Best Commercial Espresso Machine for Americanos

If you want to make quality Americanos in your home or coffee shop, you need an espresso machine with the right features. This guide is going to take you through all the steps involved in choosing the best espresso machine for Americanos.

BEST ESPRESSO MACHINES FOR AMERICANOS

In a hurry? Check out our top picks below in our store or keep reading for the entire guide...

Here's everything you'll find in this guide:

  • Understanding the main types of espresso machines and how they affect Americanos.
  • Which machine features are vital for Americanos and how they impact your experience.
  • Our top picks for the best espresso machines to make Americanos at home, in the office, or in a cafe.

What Type of Machine Can Make Americanos?

Strictly speaking, any espresso machine can make Americanos.

But you don't want a machine that can technically do the job. You want a machine that will do the job well.

This often comes down to the specific features of an espresso machine. But before we get into that, it's important to discuss the basic machine types.

There are the kinds you'll encounter the most often:

  • Manual
  • Semiautomatic
  • Automatic

Each type has its pros and cons for the user, many of which come down to skill.

Manual Espresso Machines

Talk about the classics.

A manual espresso machine is the original user-controlled machine type. To operate it, the user pulls a lever mechanism, guiding extraction by hand.

Without an automated pump, the outcomes are completely dependent on the user. As you might imagine, a significant amount of training is involved.

La Pavoni 2 Group Commercial Lever Espresso Machine BAR 2L BAR 2L-B

Lever Espresso Machine from La Pavoni - learn more about it here

Let's go over some of the pros of this vintage machine type:

  • Total control for expert baristas
  • Rewarding experience and impressive results
  • Old-world style that appeals to many

It doesn't get more hands-on than this. Many professional baristas and prosumers pride themselves on their expertise and jump at the chance to use it with a manual machine.

And expert skills are what you'll need. This may be one of the reasons manual espresso machines have fallen by the wayside in most commercial settings.

Baristas come and go in a lot of shops. Training new staff takes time, energy, and money.

This leads us to the cons of manual machines:

  • Not for beginners
  • Higher risk of variable results
  • Impractical in most busy commercial environments

It's easy to make a mistake on a manual machine. For this reason alone, it's not for beginners.

Unless you're starting with at least some experience, a manual machine can be intimidating, to say the least.

It's not that there are no coffee shops using manual machines. It's more that these shops are typically highly specialized and catering to a niche market.

You'll may see some home machines with manual designs for creative prosumers. There's nothing quite as satisfying as pulling a perfect shot completely by hand.

As Americano drinkers know, the quality of the espresso is crucial. In fact, it's even more important than in a milk-based drink like a latte or cappuccino.

Nothing will save a poorly made Americano. Not even a heavy dose of cream and sugar.

If you have the training to operate a manual machine, it could be a solid investment in your home kitchen.

If you're shopping for a commercial espresso machine for your business, bear in mind that all employees really need to be on the same page skill-wise.

Semiautomatic Espresso Machines

You want more control of the brew process, but a manual machine isn't realistic.

A semiautomatic machine might be your best bet.

Semiautomatic espresso machines have built-in pumps that apply pressure automatically, without the muscle power.

What you control is the exact timing and volume of the espresso.

You're still starting and ending extraction manually, usually via buttons on a display. But there are some lever-operated groups that have a vintage feel.

La Marzocco Single Group Semi Automatic Espresso Machine

Example of Semi-Automatic machine by La Marzocco

There are many advantages to a semiautomatic machine:

  • User-controlled extraction
  • Ability to customize espresso shots on demand
  • More consistency with pump automation

You're not handing the reigns over to a semiautomatic machine so much as you're letting it perform some of the harder tasks for you.

This allows you to concentrate on other variables of extraction.

If you're serious about espresso (and most Americano drinkers are), you're going to be monitoring timing, espresso color, and plenty of other factors for quality control. 

Essentially, you're customizing and handcrafting every espresso, but you retain the ability to monitor visual aspects of extraction with greater ease than with a manual machine as your attention is less divided.

So what are the cons of owning semiautomatic machines?

  • A certain amount of training is required
  • Consistency can be somewhat tough to achieve

Just like with manual machines, you're at the mercy of your own skill level with a semiautomatic machine. However, semiautomatics are much easier than manual machines.

If you have enough training, you should have no problem making consistently excellent espresso every single time.

Are beginners able to use semiautomatic machines?

Yes, if they are dedicated to the practice required. This could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months depending on how often they practice. To some extent, whether they have a natural knack for it can also make a difference.

But generally speaking, semiautomatics are considered the machines for intermediate to expert baristas, whether at home or in a cafe.

