Coffee Machine Buying Guide – Step 2: The Boiler

So you know your price and your machine type now onto the more intricate details of buying your coffee machine.

The Boiler

There are dozens of boiler options but they can really be separated into three main groups:

Single Boiler, Dual Use Machines - This is by far the most common type under $1,000. This type of machine has one boiler and two thermostats (or more) inside. One thermostat controls the water temperature for brewing coffee while the other is set at a higher temperature, to produce steam for steaming milk. The machine switches from one thermostat to the other when you flip a switch or press a button. These machines cannot brew and steam at the same time, which slows down production of lattes and cappuccinos.

Single Boiler, Heat Exchanger Machines - These machines are more common above the $1,000 price point. A big boiler maintains water at around 115°C or higher, ideal for producing steam. The brewing water travels through a coiled tube inside the boiler and is ‘flash heated’ to the ideal brewing temperature. The coiled tube is the heat exchanger. You can steam and brew at the same time on these machines.

Dual Boiler Machines - These machines are usually quite expensive - around $2,000 on up. They feature two independent boilers (or a boiler and a thermoblock one that maintains water at brewing temperatures, one that maintains water at steaming temperatures. You can steam and brew at the same time on these machines.

So it’s that simple… nearly. There is one more important point to make. The quality of the boiler can vary hugely depending on the manufacturer. Here at Café Corporate we select our range based on quality and would be happy to use any of our coffee machines. In fact we all do regularly. However there are many manufacturers that try to trick you by squeezing a poor quality boiler into their machine just to say that it is there. Be careful.

Leave a Reply