The machinery used to make coffee is a delicate subject and unfortunately this is where ‘perception’ is everything. What is the perception? The perception, in fact, the reality is that your entire setup including your choice of machinery displays the seriousness with which you take your coffee. While the normal school of thought is that a machine is a machine. It actually isn’t.
Some machines have 1 boiler. Some have 2. Some offer more stability that others in terms of maintaining temperature than others. Baristas at the top end of town will be given much more credence if they are using either a Syneso, a Slayer or a La Marzocco. Simple. Whether or not they are proficient in espresso extraction is a whole other issue.
Serious cafes have serious coffee machines. It does make a difference to the end product and it does make a difference to the perception of your cafe.
I advise all clients to ‘own’ their machinery. Coffee companies retain customers in one of 2 ways. They either insist that you sign a contract which ties you to them for a specified period of time, or they provide you with machinery in order to keep you from having to outlay big money that many operators don’t have.
It is much more advisable to own your own equipment and not be bound to any company whether it be a coffee company or otherwise. This then gives you the option of being able to offer different coffees all the time and allows you to offer coffee from ‘guest’ roasters as well. It also gives you the freedom to promote your own brand rather than the brand of the coffee company. Some coffee companies now offer to purchase the machine for you and subsequently place you on a payment plan to recover the cost. Essentially this is just another contract that binds you to their company and their coffee.
If your current machine is owned by your coffee company you can sometimes offer to buy it from them. Don’t be frightened of the financial outlay for such machinery. Finance offered by certain companies offer great rates for things like coffee machines and these repayments can be minimal. Sometimes as little as $50pw. The benefits of owning your own equipment are immense.
Obviously there are many options available when discussing machinery, including grinders, and it is advisable to do your research prior to making these types of decisions.