What are the Different Types of Pumps in Coffee Machines?

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Are you curious about the inner workings of your favorite coffee machine? One of the most important components responsible for brewing your morning cup of joe is the pump. Different types of pumps are used in coffee machines, each with unique features and advantages. In this article, we will explore the different types of pumps found in coffee machines and their importance in the coffee brewing process.

Without a functioning pump, your coffee machine would not be able to extract the rich flavors and aromas from your coffee grounds. Pumps are responsible for creating the necessary pressure to push hot water through the coffee grounds, extracting the essential oils and flavors that make each cup unique. But not all pumps are created equal. Different types of pumps are used in coffee machines, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages.

Understanding Pump Pressure in Coffee Machines

When it comes to brewing coffee, pump pressure plays a crucial role in the extraction process. The pressure of water passing through the coffee grounds affects the rate at which flavor compounds and oils are extracted, ultimately impacting the taste and aroma of the resulting brew.

Commercial coffee machines, in particular, rely on pump pressure to ensure consistent and efficient brewing. The optimal pressure for a coffee machine depends on the type of machine and the brewing method being used.

Optimal Pump Pressure for Different Types of Coffee Machines

Coffee Machine Type Optimal Pump Pressure
Drip Coffee Maker 9-10 bar
French Press No pump pressure required
Aeropress No pump pressure required
Espresso Machine 9-10 bar (standard), 15-20 bar (high-end)
Commercial Espresso Machine 9-10 bar (standard), up to 15 bar (high-end)

For drip coffee makers, a pump pressure of 9-10 bar is recommended for optimal brewing. French press and Aeropress brewing methods do not require any pump pressure.

For espresso machines, the standard pump pressure is typically 9-10 bar, though high-end machines may operate at 15-20 bar. Commercial espresso machines typically operate at 9-10 bar, but some high-end models can reach up to 15 bar.

The Significance of Pump Pressure for Espresso Machines

Espresso machines rely on pump pressure to create the high level of extraction needed for a balanced and full-bodied espresso shot. The pressure of the water passing through the compacted coffee grounds is what creates the crema, a hallmark of a well-crafted espresso shot.

While the standard pump pressure for espresso machines is typically 9-10 bar, some high-end machines operate at 15-20 bar. However, the higher pressure does not necessarily guarantee a better espresso shot. In fact, some experts argue that too much pressure can actually result in over-extraction and a bitter taste.

The ideal pump pressure for espresso is a balance between achieving a proper extraction and avoiding over-extraction, with crema being the ultimate indicator of a well-crafted espresso shot.

Next, we’ll compare and contrast the two most common types of pumps used in coffee machines: rotary pumps and centrifugal pumps.

Rotary Pumps vs Centrifugal Pumps

When it comes to coffee machines, two types of pumps are commonly used: rotary pumps and centrifugal pumps. While both are designed to move water through the coffee machine, they operate differently and have unique advantages and disadvantages.

Rotary Pumps Centrifugal Pumps
Advantages: Advantages:
• Can maintain consistent pressure • Generally less expensive
• Reliable and durable • Smaller and more compact
• Quiet operation • Efficient at higher speeds
Disadvantages: Disadvantages:
• More expensive than centrifugal pumps • Can struggle to maintain consistent pressure at high speeds
• Require more maintenance • Not as durable or reliable as rotary pumps

Rotary pumps use internal gears to push water through the coffee machine. They are known for their ability to maintain consistent pressure, which is essential for producing high-quality coffee. Rotary pumps are also reliable and durable, making them a popular choice for commercial coffee machines. Additionally, they operate quietly, which is ideal for environments where noise is a concern.

On the other hand, centrifugal pumps are less expensive and more compact than rotary pumps. They are efficient at higher speeds, which makes them well-suited for smaller coffee machines. However, they can struggle to maintain consistent pressure at high speeds, which can result in inconsistent coffee quality. Centrifugal pumps also require less maintenance but are not as durable or reliable as rotary pumps.


When choosing between rotary pumps and centrifugal pumps for a coffee machine, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your establishment. Rotary pumps are generally the better choice for larger, commercial coffee machines that require consistent pressure and reliable operation. Centrifugal pumps may be more suitable for smaller coffee machines where space and budget are concerns. Ultimately, the choice between these two types of pumps will depend on factors such as budget, space requirements, and desired coffee quality.

Importance of Pump Pressure in Coffee Extraction

The pump pressure in a coffee machine plays a crucial role in the extraction process. It determines how much pressure is applied to the coffee grinds to extract the flavors and aromas. Too little pressure can result in an under-extracted coffee with a weak flavor, while too much pressure can result in over-extraction with a bitter taste.

