Super-automatic espresso machine purchasing advice - Page 2

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

#11: Post by Ohji »

LAF wrote:Ohji,

Nice post about the Seaco Talea Ring Plus...

Now, I can't wait for Xmas morning. I just bought one to put under the tree :-)

And, I'm just like you. I don't want to fuss around for a long period of time before getting my espresso. But I also want a decent quality (with crema) shots from the machine. Your post just made me a bit more positive on my purchase.

BTW, When you say that you do a BLANK shot before and after your espresso. How do you do that?

Thanks, very informative post.

Marc.
Hi Marc,

Congratulations on the purchase! I have found that the temperature of the espresso is best when I run water through the machine immediately before brewing the espresso. The way to do do a blank shot is to select "pre-ground coffee" via the opti-dose button and then brew about 3 ounces (I programmed the preground option and this volume into the machine under the "coffee" setting). Since you don't add any preground coffee into the bypass doser, it simply runs hot water through the brew group and internal piping, thereby warming things up. You can also use this waste water to heat up your cup, immediately discard the water, and then brew your shot. I found that this method increases the temperature in the cup by more than 10 degrees for the first shot. Be sure to turn the SBS knob all the way counterclockwise before your blank shot (it reduces stress on the machine).

Another couple of things -- I found that some residual ground coffee stays in the little chute between the grinder and the tube where the ground coffee falls into the brew group. If you take a chopstick and jiggle it gently in the bypass doser tube, you will dislodge some of it (I initially tried doing this with my finger and there is something very sharp in there, so unless you want bloody coffee, don't do that, hehe). That coffee will then be sitting in the brew group, but if you run your blank shot, the machine will automatically discard those few grounds into the grounds container. Also, if you brew a shot of less than 1.5oz, your espresso will be cooler than a shot of 1.5-2.5 ounces. I have my machine set at 1.5oz, as I think any larger volume is too much for the quantity of espresso ground.

I hope you enjoy your Talea on Christmas morning! Be warned that the very first shot I pulled on the machine was weak and the grounds were wet and muddy. I was very concerned, but every shot since has had a perfectly formed, dry puck. I think that when you first set up the machine, the grinder takes a few seconds to get the beans down into the cavity with the burrs, so the first shot isn't properly dosed. And finally (sorry for the long post), I would recommend removing the Panarello tip from the steam wand and just using the single opening black plastic tip that is inside if you truly want microfoam. The Panarello and the milk island are great for busy weekdays, but I'm definitely a fan of the "naked" steam wand on weekends when there is more time.

Hope this is helpful.

LAF

#12: Post by LAF »

So Prince,

If I have anymore questions / or concerns, will you be available to answer them?

Marc.

Versalab: maker and supplier of finest espresso equipment
Sponsored by Versalab
Frankieboner

#13: Post by Frankieboner »

I am a relative newcomer and in the market for a home, super automatic espresso machine. Convenience and ease of use-making espresso and cleaning would be very important. The four machines that have been bandied about are
Jura Capresso S/9 Avantgarde
Jura Capresso S/7
Saeco Royal Professional
Gaggia Titanium Plus

Any input, pro, con other choices would be appreciated.

zin1953

#14: Post by zin1953 »

Frankieboner wrote:I am a relative newcomer and in the market for a home, super automatic espresso machine. Convenience and ease of use-making espresso and cleaning would be very important. The four machines that have been bandied about are
Jura Capresso S/9 Avantgarde
Jura Capresso S/7
Saeco Royal Professional
Gaggia Titanium Plus

Any input, pro, con other choices would be appreciated.
Frank,

Welcome to HB. Obviously you've searched through this site, having resurrected a 6-month old thread to ask about super-autos. I think you already know what most people will say. However . . .

There are four basic categories of machines, in terms of the pumps used:
1) manual lever machines (no pump at all);
2) semi-automatics (you push the switch/button to turn the pump on and to turn the pump off);
3) automatics (you push the switch/button to turn the pump on, and the pump turns off automatically after x volume of liquid has been dispensed); and
4) super-automatics.

In the first three instances, you grind the coffee yourself, you fill the portafilter, you tamp the grinds -- you control what's going on. With a super-auto, you push a button to start the machine, and it does everything -- from grinding the beans, dosing the volume of grounds into the basket, tamping, brewing, and cleaning -- even steaming the milk!

A super-auto is perfect for people who -- sorry -- don't care what they drink, or are in a (e.g.) busy office where it's impractical to show 100 people how to use the office's new espresso machine. (Fax machine is one thing; espresso machine another.) Or for use in (most) U.S. airports -- think high-turnover rate among employees). At their very best, they are a Chevy Impala -- basic transportation, comfortable, innocuous. (At their worst, they're a Yugo -- let's not go there!)

Using a semi-auto of auto machine gives you much greater quality control over what you are drinking, and these are NOT HARD to learn how to operate. (Think "learning how to drive a car" -- when you're 16, it seems impossible and you're terrified to take your hands off the wheel even to change the radio station; soon, you're driving with one hand, tuning the radio with the other, and sipping coffee while you go . . . )

Follow the links that Dan ("HB") posted above, but to repeat what Merle Richard wrote,
uscfroadie wrote:Please excuse my brutal honesty if you are offended by my response as that is not my intent, but the thought of a machine that produces quality espresso at the push of a button is nothing more than a dream. Looking at the literature and perusing the websites for such machines will show you a great deal of crema and frothing ability, but your results will vary greatly. I've used an F9 and an E8, and the results were...poor. With fresh beans and the settings on the machine set to extra strong, the best I could get from these two machines was weak espresso . . .
Cheers,
Jason
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.