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  • Coffee Machine for Coffee Cart Options

    Hiyas!

    I was wondering what kind of coffee machines would suit a mobile coffee cart and what are some good brands/models that you might recommend?

    I'm doing a barista course next month that is supposed to be pretty comprehensive, but I'd like to get some ideas of the kinds of coffee machines that work best in a mobile setting. I've heard volumetric is best though I am a complete newb when it comes to commercial coffee machines so I'm not really sure what that means and how it differs from others.

    I'm custom building my cart though I would like to keep the size 2m or under in length and need bench space for a pastry and cool display, so it has to be somewhat compact. Also don't want to pay more than 3k for the machine. I don't mind buying a 2nd hand one.

    Thanks for your time.

    Annette

  • #2
    Hello Annette,

    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs.

    Put coffee cart into the Advanced Search at the top right of this page and you will find heaps of information.

    Barry

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Annette, all the best with your venture, please do plenty of research before you take the plunge which can be very rewarding.
      Check council requirements before you build your cart to ensure you comply.

      Arief

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Annette and welcome to CS.

        Where are you located? If you are in or near enough to Melbourne try and get along to MICE @ the Melbourne Showgrounds, this weekend,

        Sunday is the public day. Just about all things coffee are on display there, most of which is worthwhile, to the newbie.

        3k for a machine will pretty much force you into the secondhand market, so be careful..... there's plenty of trash washed up on the bay.

        There is no machine that I would or could recommend in that price bracket but you never know you may stumble across a bargain from someone selling a

        reasonable machine too cheaply. Don't buy a secondhand machine that you don't know the water (condition) use history of.

        You haven't mentioned grinder either..... do you have a budget or something in mind? The grinder is as or more important than the machine, in some respects.


        Don't be fooled by anyone spruiking a 'comprehensive' 'barista' 'course' either. At best it is an introductory lesson or two, sometimes three

        if you want to cover brewing alternatives but one never does these lessons and emerge as a 'barista'. The comprehensive part starts to

        come after you have made a few thousand coffees and learnt some things along the way that have made you into a better coffee maker.



        The volumetric bit is (simply and vaguely) a little microchip thingy that measures off a quantity of water that is set against your dose parameters with the intended

        outcome of producing a 30ml in 30 sec shot. It is only as consistent as your dosing technique but probably better than a manual lever that

        requires you to be focused on the pour dynamics while you're also attending to other things, like milk steaming or dealing with the general public and not

        only requires to be turned on but more importantly ...turned off, at the right time, every time. Go with volumetric, also called AV ( automatic volumetric ).

        Good luck and +1 for getting in touch with your council. Not only are they interested in your money they are also interested in your

        food handling stuff because you serve and store milk.

        Good luck!

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Annette,
          You'll be really squeezed for space if you want a pastry and display fridge all on the counter top if you want a max length of 2m. Our cart is 1.8m with a normal sized 2 group machine and coffee grinder, this leaves us very little room for milk jugs and such so we added another 40cm section that hinges up to extend the bench. This has our sink and jug rinser on it. Pretty sure warm hand wash sinks, plus a second utensil wash sink is mandatory for most states but check with council. My experience with council was great, I was honest and asked for help/advice on how best to meet the standards, they were more than accommodating (I straddle the border so had to get approval from both SA and VIC councils). A coffee machine that comes to mind is the Expobar Megacrem, this comes in a compact (not as wide) 2 group but also in a high group to fit taller takeaway cups. These compact machines do have a smaller boiler so there's the possibility of it running out of steam (metaphorically and literally!) if you have a mad rush of orders. I've read some blogs that say they keep up and some that say they're not big enough. This will come down to how many cups over time you think you may do. This is where you research. Lots. Buying second hand commercial machines can be bargains or disasters. If you're unsure of buying secondhand then maybe contact your local espresso machine maintenance company and just put out the feelers, they may be in the know when shops are replacing old machines and may well even know the machines history. It's worth a try.

          Theres a whole lot to think of when building up a cart, it can be heaps of fun but there's definitely good and not-so-good ways of making them.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Barry_Duncan View Post
            Hello Annette,

            Welcome to CoffeeSnobs.

            Put coffee cart into the Advanced Search at the top right of this page and you will find heaps of information.

