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Hi guys

 

I'm considering starting a coffee shop, in fact, sooner than expected I have found my venue, so I need to start getting things underway. I'm on a budget, aren't we all, but I'm very much of the mindset that I'd rather have second hand high end equipment, than cheap brand new stuff - in terms of coffee machines anyway. Grinders will most likely be new.

 

I want two three group machines, and at least two grinders. I had my eye on some second hand La Marzocco Strada's but I just don't think its sensible spending such a big chunk of my limited budget on machines. So I am now considering Synesso Cyncras as these are coming in at half the price. I have a company who is happy to install these for me and he's also wanting to do the water system. £2000+ VAT for an RO water filter setup to supply both these machines sound about right? Sounds expensive but to be honest I am very new to all of this and really have no clue what the costs are.

 

My shop will be very much focused on the coffee, it's not a cafe. We will of course sell some food and snacks but a select choice. So in terms of other equipment I expect to need perhaps a blender, a warming oven, contact grill, a chiller cabinet and a dish washer. No doubt there will be some other bits too.

 

So I guess what promoted this thread was the quote on the Reverse osmosis water filter system, but I very much welcome any help/advice/opinions that anyone has to offer.

 

Thank you.

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2 * 3 groups seems like it would be overkill for most locations. How much coffee are you expecting to do?

 

If it's purely RO water, then that's not a good thing for the machines or coffee, you can have too many (or much perhaps) minerals and also too little. Sorry I'm not an expert but from what I've read you'd either ideally be using a re-mineraliser or having a mixture of RO and tap water to bring it up a bit.

 

Out of interest; Whereabouts are you looking to set-up (general area is fine, not asking for any secrets).

Everything my heart could desire (more or less). . .

 

https://cupperjoe.com

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Other thought. I think second hand grinders might actually be a better bet (in as much as from what I understand, and have seen, they're often a bit easier to work on or judge the overall quality of) than second hand machines.

As you never really know how a machine has been treated, you'd want to be reassured it's been run on the right kind of water and maintained well but even so their are no guarantees (unless you're buying secondhand from a company offering a guarantee :-))

Everything my heart could desire (more or less). . .

 

https://cupperjoe.com

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2 * 3 groups seems like it would be overkill for most locations. How much coffee are you expecting to do?

 

I was just thinking the same thing. The chain coffee stores near me are always busy but I'm pretty sure they all have just a single 3 group. Could you halve your expenditure again and just make do with a single 3 group?

 

And I have read the same issues about using purely RO water - does the installer have anything to say about whether the system they install will make good coffee?

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The company who said I'd be wise to run an RO system are the company who have maintained these particular Synesso machines from new. They said they are very sensitive to hard water and that's what they suggested. I am due to meet with a local company to see what they say.

 

The reason I want two machines in place (other than the wow factor) is that we couldn't afford any "down time" if a machine developed a fault.

 

The shop will be in Hastings Old Town.

 

Thanks for the replies guys.

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I see what you're saying but still it seems a very expensive risk strategy. Especially you'd be unlikely to use both regularly so might that lead to other issues of them sitting and not being regularly used.

 

I don't see places actually using the 3 groups on a 3 group - in general - so my guess would be unless you're incredibly busy it might be more cost effective to either get a 2 group and back up one group or have a look at something like that? I'm interested in the idea though - as most true coffee places couldn't survive without their machine for very long - but do you think that you'd lose more than the cost of that second machine if you had to be closed for a couple of days?

Everything my heart could desire (more or less). . .

 

https://cupperjoe.com

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I see what you're saying but still it seems a very expensive risk strategy. Especially you'd be unlikely to use both regularly so might that lead to other issues of them sitting and not being regularly used.

 

I don't see places actually using the 3 groups on a 3 group - in general - so my guess would be unless you're incredibly busy it might be more cost effective to either get a 2 group and back up one group or have a look at something like that? I'm interested in the idea though - as most true coffee places couldn't survive without their machine for very long - but do you think that you'd lose more than the cost of that second machine if you had to be closed for a couple of days?

