Whether you’re starting a business or just looking for a commercial-grade espresso maker for your home, Italian company La Cimbali should be on your radar. They’ve been making espresso machines for almost a hundred years, and their current models blend the best of modern technology with that long tradition.
In this review of the top La Cimbali machines, we’ll look at six different options. Whether they’re designed for home or business, all are incredibly well-made and long-lasting machines. And one of them is perfect for you, so let’s find it!
At A Glance:
The 7 Best La Cimbali Espresso Machines in 2021
La Cimbali makes primarily commercial espresso machines that fall into one of two categories. They’re either traditional semi-automatic and automatic coffee machines or more modern super-automatic models. The right equipment for you depends on both your business and budget.
|Best OverallBest Overall||S30 CS10||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Best Super AutomaticBest Super Automatic||M1||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Best ValueBest Value||M26 BE Full Size||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Best For Home UseBest For Home Use||Junior Casa DT1||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Best For A Busy CafeBest For A Busy Cafe||M26 TE 3-Group||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Best For Small CafesBest For Small Cafes||M21 Junior Commercial||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
Here we review six top La Cimbali espresso machines, including our favourite options in both styles. One of them is sure to be the right fit for you.
The S30 is the perfect La Cimbali machine for a business that prioritises reliability and ease of use without sacrificing coffee quality. It’s a super-automatic espresso maker, so it isn’t necessarily the best choice for a specialty coffee shop. Still, it’s ideal for a restaurant, bakery, or any business looking to offer coffee without keeping a dedicated barista on staff.
Using the massive 10” touchscreen, you can choose between 96 different drinks, each of which can be customised to your taste. It can even prepare cold milk froth for iced beverages. According to David Walsh of Marco Beverage Systems, the biggest advantage to these automated machines is their consistency. Once you’ve programmed a recipe, you know you’re going to get the same drink every time (1).
In most culinary fields you create a recipe, refine it, perfect it; after that, you want to replicate it. Automation, to some degree, can take care of that part.
The La Cimbali CS30 can prepare up to 300 drinks a day. Thanks to the two integrated grinders, each coffee drink is prepared with fresh ground beans, with a cumulative 2.2 kg hopper capacity. It even has a separate hopper for hot chocolate powder.
It’s WiFi-enabled, so you can monitor all aspects of the machine with an app, even when you’re not around. It reports on the current supply of beans, chocolate, and milk, how many drinks have been made; and whether cleaning or maintenance is required. Of course, the cleaning cycle is fully automated.
It looks fantastic and will definitely add some high-tech class to any business. The design was awarded the coveted Red Dot Design award in 2016 for its clean lines, innovative technology, and environmental friendliness.
2. M1 – Best Super Automatic
Type: Super Automatic
- Number of groups: 1
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 32.5” x 13.8” x 24.4”
- Boiler size: 2.5 L
If you don’t want to go all-in on the S30, take a look at the slightly more affordable La Cimbali M1 super-automatic machine. Like the S30, it prepares barista-style drinks from start to finish using its built-in grinder and automatic frother. The main difference between the two is capacity and variety. It has a smaller drink selection without chocolate options, and with only one grinder, the M1 has a lower output than the S30.
The M1 makes eight different base drinks: espresso, coffee, cappuccino, café crème, caffe latte, latte, double espresso, and cappuccino with a double shot. But each can be customised, so the overall number of possibilities is enormous. It doesn’t have the same fancy touchscreen as the more expensive models, but it is very straightforward to use. It’s perfect for a small or mid-sized business where barista training isn’t a priority.
This isn’t a one-touch machine. Espresso and milk are prepared separately, though both processes are fully automated. Then you mix them by hand. This takes a bit more effort, but the quality is better, and (bonus!) it means you can practice latte art (2).
The La Cimbali M26 heat exchanger espresso machine is one of the brand’s flagship models. It comes in several versions, but the 2-group semi-automatic BE model is our pick for a great value. It perfectly balances the features you get with the price you pay.
