatic domestic coffee machines.

Bar coffee machines almost always have two groups of coffee (sometimes more) and are designed to withstand much more intensive and continuous use of hundreds of coffee services per day.

Neither by price, nor many times by size, none of the professional bar coffee makers you’ll find in this guide is suitable for installation in your home. A lot of costs, a lot of consumption, and a performance that you will not be able to take advantage of in any way.

A coffee machine for the hospitality industry could be defined or characterized by the following qualities:

  • It uses rotary pressure pumps, which allow you to chain dozens and dozens of coffee services without pressure being affected. The coffee machines we use at home use vibrating pumps, which are much cheaper.
  • It mounts two (or more) groups of coffee. So you can make several cups at once, of course.
  • It costs several thousand pounds. It is derived from all of the above, of course.

Buying a coffee machine for catering where and how?

If we are looking to buy professional coffee machines for the hospitality industry, we have several options before us:

  • When you are buying a brand new professional coffee machine for the hospitality industry, this is the right option if you know what your business needs and have enough budget to afford it.
  • Go to the market of second-hand coffee machines for the hotel and catering industry. An excellent opportunity to get a professional coffee maker at a more affordable price than usual. Ideal for minimizing the initial investment in your business.
  • If you opt for an automatic coffee machine for the hotel and catering industry, you can see several here. They are cheaper than manual coffee machines and can make a good deal in case the business is small (and the customers not too demanding). Perfect for business centres, breakfast buffets, bakeries and similar.

Tips for buying an industrial coffee machine

  • Before buying an industrial coffee maker for the hotel and catering industry, calculate well the needs of your business and the taste of your customers. You must know how to control the parameters of intensity, temperature and water dosage (in some regions, coffee is consumed much more cheaply than in others, for example).
  • The coffee maker must have a cup warmer (usually located at the top) so that the cups and plates are at the correct temperature before serving the coffee.
  • The maintenance of an industrial coffee maker is as essential, if not more so than any other issue. Clean it often, and be sure to filter the water before using it in your brewer.
  • The boiler should be made of brass, or better yet, copper. The body is made of stainless steel.
  • You should be very clear about where you are going to put your industrial coffee machine before you buy it – coffee machines for the hospitality industry are large appliances!

Bravilor Bonamat J510 Mondo Coffee Machine, 1.5 L

Types of industrial coffee machines for the hospitality industry

If you’re new to this business, you’ll probably be interested to know what the four basic types of professional hospitality coffee makers are, depending on how they work.

  • Manual: They do not use a pressure pump. It is the barista himself who, with a cam or piston, manages the pressure and extracts the coffee as he wants and for as long as he thinks fit. They are already tough to see in the hotel and catering industry of our time. Their domestic equivalent would be the famous La Pavoni coffee machines.
  • Semi-automatics: Most of the coffee machines you see in bars are of this type. The barista must press a button to start the water injection and press it again to stop it.
  • Automatic: automatic coffee machines for the hotel and catering industry are already programmed to use a certain amount of water in the extraction process. The barista only has to worry about starting the process but not about finishing it.
  • Super-automatic: Same as the previous ones, but they also have a grinder. That is, they take care of the whole coffee cycle from the beginning to the end.

NOTE: Note the similarity of this classification with that of home coffee makers, which you can consult in the following guide: differences between semi-automatic, automatic and super-automatic coffee makers.

Capsule coffee machines for the hospitality industry

Capsule coffee machines for the hotel and catering industry are a viable alternative for many businesses due to the advantages of speed and cleanliness that single-serve coffee machines have over traditional ground coffee. Of course, capsule coffee machines have little to do with domestic coffee machines.

Some brands, such as Stracto, Lavazza (through its Lavazza Blue business capsule line) or Nestlé with its Nespresso coffee machines for the hotel and catering industry, offer solutions to business owners who are thinking about a coffee machine of this type.

The best coffee machines for the hospitality industry – Prices and ranking

Well, more than “ranking“, this is a list because we have ordered them by no specific criteria. It is just a list of the most exciting bar coffee makers we have found on Amazon, which can help you get an idea of their availability (they don’t always have them in stock) and their current price.

Most of them are over 1000 and 2000 pounds, although there are many other models and brands of coffee machines for the hospitality industry that have an even higher cost. As you can see, the prices of coffee machines for the hotel and catering sector make it unwise to buy just one for use at home.

We will now discuss each of these models in greater detail, commenting on their main features and advantages.

NOTE: Some of these coffee makers may be temporarily unavailable on Amazon. As these are large and valuable items, many units are not usually distributed or stored in one place, so dealers are often out of stock and have to wait a few weeks for the chosen machine to be available for purchase again.

Lelit PL2S Giulietta

Lelit is a company of high prestige in the sector of high-end domestic espresso machines, although it also has some copies for the hotel and catering industry, like this Lelit Giulietta. No one is going to set up a coffee maker of more than 2000 pounds and two sets of coffee in their home, are they?

The Lelit PL2S Giulietta model has as a flag the excellence in the manufacture of the piece and the materials used. It is a semi-automatic two-group coffee maker E61, which guarantees temperature stability (an essential aspect for obtaining a good espresso) and is built 100% in stainless steel.

A double manometer is present, which serves, on the one hand, to control the pressure of the boiler, and on the other hand, the pressure of the coffee extraction.

It allows to elaborate up to 4 espressos per minute in each group (8 espressos per minute in total), and it mounts a 10 litres copper boiler.

It weighs 55 kilograms and comes with a twelve-month warranty on all components and accessories as standard.

Bonamat RLX 585

Bravilor Bonamat is a Dutch brand that specializes in the manufacture of industrial coffee machines and all kinds of accessories related to the professional catering industry.

The Bravilor Bonamat RLX 585 model dates from 2002 and has two integrated coffee groups and two containers with their corresponding hot water/vaporizer handles. All the external casing and accessories are made of stainless steel, and the machine is excellent and robust.

If you’ve noticed the photo, you’ll have noticed something different, but if not, we’ll tell you: unlike the rest, this Bonamat RLX 585 is a professional filter coffee machine, not an espresso machine. It couldn’t be otherwise since Central Europe is precisely the region where consumers most accept this type of filter coffee.

It means that the machine has all the usual elements of a drip coffee machine (filters, filter holders, brewing accessories), but all of them are naturally adapted to professional use, which involves numerous services at the end of the day.

The function of the containers is not trivial: they are responsible for monitoring the quality of the coffee and ensuring that the drink is always the same and consistent. No surprises.

The price of the Bonamat RLX 585 makes it very clear what kind of audience it is aimed at. The capacity of this real monster is about 26 litres of coffee per hour. Its dimensions: 70 x 51 x 61 cm.

Fracino Bambino

Within the prestigious Italian manufacturer Fracino, we highlight the model Bambino Automatic. It is a semi-automatic espresso machine with two groups of coffee and a very classic plant, weighing 55 kg and measuring 48 x 58 x 50 cm.

The boiler of the Fracino Bambino Automatic has a capacity of 10 litres, and the piece allows to serve up to 240 cappuccinos, 400 espressos and 50 litres of hot water (infusions) every hour. The thermosiphon water circulation system, standard in this type of professional coffee maker, ensures that the water temperature is always at its ideal point, with no ups and downs.

Without a doubt, this is a significant alternative when buying two groups of coffee machines for your business.

Nespresso Gemini

Nespresso’s professional offer (from its Nespresso Business line) could not be missing from this selection of business coffee makers. On this occasion, we highlight the Nespresso Gemini, which has a 6-litre tank and a container to store up to 70 used capsules. It has three espresso sizes that can be programmed to suit your taste (ristretto, espresso and long). It is one of the best single-dose coffee machines for the hotel and catering industry and office buildings, without a doubt.

The model we’re talking about is the CS200 Pro, but an even more advanced model (Nespresso Gemini CS220 Pro), which has numerous updates, especially to the body and the control panel. Both have dual dispensers, but the CS220 Pro also can froth milk, and therefore to prepare specialities such as cappuccino, lattes, etc.

In short: if you’re looking for a professional capsule coffee maker for your business, you don’t need to look any further. The Nespresso Gemini is waiting for you.

The Pavoni Domus Bar

With this model, we are not going to overextend ourselves since we dedicated to it an extensive review that you can read here: a review of La Pavoni Domus Bar.

It is a “small range” coffee maker for the hotel and catering industry, which means that we would not recommend it for a café with hundreds of daily services. But perhaps it can make up for a different kind of business where coffee is not the main item on the menu. It has a built-in grinder with seven grinding positions, which always comes in handy to save you the extra space of a professional coffee grinder.

The Pavoni Domus Bar is equipped with a brass boiler and has a large capacity tank: 3.5 litres (enough to prepare about 70-75 espressos without filling it).

ECM Mechanika IV

The Mechanika IV is probably the top of the range of the prestigious German firm ECM. It is a professional coffee machine, which has nothing to do with the domestic coffee machines (also of very high range and price) of this same firm.

The ECM Mechanika coffee machine has a 3-litre water tank (in any of its versions, the tank is the same) and is made of stainless steel. Please pay close attention before buying one, because it is marketed in three different versions: two of them have a vibrating pump, and the third is a rotary pump, which is ideal for hostelry).

If you are looking for a coffee maker for a bar, make sure you buy the ECM Mechanika IV with a rotary pump, and of course, with two coffee groups. You will find it under the name ECM Mechanika Profi Duo.

It is what you will find inside the box if you decide to buy an ECM Mechanika IV for your business:

Very similar to the Technika IV model, both coffee machines are available in a single-group and a double-group version. Naturally, the single-group version is more oriented towards domestic use, while the two-group version is a 100% coffee machine for coffee shops and customer service.

Bezzera coffee machines

We haven’t found too many of them on Amazon. Still, Bezzera brand coffee makers hold a privileged place, on their own merits, on the national stage of professional coffee makers in the hotel and catering industry. Bezzera coffee machines are also known as La Marzocco.

A second-hand La Marzocco coffee maker (Strada model, to be precise) is being sold for around £12,000. Such is the prestige and performance of a Bezzera coffee maker.

But don’t worry, if these figures are out of your business budget, you can still choose a good professional coffee maker for much less money, as you’ll see in this guide.