 

Fully understood and a good point but machines like this are an asset and will always hold value. Well, for a good few years at least. At the price I will be paying for the machine, if I spread that over say 5 years it's £15/day. And that's not taking in to account the resale value of the machine.

 

That said, I perhaps worded the first post incorrectly. It's not so much we need/want 2 x 3 group machines, more the fact that the machines I have found happen to be 3 group, and I want two machines. And we're not pushed for space.

 

In an ideal world I guess we'd have two 2 groups and try and use them both on rotation or something. Still lots to think about and really do appreciate to input - cheers. :)

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I dont get why you think having 2 machine is a good use of money and investment of money for a new business.

Make life simple for yourself.

One machine, reliable, volumetric, simple to use, a work horse like a linea or a aurelia.

Customers don't know or care if your pressure profiling etc.

Geeks might, there aren't enough geeks to keep your coffee shop going though.

Edited by Mrboots2u

I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

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I dont get why you think having 2 machine is a good use of money and investment of money for a new business.

Make life simple for yourself.

One machine, reliable, volumetric, simple to use, a work horse like a linea or a aurelia.

Customers don't know or care if your pressure profiling etc.

Geeks might, there aren't enough geeks to keep your coffee shop going though.

 

But what does one do when the single machine breaks down? Give them a glass of water with their Danish and an IOU??

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But what does one do when the single machine breaks down? Give them a glass of water with their Danish and an IOU??

 

Some companies do a cover scheme where they will have an engineer to you within X amount of hours and will lend you a machine if not fixable on site. Totally agree that two machines is a waste of cash. I was actually speaking to an engineer this morning due to one of the wands being broken, we just used the other wand until it was sorted.

 

It’s not that often (he says) that the whole machine will go down and if you get something like a Linea that is a work horse then touch wood, you should be fine even if some issues do crop up

 

If you’re that concerned then maybe get a GS3 that could be on stand by and could also be used at events, but again that’s money say there if it’s not being used

Rocket Giotto Evoluzione V2, Macap MXD, Brewista Scales, Gene Cafe Roaster.

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Have you looked into the possibility of renting machines initially? That might also give you engineer callout cover if anything breaks down.

 

Speaking as a total non-expert on the subject I'd be a little bit dubious about using a brand of machine that has to have a specific type of water system installed (for 2K) because it is 'sensitive'. Add to that the stuff you read on here about RO water not being great for coffee and it seems a bit odd. I would want a machine where the guy says you can put powdered limestone through it and it will still run ok!

 

If the shop is all about the coffee then have you considered offering things like chemex / v60 / french press etc? I've seen a few videos of recently opened shops and they have an array of glass things on the counter. They would also give you a bit of a backup in a disaster.

 

If you have any kind of oven then I would say good extraction is a must - nothing like walking into a coffee shop filled with the aroma of burnt panini and walking straight out again.

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I've had a Linea PB in my shop for two years and it has gone down zero times in that period. A strada would have gone down unexpectedly about 84 times in the same period and a Synesso double that. If you're keeping your machine maintained and well cleaned and looked after, you'll never have a down day, barring some catastrophic act of god.

 

Two machines is a frankly ridiculous idea unless you're doing WAY over 1500 shots a day. And you're not going to do that. I promise you. Two grinders is a great idea, as they are more likely to break. I have a Robur on hand as a standby and an EK that, if I absolutely needed to, I could run a mid-week coffee service on.

 

Get a good maintenance guy, close to you and do as much maintenance training as you possibly can outside of their services, which by the way should be every 6 months at least.