By offering this base model without too many bells and whistles, La Cimbali has created one of the most affordable 2-group machines on the market, perfect for a mid-sized cafe. It’s a semi-automatic machine, so it does require some barista skill, but its operation is very intuitive.
The M26 is well designed from both an ergonomic and aesthetic standpoint.
Notably, while it doesn’t have many extra features, it does have the La Cimbali thermal system. This patented design is the foundation of the finest machines the company produces. It allows you to control the brew temperature for each group independently, and a cold water mixing valve allows you to quickly cool the boiler temperature without using long cooling flushes (3).
Coupled with the ample 10-litre boiler capacity, and this model can easily keep up with busy rushes.
4. Junior Casa DT1 – Best for Home Use
- Number of groups: 1
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 17” x 12” x 18”
- Boiler size: 2.5 L
If you want a La Cimbali machine for your home, the Junior Casa DT1 is the model you’re after. I’d be lying if I said it was the most attractive prosumer espresso machine, but boy is this thing built to last! It’s essentially one of their commercial models shrunk to a domestic size, with many of the same components. That means you can pull shot after shot for decades.
It has a stainless steel 2.5-litre boiler and a quiet rotary pump. And while it may have a bit of a retro look, it has some thoroughly modern new features, including programmable volumetric dosing, passive pre-infusion, gauges for pump and steam pressure, and an improved three-hole steam tip.
One thing to keep in mind with this machine is that it is plumb-in only. It doesn’t have a water reservoir. This is in keeping with its commercial roots. Plumbing in an espresso machine makes it a treat to use, but it could be a deal-breaker if you don’t have the right place in your home.
This is the second La Cimbali M26 on our list, but now we’re talking about the top-of-the-line model. If you have a steady stream of customers demanding top-quality drinks for hours on end, this is one of few coffee machines that’s going to be up to the task.
First of all, this model has three groups, two steam wands, and a hot water tap. It’s wide enough for two baristas to work side by side comfortably. Its heat exchange boiler has a total capacity of 15 litres so that you can make many drinks in a row without pause. And it has the unique thermal system the M26 models are known for.
The TE distinguishes itself from the BE model with its user-friendliness. It’s automatic rather than semi-automatic so that you can pre-program shot volumes. And it has a backlit electromechanical button panel that is ergonomic and intuitive to use. Ergonomics might not be too important for the average home user, but avoiding barista strain is a huge factor (4).
The TE models are also equipped with the patented Turbosteam milk system. You can program up to four automatic frothing recipes with different milk temperatures and textures. In a busy rush, this is a significant time-saver for baristas.
6. M21 Junior Commercial – Best for Small Cafes
- Number of groups: 1
- Dimensions (HxWxD): 19.9” x 12.6” x 18.5”
- Boiler size: 2.5 L
For a small cafe, a machine with one group is usually sufficient. But that doesn’t mean you can grab a home model off the shelf. For starters, commercial espresso machines need to be certified as such. Still, more importantly, coffee shop models are built with heavy-duty components designed to accommodate the wear and tear of being used all day, every day.
So if you have a small cafe or coffee cart, the La Cimbali M21 Junior Commercial is the model for you. Its specs and price are very similar to the Junior Casa, but it is commercially rated.
Inside, you’ll find a 2.5-litre stainless steel boiler and rotary pump. It’s an automatic espresso machine, so you can program dosage by volume or start and stop shots manually. This is an excellent option because you can increase the automation during a morning rush, for example.
It has a professional-grade multidirectional stainless steel steam wand as well as a separate tap for hot water. This model may be La Cimbali’s smallest, but it still has everything you need to satisfy customer demands.
How to Choose the Right La Cimbali Espresso Machine
A commercial-grade espresso machine is a big investment. If you’re starting up a cafe, it may be the most important investment you make. So you must get the right La Cimbali model for you, your baristas, and the customer.
Fortunately, you need only answer a few simple questions to narrow down your options. This buyer’s guide will show you the way.
Is it for home or business?
For the most part, La Cimbali is known for its commercial coffee machines. If you’re shopping for a home machine, you only have one good option, the Junior Casa DT1. If you want a bigger selection of home models, consider some other brands known more for prosumer machines than cafe machines.
For some examples, check out our Izzo Alex Duetto review or our round up of the best Quick Mill espresso machines.
On the other hand, if you’re running a cafe, coffee cart, catering company, or any other business where you’d like to serve quality coffee, La Cimbali has a variety of excellent models. Let’s keep going to find out which one meets your needs.
How much capacity do you need?
The capacity you need comes down to the number of people you plan to serve, both per day and per hour.
For a busy cafe, you’ll need a large capacity machine.
That means multiple group heads and a bigger boiler. These features allow baristas to make multiple drinks at once and make a lot of drinks back to back without letting the machine recover. Of course, higher capacity machines are more expensive and take up more space, so be sure to measure both your countertop and your bank account carefully.
As a general guideline, only the busiest cafes require a machine with three groups. Average to large cafes can typically get by with a machine with two groups. Small cafes, coffee carts, or home users should look at single-group machines.
How much control do you want?
La Cimbali makes machines with all levels of automation, and there are pros and cons for each style of machine.
A super-automatic espresso machine does everything, from grinding the coffee beans to frothing the milk. You program want you to want, push a button, and await the results. They are great in businesses where coffee isn’t the focus and barista training isn’t a priority, according to coffee professional Dominic Vittitow (5).
Thanks to this increased convenience and the capacity for self-service, super-automatics have understandably become popular in non-café settings. Hotel lobbies, airports, and offices are all great examples.
The drink quality from a super-automatic can’t match that of a professional barista, but it is getting closer to modern technology. These machines are usually larger and more expensive but don’t forget to factor in the cost and space savings of not buying a separate grinder.
An automatic espresso machine strikes a nice balance between drink quality and ease of use.s It requires some skill to use but can be programmed to deliver specific shot volumes. This frees the barista for other tasks like steaming milk or interacting with a customer. It’s an excellent option in a busy cafe as it facilitates multitasking.
A semi-automatic espresso machine requires the most skill to use and takes the barista’s full attention. However, there is a reason these machines are so popular. With a skilled users, they deliver the most impressive results. Additionally, they are the least expensive style, perfect for small businesses with lower volume.
La Cimbali is unusual because it produces traditional semi-automatic espresso makers and thoroughly modern super-automatic models. But no matter which style appeals to you, you’re getting a beautifully engineered machine and delicious coffee. This year, our top pick is the super-automatic S30 CS10, which stands out for its user-friendliness and huge drink selection.
La Cimbali is headquartered near Milan, in northern Italy. But they have four major production facilities throughout the country. Along with La Cimbali, they also make Faema and Casadio branded coffee makers and grinders.
Other brands known for commercial espresso machines include La Marzocco, La Spaziale espresso machines, and La Pavoni. You might notice a common theme: they’re all Italian!
To be used in a business, an espresso maker must be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and the Electrical Testing Laboratories (ETL). These certifications have nothing to do with the taste of the espresso and everything to do with the safety aspects of using the equipment (6).
