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Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

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  • Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

    Hi All,

    I’m looking for some comments / suggestions on what Coffee Machine to purchase for a small café with relatively low coffee trade volume.  I am after a two group machine.  Space is an issue therefore the machine should not be too wide.  I am currently looking at the Wega Polaris compact and Boema 2 Group Volumetric.

    If anyone has any experience with these two machines, I’m interested to hear your comments.  How’s the extractions / milk steamer etc or just some general reviews on the brand itself.  Also suggestions with other machine models would also be helpful.

    If you know any suppliers who can supply the machine + set up with a competitive price, please let me know as well?

    Thanks,

    SPL.G

  • #2
    Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

    Define small, kg per week would be a good start (est if you havent got a machine at the moment). From reputation alone I would go with the wega they are available from Genovese.

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    • #3
      Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

      10-12kg / week at the moment.  I think the machine listed should be more than capable?

      Thanks for the link. I am in Sydney btw.

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      • #4
        Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

        Is the 20cm too much of an issue? I have used a compact machine before and it just doesnt keep up if things get busy (not that 10-12 is overly busy). If you can find the space I would go for the standard size.
        Do you do many t/a or is it all small sitdown coffees?

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        • #5
          Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

          Space is definitely an issue. So the smaller the better. How was your experience with the wega?

          Mainly its takeaway.

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          • #6
            Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

            Wasnt a wega, just a similar sized machine. If its takeaway (does depend on the sizes) the size of the boiler wont handle high demand when you are busy. I used one in my business for a couple of months as a stop gap and I can see the drop off in sales due to the lack of capacity.

            You can improve capacity by having a hot water urn located nearby for teas, long blacks etc so you arent dumping too much cold water into the boiler. But if size is that important then the wega will have to do the job (like I said never used it but rep is good). What is currently in the shop?

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            • #7
              Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

              Currently we’re using one of the big super automatic machine (Built in grinder + auto extraction).  So yes, installing new machine would mean losing heapsssss of work space + more space for a grinder!

              So with the 7 liters tank on the compact, how long would it take to re boil the tank from fresh cold?  As said coffee volume is relatively small, so maybe 7 liters is actually more than enough?

              Estimate around 150 ml of water used to prepare one cup, (extraction + steaming + wastage, maybe more for cleaning the group head each time).  We don’t get too many teas / long black, mostly milk based.  So that’s around 45 cups to empty the boiler.  I think that’s plenty… or what do you think otherwise with the estimation?

              still interested to hear from someone with personal experience with the machine.

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              • #8
                Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

                Completely wrong way of looking at it, it is not the amount of water used in each coffee but the time the boiler takes to recover to the set pressure. The bigger the boiler and element the more steaming ability of the machine.

                I dont do too many teas and long blacks either but one takes the machine out of action for 30-sec 1 min as the boiler recovers (which if you are busy is an eternity).

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                • #9
                  Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

                  Originally posted by 3A343936213736580 link=1266588538/7#7 date=1266646686
                  Completely wrong way of looking at it, it is not the amount of water used in each coffee but the time the boiler takes to recover to the set pressure.The bigger the boiler and element the more steaming ability of the machine.

                  I dont do too many teas and long blacks either but one takes the machine out of action for 30-sec 1 min as the boiler recovers (which if you are busy is an eternity).
                  Exactly. On a HX machine the water for your coffee is NOT coming out of the boiler.......... Its clean water fed seperately thats being heated indirectly via the HX tubes sitting in the boiler.

                  On my M27 2 group, the only limiting factor is the time taken for the flush and short wait afterward for the temp to stabilise. (about 1min). My wife doesnt wait to stabilise after the flush, and she says she cant taste the difference anyway.....

                  So, wait between shots somewhere between 15 - 90 secs depending on how fussy / busy you are.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

                    Originally posted by 505E535C4B5D5C320 link=1266588538/7#7 date=1266646686
                    I dont do too many teas and long blacks either but one takes the machine out of action for 30-sec 1 min as the boiler recovers (which if you are busy is an eternity).
                    I also make my wifes long blacks last now if we have guests and Im making multiple drinks.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

                      On various coffee carts, Ive run 1-group commercials (6 litre boiler), 2grp compacts (7-8 litre boiler) and standard 2 (9 to 12ltr) and 3 groupers (16 - 19lt).