Automatic (Volumetric) Espresso Machines

An automatic espresso machine is the best choice for baristas at all stages of learning.

Do you want to make Americanos at home, but you're concerned about not having any experience?

Maybe you just want a more streamlined process to get from point A to B without compromising quality.

Also called volumetric machines, automatics are ideal in many home and commercial environments.

Instead of starting and stopping extraction manually like you would with a semiautomatic, you'll simply push the dosing button and the machine will end the cycle for you with precise measurements.

Let's look at some of the pros:

  • Automated shot consistency and precision
  • Accessible to users of all skill levels

Consistency is key. Even if you're a proficient barista, programming single and double shots for automatic consistency can increase productivity.

Best of all, you don't necessarily need a lot of experience to work with an automatic machine. Crafting exceptional espresso takes practice, but theoretically, a new barista can achieve outstanding results faster on an automatic machine.

Ultimately, it's easier to make sure that every Americano is as delicious as the last.

Then again, there are some cons to this machine type:

  • You can't pull longer or shorter shots on the fly (you can't skip programming)
  • Automatic machines are often more expensive

One thing that many espresso enthusiasts love is the ability to get creative with brewing. With an automatic machine, you'll need to program everything.

In other words, you can't pull a ristretto shot on demand—it has to be programmed into the machine.

The exception to this rule is an automatic machine that also comes with a manual dosing button. Then you can switch between automatic and semiautomatic functionality whenever you want.

Automatic machines are also pricier than semiautomatics on average. Especially if you're looking for a good home machine for your morning Americanos, an automatic machine may not offer enough of an advantage in terms of consistency.

For the most part, automatic machines are well-suited to commercial applications, particularly if everyone using the machine is at a different point in their training.

What to Look for in an Espresso Machine That Makes Great Americanos

Espresso machines come in all different types, shapes, and sizes.

To make great Americanos, you're on the lookout for some standard features at minimum.

But you may also be interested in some others that take your results up a notch or two.

These are the basics and preferred features:

  • Hot water outlet
  • Cup size accommodations
  • Pre-infusion

Hot Water Outlet

This is the number one thing you need to make sure an espresso machine has. It's non-negotiable.

If you think about it, hot water is half of the equation for an Americano (the other half being the actual espresso). If nothing else, then, a machine should have an independent hot water outlet. 

Heavy-duty commercial espresso machines typically come with independent hot water spigots.

Many prosumer machines do, too. But some may omit the separate hot water outlet from the design to help keep the cost down for the consumer.

In these cases, you can technically draw or boil water with the steam wand (which is always part of the package).

But this is not nearly as reliable as a dedicated hot water spigot. Some are even programmable to dispense an exact amount of water every time.

Some machines also feature powerful hot water on demand while others are a little bit slower.

Cup Size Accommodations

La Spaziale S2 Tall Cup 2 Group Volumetric S2-2G-TC-A

You can see the difference a tall cup design makes on the La Spaziale S2. Learn more about it here...

Espresso machines have either traditional or tall cup designs.

What this means is that the distance measured from the group head (where you attach the portafilter) to the drip tray is going to determine what size cups you'll brew into.

A traditional cup machine has a shorter distance between the brew group and the drip tray. You'll be able to brew into smaller coffee cups or espresso shot glasses.

If you're making a large Americano in a tall cup, you'll need to transfer the espresso. This is not uncommon by any means.

However, keeping the crema intact is vital for presentation, both with straight espresso shots and Americanos. As long as you're careful in transferring the espresso, you'll have no trouble keeping that creamy layer unbroken.

A tall cup machine has room to fit large cups right underneath the group head. If you want to skip transferring the espresso entirely, this is the kind of machine you want.

Pre-Infusion

Now let's talk about one of the advanced features many high-end espresso machines come with: pre-infusion.

Do you need it for Americanos?

Maybe.

It depends on what you want to get out of your experience and your own proficiency.

Pre-infusion is a stage of extraction where water is gently showered over the coffee bed to fully immerse it before the pump generates nine bars of pressure.

Undoubtedly, this can make better tasting espresso. 

Some pre-infusion features are automatic and do a quick immersion while the pump builds pressure. These require no extra involvement on the user's end and so are highly user-friendly.

Others are programmable so that the barista determines how long pre-infusion lasts. Still user-friendly, but probably more beneficial to someone with either more interest in experimenting or a higher skill level.

Why is pre-infusion a good thing?

It eliminates channeling, fully extracting all of the coffee particles. It also allows the coffee to bloom in the group head, providing a richer flavor and enhancing the coffee's unique flavor characteristics.

Everything an Americano would benefit from.

This is a drink that really showcases the espresso, so subtle changes are more noticeable than in a cappuccino or a vanilla latte.

