Help choosing a superauto for my parents

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
jasonmolinari

#1: Post by jasonmolinari »

Ok, i know what everyone is going to say, so don't say it. They want a superauto. They're not going to putz with grinders and tamping and all that.

So, given a sizable budget, what is the best superauto? Looking for one which has good brew temps, and brews good espresso. Steaming is medium-fairly important.

Any ideas welcome.

thanks
jason

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jesawdy

#2: Post by jesawdy »

Jason-

I would call or e-mail Jim at 1st-line for recommendations. Saeco has recently changed pretty much their entire superauto lineup, so he may have a feel for which is a best fit for your parent's needs. Certainly, someone like Jim that has laid hands on many or all of them will know more than anyone here.

I will offer this bit of advice.... if they don't need any bells and whistles (and it sounds that they do not), I think I would go for the lower to mid-price models. I've laid hands on the superautos at the local kitchen stores that range from $500 to $1200. The $1200 one had essentially the same guts (plastic brew group) as the $500 one. None of them give the impression of lasting quality or being terribly serviceable (a vendor may inform you otherwise). As a result, I'd be more inclined to spend less on an appliance that may be more or less be a throw away when things go bad.

A group of guys at work use my Saeco Vienna superauto, and it makes a better single serving cup at the office than can be had for such little effort. You do really need to have fresh coffee (as you know), but especially avoid oily beans, as they will clog things up and cleaning isn't super easy (although not too hard).

As far as useful "features", a bypass feeder may be helpful if they want to use any sort of preground (for decaf or otherwise). Also, a model with a cleaning mode thats accept superauto cleaning tabs may be beneficial. The Saeco Vienna I have has neither of these.
Jeff Sawdy

jasonmolinari

#3: Post by jasonmolinari »

Thanks Jeff. I don't really want to bother shop people as my parents wont be buying the machine here. They live in Italy and will get it there or in Switzerland, so taking up a person's time from whom i won't be buying seems wrong.

But thanks for the other recommendations.

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timo888

#4: Post by timo888 »

jasonmolinari wrote:I don't really want to bother shop people as my parents wont be buying the machine here. They live in Italy and will get it there or in Switzerland...
PODS
http://www.quickmill.it/MyIndex.php?Lan ... o_cat=PODS

SUPER AUTOS:
http://www.quickmill.it/MyIndex.php?Lan ... AUTOMATICS

jasonmolinari

#5: Post by jasonmolinari »

Thanks Timo, but i'm wondering about the quality/brewing temps of the super autos from Quickmill.
I know most super autos are pretty crap, the only one i've read good things about is the Jura S9, which is about $2k, and was wondering if there were any others.

1st-line
Sponsor

#6: Post by 1st-line »

jasonmolinari wrote:Thanks Jeff. I don't really want to bother shop people as my parents wont be buying the machine here. They live in Italy and will get it there or in Switzerland, so taking up a person's time from whom i won't be buying seems wrong.

But thanks for the other recommendations.
Jason,

Thanks for your respect of any vendor's time. It is not just the product itself that should be in question. Other factors other than espresso quality produced and machine build quality include support and service by the dealer and manufacturer of where the machine will reside. This should be the primary factor, and one reason why we try not to export equipment - service levels can go downhill for the international marketplace and be published rather quickly through internet web sites, such as this one.

For instance, if I lived in Switzerland, I would buy a Jura machine as manufacturing is in the same country. In Italy, Saeco would be the choice. These would be based on track records we have seen here when compared to all super-autos.

The downsides of selecting a superauto are the following:

a) Espresso is not as hot in the first cup because the brewgroups are not heated - hence, the first cup heats the brewgroup. It is in the $5000 price range that heaters are added to the brewgroups.

b) The Jura machines can make a more flavorful cup of espresso due to the larger brew chamber which holds more coffee. However, some customers say the espresso can be too strong. on the machines with a smaller brew chambers, some customers complain it tastes like dishwater. About 6 years ago, I hacked a superauto's grinder to grind super fine and the espresso was close to a more traditional machine.

c) Convenience is actually a downside as these machines are so convenient that customers do not clean them. Hence, they wait until the machine completely fails and the repair bills can be high.

The upsides are convenience, less mess, and quicker warm up times. There are slight improvements in the cup when moving up to more expensive super-autos. However, the more expensive machines just give you more technological automation - cleaning reminders, cleaning cycles, etc.... which means more things to go wrong.

My suggestion is to have your parents find a local dealer in Italy and sample the coffee and the machine. If not possible, then go with the lowest priced model of the aforementioned manufacturers.
Jim Piccinich
www.1st-line.com
1st-line Equipment, LLC

jasonmolinari

#7: Post by jasonmolinari »

Thanks Jim. I'll keep your points in mind when i talk to my parents.
Finding a dealer i think will be tough. Espresso machines for home are very rare in Italy, making dealers pretty much non existent.

I wonder if they should maybe get an ESE machine, and find "fresh" ESE pods which are stored individually in nitrogen.

jason

Pino

#8: Post by Pino »

jasonmolinari wrote:Finding a dealer i think will be tough. Espresso machines for home are very rare in Italy, making dealers pretty much non existent.
jason
Hi Jason,

I bought two machines in Italy. In a larger city an electrodomestica that is hardware store selling household items and electrical appliances are common. They can be a dream to browse through if you like cooking supplies.
Quickmill as in timo's link has been making thermo block machines and automatics for decades so I would think the quality is very high.

Arthur

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timo888

#9: Post by timo888 »

jasonmolinari wrote: ... I wonder if they should maybe get an ESE machine, and find "fresh" ESE pods which are stored individually in nitrogen.

jason
An ESE machine would probably give your folks all the convenience they want, without the maintenance drawbacks of a super-auto. Some of the high-end thermoblock machines are dual-element: brew and steam concurrently.

Regards
Timo

k7qz

#10: Post by k7qz »

Hey Jason:

Your parents situation has me curious. I think most of us here daydream about living in the Italian countryside in a beautiful villa, rising each morning at our leisure and then riding our Ducati down to a great little coffee bar to enjoy a few amazing shots of espresso served up by the famed local barista...

Is this not an option for them? I'm trying hard to understand why one would "stoop" (sorry to reveal my bias :oops:) to using a superauto when living in Italy?

OK, go ahead and shatter my daydreams of what it would be like to live and sip great espresso in Italy! :lol: