prima-coffee.com: coffee & espresso equipment and accessories

Opinions of built-in espresso machines like Miele, Bosch, Thermador and Dacor

Postby happypete on Sun Jan 13, 2008 6:01 pm

I am trying to find an American forum or opinion resource for plumbed and built-in espresso machines. I can find every machine, some of which I have owned, in regards to those great counter machines. Jura has always been my favorite. But, I want something built it. Currently, I have a Dacor. But, what are some of the others and how do user's feel about the quality (i.e. the temperature, crema, and taste)? I cannot find any discussions on these units: Miele, Bosch, Thermador and Dacor--specifically how consumer's like/or dislike these units. Anyone out there know of a resource comparing units or discussing these units? Thanks!
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Postby Ken Fox on Sun Jan 13, 2008 7:53 pm

happypete wrote:I am trying to find an American forum or opinion resource for plumbed and built-in espresso machines. I can find every machine, some of which I have owned, in regards to those great counter machines. Jura has always been my favorite. But, I want something built it. Currently, I have a Dacor. But, what are some of the others and how do user's feel about the quality (i.e. the temperature, crema, and taste)? I cannot find any discussions on these units: Miele, Bosch, Thermador and Dacor--specifically how consumer's like/or dislike these units. Anyone out there know of a resource comparing units or discussing these units? Thanks!


You are asking about kitchen-friendly superautomatic espresso machines. In all honesty, this website is an enthusiast website, and espresso enthusiasts don't use superautomatic machines. There will be very few people here who have any firsthand experience with superautomatics, other than maybe the unfortunate necessity to buy coffee from a Starbucks in an airport concourse at 5am at the beginning of a trip.

In general, a superautomatic will produce a mediocre beverage that is, however, better than what you might get from a poorly trained operator.

As to the differences between these various brands, I would assume that many machines bearing these brand names are in fact the exact same equipment behind the facade. To my knowledge, few of these high end kitchen appliance makers actually make espresso equipment, so most of it is going to be rebranded machines made by Jura, Saeco, and maybe Franke. If you do some research on the internet you may be able to figure out which models are made by which manufacturers, and perhaps also to determine which have been the most reliable. I doubt you will find any in depth evaluations by real coffee enthusiasts, because these sorts of machines by their very nature would not appeal to very many people who are really "into" coffee.

ken
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Postby zarko on Mon Jan 14, 2008 6:19 am

I've had a chance to drink a coffee from Miele built-in "espresso machine".
Machine was not plumbed it was just built in. You need to add water manually like with any other super automatic machine.
Machine was unable to produce anything similar to espresso. Basically it produces filter coffee on demand.
Coffee was so bad that I was unable to drink it. Beans were not the problem I've tried some known good beans and same thing happened.
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Postby happypete on Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:08 am

Neither response was what I would have expected from this forum. I would presume experts would educate and motivate, not embarrass someone learning about the intricacies of coffee/espresso. I have a friend that is a Master of Wine candidate. He would never discuss wine with such impetuous language when trying to express his passion of wine and at the same time, trying to lead a person "just learning" down a "better" path. And by the way, super automatics are NOT all required to have water added manually. My current machine is plumbed. Wonder what else you may be remiss in mentioning? Doesn't matter. I'm interested in learning from others passionate in teaching. Reply if either of you feel the need to put me in my "bad coffee" drinking place again. Whatever.
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Postby HB on Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:23 am

happypete wrote:Neither response was what I would have expected from this forum. I would presume experts would educate and motivate, not embarrass someone learning about the intricacies of coffee/espresso.

I don't think it was anyone's intent to embarrass, but Ken's right, few on this forum have experience with super-automatics. There are some threads on the topic, for example:
I've written about my limited experience:
Super automatics are great for convenience, but they are not a great platform from which to explore espresso. Jim sums it up:

another_jim wrote:Super-autos, at the current state of the art, make highly acceptable "push-button" coffee beverages. But these beverages fall very short when compared to either espresso (on body and concentration) or to well brewed regular coffee. Nobody, nowhere, never, has said "WOW!" when drinking anything from these contraptions.

A lot of R & D money is being thrown at this technology, so this may change. I'll start getting interested when somebody does say "wow."