 

Don't get RO as you'll end up pumping money into that over its life and they do more damage than good to machines when not remineralised properly. A high end BWT or the likes will do all of that for you, and protect your boilers and make your coffee taste amazing for about £200 once or twice a year depending on use. I get about 3 months oout of a BWT Bestmax XXL. If you're going down the *shudder* strada or synesso route don't go with a Mg mineralisation cartridge as they HATE the extra mineral content and get gicleurs blocked incredibly regularly. In fact, just don't get a Strada or a Synesso. Just don't. No money on the planet could convince me to put either in a shop. Yes I have used them both extensively, in numerous settings and yes, they break down. A lot.

 

1st/2nd hand? Depends. If second, get a service quote from a reputable technician or just buy from a reliable source, then get it workshop serviced at the very minimum.

 

Oh and the reason that installers will reccommend an RO system, is so they can scare you into spending another 2k on the promise that it'll prevent breakdowns. £1200 of that 2k is pure profit, too.

"decaf iced americano, warm half-soy-half-oat floated on the top with 3 shakes cinnamon. I'm in a rush by the way. Oh, make sure it's E̵̘̹͍̒͊X̷̣̍͂t̶̙̽̚R̴̡̯̾͜a̸̡͉͝ ̷̨̪̓́H̵̟̳͋̉o̶̖̊̌͐Ț̷͔͑͜͠"

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My wife and I opened our coffee shop exactly 3 months ago. Now I can’t advise you on water treatment (we live in the north east of Scotland and have the softest water in the country) but let me pass on the very best piece of advice we were given, it’s not earth shattering but I promise you it’s gold.

 

Buy the best, fastest, commercial dishwasher you can afford.

 

Like you, I focused on the big stuff (machines, grinders etc) but it was the smallest details that became massively important.......cups.....tea spoons.....hand towels in the loo.....sugar.....

 

for the record we bought a La Spazziale S5, 3 MACAP grinders, V60 and Chemex equipment and 3 months of extremely hard use later, everything is working like a charm. Get yourself one machine now and consider another later.....please believe me, you’re going to need a LOT of money for a LOT of things you probably haven’t thought of yet. Good luck with your venture, it’s such hard work but the morning you serve your first flat white to a customer and they stare back at you and tell you that it’s the best cup of coffee they’ve ever had......it makes it all worthwhile.......well almost.

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My wife and I opened our coffee shop exactly 3 months ago. Now I can’t advise you on water treatment (we live in the north east of Scotland and have the softest water in the country) but let me pass on the very best piece of advice we were given, it’s not earth shattering but I promise you it’s gold.

 

Buy the best, fastest, commercial dishwasher you can afford.

 

Like you, I focused on the big stuff (machines, grinders etc) but it was the smallest details that became massively important.......cups.....tea spoons.....hand towels in the loo.....sugar.....

 

for the record we bought a La Spazziale S5, 3 MACAP grinders, V60 and Chemex equipment and 3 months of extremely hard use later, everything is working like a charm. Get yourself one machine now and consider another later.....please believe me, you’re going to need a LOT of money for a LOT of things you probably haven’t thought of yet. Good luck with your venture, it’s such hard work but the morning you serve your first flat white to a customer and they stare back at you and tell you that it’s the best cup of coffee they’ve ever had......it makes it all worthwhile.......well almost.

 

Thats almost a little bit funny because just yesterday I thought to myself “yeah, we could probably do without a dishwasher initially - it doesn’t take long to wash up a few mugs...”

 

brilliant!

 

so what dishwasher do you have?

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We have a Classeq D500 which retails with VAT around £1800. It does a cycle in 3 minutes. Now that sounds fast, right? We bought 24 cappuccino/flat white cups and saucers and the same amount of, larger latte cups and saucers, espresso sets all from Loveramics ( highly recommended , incidentally) Duralex glasses and on a busy Saturday the dishwasher is on......constantly. We have 18 seats. DO NOT even consider a domestic machine:eek:

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Hi Beanbag

 

Firstly, good luck with your venture.

 

We use a 3-group Wega Concept which because it is a "Green Line" model only actually uses around the same power as a regular 2 group. It's 6 years old now, and apart from a heater element failure which was sorted within 24 hours, we've had no other problems that have taken the machine out of service. What I would say is that we've been in our current environment for 4 1/2 years and rarely have to use the third group.

