When Pop got his Breville Barista Express home machine a few months ago, we were introduced to the world of espresso making and had a lot of fun doing so. Now after barista training, working at a coffee shop, and diving deeper into our coffee ventures, we were excited to move on to greater things and get a real commercial espresso machine.
We are proud to announce the welcome of our very own La Marzocco Linea espresso machine– our first purchase for our future shop! Wondering about getting a La Marzocco for your coffee shop? Here are some things that went into our decision, as well as some super simple at-home recipes that we’ve been sipping on.
La Marzocco Brand
Ernest started falling in love with La Marzocco early on in our planning stages and took it upon himself to research, watch videos and personally inquire shops directly. Their machines are highly recommended and esteemed throughout the world. We even personally asked multiple baristas and coffee shop owners throughout Denver, Portland and Northern Europe what they advised regarding espresso machines. Those what were using La Marzocco loved it, and had everything good to say about it. Those that weren’t wished they skipped their fancy machine for something more durable and dependable– like a La Marzocco. Over and over again, they were described as “durable, hard-working, dependable, consistent, sturdy, reliable, serviceable, stable, easy to maintain, high-volume and an espresso workhorse!”
Research machines, ask around, and pick something you feel comfortable on that is consistent and stable so you don’t have to worry about the machine or quality of the drinks, but can focus on your shop and your customers, as John Bolton expresses.
“let your cafe be an extension of yourself”
-john bolton, salt lake roasting co.
According to “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting and Running a Coffee Bar,”choose the number of groups based on your budget and expected sales volume. We got a two-group machine just by comparing what other coffee shops have and their shop size to what we foresee ours being. We found that many shops that have a four-group hardly use all four groups, and use three only when they’re really busy. We also got a semi-automatic machine, which provides the best espresso once you learn how to use it correctly. Fully automatic machines require only one button push as both water pressure and extraction time are regulated. They’re the easiest to operate, but take out much of the craft in pulling espresso, so these are better for places that don’t hang their reputation on the quality of their espresso.
Other articles I have read in the past, as well as conversations had with some owners point out not to get caught up in “trendy” espresso machines. Some have new features, are computerized and electronic, and have new fancy gadgets, but unfortunately many of those are said to be occasionally problematic, inconsistent and not very reliable. Either way, we’d personally rather have something simple, but reliable and consistent than anything fancy. The last thing we want is to have to close shop in the middle of the day because our machine isn’t working right, which is something some fancy-machined owners mentioned they have had to do.
Even though we are still working on our business plan and don’t have a shop yet, we wanted to buy an espresso machine sooner to acquaint ourselves with how it works, practice perfecting drinks, and to come up with recipes long before opening up shop. We were happy to find a great deal on a Linea, which is exactly what we wanted.
Buying it used worked for us not only to save on start-up costs, but also because Ernest is a techy guy, and isn’t intimidated by not buying it brand new. In fact, he’s taken it upon himself to also learn about the machine inside and out, and wants to challenge himself to know everything that comes into repairing and maintaining it himself.
We brought our Linea home and took some time to clean it, set it up, and took a few days to configure the settings and figure out how they work. Where some would call up La Marzocco servicemen, Ernest had fun learning how to install and set it up with the resources on La Marzocco’s support page and Youtube.
Our Linea has so far already been united with some of our favorite coffees including Stumptown, Water Avenue, Boxcar, Corvus, and Kaladi Coffee Roasters. We’re planning to make our own syrups and sauces next, but for now have enjoyed seeing what we can come up with ingredients already in our kitchen. Here are some simple favorites that have been popular around here that you can easily make as well:
- Honey Lavender Lattes (& steamers)
- Raspberry Chocolate Mochas
- Vanilla Lattes (try a steamer with lavender)
- Sweetened Condensed Lattes (gushonka)
We’ve been loving having people over to make drinks, and can’t wait to continue learning and experimenting in order to serve new friends in our own shop one day!