- Grant, T. (2021, July 22). How is automation shaping the coffee industry? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/07/how-is-automation-shaping-the-coffee-industry/
- Uusilehto, J. (n.d.). History and Basics of Latte Art. Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/inspiration/history-and-basics-latte-art
- Randolph, J. (2019, August 9). How to Choose Brewing Temperatures for Different Roast Levels. Retrieved from https://fellowproducts.com/blogs/learn/how-to-choose-water-temperature-for-different-roast-level
- Bernson, A. (2014, August 12). New Study Suggests That Baristas Are At A Significant Risk For Injury. Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/barista-injury-study-ergonomics-dainty-gregory-60680.html
- Vittitow, D. (2021, June 24). How are super-automatic espresso machines evolving? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2021/06/how-are-super-automatic-espresso-machines-evolving/
- Clive Coffee. (n.d.). Commercial Safety Certification Guide. Retrieved from https://clivecoffee.com/blogs/learn/commercial-safety-certification-guide
Better espresso machines will have 15 BARs. Those 15 BAR espresso machines have enough power to initiate a brewing with 10-11 BARs of pressure, thus yielding delicious coffee.Is breville or DeLonghi better? ›
The DeLonghi has a more powerful pump, at 19 bars to Breville's 15 bars, but either is plenty to produce a true espresso with a rich crema. Only the DeLonghi offers dual boilers, which guarantees the ideal temperature stability for optimal coffee extraction and milk texturing at the same time.What machine do baristas use at home? ›
Manual Coffee Machines
Be a professional coffee-making barista in your own home with a manual coffee machine. These machines allow you to control every aspect of your coffee, from the strength to the texture of your milk. You'll never have to buy your coffee again with quality cuppas made for traditional coffee lovers.
COMMERCIAL ESPRESSO MACHINE BRANDS AND MANUFACTURERS
Franke. La Cimbali. La Marzocco. La Pavoni.
A good espresso machine for home use, will set you back between $400 and $700, and they work very well at brewing great espresso without fuss. The price differences in the machines are often due to added features (like a PID controller), better heating elements, or the built of the machine.Is espresso better in glass or ceramic? ›
While glass also provides a neutral taste similar to ceramic, it's not quite as good at providing the optimal coffee experience. Since ceramic retains heat better than glass, your coffee will stay warmer much longer.Why are expensive espresso machines better? ›
An expensive home espresso machine is a better choice in the long run due to having higher-quality materials and more convenience features. Functions such as pre-wetting, built-in grinders, and high pressure bars will make your coffee taste incredible.What should I look for in a good espresso machine? ›
- Ease of Use. ...
- Ease of Cleaning. ...
- Cost. ...
- Your Drink Preferences. ...
- Customer Service. ...
- Durability. ...
- Size. ...
- Extra Features to Consider.
The fine grind is your standard size for pre-ground coffee and is about the size of granulated sugar. Use this size when making espresso or an Aeropress with a one to two minute brew time. You'll also want to grind medium-fine when using a Moka pot.How many bars of pressure is good for an espresso shot? ›
When making espresso, you usually want nine bars of pressure, or nine times the weight of the pressure at sea level. “Espresso has a long history, and the best espresso is extracted at nine bars” Stephen tells me.
Breville tends to have more options and more settings, making it simultaneously harder to use but easier to get your coffee exactly how you like it. De'Longhi machines usually have double boilers, meaning you can froth milk at a lower temperature while you brew your coffee, saving time.What is better than Breville Barista Express? ›
The Barista Pro is the better machine. The ThermoJet system, more grind size options, and LCD display make better espresso and is easier to use than the Barista Express.What is the most popular espresso? ›
Latte. The classic latte features a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and a thin layer of foam on top. Outside of Italy – where straight espresso shots and cappuccinos reign supreme – the latte is arguably the most popular and well-known espresso drink.What espresso brand does Starbucks use? ›
Starbucks uses the Mastrena High Yield Espresso machine, which is manufactured by a Swiss company called Thermoplan AG. The machine was actually custom-designed by Thermoplan specifically for Starbucks. That's why you'll be hard-pressed to find them anywhere else.What is the number 1 coffee brand in the world? ›
Starbucks. With annual revenues of $23.52 billion, Starbucks tops the list of best coffee brands in the world. The world's largest coffee retailer, headquartered in Seattle, US, was founded in 1971. At present, its operations span across more than 33,800 stores in 80 countries.Is there a coffee machine that does it all? ›
De'Longhi All-in-One Combination Coffee Maker
This all-in-one system from De'Longhi gives you pretty much every coffee option you could as for except for iced coffee. If you're a fan of red eyes, you can add a rich espresso shot into your freshly brewed pot of drip coffee. Perhaps you prefer lattes.