Other Considerations

There are always more details to consider with your purchase.

Here are a couple:

  • Whether you're buying a machine for a home or business
  • If you need a pour-over or direct-connect machine

If you're buying a machine to use at home, you probably don't need nearly as many fancy functions as a business owner operating a commercial espresso machine in a specialty shop.

On the other hand, you can get as detailed as you want with a home machine. There are no limits to the customizations and features you can tailor to your personal preferences.

Keep in mind the number of Americanos you're making a day, too. A few necessitates only a single-group machine with a smaller heat exchange or even single boiler (single boilers can't brew and steam at the same time).

A single-group machine with a larger heat exchange boiler or even a dual boiler is best for a small coffee shop. For larger volumes in a commercial location, you'll want to increase the number of groups and boiler capacity.

Now what about pour-over versus direct-connect machines? How are they different, and what do they do for Americano drinkers?

A pour-over machine comes with a reservoir that you'll refill as it gets low. If you want an automatic water supply, look into a direct-connect machine that's plumbed into a water line.

Pour-over machines are portable, but they'll run out of water faster when you're making back-to-back Americanos due to all the water usage.

This may not matter at home, but it definitely does in a cafe.

Plumbed-in machines are standard for commercial use for a variety of reasons. They're easier to maintain, they save baristas precious time, and they supply unlimited water for Americanos or any other drink you're making for the customer.

Best Espresso Machines for Americanos

Now for the machines.

We've selected a handful of top-quality machines for home and commercial applications that you might want to consider if you need a great option for Americanos.

Though we're providing only one-group options in our list, some of these models do come in configurations with multiple groups, often more than two.

These machines have features that are not only excellent for Americanos, but also for lattes and cappuccinos.

Sometimes you just need a little of everything.

Quick Mill Anita Evo

Quick Mill Anita Evo Espresso Machine

The Quickmill Anita Evo is a trusty Americano maker and home espresso machine with an articulating steam arm for easy use. It even makes a great office machine for a small staff.

With automatic pre-infusion and continuous hot water circulation via the E-61 group, tasty espresso for your Americanos is effortless.

This is a semiautomatic model, which means that it's ideal if you have some know-how. Aficionados love the lever-action brew mechanism.

  • Machine Type: Semiautomatic
  • Majesty Coffee Price: $1,595
  • Boiler: Heat exchange boiler
  • Plumbing: Pour-over
  • Cup Size: Traditional
  • E-61 Commercial Group: This lever-operated group provides thermosiphon circulation to stabilize the brew temperature.
  • Automatic Pre-Infusion: Another function of the E-61 group, this ensures that the coffee bed is fully immersed in water before the pump generates full pressure. 
  • No Burn Steam and Hot Water Arms: The steam and hot water arms stay nice and cool for safer cleaning and operation.
  • Three-Position Power Switch: Push the switch to the left to fill the boiler without activating the heating element, to the right to turn the heating element on.
  • Boiler and Group Pressure Gauges: The boiler pressure gauge helps you figure out when to brew and steam. Checking the group pressure gauge will inform your brew ratio.
  • Large Reservoir: The 3 liter reservoir is big enough to keep the Americanos coming. 
  • Large Drip Tray: Capable of holding over 50 ounces, the removable drip tray won't need to be emptied too often.

Rocket Giotto Evoluzione R

Rocket Giotto Evoluzione R Espresso Machine

With a PID temperature controller, this lever-action semiautomatic machine lets you tinker with the settings to get exactly what you want from your espresso.

The Rocket Giotto Evoluzione R is an ideal candidate for a home machine, but it has enough power for a small office or restaurant. It also looks gorgeous in your kitchen, which doesn't hurt.

Since you have the option of switching between the reservoir and the direct connection to a water line, there's nowhere you can't take this machine. It's a flexible option that makes remarkable espresso.

  • Machine Type: Semiautomatic
  • Majesty Coffee Price: $2,550
  • Boiler: Heat exchange boiler
  • Plumbing: Convertible pour-over to direct-connect
  • Cup Size: Traditional
  • PID Temperature Controller: Tucked behind the drip tray, the PID controller lets you adjust the machine temperature for the best results with various coffee profiles.
  • Non-Compression Hot Water and Steam Valves: These are incredibly user-friendly and inexpensive to replace compared to compression valves.
  • E-61 Commercial Group: Thermosiphon technology circulates the hot water between the boiler and the group for temperature stability.
  • Automatic Pre-Infusion: The coffee is well-saturated automatically to promote even extraction and better espresso flavor.
  • 304 Stainless Steel Case: Durable and shiny, the 304 stainless steel housing is long-lasting and attractive.
  • No Burn Hot Water and Steam Arms: These help you avoid unexpected burns when getting hot water or frothing milk.
  • Boiler and Group Pressure Gauges: Increase efficiency and improve your craft with guidance from the pressure gauges.
  • Adjustable Feet: If you need extra room at the top of the machine, adjust the feet to lower it just a tad.

