We offer a full range of home, office and commercial espresso machines that can be directly connected to a water line. Some of the machines have a water tank with an option to direct connect and others are direct connect only. If you direct connect an espresso machine to a water line it will eliminate the need to refill a water tank on a regular basis, which is a great improvement for ease of use. There are also some home machines that allow you to connect your machine directly to a drain line, which means you no longer have to empty a drip tray.
The content on this page is relating to prosumer home machines, if you are interested in commercial machines that are direct connected, you can visit our business espresso machine section, in which case they will all have the capability of being direct connected. We do not recommend any water tank only machine for a business environment, even a small one.
Pros of Direct Connect Espresso Machines
- Eliminate the need to refill a water tank – this is of course the most obvious benefit of direct connecting a machine. Most prosumer espresso machines are quite heavy and difficult to move and many of them have water tanks that are located at the back of the machine. To access the water tank, many people pull the machines out, refill the tank and push the machines back in place, especially when machines have cabinets overhead with a limited space above them.
- Preinfusion – If you want to get the full benefit of preinfusion, having a direct water line connection will give you that option on many machines. As an example, with e61 group head espresso machines that are direct connected, you can hold the brew lever in the middle position to let water line pressure preinfuse (or prewet the coffee prior to full pressure being applied) the tamped ground coffee. Once you allowed it to preinfuse for the desired amount of time, you can lift the lever all the way up and active the brew pump to complete the shot.
- Avoid Potential Damage Caused By Spills – We’ve had quite a few customers requesting repairs on espresso machines that have been damaged by water spilling on internal electrical components. It’s easy for this to happen if you are refilling a water tank daily or multiple times a day. No matter how careful you are, there is still a potential for an accident. This can cost a lot of money to repair if the spill shorts out the electrical and causes a brain unit or something like that to fail. With a direct connected machine you avoid this issue.
- Water Doesn’t Sit In Plastic Water Tanks – with a direct connect machine water doesn’t sit in plastic water tanks for an extended period of time. To some customers this is important.
- More Consistent Water Quality – If you connect your espresso machine to a water softening system, the quality of the water you use will be consistent every time. With tank only machines there is a greater chance for variability as sometimes you may use tap water, other times bottled water, etc. If you do use bottled water and you change brands there can be variance in the hardness, TDS, mineral content etc.
- Fresh Water – When you direct connect a machine, your drinks will have fresh water directly from the water line vs water that may have been sitting in a water tank for an extended amount of time.
- Quieter Machines – Most direct connect machines have rotary vane pumps or magnetic gear pumps. These types of pumps are usually quieter, and in some cases a lot quieter than water tank only machines that usually have vibratory pumps. No need to wake the dead when you are making an espresso!
Cons Of Direct Connect Espresso Machines
- Initial Set Up – Directly connecting an espresso machine can get a project that takes some time. While it’s usually not very difficult and can usually be done in less than an hour by an average person, it can take longer if the location you want to put the machine requires extra effort to get a water line into position. If you have granite or other rock countertops you may have to drill a hole in the countertop, which isn’t a super quick project.
- Additional Cost – Direct connect machines cost more than water tank only machines. This is because direct connect machines require additional components to handle the constant water line pressure, including much more robust rotary vane water pumps.
Importance of Water Quality for Direct Plumbed Machines
Hard water will destroy an espresso machine. The harder the water, the faster it will be destroyed. You can descale, but it’s harder to do with a direct connect machine, especially one that doesn’t have a water tank as an option. Don’t take the risk – make sure you use water that is less than 50 ppm in hardness or be ok with your machine having a lot of issues and over time getting ruined. It’s also important that the water is over 0ppm for water level probes to work. If you are planning on direct connection your machine, make sure you have an inline water softening system and make sure you test your water and replace your system cartridges on a regular basis, or if you have a salt based system, make sure you recharge on a regular basis.
How Do You Direct Connect An Espresso Machine?
Most espresso machines that are direct connect capable come with a 3/8” braided stainless steel water line. We highly, highly, highly recommend that you connect the machine to an inline water softening system. If you choose to use an inline water system, you would connect the braided stainless steel line to the water system, then connect the water system to a 3/8” or ¼” shut off valve on a cold water line or a refrigerator water line. A lot of times the supplied braided line has a BSPT fitting, which doesn’t work for USA plumbing without an adapter. We recommend using a push connect, silicone tubing and John Guests fitting for the connections from the machine to the softening system to the water line connection. This 3/8 inch kit or this ¼ inch kit will make things easier and prevent trips back and forth to the hardware store.
Are Some Espresso Machines Switchable Between Water Tank and Direct Water Line Connection?
Yes, we have quite a few models where this is an option. These models include: Rocket R58, Rocket Giotto R, Rocket R Nine One, ECM Technika Profi IV, Quick Mill Vetrano, Quick Mill Andreja Premium, Bezzera Duo, Bezzera Mitica, ECM Super Domobar with Rotary Pump, ACS Vesuvius and others. Switchable machines are nice if you aren’t able to direct connect a machine right away, but plan to or hope to in the future.
Commercial Espresso Machine & Coffee Makers with Water Line Hookup
This page is dedicated to home espresso machines with water line connections, but if you are looking for a commercial espresso machine or a commercial coffee brewer, we have those too. Our commercial espresso machine line up includes the following great brands: Nuova Simonelli, La Cimbali, La Spaziale, Faema, Victoria Arduino, La Pavoni, Casadio, Unic, Slayer and Astoria. We are authorized distributors of all Fetco coffee brewing products and most are direct connect capable machines. We are also distributors of all Wilbur Curtis brewing products.