- Breville Oracle Touch Inbuilt Grinder (Source: Coffeeness)
- Breville Barista Touch.
- Breville Barista Pro.
- Breville Barista Express.
- Sunbeam Barista Max.
- De'Longhi Dinamica.
- De'Longhi Magnifica S.
- GS3 Auto Volumetric – Best Overall.
- Strada EE – Best Semi-Automatic.
- GB5 Auto Volumetric – Most Reliable.
- Linea Mini – Most Compact.
Whether you wish to have a Costa Latte or a Costa Cappuccino at home, the Costa pods of TASSIMO have you covered. Simply put a Costa T DISC in your TASSIMO machine, press start and your coffee is ready within seconds. TASSIMO.Where are decent espresso machines made? ›
While Italy is generally held up as the gold standard of espresso machine manufacturing, Decent espresso machines are made in a small industrial building on the other side of the globe: Hong Kong. But switching production from Europe to Asia is just the start of how the guys at Decent are shaking off the old rules.
A really good manual or semi-automatic espresso machine should last for 20 or more years. If you really want to stretch, there are commercial models small enough for home use that will last even longer.Does an espresso machine use a lot of electricity? ›
Espresso machines take between 1,000 and 1,500 watts to run. A single cup takes the average machine about 45 seconds, which means that (using an average of 1.25 kW) a cup of espresso would need about 0.0156 kWh in energy.Do you save money buying an espresso machine? ›
With the average cost of a bag of coffee ($17) and a gallon of milk ($4.50), it costs about $550 to make espresso at home. Factoring in the equipment. With the average cost of a home espresso setup at around $3,000 (average machine cost = $2k and average grinder cost = $700), it'll pay itself off in about two years.Why does espresso taste better in Italy? ›
Why does Italian espresso always taste better? That is because Italian espresso is fresh. When you order a coffee in Italy, the coffee is almost always a fresh roast. This means that the Italian beans were roasted less than 8-14 days before you ordered it.What espresso machines are made in Switzerland? ›
Olympia Express – Finest Swiss made hand crafted Espresso machines. With a tradition stretching back over 85 years, this small but highly respected manufacturer is a true pioneer.Is DeLonghi made in China? ›
Its acquisition of the British appliance maker Kenwood for £45.9 million (about $66.7 million) in 2001 gave it access to Kenwood's Chinese factory. As a result, many of De'Longhi's products are now imported from China, while design and engineering remain largely in Italy.Is espresso healthier than coffee? ›
coffee health debate may come down to how you dress them up. “In other words, a cup of black coffee is healthier than an espresso drink with syrup, sprinkles, and milk,” says Malkani. “But a plain shot of espresso will not increase total calories, fat, and sugars as much as a cup of coffee with cream and sugar.”Is espresso healthier than filter coffee? ›
Did You Know? Filtered coffee may be better for you than French press coffee or the espresso version. This is due to cafestol, one of the chemicals present in coffee which is known to raise levels of LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol.Which is stronger glass or ceramic? ›
Ceramic is more expensive than tempered glass, but it is also stronger, more durable and is the choice people make when they want to be sure that they will not have to worry about replacing the glass.How do I know if my espresso machine is good? ›
The Signs of a Quality Espresso Machine
For temperature, you want the machine to be able to get to a range of 194 and 201 degrees F. And, if you're opting for an automatic machine, it's important you pick one with a high-quality grinder like a flat or conical burr with medium rotation speed.
The short answer is “no”. An expensive coffee machine gives you no guarantees of a delicious cup of coffee. However, not all coffee machines are created equal, and there is no doubt that people with more of a budget can buy a brilliant setup.What are the 3 qualities of a perfect espresso shot? ›
But when it comes to quality, three essential characteristics must work together harmoniously to create great espresso:
- Acidity. ...
- Sweetness. ...
