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If you’re thinking of setting up a mobile coffee business like a coffee cart, you’ll need a trusty espresso machine that’ll help you craft robust and aromatic espresso on-the-go. Feel free to browse our... Read More

Coffee Cart Espresso Machines

Coffee Cart Espresso Machines

If you’re thinking of setting up a mobile coffee business like a coffee cart, you’ll need a trusty espresso machine that’ll help you craft robust and aromatic espresso on-the-go. Feel free to browse our collection of carefully selected espresso machines for coffee carts from trusted brands like Rocket, Sanremo, Rancilio, Nuova Simonelli, ECM, among many others!

What should I look for in an espresso machine for coffee carts?

A good espresso machine for a coffee cart should have several key features and qualities:

Size and Portability: Since space is often limited on a coffee cart, it's best to choose a machine that is compact and specifically designed for mobile use. Opting for an espresso machine with a smaller footprint is advised.

Power Requirements: The superpower of coffee carts is their portability. You can get in, set up for an event, and then pack up and leave. You’ll want to buy an espresso machine that runs off of 110 volt power to ensure it’s compatible with every power situation you encounter. Unless you plan on running on a generator or exclusively in larger venues like conference centers, 220 volt electricity is unlikely to be available.

Heat Stability and Recovery: Consistent temperature control is crucial for brewing excellent espresso. The machine should have stable heat control and be capable of recovering quickly after brewing or steaming to ensure consistent shot quality even during peak periods.

There will be a trade-off to be made in this category. What matters more, steam output or coffee quality? 1 group or 2 group compact 110 volt machines are designed to maximize steam production and are not very temperature stable for making coffee. If you’re using medium-dark roast coffee and are serving large milk based beverages, you probably want to optimize for steam production. If you’re serving a fussy specialty crowd with tiny cortados and 8 oz cappuccinos, you may be better off opting for a prosumer dual boiler 110 volt espresso machine.  

Capacity and Speed: Consider the volume of espresso drinks you expect to serve on your coffee cart. Go for a machine that can handle your anticipated workload and has the capacity to produce multiple shots quickly.

Water Source Flexibility: Coffee carts may have different water supply options depending on the location or event. You can opt for a direct-connect espresso machine or a one that has a water tank/reservoir. Most folks opt to purchase an espresso machine that’s capable of connecting to plumbing ( a direct-connect / plumbable machine). They like to connect the machine’s hose line to a flow jet pump, which connects to 1-2 five gallon jugs of water. This makes it easy to sustain operations during a busy event.

What’s the difference between a direct-connect espresso machine and one that has a water tank/reservoir?

The difference between a direct-connect / plumbable machine and a water tank espresso machine lies in how they receive their water supply. Let's explore each type:

Direct Connect Espresso Machine: Also known as a plumbed-in or plumbed espresso machine, is designed to be connected directly to a water source, typically a plumbing line. These machines have a water line connection that provides a continuous supply of water. The advantage of a direct connect espresso machine is that you don't need to manually refill a water tank, and you have a consistent and uninterrupted water supply during the brewing process. Direct connect espresso machines are commonly used in commercial settings or homes with a dedicated water line.

Water Tank Espresso Machine: Also known as a reservoir or manual fill espresso machine, has an internal water tank or reservoir that needs to be manually filled with water. The capacity of the water tank varies depending on the machine. To brew espresso, you pour water into the tank, and the machine draws water from the reservoir for the brewing process. These machines are often used in home or mobile settings where a direct water line connection is not available or practical. The advantage of a water tank espresso machine is its portability and ease of setup since it doesn't require a dedicated water line. Often high-end water tank machines are also capable of connecting directly to the water supply.