Is there a good superautomatic for espresso?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
charlesaf3
Supporter ♡

#1: Post by charlesaf3 »

Not for me - I make my espresso on a Linea/Compak. But a good friend of mine can no longer get good espresso anywhere near him in the West Village of New York (Yes, mind boggling and sad). He's drinking Nespresso as a result. In his words, and I'd agree, Nespresso is a 6/10 if you get the right pod.

For various reasons he can't do a proper espresso set up. Is there a superautomatic that will actually be better than his Nespresso? I haven't used a superauto in 20 years. I guess I've had some mediocre espresso from the built in Miele, but it was made for me by the owner, and it would be unfair to judge the Miele under that context.

This guy actually introduced me to good coffee back in the 90s. It pains my soul he is living on Nespresso.

vze26m98
Supporter ♡

#2: Post by vze26m98 »

Bad coffee in NYC is a perpetual problem. While there are a few cafés that maintain high standards, like Joe or Stumptown, so many hire baristas who really don't paying attention, or slack due to lack of quality control.

I'd suggest the Illy iperEspresso capsules if they really want espresso-based drinks. There was a two-year period between manual levers and my HX that I drank via Illy capsules exclusively and really enjoyed it.

I had the entry-level and the Francis-Francis espresso machines. (Neither of which would classify as super-auto?) I used a scale to pull by weight, and two coffee capsules to get 14gm in, 25gm out.

Some points, in no order:

. Although Illy makes no mention of it, there are machines better suited for espresso, and those better suited for "Lungo and beyond". You have to do your own analysis of the hardware.

. The Illy web subscription is the way to go, but the site is so idiosyncratic as to appear to be broken at times. You learn the quirks and presumably settle down into a routine. Phone help very good, but you can't eliminate the web site.

. Their capsule recycling system has rough edges, largely from their omission of recycling bags from your order. You can recycle via local government services, of course, but it's impractical the extract the coffee from the polypropylene (?) capsules.

. The "Illydium" capsules I believe are a Laurina or Arimosa varietal from Daterra, and really tasty. Still drink a fair amount of Illy coffee, but back to whole beans. Wish I could buy the Illydium that way.

HTH

BPlus: turning your coffee spirit
Sponsored by BPlus
User avatar
Randy G.

#3: Post by Randy G. »

Ask him if it HAS to be espresso, or would it be better to be able to make a great cup of coffee?
If the friend has access to quality beans, a grinder and an Aeropress makes a great cup. Or, the automatic Arzum Okka Turkish coffee maker is an excellent choice for an "add the coffee and push a button" device.
www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
*20th Anniversary 2000-2020*

Davidm

#4: Post by Davidm »

+1 on the Illy recommendation. Quite good.

Honestly, I struggle to differentiate between nespresso and super automatics. Every office my company has in Europe had super automatics and the quality was all over the place. One by one they switched over to the more commercial nespresso offering.

vze26m98
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by vze26m98 »

Too bad your friend doesn't live it Italy. There are so many "capsule" espresso solutions available there:

https://www.cappellinicaffe.it/

Of course, if your friend lived in Italy, he wouldn't be having this problem.

User avatar
BaristaBoy E61

#6: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

I would suggest asking if an 'In-between' choice might be an option - A Breville of some sort.
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

charlesaf3 (original poster)
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by charlesaf3 (original poster) »

vze26m98 wrote:Bad coffee in NYC is a perpetual problem. While there are a few cafés that maintain high standards, like Joe or Stumptown, so many hire baristas who really don't paying attention, or slack due to lack of quality control.

I'd suggest the Illy iperEspresso capsules if they really want espresso-based drinks. There was a two-year period between manual levers and my HX that I drank via Illy capsules exclusively and really enjoyed it.
He and I used to love Joe, but he no longer feels it's worth going to... The original Joe was outstanding. I confess I'm not a fan of the Illy capsules, a friend of mine has that machine and I don't find it as good as Nespresso. (!) It might be his machine though, I didn't know there was a difference.

Flair Espresso: handcrafted espresso. cafe-quality shots, anytime, anywhere
Sponsored by Flair Espresso
charlesaf3 (original poster)
Supporter ♡

#8: Post by charlesaf3 (original poster) »

It has to be espresso. And no separates - if he had the space he'd buy a La Marzocco etc, but compact footprint for wife approval in an NYC kitchen is a thing here...

I remember superautos being acceptable back in 2000 when I was just starting to get serious about coffee. But I have a feeling after falling down the rabbit hole I'd be disappointed in the ones I was using back then. My hope was that with Starbucks switching to full auto there had been some improvements over the years.

greenbeans
Supporter ♡

#9: Post by greenbeans »

Maybe he would consider a semiautomatic. I used a DeLonghi Magnifica for a few years with quite good results. The machine isn't very expensive although I haven't priced them recently. It would take a bit of time to learn to use it but not anything excessive. The unit has a built in grinder and steam wand. I was surprised at how good the espresso was. Thats the machine I learned on.

mycatsnameisbernie

#10: Post by mycatsnameisbernie »

I got into espresso via two different superautos: Delognhi ESAM 3300 and ECAM 22110. I couldn't stand straight shots from the machines but lattes with LOTS of milk were OK. But once I got into semi-autos, my standards improved, and I could never go back to a superauto.

I've heard that some of the higher end Jura machines can make decent shots, but I don't have any experience to back up that claim.

Based on my experience with a Breville Barista Express, I would stay away from the Breville machines that have built in grinders. My BE did a great job brewing, but its grinder was terrible due to high retention and very large step size. I eventually gave up on its grinder and got a separate one.

Does you friend want the convenience of a super-auto or does he just want to save counter space? If the latter, there are many small semi-autos (Breville Bambino, Lelit Mara(x), ACS Minima, etc.) that could be paired with a small grinder such as a Eureka Mignon. That setup wouldn't require any more counter space than most super-autos.