La Spaziale S1 Dream

La Spaziale S1 Dream S1-DREAM

This is a perfect home, office, or small business espresso machine for all users. It's a volumetric machine, but it also has a manual dosing button to get creative.

Its programmable hot water spigot is ideal for Americanos (and teas). Just plug in the water volume on the touch pad—simple as that.

The La Spaziale S1 Dream comes with a lot of advanced functions that are actually quite easy to navigate. It does take some scrolling through of the menu, but it's an easy-to-use machine built for serious espresso artists and Americano lovers.

  • Machine Type: Automatic + manual dosing
  • Majesty Coffee Price: $2,395
  • Boiler: Dual Boiler
  • Plumbing: Direct-connect
  • Cup Size: Traditional
  • Four Programmable Profiles: Maximize your shot settings with four profiles to choose from.
  • Manual Dosing Button: Choose the manual dosing button any time you want to prepare a customized espresso shot.
  • Programmable Passive Pre-Infusion: Program your preferred pre-infusion settings for the extraction process you want.
  • Dual Pressure Gauge: One side shows you the boiler pressure, the other side displays brew pressure.
  • Group and Boiler Temperature Adjustment: The touch pad gives you access to temperature adjustments in the group and boiler in one-degree increments.
  • Adjustable Programmable Hot Water Spigot: You know exactly how much water you need for an Americano. Program it right into the machine. The hot water spigot can also be rotated for convenience.
  • SD Card Reader: You can read and write different coffee profiles and programs. If you want to update the software, this card reader makes it easy. 

Nuova Simonelli Appia II Volumetric

appia ii volumetric espresso machine 1 group

The Nuova Simonelli Appia II is more for commercial use than home use, though it certainly makes an outstanding prosumer model.

Best in small coffee shops, this model has the separate hot water spigot you need for Americanos. With its raised group head design, you can brew right into tall cups, preserving the delicate crema.

  • Machine Type: Automatic + manual dosing
  • Majesty Coffee Price: $4,275
  • Boiler: Heat exchange boiler
  • Plumbing: Direct-connect
  • Cup Size: Tall cup
  • Raised Group Heads: The group heads are built at a height that accommodates taller cups. Layering espresso over a large cup of hot water for an Americano is a breeze.
  • Reverse Mirror: With the back plate providing a mirror, you'll see all angles of the espresso to monitor the quality of extraction.
  • Cool Touch Wands: You won't get burned accidentally touching the steam wand.
  • Push Pull Steam: Wrists get tired with turning steam valves? The push-pull trigger helps.
  • Soft Infusion: Improve your results and reduce tamping issues with this pre-infusion feature.
  • Bar Pump Gauge: Keep an eye on the brew pressure to inform your brew ratio.
  • Automated Cleanings: Machine cleaning is necessary but time-consuming. Make it easier with the Appia II's automated cleanings.

Unic Mira Tall Cup Volumetric

UNIC Mira 1 Group Volumetric

Coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and any business with a long line of customers waiting for espresso drinks will benefit from this machine.

Boasting a huge 6.3 liter heat exchange boiler and top-notch temperature stability, the Unic Mira is a powerhouse. 

From a hot water spigot to pre-infusion, you've got everything you need for Americanos and other espresso beverages, plus a shot timer and automated cleaning cycles for increased user-friendliness.

  • Machine Type: Volumetric
  • Majesty Coffee Price: $5,340
  • Boiler: Heat exchange boiler
  • Plumbing: Direct-connect
  • Cup Size: Tall cup
  • Four Programmable Buttons: Gain quick access to four different espresso recipes.
  • Pre-Infusion: Enjoy a well-developed flavor in every espresso. Simple and straightforward.
  • Integrated Shot Timer: The built-in timer lets you keep track of every espresso shot.
  • Temperature Stability: Unic promises that its innovative design with the group head mounted to the boiler makes the Mira so consistent that you need to do little to no flushing before pulling a shot.
  • Massive Boiler: The 6.3 liter boiler is heavy-duty. You'll easily make back-to-back Americanos, lattes, and cappuccinos.
  • Extra Long Steam Arm: The articulating steam arm reaches down into the bottom of a large milk pitcher for better heat distribution and microfoam.
  • Brew and Boiler Pressure Gauges: See exactly what's happening in the machine with the pressure gauges.
  • Automated Cleanings: Programmed back-flush cycles take care of much of the daily cleaning for you.

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