Recently I wrote about Nespresso capsules. Although they fall short of what a competent home barista can produce, they are better than the super-auto drinks I've sampled. For those who prize convenience and don't mind the per-drink cost, I think they'll be the next big thing in the US.
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Postby DigMe on Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:30 am

happypete,

I mostly listen here rather than advise and I can't advise you on this subject but I must say that I've read and reread the responses to your question and I'm completely puzzled as to why you feel anyone is trying to embarrass you. All I see are a couple of people summing up the thoughts on these machines that are pretty much the majority opinion on any enthusiast coffee site. If you find it embarrassing that you weren't aware of those opinions among coffee enthusiasts then that cannot be helped on our end. I hope that you'll reread it once you have cooled off a bit and see that the intent of the responses was not to embarrass. Then stick around a while and learn something about coffee. This is a great place for that.

brad
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Postby happypete on Mon Jan 14, 2008 9:30 am

Thank you. Your comments are exactly what I was seeking when I signed up and began this process of learning. I appreciate your knowledgeable comments and look forward to reading and learning more about a topic that I did not originally know-- was so debatable. Baby steps for me, but with more basic information I, too may be able to make better decisions, which was my original intent. All the best, and again, thank you!
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Postby ByronA on Mon Jan 14, 2008 2:14 pm

Good Afternoon happypete,

I was very seriously considering a Miele built-in during the last year, in fact I drooled at a few models I saw in a local appliance store. I had the salesman explain how they worked, the differences between them, and poured some samples. They come in several options such as plumbed in, pour-over, pods, and coffee bean. Like I said, I was very serious about it...until I had my first 'god shot'! Once I had that, there was no more thought about a super-automatic. The Miele looks great in a modern kitchen, but there are many other machines in that price range that look great too, they just take a little counter space.

In my opinion, if you decide to purchase another super-automatic, then I recommend you do not experiment with higher end coffee shops. The reason I say this, is that if you ever end up having a 'god shot' at one of those locals, you will never be satisfied again with your super-automatic. Admittedly, before this post, you probably would have figured that only a high end coffee shop could accomplish this, but now you know (my fault, I'm sorry ;) ) that it is possible to get these shots at home. In fact, that is where you are most likely to get them!

It doesn't take long before a home enthusiast is getting better results than nearly all the coffee shops around. That is why these machines are getting so popular! The coffeeshops that produce exceptional results are very rare, and I bet, even at these places, the results are dependant on the barista pouring the shot.

If you are still interested in a super-automatic machine after looking around, I recommend you purchase a super-automatic pod machine. The reason I suggest this, is due to maintenance. Super-automatic bean machines have a lot to do mechanically. They have to grind the coffee, measure it, tamp it, run controlled temperature water through it, and then dispose of the grinds. Because there is so much dependance on mechanical parts, they are expensive to build, and need constant maintenance. Even with regular maintenance, they are more prone to failure, which then results in service bills, and the need to substitute something else while waiting for repairs. Pods, require much less robotics, therefore would be more reliable.

Just my opinion...
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Postby happypete on Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:15 pm

You make a great point. One that I have voiced many times over the years. I travel for my business. I have lived in Switzerland--living in Italy from time to time, too. Yes, a great barista is hard to find--at least for me. I don't know how to find the high end places and the ones that have marketed themselves as such, have usually been a disappointment. I hope someday, I can find great resources for a great espresso when I am traveling, because it is rare to find a great one on the road. I am picky about beans (IMO) and will not consume most drinks I purchase after taking the first sip--even with a bean that I prefer--sometimes it just doesn't taste right. Often when in my Italian friends and my Swiss friends homes--they had good counter machines. Never did any of these machines produce the crema found in a great bar. I accepted this. Once repatriating to the US, I figured, if I couldn't get a great espresso out and about, then I could accept a good shot at home--so I purchased a Jura. It worked for me. It continues to work for me. I am busy and do not have the time to become an expert. I appreciate the people that do taste the nuances and subtleties and insist on demanding a great experience. But, I am overwhelmed by so much of the information from this web site. Not a complaint, just amazed about how much there is to know and understand. Which is why I thought some might have some great suggestions. Your insight will be useful as I travel this road to a good espresso.

I have been disappointed with the super automatics and the temperature of the end product. That is essentially what I was wanting to hear from others--my Dacor only puts out an espresso at 160F. That is disappointing after spending nearly $4,000 and having it built into my kitchen. I will be buying another unit, for ease and a "good" (IMO-again!) espresso, but I just don't want to make the same costly mistake. It's hard to find boiler information on these built in units...what materials are used and what output temperatures can be expected.

Lastly, I read on some of these forums that pods weren't as great a quality as a good bean--ground precisely. But, do you not concur? I would presume they are ground to a perfect consistency to help in extraction. Any elaboration? Thanks. This helps! Regards,
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Postby roadman on Mon Jan 14, 2008 3:38 pm

happypete wrote:Often when in my Italian friends and my Swiss friends homes--they had good counter machines. Never did any of these machines produce the crema found in a great bar.

In Switzerland many people have gorgeous looking machines and not the faintest clue how to use them. And fresh beans freshly ground -- fuggetaboutit! Too expensive, too much trouble, just get some beans at the Migros and God only knows how many months ago they've been roasted. I've just about given up trying to spread the word here.

Honestly, doing good espresso isn't that hard with fresh beans, a good grinder and a decent espresso machine. Pulling "godshots" one the other hand is much tougher and requires a certain amount of dedication.

Jon
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