Coffee beans roasts can range from light to dark. Beans that are roasted in the medium to medium- dark range are those that are most suited to making espresso.What are the 4 qualities of a perfect espresso shot? ›
The 5 most important factors to pulling perfect espresso shots are: Water Pressure, Extraction Time, Water Temperature, Grind Consistency, and Tamping.Does finer grind make stronger espresso? ›
So it's safe to say that when it comes to caffeination, a finer grind does result in stronger coffee, while a coarser grind will always brew a weaker cup.What grind gives stronger coffee? ›
In that case, the more finely ground your beans are, the more caffeine they will release to the water. In the sense of caffeination, a finer grind does result in stronger coffee, while a coarser grind will brew a weaker cup.What is the 10 second rule for espresso? ›
It takes 10 seconds for an espresso shot to “go bad”. That is, for the heart, body and crema to blend together into a big black bitter mess. If you're drinking espresso straight, it doesn't matter.Is a 15 or 20 BAR espresso machine better? ›
Better espresso machines will have 15 BARs. Those 15 BAR espresso machines have enough power to initiate a brewing with 10-11 BARs of pressure, thus yielding delicious coffee.How long should 2 shots of espresso pour? ›
The volume of water for each shot should be 1 oz. – so after your double shot has reached 2 oz., stop the shot and check your timer. The ideal brewing time you're looking for is between 20 – 30 seconds – if you're running too long or too short, check your grind, dose and tamp, then adjust it accordingly.How long do home espresso machines last? ›
Here's a quick answer to the question: Affordable home espresso machines last between three to five years with regular use. Infrequent use can increase this lifespan even more.
Espresso machines seem like complex, high-end equipment...and, well, they are. Luckily though, they're very easy to keep clean. After pulling a shot or steaming milk, there will be residual coffee grounds and milk buildup.Can I leave my espresso machine on all day? ›
According to Michael It's best to turn a machine off when not in use. He says the heating and cooling is gradual enough that it causes no detrimental wear and tear on machine parts due to thermal expansion and contraction.How often do espresso machines need to be cleaned? ›
After every 200 shots of coffee, a more thorough machine cleaning should be done using espresso machine cleaning tablets or powder. Always remember to rinse the group head thoroughly with clean water after you use any kind of chemical cleaner.Can you run an espresso machine twice? ›
Yes and No. The coffee after your espresso is good for a lot of uses except for having another shot of espresso. Unlike tea which can be reused for the next, less intense brew, coffee powder however cannot be used more than once. The first extraction is the only enjoyable brew.How long will 2 shots of espresso last? ›
In the average adult, the half-life of caffeine is about 5-6 hours. This means that once take a dose of caffeine, you'll break down about half of that caffeine after 5-6 hours. So if you take in 200 mg of caffeine at 9 am, you'll still have about 100 mg left in your body between 2 and 3 pm.How long does it take for an espresso machine to pay for itself? ›
With the average cost of a home espresso setup at around $3,000 (average machine cost = $2k and average grinder cost = $700), it'll pay itself off in about two years.Does vinegar damage espresso machines? ›
Vinegar can damage the internal parts of the coffee machine, especially the seals and the rubber gaskets. In addition, it is very difficult to rinse, and its smell and taste will remain for a long time in the espresso machine.Should you run vinegar through an espresso machine? ›
No, you cannot descale an espresso machine with vinegar. The way these natural acids and descaling solution react with the scale and bacteria in your machine is not the same. Descaling solution is formulated to remove only the limescale, and not damage your espresso machine's working parts.Can a cheap espresso machine make good coffee? ›
The answer is yes, you can make a good espresso shot with budget espresso machines, but you should be wary of some of the low-budget options since they might lack important features. You need two key things for a good shot of espresso.What kind of espresso machine should a beginner get? ›
Breville Barista Touch is the best espresso machine for beginners if you want a more premium machine that's easy to use and has plenty of drink options. This is also the best choice if you want a device with automatic features that still give you control over the brewing process.