 

In our old "cafe" environment, I chose to replace a 2-group machine with this as (1) I didn't have the counter space to situate a 2nd machine, and (2) I needed more capacity the 2 groups. If you really feel you need a 2nd machine on the go, keep in mind the simple (but expensive) cost of electricity when running a coffee machine commercially. 2 machines running = twice as much leccy! And then throw in the cost of putting treated water through it, which will help the running costs massively. When we first opened 12 years ago as a franchisee, we were never advised to put a water filter on, so after 3 years we found out the hard way when the machine went pop and needed taking away to have an acid bath to break up all the scale. Our engineers kindly lent us a new machine whilst ours was being overhauled so we fitted a Brita Aquaquell filter for, I think, around £650. When we moved to our current location, we decided to update the filtration to a 3M RO unit, which we wish we could have afforded in the first place.

 

As for dishwasher, I would recommend a soft water filter on it (we use a unit from DVA). Again, as a franchisee originally relying on our franchisor to give expert advice (ha ha ha ha!), we never had any filtration to start with meaning every 6 months I was pulling it apart to break up the scale built up in what should have been flexible rubber hoses, but actually ended up rigid. As Vincent Vega suggests above, DO NOT consider a domestic machine as it would not keep up even in a quiet location. We run a Sowebo 824 washer (suitable for under-counter installation if needed), which apart from the problems caused by the limescale in the early days isn't doing to badly for a 12 year old machine.

 

BTW, I say "cafe" environment above because I consider us now to be a dedicated speciality coffee shop instead. Yes, we do a few ciabattas and soup, but no other hot food. Actually more profitable these days than we ever were as a cafe offering lots of food!

Barry

 

Toys @ work : Wega Concept | Mazzer SJ | Compak K3 | Macap MC5 | Aeropress | Clever Dripper | V60 | Chemex

Toys @ home : Aeropress | kettle

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I must add, as purely a user, my support for the LM Linea. I have one that lives in Italy, its amazing. Thats my opinion, but seems supported that from my obsessive observations almost every decent, hardworking and prolific coffee shop I go into now uses a LM Linea.

 

A prime example is in Birdrock coffee roasters in La Jolla CA, they had a very smart looking machine a few years back, which has been replaced by a guess what...

 

Excuse my intervention into a far better informed audience, but was keen to share.

 

Good luck with your planned venture.

Always learning.

ECM Sychronika/ Compak E5, RB Tamper. Everpure Claris water filter

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... on a busy Saturday the dishwasher is on......constantly...

 

This is a very very very good point actually. On a busy Saturday in Brixton we have 50+ 6oz cups and easily that again of duralex glasses and espresso cups etc. It can still be a struggle getting them clean in time for re-use even with a dedicated member of staff washing dishes. Fair enough we have a fair few more than 18 seats but you have to be prepared to have all your seats with a cup on each, that number again dirty and then enough to still serve drinks in. Dishwashers are important and need looking after too! Mine gets a full descale and deep clean weekly.

"decaf iced americano, warm half-soy-half-oat floated on the top with 3 shakes cinnamon. I'm in a rush by the way. Oh, make sure it's E̵̘̹͍̒͊X̷̣̍͂t̶̙̽̚R̴̡̯̾͜a̸̡͉͝ ̷̨̪̓́H̵̟̳͋̉o̶̖̊̌͐Ț̷͔͑͜͠"

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  • 1 month later...

As someone who dreams to open his coffee shop one day this thread is great and filled with super useful knowledge/experience!

 

Thank you everyone!

 

Btw, @Scotford: which shop do you run in Brixton? I need to come and visit if I haven't been already

Espresso: Gaggia Classic (2002) w/ MrShades PID / Fiorenzato F5 - Filter: Rhino hand grinder / Aeropress / V60

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