Should I choose a coffee machine with a dual boiler?
If you have read my Buying Guide you will already know that I’m a big fan of Aus Spec heat exchanger coffee machines. These machines give you the true home barista experience by allowing you to brew coffee and steam milk at the same time, and with an E61 group you get high thermal stability as well as gentle brew pressure build up to give a consistent extraction.
Most Italian heat exchanger coffee machines have large boilers which means that you can get a large volume of steam for milk texturing. Most can make back to back coffees all day long just like any commercial coffee machine. Even a professional barista will be hard pressed to outpace any of my heat exchanger machines.
Keep in mind that many cafes use heat exchanger machines. Commercial machines are bigger than domestic machines but the technology is the same and they share the old school simplicity and reliability of a single boiler and a single heating element.
I’m often asked for a dual boiler machine and I always ask “why do you want one?” It’s often because of the perception that they make better coffee. However, an Aus Spec heat exchanger coffee machine can brew just as effectively as a dual boiler machine. Dual boiler coffee machines do have advantages such as slightly better thermal stability and sometimes higher steam pressure, but to most these advantages won’t make much noticeable difference to the results in the cup.
As a final point, dual boiler coffee machines are typically $1000 more than their heat exchanger counterparts. Only you will know if the small performance differences are worth $1000 to you.
To learn more about heat exchanger and dual boiler coffee machines please visit my Buying Guide