The ideal pump pressure for brewing coffee is 9 bar, which is the standard for most home espresso machines. For commercial coffee machines, the pump pressure can vary depending on the type and model of the machine.

However, it’s important to note that the best pressure for brewing coffee can also depend on the roast level of the coffee beans. Lighter roasts may require more pressure to extract the flavors, while darker roasts may require less pressure to avoid over-extraction.

Importance of Pump Pressure for Espresso

Espresso machines require a higher pressure for brewing than regular coffee machines. The optimal pressure for brewing espresso is commonly believed to be 9 bars, although some machines may be designed to operate at 15 or 20 bars.

While some argue that higher pressure can result in a better crema, others contend that it can actually hinder the flavor and aroma of the espresso. Ultimately, the best pressure for brewing espresso will depend on the specific machine and the preference of the barista or coffee drinker.

It’s worth noting that pump pressure is just one of many factors that can affect the quality of the brewed coffee or espresso. The grind size, water temperature, and extraction time are all important considerations as well.

The Impact of Grind Size on Pump Pressure

When it comes to brewing coffee, the size of your coffee grounds can have a significant impact on pump pressure. The grind size affects the overall surface area of the coffee beans, which in turn affects the resistance that the water faces as it passes through the grounds and the resulting extraction.

If the grind is too fine, the water will have a hard time passing through and will result in high pressure. However, if the grind is too coarse, it will be too easy for the water to pass through, resulting in low pressure and underextracted coffee.

Grind Size Pump Pressure Extraction Efficiency
Extra Fine High Increased
Fine High Optimal
Medium Medium Optimal
Coarse Low Underextracted

As you can see from the table, a fine or extra-fine grind size may result in high pressure and increased extraction efficiency. However, this may also cause your coffee to taste bitter and overpowering. On the other hand, a coarse grind size may result in lower pressure and underextracted coffee, leading to a weaker flavor and less aroma.

Therefore, finding the right grind size for your coffee machine is crucial for achieving the perfect cup of coffee. Experiment with different grind sizes until you find the one that produces the optimal pressure and extraction efficiency for your taste preference.

Different Types of Pumps Used in Espresso Machines

Espresso machines are known for their ability to produce concentrated and flavorful coffee in a short amount of time, thanks in part to the pumps they use. There are two main types of pumps used in espresso machines: rotary pumps and vibratory pumps.

Rotary Pumps Vibratory Pumps
Rotary pumps use a circular motion to move water through the espresso machine. They are known for their consistent pressure and ability to handle high volume usage. They are often used in commercial espresso machines because of their durability and reliability. Vibratory pumps use a vibrating motion to move water through the espresso machine. They are less expensive than rotary pumps and are often found in home espresso machines. However, they can be less consistent in pressure and may require more maintenance over time.

When it comes to the ideal pressure for brewing espresso, there is some debate among coffee experts. Some argue that 15 bar is sufficient, while others say 20 bar is necessary for producing the best quality espresso. Ultimately, the pressure used will depend on the specific espresso machine and the preferences of the user.

The pressure used can have a significant impact on the flavor and quality of the espresso produced. It can also affect the formation of crema, the creamy froth that sits atop a well-brewed espresso. By understanding the different types of pumps used in espresso machines and the ideal pressure levels, users can achieve the perfect cup of espresso for their taste preferences.

Benefits of Using Rotary Pumps in Coffee Machines

Rotary pumps have become a popular choice for coffee machine manufacturers due to their ability to maintain consistent pressure throughout the brewing process. Here are some of the benefits of using rotary pumps in coffee machines:

Advantages Disadvantages
Consistent Pressure: Rotary pumps are designed to maintain a consistent pressure, which is crucial for achieving optimal flavor and aroma in brewed coffee. This is because a fluctuation in pressure can result in an inconsistent extraction and a subpar cup of coffee. Higher Cost: Rotary pumps are more expensive than other types of pumps, which can drive up the cost of the coffee machine.
Reliability: Rotary pumps have a long lifespan and require minimal maintenance, making them a reliable choice for coffee machine manufacturers. Noisy Operation: Rotary pumps can be noisy during operation, which may not be suitable for all environments.
Quiet Operation: Some rotary pumps have been designed to operate quietly, which is a significant advantage for coffee shops and other establishments where noise levels need to be kept to a minimum. More Energy Usage: Rotary pumps require more energy to operate, which can lead to higher energy costs over time.

Overall, rotary pumps are an excellent choice for coffee machine manufacturers who want to provide their customers with a consistent and reliable brewing experience. While they may be more expensive than other types of pumps, their long lifespan and minimal maintenance requirements make them a worthwhile investment over time.