            Barry
            Thanks Barry. =)

            Originally posted by Bazooka View Post
            Hi Annette, all the best with your venture, please do plenty of research before you take the plunge which can be very rewarding.
            Check council requirements before you build your cart to ensure you comply.

            Arief
            Thanks Bazooka, yes definitely going to do a lot of research first. I plan on actually working in a cafe after I've done the barista course (fingers crossed I'll find a position in my area the Blue Mountains >.<) before I take the plunge and start my own coffee cart, but a coffee cart is definitely my goal. =)

            Originally posted by chokkidog View Post
            Hi Annette and welcome to CS.

            Where are you located? If you are in or near enough to Melbourne try and get along to MICE @ the Melbourne Showgrounds, this weekend,

            Sunday is the public day. Just about all things coffee are on display there, most of which is worthwhile, to the newbie.

            3k for a machine will pretty much force you into the secondhand market, so be careful..... there's plenty of trash washed up on the bay.

            There is no machine that I would or could recommend in that price bracket but you never know you may stumble across a bargain from someone selling a

            reasonable machine too cheaply. Don't buy a secondhand machine that you don't know the water (condition) use history of.

            You haven't mentioned grinder either..... do you have a budget or something in mind? The grinder is as or more important than the machine, in some respects.


            Don't be fooled by anyone spruiking a 'comprehensive' 'barista' 'course' either. At best it is an introductory lesson or two, sometimes three

            if you want to cover brewing alternatives but one never does these lessons and emerge as a 'barista'. The comprehensive part starts to

            come after you have made a few thousand coffees and learnt some things along the way that have made you into a better coffee maker.



            The volumetric bit is (simply and vaguely) a little microchip thingy that measures off a quantity of water that is set against your dose parameters with the intended

            outcome of producing a 30ml in 30 sec shot. It is only as consistent as your dosing technique but probably better than a manual lever that

            requires you to be focused on the pour dynamics while you're also attending to other things, like milk steaming or dealing with the general public and not

            only requires to be turned on but more importantly ...turned off, at the right time, every time. Go with volumetric, also called AV ( automatic volumetric ).

            Good luck and +1 for getting in touch with your council. Not only are they interested in your money they are also interested in your

            food handling stuff because you serve and store milk.

            Good luck!
            If only it were on next weekend then I might be able to make the trip down there.

            I can go up to 6k-7k through financing for a coffee machine and a grinder but can't really go higher than that as I also have to get the trailer on finance.

            Regarding barista courses, are there any you might know of in Sydney that you would recommend? I found one that is tafe accredited which I planned to do early next month.

            I have contacted my local council to arrange an appointment to talk in person so hopefully they will be able to guide me in getting my cart up and running when the time comes.

            Thanks Chokkidog!

            Originally posted by prloring View Post
            Hi Annette,
            You'll be really squeezed for space if you want a pastry and display fridge all on the counter top if you want a max length of 2m. Our cart is 1.8m with a normal sized 2 group machine and coffee grinder, this leaves us very little room for milk jugs and such so we added another 40cm section that hinges up to extend the bench. This has our sink and jug rinser on it. Pretty sure warm hand wash sinks, plus a second utensil wash sink is mandatory for most states but check with council. My experience with council was great, I was honest and asked for help/advice on how best to meet the standards, they were more than accommodating (I straddle the border so had to get approval from both SA and VIC councils). A coffee machine that comes to mind is the Expobar Megacrem, this comes in a compact (not as wide) 2 group but also in a high group to fit taller takeaway cups. These compact machines do have a smaller boiler so there's the possibility of it running out of steam (metaphorically and literally!) if you have a mad rush of orders. I've read some blogs that say they keep up and some that say they're not big enough. This will come down to how many cups over time you think you may do. This is where you research. Lots. Buying second hand commercial machines can be bargains or disasters. If you're unsure of buying secondhand then maybe contact your local espresso machine maintenance company and just put out the feelers, they may be in the know when shops are replacing old machines and may well even know the machines history. It's worth a try.

