The Nuova Simonelli Prontobar is a high performance, super automatic coffee machine that is good for use in medium sized offices, or as a commercial espresso machine in smaller coffee shops and restaurants.
The Prontobar comes with features such as volumetric dosing, LCD display, dual grinders, metal thermo compensated delivery group, automatic milk dispensing, and standby functions for energy saving.
Overall, the Nuova Simonelli Prontobar delivers high quality in a reasonably sized package that goes up against the Bravilor Sego Automatic Coffee Machine and the Jura E8 Automatic Coffee Machine.
At first glance, the Nuova Simonelli Prontobar comes across as a high quality super automatic coffee machine. This is due to the fact that the Prontobar features a chrome metal face, which lends a more premium feel to its counterparts with full plastic construction.
The LCD display is only alphanumeric, and does not display graphics and images like you see on a Bravilor Sego Super Automatic Coffee Machine, which makes the Prontobar feel like an older coffee machine. However, it does lend itself to feeling a little less novel, and more professional, which is a look that might work well for a office coffee machine in a more formal office, such as a bank, law firm, or consultancy firm.
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With a production output of up to 140 espressos or 70 milk based drinks per hour, the prontobar is most suitable for use in medium sized offices.
With an option to have the prontobar equipped with dual grinders, there is actually quite a lot of versatility that can be derived from this coffee machine. Users can choose to load up the two coffee bean hoppers with two different coffee blends, or to load up one of the two coffee hoppers with a decaffeinated blend. This provides for good variety and flexibility of drinks available on the prontobar, which is a very important trait for an office coffee machine.
Another feature on the prontobar which aids in the variety and flexibility department is that it can be connected seamlessly to a milk cooler or milk fridge, which turns the prontobar into a coffee machine with automatic milk dispensing.
This opens up coffee options on milk based drinks such as a cappuccinos, lattes, and flat whites. Although the prontobar also comes with a separate steam wand which allows for a two step production of a milk based coffee drink, the automatic milk dispensing function will no doubt be the preferred of the two options, as seen with other automatic coffee machines being used as office coffee machines.
If you factor in the fact that using the steam wand in a two step coffee production process takes more time, and requires some skill on the part of the user, using the automatic milk dispensing function ensures a consistently high quality with every cup of coffee produced.
It is worth noting that the milk cooler that you choose to equip with the prontobar, need not be of the same brand, and can be a fairly low cost purchase that can be done after market. With the inclusion of the milk cooler however, you might want to engage your local coffee machine supplier to help calibrate the respective milk drink options on your prontobar.
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While you are getting your coffee machine supplier to calibrate the milk based drink recipes on your prontobar, you can also get them to calibrate some other things.
Because the prontobar uses a volumetric dosing system, you can adjust the amount of coffee grounds you would like as part of each brew (this affects strength of coffee), as well as the total liquid volume that is dispensed into your cup. These preferences can then be saved as part of your drink selection presets.
These are useful customisation and features to have, especially on an office coffee machine, as they allow for larger doses of coffee which fit better into personal tumblers which are usually larger than 12oz, which is larger than the standard takeaway cup size of 8 oz.
Lastly, though the prontobar stands a little bit taller than some of the other similarly - classed automatic office coffee machines such as the Jura E8, it isn’t a whole lot bigger in terms of foot print, which actually makes the prontobar a rather high performance coffee machine for its size.
Other features that make the prontobar a joy to own and operate as an office coffee machine, is a standby function that saves energy. This is important in an office coffee machine as they do not operate all day, but rather in sporadic periods, which means that your prontobar will not be running on full tilt throughout the day, thus saving some precious energy costs.
In today’s business climate, where cafes and restaurants all over the world face increasing manpower turnovers and increasing manpower costs, the implications are far and wide. For example, with increased manpower turnover, the cost and time of retraining new staff has increased.
With increasing manpower costs, part timers continue to be an integral part of cafe and restaurant operations. That leaves operators with a dilemma, as it is hard to address both issues in the same stroke, while maintaining product consistency. At least where coffee is concerned, this is where a super automatic coffee machine like the Simonelli prontobar applies a masterstroke.
The super automatic coffee machine has for sometime, been seen as a more convenient, albeit an inferior option to a semi automatic espresso machine. However, it is important to note that with technological advancements made, the quality that can be derived from a super automatic machine such as the prontobar, has significantly increased, and is closer to a semi automatic high performance commercial espresso machine than ever before.
While the gap between the two types of coffee machines has not been completely closed, the variance is now not too noticeable, especially if you run a take and go food concept where coffee is an important, but not central product to the business.
Moreover, if you consider that the cost and time of training new staff to use a super automatic coffee machine like the prontobar, against the cost and time of training new staff to use a semi automatic like a White Eagle, it leaves an interesting decision to be made on your part as a food operator.
If you look at the issue of product consistency, you will also come to realise that with a super automatic coffee machine, you can be assured that each cup of coffee will be consistent, as it is almost completely independent of the coffee making proficiency of the guy behind the counter.
Consistency is the bedrock of any food business that aims to expand to multiple outlets, and this is the very reason why operators like Starbucks employ the use of automatic coffee machines guised as semi automatic coffee machines. In essence then, it can be argued that the way forward for any food business with scalability in mind, is to employ the use of high quality automatic coffee machines that deliver high performance at a consistent level, with little or no training involved.
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To that end, the Nuova Simonelli steps up to deliver what is a very complete, high performance coffee machine, in a package that is compact and footprint friendly. Not all coffee machines are built equal, and the prontobar stands out among its automatic coffee machine counterparts as one that has included premium features such as a metal thermo compensated delivery group.
Behind the plastic casing, the delivery group assembly features full metal construction, which is once again, aimed toward enhancing consistency of each and every shot pulled from the prontobar. Coffee brewing temperature is an important element to coffee brewing, and many manufacturers are constantly working out new coffee machine innovations to enhance temperature control mechanics within their coffee machines.
The inclusion of a metal thermo compensated delivery group would constitute such an innovation. More than that, the full metal construction also lends itself well in the reliability department, which translates to lesser downtime for you as a food operator.
Another observation about the prontobar when employed as a commercial espresso machine, is that the button activated controls on the control panel, which take the form of physical buttons, are probably a more practical option as opposed to touch screen controls.
In a food service environment, where staff members may not always have dry hands, physical buttons provide for more precise handling than touchscreen controls. Other specifications that make the prontobar a joy to employ in coffee shops and restaurants include a used grounds bin that can hold 30 - 40 grind cakes before emptying.
The prontobar can also be piped into a water supply using standard ⅜ piping sections, for uninterrupted water supply. If you do not have the luxury of direct water piping, then a five litre water tank serves as a good alternative in smaller scale operations.
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Maintenance wise, as with most modern super automatic machines, the prontobar features modular assembly groups, which means that the delivery group, brewing group and other major assemblies within the coffee machine, are built like cartridges.
In the event of a machine breakdown, each module can be pulled out and replaced with a new one within minutes. Cleaning wise, daily cleaning on all coffee machines are recommended to maintain good levels of operating standards, and just like other automatic coffee machines, can be flushed daily using your standard espresso machine cleaning tablets such as those produced by major makers like Cafiza and Cafetto.
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Overall, the Nuova Simonelli Prontobar makes for a high quality automatic coffee machine that provides consistent product quality, fuss free usage, easy maintenance, energy saving technologies, and temperature control technologies. All these factors make it suitable for use in medium sized offices, as well as smaller coffee shops and restaurants.
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