Some honest facts to help you decide.
Before you read all this, remember that I am an engineer and I have always been a great believer in the old adage of 'if isn't broke, then don't fix it', to the vast majority of coffee shops, this adage works when we start talking about multi-boiler espresso machines and what the term actually means for your coffee shop.
Your run of the mill 2 group head espresso machine, will quite happily produce world class espresso based drinks day in, day out, for its entire working life, and it manages to do all this using only one main boiler. So if the everyday espresso machine has managed to carry out the functions we need since the dawn of the bean, why do we nowadays find the market awash with multi-boiler machines? and why are salesmen pushing the so called virtues I hear you shout.
Single Boiler Machine
This is where all your eggs are in the same basket, as in the machine only has one main boiler that is utilised for generating all the required elements needed for making your range of beverages, i.e. hot water and steam. There is no drawback to only having one boiler. You may hear stories about quality of espresso being effected because you have drawn off too much hot water before making an espresso, when in reality, you should not be using the espresso machine for hot water, a separate hot water boiler is always a better option if you need to fill tea pots or pans full of frozen peas.
Multi Boiler Machine
These machines employ a series of boilers in order to spread the work load around the machine, using one dedicated boiler for the hot water and steam generation, and then using separate boilers for brewing water on each of the the group heads that the machine has. Like single boiler machines, there is no hardcore drawback to this type of machine, apart from not everyone needs one in the first place. Salesmen will try to convince that these are the bees knees, but read the buying guide first.
Multi Boiler Myths
Mutli-boiler machines are faster - False - in reality this statement is seldom true due the amount of boilers that have to reach working temperature before service can start.
Better temperature control - True(ish) - most quality single boiler machines are now supplied with PID boiler control for increased temperature stability.
Simpler operation - False - there is a lot more hardware and control circuits employed inside your multi-boiler machine to go wrong.
Buying Guide When To Invest In One
Ask yourself if any of the following statements apply to your beverage operation before you take the plunge:
- You are a very highly skilled barista that knows how to adjust the coffee grinder and temperature settings on the group heads, depending on the type of roast you are using and also the environmental factors like humidity on a daily basis.
- You plan to offer several types of roast on your menu and your coffee supplier can set up the group heads so that one roast works great on one side of the machine and the other works best on the other side.
- Your buying a tiny home based espresso machine that contains really little boilers.