            Theres a whole lot to think of when building up a cart, it can be heaps of fun but there's definitely good and not-so-good ways of making them.
            Hi ploring, I have 2 design ideas for my cart. The first is a 2m with extensions on the front and sides and the 2nd is a split cart, not decided on the size yet but i am thinking 1.5m each. I'm leaning towards the 2nd because it gives me the flexibility to fit more places and this way I can have more bench space as well. I'm looking at having a double sink built into a pull out system like the ones seen on the MVU carts so that I can have more bench space. I'm a little hesitant about buying 2nd hand coffee machines after reading the comments. >.< So I might go with a new coffee machine and grinder through finance so I can get something decent. I have a lot to think about! Thanks for the reply! =)

            Comment


            • #7
              Not sure if it helps your situation or not, but we went with a Fracino dual-fuel machine when researching our mobile setup. It gives us the flexibility to operate at locations that don't provide mains power. Not overly expensive but works well. Used it heavily for 6 months now and we are very happy. You'll need a bit of thought into the battery/inverter setup for the pumps and grinder but its DIY do-able with a bit of advice.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Artimus View Post
                Not sure if it helps your situation or not, but we went with a Fracino dual-fuel machine when researching our mobile setup. It gives us the flexibility to operate at locations that don't provide mains power. Not overly expensive but works well. Used it heavily for 6 months now and we are very happy. You'll need a bit of thought into the battery/inverter setup for the pumps and grinder but its DIY do-able with a bit of advice.
                Thanks Artimus, that sounds pretty handy!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Increasing your budget will help a lot. Have you spoken to Silverchef or Go Getta (rent/buy) re machine/grinder, rather than the bank?

                  Both are big in the hospitality industry and above board. Agree with Artimus re gas etc. I am taking on a new client who's debut gig is

                  next week. He has a restored Falcon station wagon ( I haven't seen it yet.... under wraps ;-) ) with a gas fired machine,

                  battery/inverter setup and solar panels as well. If he makes the deadline I'll post some pics with details next week.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by chokkidog View Post
                    Increasing your budget will help a lot. Have you spoken to Silverchef or Go Getta (rent/buy) re machine/grinder, rather than the bank?

                    Both are big in the hospitality industry and above board. Agree with Artimus re gas etc. I am taking on a new client who's debut gig is

                    next week. He has a restored Falcon station wagon ( I haven't seen it yet.... under wraps ;-) ) with a gas fired machine,

                    battery/inverter setup and solar panels as well. If he makes the deadline I'll post some pics with details next week.
                    Lots of great advice above. Full disclosure - I'm not in the industry but have plenty of friends and family that are so have seen and heard a few things. I was actually gonna ask if it's necessary to buy a machine outright as well. I'm in NZ so don't know anything about Australia, but over here you can lease or rent/buy through industry suppliers like the ones mentioned above, but more commonly cafes sort their machine through their bean supplier (although I suppose that's not possible for a small start up).
                    Dual power sounds good too. Brands like Wega, Unic, La Carimali, La Marzocco all make machines that could work among others. Sounds like you've got plenty of enthusiasm and are keen to do the pre-work. All the best, hope it goes well.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hi there, just be aware that machines in carts need to be ultra robust to be able to handle lots of movement, unlike models that are plonked onto a bench in a shop and left there forever.

                      That will make some of the brands you mention unsuitable for use in a cart....
                      Last edited by TOK; 31 March 2015, 12:06 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by chokkidog View Post
                        Increasing your budget will help a lot. Have you spoken to Silverchef or Go Getta (rent/buy) re machine/grinder, rather than the bank?

                        Both are big in the hospitality industry and above board. Agree with Artimus re gas etc. I am taking on a new client who's debut gig is

                        next week. He has a restored Falcon station wagon ( I haven't seen it yet.... under wraps ;-) ) with a gas fired machine,

                        battery/inverter setup and solar panels as well. If he makes the deadline I'll post some pics with details next week.
                        As promised...some pics of the new rig; machine is a Cime, grinder a Quamar.
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by chokkidog; 2 April 2015, 04:13 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by chokkidog View Post
                          As promised...some pics of the new rig; machine is a Cime, grinder a Quamar.
                          Awesome set up. The falcon looks great!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Artimus View Post
                            Not sure if it helps your situation or not, but we went with a Fracino dual-fuel machine when researching our mobile setup. It gives us the flexibility to operate at locations that don't provide mains power. Not overly expensive but works well. Used it heavily for 6 months now and we are very happy. You'll need a bit of thought into the battery/inverter setup for the pumps and grinder but its DIY do-able with a bit of advice.
                            Hi Artimus, I am looking at the Fracino dual-fuel machines myself. Do you have the Contempo or Retro? Another year on, is it still doing well? What is maintenance and parts availability like?

                            Thanks for any info

                            Comment

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