Opening a new business is a process of a thousand decisions that need to be made on top of the thousand decisions you have to make everyday just to live (yes I’m a little dramatic right now). Some are small, some are big, some you can make quickly, some you have to do your research on and take your time, and some are really fun to make. So far my favorite and one of the most important decisions you can make when opening a coffee shop is what espresso machine to buy. Now when I had to make this decision for the Grouch-mobile it was kinda of easy as I had a lot of limitations (space, power, capacity) on what I could use which narrowed my choices quite a bit, but with the new shop I have the whole big wide world of espresso machines to choose from. Now I’m not going to bore you with all the different types of machines out there and what makes each one different, however I am going to tell you about the final two machines that I was considering. Those are the La Marzocco Strada EP and the Synesso Hydra.
First off let me detail how these machines are the same. They both have electronic pressure profiling that allows the barista to start extraction at a lower pressure and then ramp up to full pressure to create a very flavorful shot of espresso. They both have separate boilers for each group head and PID controllers that allow for the water to be at a exact adjustable temperature. They both look awesome and are on the forefront of espresso machine technology.
The main differences between the two machines are that the Strada can go up to 12 bars of pressure when extracting a shot while the Hydra only goes up to the standard 9 bars. The Hydra however, has a water pump for each group head which not only eliminates any worry of pressure dropping when using both groups at the same time but if one pump goes out you still have a good pump on the other group so you can keep making lattes while getting the other pump fixed or replaced. Now the Strada does have it in the looks department over the Hydra but what matters the most is how the espresso tastes. Now if you put me through a blind taste test of shots made between the two machines I’m positive that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, so needless to say it was a tough choice. Let me ask you which one would you chose? The La Marzocco with their long history of high quality products or the new kid on the block, the Synesso, with it’s minimalist style and dual water pumps?
Well in the end I choose the Synesso Hydra for a few reasons. First and foremost is having those dual water pumps, because as a coffee shop this is the heart of my operation and I can not have it go down for a second. Second is that our roasters, Colorado River Coffee Roasters, have a Synesso in their Roastery and the shots of the espresso that they make off that machine are some of the best I’ve ever had. And lastly, it’s made in the good old USA (Seattle to be exact). Call me old fashion or maybe it’s just the influence of my Dad but when I have a chance to buy a quality product made in America I will.
A quick update on the shop: it seems like everything is merging into an opening date towards the end of February. When I have an exact date I’ll let everyone know.
Stay caffeinated my friends….