Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cafe / Coffee Shop Building Construction Requirements for Espresso Machines

The most critical element in cafe/coffee shop design is the set up for the espresso machine. Based on the differences between espresso machines , it would be wise to select an espresso machine sooner rather than later. 

As far as building requirements, the most important construction related aspect has to do with the espresso machine(s). There are some general guidelines you should take into account, but very specific requirements can’t be provided as Espresso Outlet has numerous different models from numerous different manufacturers. Specifications from the manufacturer tend to change frequently.

One of the requirement of every espresso machine is an electrical connection. In fact, each machine should have its own dedicated circuit. Without a dedicated circuit, you may cause breakers to blow or otherwise have interrupted operation. The type of connection depends on the machine selected. For a 110 volt/15 amp machine, a standard 110/120 volt power supply is sufficient. The plug should be 110 volt, 20 amp rating, three prongs, including a ground. For a 110 volt/20 amp machine, a standard 125 volt power supply is sufficient. The plug should be 125 volt/20 amp rating, three prongs, including a ground, on a cord that is NEMA configuration L5-20P. The plug should have three terminals, one of which should be horizontal. For the more likely, 220 volt machines, the electrical connection should generally be as follows:
  • Two group head machines need to have single phase power with a NEMA configuration L6-20 plug/20 amp dedicated circuit.
  • Three group head machines need to have single phase power with a NEMA configuration L6-30 type plug /30 amp dedicated circuit.

Another critical building requirement is a cold water supply line. This should within 48 inches of the machine, or directly below it. It is highly recommended that the water line going to the machine have a shut off valve. This will aid in maintenance, emergency, or serving situations. Depending on building codes in your area, the water line should also have a backflow preventer. To reduce excess pressure on machine components, a pressure reducer should be installed and set to a maximum of 40 LBs. The water connection for almost all commercial espresso machines is a 3/8 inch diameter water line. Consult with a plumber for state laws, etc.

Last but not least, is a drain – whenever possible, a floor drain. Each espresso machine usually has a drip tray that drains into a catch basin, which drains into a vinyl tube. The tube from the catch basin runs to the floor drain. This tube needs to be kept as steep as possible to prevent clogging – for every foot of hose that goes horizontal; the drain hose needs to drop one inch in the direction of the drain. Based on this configuration, the floor drain needs to be close enough to the machine to accommodate the steepness required.


Something that can benefit construction teams is specifications in technical manuals. Many of our machines have technical manuals linked to in the product descriptions, if the don't please contact us and we'll send one to you. 

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