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Thread: Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

  1. #1
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    Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi everyone,

    Im working on an exciting coffee project which Im hoping I can get some help from you all on. Im helping a Liberian friend start the first smoothie bar/coffee shop in the west african country.* I am currently in the UK (where I am from) researching the best equipment to take back out to him. I have a Mazzer super jolly for grinding. I am stumped on the best machine. The thing is, we have some limitations:

    1) Shipping costs a fortune to Liberia, is unreliable, and very difficult to get things through the port on arrival. Ideally, it would be something under 32kg so I can take it with me on my flight over.

    2) Novice barista at the other end. Potentially a fairly high demand.

    3) Variability in water and electrical supply. Low power settings useful. Option to plumb or handfill also.

    4) No option for expert assistance in event of breakdown. Durability/ease of repair is crucial

    After considering the above, I have decided to abandon the idea of bringing over a used, two group commercial* machine. Now, I am considering the high end one group selection. In particular:

    1) The Izzo Alex Duetto mark III
    2) Rocket Giotto/Cellini

    My questions:

    1) Realistically, how many shots can these machines manage/hour or per day? Demand could be very low (smoothies is the main draw) but Id like to know what is possible. Is there a difference between dual boiler and HX for this purpose?

    2) Am I right in saying the Rocket machines have less that can go wrong internally?

    3) Is there an ideal machine I have missed? Would I be better, even in view of limitations, to try and import a genuine huge commercial machine?

    Id be grateful for any other comments/guidance you can offer. You will be helping introduce quality coffee to a whole new country!

    Thanks,

  2. #2
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    Re: Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

    Given the likely vagueries of local power and water I would be going something even more simple internally.

    Do not go near a machine with volumetric controls, to many things to go wrong in your situation and generally cant be repaired without parts.

    Suggestion of go a Manual fill on the boiler option in case the autofill dies. With one of these generally the only other electrical parts on a simple machine are the element and the pressurestat both of which are very hardy devices.

    Depending on the availability of LPG you could consider that to heat the boiler depending on the machine. All you need then is some power for the pump and grinder.

    An OK barista will handle 40-60 coffees an hour on a single group machine (providing it will keep up). While I understand the freight issues into countres such as this a domectic machines boiler is really to small to keep up to a crowd. Consider looking at a 5L 1 grp commercial machine and even stripping some parts into a second box to weight share. That is take all the easily removable parts, casing, the complete head, handles etc (likely to be 15-20kg without to much work).


  3. #3
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    Re: Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

    Welcome to CS.

    There are quite a few VERY well known manufacturers of commercial espresso machines, and my view is that you should email perhaps a handfiul of them and see if they can help you given your particular location. Some may have import agents somewhere "close", and some will undoubtedly be more helpful than others so the choice will be made easiy if only from that point of view....

    A commercial espresso machine is, wheh alls said and done, nothing more than a means to an end. It doesnt need to do any more than make good coffee, which is affected in a major way by the expertise of the operator, AND BE VERY RELIABLE especially in view of your situation.

    That means, that simplicity is the key, which could even mean opting for a semi auto rather than a volumetric electronic machine.

    These are things that a manufcaturer can advice you on, and the rest I am afraid is just picking a brand name out of a hat (as long as it is a good one and please, owing to the extra technicalities involved in dual and multi boiler machines, I would ask the usual suspects to refrain from mentionING the (YAWN) usual names which wont be much help in Liberia when they need some kind of service intervention).

    The rest is nothing more than BS and hot air especially with respect to your situation.

    Hope that helps,
    Attilio
    very first Cs site sponsor.

  4. #4
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    Re: Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

    Hi, thanks for the responses so far. Very helpful.

    The idea of stripping some parts into a second box is really clever. As Im not a pro, I wasnt sure whether this was an option.

    As for import agents close by, the problem is not just distance, but difficulty upon arrival. Unfortunately, I would likely end up paying excessive amounts to actually get my hands on the machine.

    I agree on simplicity being the key thing, and im definitely open to the idea of a semi-auto rather than a volumetric. Same for the prospect of using LPG to heat the boiler, which Ive never heard of on a machine.

    So, does anyone have hints as to a good, simple, 1 group, 5l semi auto? Maybe even with the option to use LPG as suggested?

    Thanks once again for the help!

  5. #5
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    Re: Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

    Also, what about the prospect of a fully manual machine? Im assuming this would be the simplest and most durable, but difficulty in pulling consistent shots for a non-experience barista would outweigh this positive?

  6. #6
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    Re: Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

    You need to address all these questions to whatever manufacturers you approach.

    Two I would try for starters would be:
    BFC (info@bfcsrl.it)
    Rancilio (check their website)

    in that order.

    There are of course others but these happen to be the two I personally deal with.

    Hope that helps.

  7. #7
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    Re: Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

    As you are currently in the UK you might like to have a talk to Fracino in the UK about their dual fuel range of lever machines. Not sure if their is an Izzo commercial distributor in the UK but the Pompei has a gas powered option too.

    I think time for some phone calls your end to see what is available as it is a little hard from the other end of the planet to be to specific :)

  8. #8
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    Re: Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

    Right, thanks again for the advice. I have spent today researching options for commercial one group, lever, LPG capable machines. If I can find one in my price range, I think this will be perfect. At present, i cant quite find something that satisfies all these criteria, but i will report back tomorrow after I have spoken to some more dealers! For availability in the UK, Fracino seems my best bet at present...



  9. #9
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    Re: Help! - Espresso machine for first coffee shop in small African country

    Quote Originally Posted by 77435442596E725E57575454310 link=1341246902/2#2 date=1341278306
    and please, owing to the extra technicalities involved in dual and multi boiler machines, I would ask the usual suspects to refrain from mentionING the (YAWN) usual names which wont be much help in Liberia when they need some kind of service intervention).

    The rest is nothing more than BS and hot air especially with respect to your situation.

    Hope that helps,
    Attilio
    very first Cs site sponsor.
    ::) did you know that every time Slayer makes coffee a unicorn learns to fly? Seriously. :)



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