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Thread: Coffee Machine for Events

  1. #1
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    Coffee Machine for Events

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    Hey all, wondering if some collective intelligence might help out!

    I work for a charity that hosts a number of events a year. Three of the events are outdoors for crowds of 500-1000, another five or so are indoor crowds of 80-150. What we typically do, especially for the big three is have a coffee man and van to come and make coffee. This invariable means long lines and pretty average coffee. Whilst its not a fundraising exercise per se, more like making the attendees happy, we have found that where we operate/offer a service (like BBQ, ice creams, etc) we do make a considerably lot more in income. Funny that. The events tend to run at a loss so if there is another source of revenue that provides an equal quality offering its something worth considering.

    So, how do we do it?

    It needs to be something we can put transport and can supply a thousand coffees on a day. That said, its not going to more than 30ft from our main building so we have access to power (10 amp only) and plumbing.

    Also, seems to me the biggest issue in keeping lines short is frothing milk. Any ideas for how to do this for large crowds?

    I suppose one idea is a fully automatic machine, push-a-button and latte ensues, but we have some coffee heads here who can pull a shot and fluff milk if its a better option ... welcome all advice ...

  2. #2
    TC
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    Hi kbox,

    Your events require multi group machines of much more than 10A capacity. Think more like 20 A.

    If I were catering such an event, I'd be using 2 x 3 group machine with at least 3 staff each.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kboz View Post
    Hey all, wondering if some collective intelligence might help out!

    I work for a charity that hosts a number of events a year. Three of the events are outdoors for crowds of 500-1000, another five or so are indoor crowds of 80-150. What we typically do, especially for the big three is have a coffee man and van to come and make coffee. This invariable means long lines and pretty average coffee. Whilst its not a fundraising exercise per se, more like making the attendees happy, we have found that where we operate/offer a service (like BBQ, ice creams, etc) we do make a considerably lot more in income. Funny that. The events tend to run at a loss so if there is another source of revenue that provides an equal quality offering its something worth considering.

    So, how do we do it?

    It needs to be something we can put transport and can supply a thousand coffees on a day. That said, its not going to more than 30ft from our main building so we have access to power (10 amp only) and plumbing.

    Also, seems to me the biggest issue in keeping lines short is frothing milk. Any ideas for how to do this for large crowds?

    I suppose one idea is a fully automatic machine, push-a-button and latte ensues, but we have some coffee heads here who can pull a shot and fluff milk if its a better option ... welcome all advice ...
    G'day kboz

    Firstly, I am no longer very active in the industry, and also I have no vested interests (could not even sell you a teaspoon through the trade). I also have done a fair bit of charity stuff (no, not an offer!!!). Further to TCs post:-

    Your 80 to 100 events - probably easy enough to do with 4 hour shifts of 3 people (one for machine, one to take orders & deliver them and one to keep on top of all needed items (i.e. running off for more milk or whatever). The third person is really only needed occasionally, but instantly! The issue - most two or three group machines need 15A or 20A power. I have a 1980's 2 group La Pavoni P-TRE (15A) and it has handled that workload easily on many weddings & parties - as long as you feed it decent water (it does also require plumbing in theoretically, however you can trick it). That is probably worth doing in house.

    Your larger events - I know one LM Linea 3 group will handle that workload easily*. It is the only machine I know of that could do it without a second machine. Whether you can beg / borrow / steal / con LM to do something I know not - depends on the cause I suppose. I have actually had some other highly regarded competitor's larger machines overheat and quit long before that workload, although maybe their latest incarnations could also cope. NOTE: I did not wire the Linea in, however it must be three phase something (all big LMs are). You would have to see if you can actually power the thing somehow as well as feed it good quality water via plumbing. Whether that is worth doing in house would probably depend on your negotiating / arm twisting skills.

    Frothing milk - either machine will froth milk faster than the shots. Major issue I have encountered - single vs two / three / four hole nozzles (all need different technique) plus controlling the power of the machine. You need some "baristi of the day" who can practice on it in advance or you may be serving up a pile of scalded milk.

    Hope this helps.


    TampIt


    *LM Linea 3 group: It did 406 shots in just under the first three hours at a cafe I know well** one Xmas eve. The day's tally was just over 1,000 shots at 3:30pm. As it was an unexpected rush, it is fair to say the staff were in worse shape than the machine... For a group of volunteers, think three full time staff (machine / taking orders / deliver coffees) in maximum three hour shifts - and if possible, alternate them amongst the three spots. A fourth ad-hoc person would also be a good idea - poor PR if you run out of XXXXX during the process.
    ** I trained the staff for it, and visited it at 11am that day. I ended up at their bean counter handling that while the owner fled to get milk - they were down to "fumes a la cow" and even soy was running low...
    Last edited by TampIt; 4th September 2015 at 11:47 PM.

  4. #4
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    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    NOTE: I did not wire the Linea in, however it must be three phase something (all big LMs are).
    La Marzoccos are all single phase machines. Generally speaking, where a machine is supplied or rewired as three phase (and many come with the option of wiring either way) the active wire for each phase will supply an individual leg of the three-leg boiler heating element, and one of the phases is tapped to provide single phase power for the remainder of the electrical/electronic components of the machine. La Marzoccos all have single leg heating elements, so cannot use this method, and are not configured to allow the 2 separate heating elements to be run from separate phases without significant rewiring that La Marzocco does not provide for in the design.
    Also it is important to note that La Marzoccos have higher power requirements than an equivalent sized HX machine (25amp for a 2 group as opposed to 20 amp for the average 2 group HX machine, for example).
    Dimal likes this.



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