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Understanding Espresso Machine Pumps

When shopping for espresso equipment, many rarely put thought into the type of pump a potential espresso machine utilizes. In truth there is not much to consider, but if you care about your coffee or just love all things espresso, you’ll take into consideration this small, but crucial part of your espressomachine. Below you will learn about the different types of pumps used in the espresso industry and what you may need to know about each before purchasing an espresso machine.


Vibrating Pumps are too Small for Commercial Use

There are only a few types of pumps used in espresso equipment. The Vibrating pump is mainly used for home model machines.  it is a lower volume pump and can only handle small amounts of water. For commercial purposes, the Vibrating pump is inconsistent and easily develops higher pressure because it cannot be adjusted without an external bypass. The vibrating pump is just one reason why most home model espresso machines are unsuccessful when placed in a business atmosphere. 


The most common pump used in commercial espresso machine Rotary Vane

The Rotary Vane pump is available in several sizes and comes with a bypass valve for adjusting pressure. You can adjust your bypass to reach and maintain your preferred pressure without the help of a service technition. The Rotary Vane pump is very consistent if sized properly. A common mistake made by many equipment owners is to replace a machine’s original pump with a lower volume pump. When a pump is mismatched to a machine's capabilites, it will be difficult to maintain your desired brewing pressure when utilizing some or all brew groups.  


The Gear Pump is Used for Flavor Profiling Single Origin Coffees

Last is the Gear pump, which is more costly and utilized the least; however, the Gear pump offers operators the most control. It is driven by a dc motor and regulated by programming software. The gear pump takes the place of a restrictor to offer operators more variables. The Gear pump is used mainly for the purpose of flavor profiling single origin coffees. Unlike the Rotary Vane pump, machine's utilizing a Gear pump will operate with one on each group. Some espresso equipment manufacturers, not many, will use multiple pumps, bypasses or valves to manipulate pressure during brewing to control acts of pre-wetting and relaxing.  


Place your Pump and Motor in a safe and Accessible Spot.

The pump, and the motor used to operate it, can be found on the inside or the outside of your espresso machine. There is a convenience to having your pump located on the outside of your espresso machine because it is now more readily accessible to you and your service technician. It can be very easy to adjust when you experience an occasional variance in the pump itself or in your building’s water pressure, which are both very common. On the other hand, many manufacturers are doing a great job placing pumps on the inside of an espresso machine easier to reach and adjust as well. If you own an espresso machine with the pump and motor set on the outside, you’ll want to take extra steps to find a safe and accessible spot for both to operate.


Make Sure to Keep your Pump Easily Accessible

Service technicians often see pump and motor placed either directly below the espresso machine or inside of an adjacent cabinet. The pair are either placed or mounted on the side of a cabinet or on a shelf.  Service technicians recommend you  mount your pump and motor because it keeps them from being moved and accidentally damaged. It is common for espresso service technicians to find other articles such as cups and cleaning items as an inconvenient barrier between them and these parts, so choose your mounted spot wisely. Finding a location that is separate from storage is helpful and will save you money on your technician’s labor.


Your espresso pump is an important part of your machine’s ability to produce quality consistent coffee. When shopping for espresso equipment, make sure the machine’s pump is sized appropriately for your business purposes and that it is easy to access and adjust. If the pump operates on the outside, find an isolated place that is easy to access for stress-free adjustments and repairs.  

Do you have additional questions or comments regarding this article? Contact us at We appreciate hearing from you. 








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