                      Not serving tea and only a rare long-black, the 6-ltr boiler ran out of steam after about the 2nd 2litre milk jug and midway through the 3rd jug. That is, preparing 2x 2litre milk jugs almost killed it when doing it back-to-back. Milk was also pretty cold as well.

                      The Compact fairs a little better being able to complete the 3rd big jug, but if you are really busy and you get an order for 10+ coffees at the same time, if your compact has 2x steam wands and you want to make up a lot of milk, Im afraid that if you are a speedy barista your machine boiler may go into recovery mode in as soon as 5-7 mins (obviously depending upon things like how cold the milk is and the overall performance of the machine).

                      A boiler in recovery mode, even for 60-180 seconds may create a side-effect on the temperature stability of the HXs and impact your shots leading to inconsistent extractions.

                      Wegas are good machines and can run near capacity quite well (one of the reason some large Roasters use them as standard in the cafe fitouts). Made in the CMA factory along with San Marinos and Astoria equipment - they share a number of similar design and components and have somewhat of a reputation for "heaps of steam" in comparison to some other brands (but that difference these days is minimal across the brands as it really depends upon the setup).

                      If you can, find a cafe who has a similar machine and ask them how far they get before they hit the limit (if they know or care !). One way to find is look for certain names of roaster on umbrellas and barriers (I wont mention who).

                      Worst case, you can always manage it carefully and get used to the limits of the machine, do your milk in stages by taking it near the zone or working around boiler recovery phases. its about getting used to the machine and planning tasks around the big hits and avoiding use of the hot water spout as much as possible.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

                        Sorry, I forgot to answer your questions about comparing the Boema with the Wega.

                        In Melbourne, we see a lot of the Wegas around town, more so the Atlas (being a cheaper model) than Polaris, but the Polaris is in a few places.

                        Boemas are getting rare these days in Melbourne - certainly newer models are hard to find and we see them more in Regional areas of Vic, rather than in the city, or if they are in the city, its generally older models. Might be a different story in Sydney.

                        The importer of Wegas has a good reputation for support and service and you can usually find a coffee mechanic who knows how to service them or can get spares. Im not aware of the arrangements regarding Boema, so I cant comment on the support/backup.

                        I had a couple of coffees from a new Boema in Bendigo last Tuesday and I have to say, I was very, very surprised and impressed.

                        Previous to those coffees last week, I personally didnt rate the Boema in the same league as a Wega.

                        If you have good coffee beans, an excellent grinder dialled in correctly, you can make either of the machines do absolutely stellar coffees.





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                        • #13
                          Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

                          Thanks guys.  I guess the compact version is out of the question then!  Plus it won’t look as impressive as having the normal size machine.  Probably the best question for me now is, does it make business sense to get a manual machine at all!!  - taking into account more staff training + space issues + installation costs etc.

                          Moto is right, waiting 1 minute for a coffee machine is like an eternity.  But having to wait for the machine to stabilize up to a minute after flushing “on a commercial machine”, that doesn’t sound right at all, maybe just on domestic machines?!!

                          The spec on the Atlas seems to be the same as the Polaris.  That must be $1500 worth of cosmetics.. Yikes.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

                            Only you can make the business case for spending the money on a new machine but I am sure that the maintenance on the auto wasnt chicken feed.

                            I wouldnt expect that you would have to wait a minute for heat stability (but it does depend on how large the flush is I suppose).

                            Any reason you are restricting your brands?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Coffee machine for small cafe suggestions… (Wega Polaris compact?)

                              Certainly I’m not restricted to these two brand.  But google search reveals only  these two brands with price tag.  I’m willing to  push my bracket up to $7,000 for the new machine.  And since the Compact might be out of the equation, there should be more choices on the normal size machine.  Recommendation, with the expected price would be great!

                              Also we have two house blend so would also need two new grinders to go with it…

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