Suggestions for super-automatic espresso machine please!

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
arandall57

#1: Post by arandall57 »

I'm looking for advice for a super-automatic machine purchase. I usually drink cappuccino - about 3 cups in the morning then go for a few cups of espresso during the day. Occasionally I have friends over & we'll pull about 6 cups of cappuccino in succession.

I've overwhelmed by the number of machines available! I like the idea of hitting a button & an excellent cup of espresso is created; I've gotten lazy about grinding & such. I would like to be able to roast the beans, load them into the machine & be done with it.

I'm looking in the range of $500 - $1,500. I don't want to have to plumb so I need something where I add water.

I've reviewed the Isomac Zaffiro, Rancilio Silvia, Breville Cafe Roma, Jura / Capresso Impressa E8, GS/3, Saeco Incanto Sirius and so on. The more I look, the less I'm able to make the decision.

I'm not too crazy about having plastic on the outside of the machine - for this price range I think they should be using a higher quality material. I'm seeing that some of the reviews say there are problems with getting good foam or the length of time before you can get espresso or sundry other items...

Help! :cry: Any suggestions would be GREATLY appreciated! Thanks in advance for your knowledgeable support.

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HB
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#2: Post by HB »

arandall57 wrote:I like the idea of hitting a button & an excellent cup of espresso is created; I've gotten lazy about grinding & such. I would like to be able to roast the beans, load them into the machine & be done with it.
I would like that too, but I've never experienced it. All the super-automatic espressos I've sampled (admittedly not a lot) have been uniformly mediocre. For more background, you may wish to check out a couple threads from the FAQs and Favorites Digest: If I were in the market for a super-auto, I would head down to Williams-Sonoma mid-week on a slow evening with coffee beans in hand. They typically have at least a couple pricey super-autos ready to go and if you ask nicely they'll help you run it through its paces.
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arandall57 (original poster)

#3: Post by arandall57 (original poster) »

Well, I'd rather have excellent espresso & cappuccino & it sounds like a super-auto won't provide that. I looked at the threads you've provided & would appreciate it if you could nudge me in the right direction again.

What are some suggestions for an automatic & grinder combo in the $500 - $1,500 range with the criteria I mentioned before?

Thanks!

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HB
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#4: Post by HB »

arandall57 wrote:Well, I'd rather have excellent espresso & cappuccino & it sounds like a super-auto won't provide that.
No, they won't, but in the spirit of full disclosure, super-autos will beat any alternative on convenience. Beating a super-auto on espresso quality is child's play. The "problem" is that as your skill and equipment move the potential result higher, your ability to discern differences in espresso quality go up too. At one time I drank preground Illy espresso from a steam toy and thought it was pretty good. Today the same drink would provoke a gag reflex. Go figure.

So before your go down down the rabbit hole... are you sure you want the red pill?

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"Blue or Red Pill?" from BentTV Productions (humor)

If so, I recommend reading one or two of the site's reviews. While they have a lot of feeds-and-speeds, the reviews also attempt to capture the "feel" of a particular espresso machine. My personal favorite writeups are the Elektra A3 and the Elektra Semiautomatica. These two are among the highest scorers and I believe that may have prompted more inspired writing. If that hasn't scared you off, then continue with the Home Barista's Guide to Espresso. I know, I know... that's a big reading assignment. But with an evening's worth of reading, you'll no longer be dazzled by the array of equipment out there because you'll have a firmer appreciation of what distinguishes different choices (or frequently doesn't distinguish choices beyond cosmetics).
Dan Kehn

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Randy G.

#5: Post by Randy G. »

arandall57 wrote:I'm looking for advice for a super-automatic machine purchase. .... I like the idea of hitting a button & an excellent cup of espresso is created...
..and then we woke up. These machines tend to be very complicated, the good ones are quite complicated and thus expensive to purchase and expensive to repair. All of that a the cost of producing a usually-drinkable, but generally mediocre-at-best espresso.

Some of the better Jura's are seemingly decent, but expensive. My dentist installed one in his office (I think he got the Z5, but can't remember), and I sampled the coffee. The machine had a lot of adjustability, and can use whole beans or pre-ground, but he was using some really low-quality coffee at the time, so I can't make any recommendations based on what I tasted.

But for around $2200 for a refurb, and a new one going for over $3000, I could give up a lot of convenience to save the money, get a better, more dependable machine, and get better espresso in the deal.

If the process doesn't interest you, then why not something simple, like a cordless kettle and an aeropress which would make a superior beverage for under $100? heck... I think you could get a Hottop, a cordless kettle, a quality grinder, and four Aeropresses for less than $1000. Better coffee, more dependable, less money....

In my house, if the coffee isn't ready in time in the AM, my wife knows how to push my buttons to get espresso on demand... is that what you were thinking? :lol:
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ilVecchio
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#6: Post by ilVecchio »

Blasphemy, I know!

I bought one of the Delonghi super-autos on sale at *$s. This is the beast that usually sells for around $1500 and comes with a steaming/milk thing that you keep in the fridge.

Does it pull a wondrous, god-like shot that I can achieve with my Brewtus? Well, no. But, with a good degree of adjustibility, a fast warm-up, it does allow for a good cup first thing in the morning when I stumble downstairs. It's also great for company, pulling shot after shot. Also, compared to what most coffee-shops serve, it's great.

Just a few thoughts from the old one.

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Psyd
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#7: Post by Psyd »

arandall57 wrote: I like the idea of hitting a button & an excellent cup of espresso is created; I've gotten lazy about grinding & such.
I've decided that when the time comes, I'm getting a houseboy. I'm pretty sure that I can get someone to make espresso on demand in exchange for room and board. I was initially going for some sort of geisha arrangement, but the GF nixed it.
I'm hoping to start a school for baristi, provide housing on the side, and wake up every morning for a 'pop quiz'.
But a machine that makes your espresso? I dunno, it might work, but...
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Rocket Coffee

#8: Post by Rocket Coffee »

Psyd wrote:with no cell-phone, work, girlfriend, wife, kids
Man Chris you live a charmed life!
Psyd wrote:I've decided that when the time comes, I'm getting a houseboy. I'm pretty sure that I can get someone to make espresso on demand in exchange for room and board. I was initially going for some sort of geisha arrangement, but the GF nixed it.
I'm hoping to start a school for baristi, provide housing on the side, and wake up every morning for a 'pop quiz'.
But a machine that makes your espresso? I dunno, it might work, but...
Golf, a wife, a girlfriend and now a houseboy - all this and with no kids? Some people just got it made! :wink: