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Thread: $500 or less machine for small church use?

  1. #1
    cmorrissey
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    $500 or less machine for small church use?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Anyone have a good recommendation on a machine and/or grinder under $500 to be used just a couple times a week?
    Im looking for something that can do about 40 coffees happily in one day but not be used most of the week.
    Im currently using a Brevile 800ES with a separate Brevile BCG450 grinder which goes ok; happy with the coffee but its a big hassle getting the grind in when youre making so many coffees. I was looking at the Breville BES860 Fresca Espresso Machine with the built in grinder, but apparently its still recommended that these machines arent used for commercial use (though I wouldnt really classify 40 coffees as commercial, perhaps Im wrong?)
    I can find both of these for around $500 or so, they are roughly in the price range.
    Any advice, thoughts opinions would be really helpful!

  2. #2
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    Re: $500 or less machine for small church use?

    Ive got a BES820, and I cant imagine trying to make 40 coffees on it. Definitely beyond the design intent of these machines!

    To speed things up a bit (if youre not already doing this), I dose a little less than normal, and steam the milk between each shot (small jugs help here). This helps the puck have time to dry out before removal (my unpressurised basket help here too!), so you can almost pour the next shot after finishing the milk for the last.

    I still wouldnt want to do 40 coffees in a row...

  3. #3
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    Re: $500 or less machine for small church use?

    Hi Chantelle,

    luckily our church found a cafe closing down and bought a Boema 2-group & grinder and had it installed in the kitchen :D Apart from the "christening" of the machine, we probably do about 50 coffees a Sunday, when its operated.

    Ive also owned some Breville gear which I once took to a birthday party of about 15 - 20 people. It was very painful. It could take you well over an hour to make 40 coffees on such a machine.

    To be realistic, youll need a machine that can steam and extract simultaneously - Sunbeam and Gee are probably the cheapest, however it would be hard to recommend them for 40 coffees a week. In the long run they will break down and are hard to repair.

    In all honesty, I would advertise in the local bulletin for donations to a coffee fund, and save up for a heat-exchanger. If its looked after it will last you a long time, and cost you less in the long run.

    Make some mid-term goals: at $450 you can buy a Compak K3T / K3P and start making dripolater coffee from fresh beans. After another $1000-ish you could probably afford an Oscar (+/- depending on new or second hand). Dont forget water filter, tamper, cleaning cloths & powder, cups, etc. We sell ours at $2 ea to cover continuous costs, which is less than $1 per coffee. We give free coffee to visitors and "first timers".

    Hope that helps!

  4. #4
    TC
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    Re: $500 or less machine for small church use?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4B45475A5A415B5B4D51280 link=1330912488/0#0 date=1330912488
    (though I wouldnt really classify 40 coffees as commercial, perhaps Im wrong?)
    Hi Chantelle,

    One thing to keep in mind here is that its likely that most (if not all) espresso machine vendors would classify that as commercial use- for which a domestic machine is not designed. At the very least, you would most likely be without warranty in the event of a fault.

    I think Iains advice is spot on and Id also recommed that you head down this route.

    Once you have funds, you might approach a coffee company near you. Many of them have pallet racking chock-a-block with ex. cafe machinery. Some of it may be a little tired; some is simply from closed or lost accounts and is awaiting a new home. These companies may well be happy to do a refurb on a good but older machine for you and to assist with your cause.

    The bonus would be a level of support should something go wrong (which you will need).

    Good luck

    Chris

  5. #5
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    Re: $500 or less machine for small church use?

    Yes that is correct and lets be clear that the $500.00 budget goes straight out the window.

    40 coffees a day requires something more than a dept store brand name small domestic machine. It will drive the operator insane and not last long. The fact of it being uniused most of the week is not relevant, the machine has to be specified for the intended use which is 40 coffees a day irrespective of the number of days used. You cant run a bus service by using a sedan ;)

    Absolute minimum spec would be a 1 group semi commercial with internal water tank. Much better would be a 1 group full commercial with plumbing and drainage.

    Also......buy a real grinder they can be had from around $500.00 and up at new price. No dept store brand names please buy real equipment for your 40 coffees a day. Buy once and buy right.

  6. #6
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    Re: $500 or less machine for small church use?

    Good advice here. Yes 40 coffees at a time is commercial use. $500 is not a functional budget for what you are after. Is it essential that you all drink cappucinos and lattes on Sunday? If so, then maybe put it back to the parishoners to either fund raise or direct donate for the cause. Surely a few church markets would raise a couple of thousand quite easily.* ;)

    Talk to a machine supplier and ask them what a realistic budget for an old reconditioned machine for your purpose is. Then you will have a target.

  7. #7
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    Re: $500 or less machine for small church use?

    Would a commercial sized percolator be better?
    See them a lot at conferences and the coffee is drinkable if nothing special. Search for coffee urn on google.

  8. #8
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    Re: $500 or less machine for small church use?

    I would hit up graysonline and check out some of the auctions on there. My workmates and I picked up a nice Gaggia Classic which is still going strong for $180.

  9. #9
    TC
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    Re: $500 or less machine for small church use?

    Quote Originally Posted by 71727B68746E2A621A0 link=1330912488/7#7 date=1331526026
    I would hit up graysonline and check out some of the auctions on there. My workmates and I picked up a nice Gaggia Classic which is still going strong for $180.
    Nice pick up. Totally unsuitable for the purposes described by the OP though... :-?



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