What's been your experience of super autos?

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keenoncoffee

#1: Post by keenoncoffee »

I have to say I've been a bit skeptical of super autos. But Home-Barista's very own Dan was kind enough to lend me a review unit of this model: https://www.chriscoffee.com/products/ka ... 01-premium

Having used it for a couple of months now I'm... quite impressed. The espresso shots - when dialed in to strong strength - come out consistent with reasonable body. And the microfoam for the milk based drinks isn't bad either, just be sure to give the drink a stir before serving. I'm curious to hear the general consensus on super autos here. Anybody else had a positive experience?

I posted a video review on Keen On Coffee:

sluflyer06

#2: Post by sluflyer06 »

I noticed you mentioned body, but nothing about taste.

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Randy G.

#3: Post by Randy G. »

Taste is not only subjective but relative as well. Everything tastes good if what you have tasted previously tasted worse. And I speak from personal experience. I would have to assume, from memory, that a majority of the shots I consumed from my Silvia 21 years ago when I was just getting going would be considered only drinkable in an emergency compared to what I make today. Since you only have two posts here we have no way of knowing the basis of your opinion (no insult intended). I have a brother who, along with his wife, rolled their eyes and gave each other sideways glances when I invited them to a marvelous Thai restaurant owned and run by a Thai family near me. Him I insult freely and regularly. :lol:
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slybarman

#4: Post by slybarman »

I used a Saeco super automatic for a couple of years. When paired with the right coffee it made really good lattes and cappuccinos.

In my opinion, they get a worse rap than they really deserve. They have their place and I would might even consider one a gateway drug to more sophisticated gear. I doubt I would go back to one, but I would buy one for my wife to use if she wanted something no fuss.

keenoncoffee (original poster)

#5: Post by keenoncoffee (original poster) »

Randy G. wrote:Taste is not only subjective but relative as well... Since you only have two posts here we have no way of knowing the basis of your opinion (no insult intended). I have a brother who, along with his wife, rolled their eyes and gave each other sideways glances when I invited them to a marvelous Thai restaurant owned and run by a Thai family near me. Him I insult freely and regularly. :lol:
Basis of my opinion is a beginner who has only been pulling shots for a few months. So yeah my experience is relative to what I've brewed up until now. Love the Thai analogy :D

keenoncoffee (original poster)

#6: Post by keenoncoffee (original poster) »

slybarman wrote:They have their place and I would might even consider one a gateway drug to more sophisticated gear.
Gateway drug indeed. My expectation was "espresso Keurig" and this was a step up from that.

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HB
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#7: Post by HB »

Just a quick background on this video and thread.

Martin and I are colleagues; he's ridiculously into brewing beer (see The Homebrew Challenge and brace yourself). After listening me go on and on about coffee at work, he expressed interest in trying espresso at home. Around the same time, one of the HB sponsors, Chris Nachtrieb at Chris' Coffee, asked me about checking out a super-auto that he thought was a step above the rest.

Admittedly, I accepted with a large dose of skepticism. I'll chime in later with more specifics, but what led to the video above was my offer to loan the loaned super-auto espresso machine to Martin. I wanted his "newbie" impression versus my more seasoned (or jaded, depending on who you ask) impression. :D
Dan Kehn

JRising
Team HB

#8: Post by JRising »

My experience with supers is that it is hard to get what you pay for. In the little domestic machines, you're paying well over $1000 for a $100 grinder in a box with a brewer that isn't worth $200... The rest of your money is going in to the convenience of having the machine make a mess and a sub-par drink that should be consistent. Like a McDonalds meal. It's neither good nor fairly priced, but it's convenient and you always know exactly what it will be.

You pay for the convenience and forego excellence. Super-autos have a place in the commercial market where they can be enjoyed to some degree by everybody without anyone knowing much more than how to push a button. Not so much in the domestic market, at least in my opinion. I do meet people daily who love their super-autos, often they've never known any other machine and usually they are drinking sugary milk drinks to which their super-auto has added a small amount of espresso.

In today's market it is all but impossible to get a domestic super-auto that is plumbable. Many manufacturers of the very good domestic super-autos have dropped the class and only focus on commercial supers. There's a lot more money to be made putting two Schaerer Coffee Arts into every donut shop across the country than dealing with domestic machines that the owner decided to shut off mid-way through a descale because it was taking more than 10 minutes.

Some higher end manufacturers make it difficult to buy simple parts. They'll sell you a complete brew unit, but not the 6 o-rings with which you could rebuild your old one. But swapping a brew unit is more convenient than rebuilding one, you can always pay for convenience.

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cafeIKE
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#9: Post by cafeIKE »

Never owned one, but relatives have. A couple of them were over three grand.

I only ever drank "espresso" from them and only as a caffeine delivery system. Taste & texture non-existent. The missus: "I made better milk foam with a whipper and the microwave when you were overseas."

All of them required service and had short lifespans.

Jessipoo

#10: Post by Jessipoo »

it's okay, it makes coffee.. my 2 sisters have had 2 different ones, I had a Gaggia Cadorna for 2 weeks then returned it and got a semi-auto.
It just doesn't give you the oomph of flavour, you can tell it's not extracting everything it can and so it's also wasteful in that sense cuz you go through more coffee.

The UI on most are terrible - the adjustments minimal impact.

Surprisingly a lot of cleaning even though it's touted as not, still some maintenance involved as well. It was at that point that I realized a semi-auto wasn't that much work after all and I could tweak forever. Now I can't believe there was a a very short period of time I thought a super auto was for me.