Counters: How low can you go?

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Counters: How low can you go?

Postby Mike Gregory on Mon Feb 19, 2007 7:45 am

We are considering a sub-36 inch counter, and don't use the factory metal LM legs on our Linea. I'd like to know how far people out there have dropped their espresso machine, and how low of a work area is too low (let's define work area as drip tray height since we will be tamping on an elevated area).
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Postby Brent on Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:36 pm

I would suggest that to low is when the tallest person on staff has to stoop... to high would be when the shortest needs a stepladder :)

It comes down to what is comfortable - copy the computer desk people - design it so the machine can be rasied or lowered to suit the barista as you can with a keyboard...

just a thought (probably not a particularly spectacular one)
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Postby Matt Milletto on Mon Feb 19, 2007 12:50 pm

Ritual wins the low rider award for their machine ... put some spinners on that hooptie!

Image

Image

Sorry not the best pic ... but if Gabe has to stoop, that sh*t is looow ... :) The pic was taken at 6' ... Gabe, how do you do it??

- Matt
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Postby Matt Milletto on Mon Feb 19, 2007 1:37 pm

P.S. My friends cafe in Brooklyn has the opposite scenario ... since then he has a new machine with lowered legs, and has redesigned the coffee "island" ... personally I fatigue faster when stooping down ... harder on the back ...

Image

- m
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Postby tonx on Mon Feb 19, 2007 4:55 pm

If you use a Synesso or one of Kee's machines a lower bar makes sense as you can have an optimal PF locking height and yet still see your shots pouring without stooping. The Marzoccos require some stooping at all but the most radically elevated heights. The GB5 is especially difficult as the front panel protrudes even further over the groups.

Lower back pain should not be part of the barista lifestyle. Nor should bars be so high that you can't hold a conversation over the machine.
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Postby Mike Gregory on Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:00 pm

Thanks for the input so far. I'd like to point out I'm looking for machine height, NOT tamping surface height, in consideration of employee height variable. Grinders & tamping surface will be about 36", but I'd like to lower the machine itself as much as possible. Imagine tamping and moving the portafilter purely horizontally to position underneath the group... is 32" too low for drain tray height on a Linea?
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Postby nick on Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:13 pm

If you really want it to be low, the best way to overcome the aforementioned "stooping" issue is to set the machine a bit further back... but not so far that it's a strain to grab cups and stuff off of the top of the machine.
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low bar

Postby gabelucas on Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:49 pm

yeah man, I am a short guy and this bar is too low even for me! 36" counter top is great, back pain is not. figure out your staff and as them what they think as well.
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Postby Sandy on Tue Feb 20, 2007 8:53 am

Matt,
Our machine and counter tops are about as high as the one you have pictured. (at least to my 5/2 height)
"tis too high for this short gall. I fatigue much faster and after 7 years o9f running this machine, am suffering one hell of a bad arm.

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Postby Matt Milletto on Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:17 am

sandy - after working 3 12 hour shifts on that high bar ... I was tired to say the least. not optimal at all, and that is why he changed it. i bet after 7 years tho you have one mean upper cut. :)

-m
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Postby Jimmy Oneschuk on Tue Feb 20, 2007 12:06 pm

What I don't understand is why you would have your tamping surface at bar height - if there is one risk for RSD, I would think it's tamping (or slamming the PFs into the groups, or having to push/pull hard on a leaky basket/gasket seal).

I've been using a table height surface for tamping at work, and find it to be much more natural, w/ less overall joint movement/impact.

Madness! The madness!!!
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Postby Sandy on Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:15 pm

jimmyo wrote:What I don't understand is why you would have your tamping surface at bar height - if there is one risk for RSD, I would think it's tamping (or slamming the PFs into the groups, or having to push/pull hard on a leaky basket/gasket seal).




yes, yes and yes.
when the specs were being issued for our cafe, using a swift was taken into account and machine height was considered a non-essential.

boy. were they wrong.



fwiw:
we did lower the legs on the LM. there is about a three inch clearance from the machine to the counter.
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Postby Mike Gregory on Sun Mar 25, 2007 9:38 pm

JPO wrote:I've been using a table height surface for tamping at work, and find it to be much more natural, w/ less overall joint movement/impact.


Table height here (universal?) is 29 inches. I can think of a couple places with a counter height of 32 inches under a La Marzocco jacked up on those factory legs.. Has anyone gone lower?
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Postby onocoffee on Mon Mar 26, 2007 2:42 am

I don't know the measurement, but I do know that the height of those folding tables is "too low." It's cool because the machine sits low and you can readily engage the customer over the machine, but it's too low to be operationally sound.

Our counters stand right at 41" with the Linea (wearing those black rubber feet) on top. That's a reasonable height that doesn't fatigue and allows you to place full-size cabinets beneath the mahine.

However, our grinding and tamping is done currently on a 48" worktop freezer at 36" - which seems to be a great height for tamping.

Another consideration is that 36" is the standard height for kitchen worktables that have evolved over years of use. They must be onto something with that height.
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