Other Considerations for Choosing a Coffee Machine Pump

When selecting a coffee machine pump, there are several factors to consider beyond the type of pump. Durability is an important consideration, as the pump will be subject to frequent use and wear and tear. Look for pumps made from high-quality materials that can withstand the demands of daily use.

Maintenance requirements are another important consideration. Some pumps require regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure optimal performance, while others are designed to be low-maintenance. Consider your own preferences and how much time you are willing to spend on pump maintenance.

Cost is also a factor to consider. While it can be tempting to opt for a cheaper pump, it is important to remember that quality pumps are an investment in the long-term performance of your coffee machine. Look for a pump that is within your budget but still meets your needs for durability and maintenance.

Finally, consider any additional features or components that may be important to you. For example, some pumps may have built-in pressure regulators or water filters that can improve the quality of your coffee. Take the time to research different pump models and compare their features to find the one that best suits your needs.


In conclusion, pumps are a crucial component of coffee machines, ensuring that coffee is brewed to perfection. Understanding pump pressure and pump type is important for achieving the best flavor and aroma in your coffee. While rotary pumps are favored for their consistency, reliability, and quiet operation, centrifugal pumps are also a popular choice. The ideal pump pressure and grind size vary depending on the type of coffee machine and the desired outcome. When choosing a pump, factors like durability, maintenance requirements, and cost should also be considered.

Helpful Resources and References

If you want to learn more about coffee machine pumps, there are many resources available to help you deepen your understanding of this important component. Here are some helpful resources and references to get you started:

Coffee Industry Experts

One of the best ways to learn about coffee machine pumps is to consult with industry experts who have years of experience in the field. Some of the most well-respected coffee industry experts include:

  • Scott Rao
  • James Hoffmann
  • Matt Perger
  • David Schomer

These experts have written books and articles on coffee brewing and equipment, and they also offer training courses and consultation services for coffee professionals.


There are many books available on the topic of coffee brewing and equipment, and some of the best ones for learning about coffee machine pumps include:

  • The Coffee Roaster’s Companion by Scott Rao
  • Everything But Espresso by Scott Rao
  • The Professional Barista’s Handbook by Scott Rao
  • The World Atlas of Coffee by James Hoffmann

These books provide in-depth information on coffee machine pumps as well as other aspects of coffee brewing.

Online Resources

There are many websites and online forums dedicated to coffee brewing and equipment, and some of the best ones for learning about coffee machine pumps include:

  • Home-Barista.com
  • CoffeeGeek.com
  • BaristaHustle.com
  • TheCoffeeCompass.com

These websites provide reviews, tutorials, and discussion forums where you can learn from other coffee professionals and enthusiasts.

By consulting these resources and references, you can deepen your understanding of coffee machine pumps and improve your coffee brewing skills.


Q: What are the different types of pumps in coffee machines?

A: There are two main types of pumps used in coffee machines: rotary pumps and centrifugal pumps.

Q: What is the significance of pump pressure in coffee machines?

A: Pump pressure plays a crucial role in coffee extraction as it determines the flavor, aroma, and crema of the brewed coffee.

Q: How do rotary pumps and centrifugal pumps differ?

A: Rotary pumps are known for their consistent pressure, reliability, and quiet operation, while centrifugal pumps are more commonly used in commercial coffee machines.

Q: Why is pump pressure important for coffee extraction?

A: Pump pressure helps to extract the optimal amount of flavor from the coffee grounds, resulting in a rich and flavorful cup of coffee.

Q: Can grind size affect pump pressure?

A: Yes, the grind size of coffee beans can affect pump pressure. Finer grind sizes require higher pump pressure for optimal extraction.

Q: What is the recommended pump pressure for espresso machines?

A: The recommended pump pressure for brewing espresso is typically 9 bars, although some machines offer options for 15 or 20 bars.

Q: What are the benefits of using rotary pumps in coffee machines?

A: Rotary pumps offer benefits such as consistent pressure, reliable performance, and quiet operation, making them popular among coffee enthusiasts.

Q: What other factors should be considered when choosing a coffee machine pump?

A: Other factors to consider include the durability of the pump, maintenance requirements, and cost.

Q: What are the key takeaways about coffee machine pump types?

A: In summary, coffee machine pumps come in various types, with rotary and centrifugal pumps being the most common. Pump pressure and grind size play important roles in coffee extraction, and factors like durability and maintenance should also be considered when choosing a pump.

Q: Where can I find more information about coffee machine pumps?

A: For further reading, you may find helpful resources and references on websites, books, and by consulting industry experts.

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About the author

Coffee addict and self confessed obsessive with all things Java, Dave loves to write about coffee nearly as much as he enjoys drinking it. Can always be found no more than 2 feet away from a fresh brew!

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