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Suggestions on what machine to buy?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Suggestions on...  
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NobbyR
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NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Tue Jul 31, 2012, 11:31pm
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

Those are superautomatics.

What you need to know about those machines is that they are mostly about convenience: You push a button and the coffee maker grinds the beans, tamps, and brews your drink. But whatever manufacturers advertise, most are technically not up to making great espresso: their brew heads are usually made of plastic, they don't produce a real crema but foamed coffee instead (having a so-called crema valve, which works like a pressurized portafilter), they need a lot of maintenance, break down easily, the integrated grinder is mostly inferior and susceptible to warming of the coffee beans due to the heat of the boiler, being built mostly from plastic parts their thermostability is desastrous, and they have high cost of repairs. All in all, most people on this forum rather dislike those machines.

As far as espresso quality is concerned, there is nothing to a traditional espresso machine!

An automatic espresso machine features (frequently programmable) preset water volumes selected by pressing a button for brewing a single or double shot. That's what makes it "automatic", whereas with a semi-automatic machine you start the pump and turn it off manually by pushing a switch or turning a lever.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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sn_85
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Joined: 1 Dec 2011
Posts: 134
Location: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Andreja Premium
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 12:42am
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

CMIN Said:

Fully Automatic, not my thing, fine for an office setting maybe where most could careless and just want a fast decent cup of coffee, but I never cared for the Autos, friend has a Jura C5 he picked up cheap off Craigslist for like 200 bucks b/c the owner thought it was broken when all it needed was a cleaning and I think a tube replaced lol.

Posted July 31, 2012 link

That's not what a fully automatic machine is.  I think you're confusing fully automatic with a super automatic.  

Fully automatic means volumetric dosing.  You do everything that you would do for a semi-auto except the machine dispenses out a preset amount of water.  So you press the button and it will spit out 2 oz for a double.  You still however have to measure your beans, grind, tamp, and lock the portafilter.  The La Spazialle Vivaldi, La Cimbali Junior, and Elektra T1 are examples of machines that have fully automatic capability.  Those aren't what I'd call cheap machines nor just for the office setting for a "decent" cup...

A super automatic is a machine that grinds, tamps, brews, froths for you.  Basically the Jura's.

http://www.1st-line.com/education/machinetypes.html
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FrankyD
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Joined: 27 Jul 2012
Posts: 58
Location: Davis, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/Kyocera...
Drip: Bodum French Press
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 12:44am
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

jttran28 Said:

Not sure what the difference is but I was looking at the Jura ones from Sur La Table.  They demonstrated it for me and I was able to sample as well.  Oh boy was it good.  After seeing it in action, I really like the one push of a button.  My wife would really appreciate it and would actually use it (she would never touch the semi-automatic ones)

I know this is a big jump but do you recommend any of the following:
Jura ENA 9
Jura Impressa C5
Jura Impressa C9

I'm almost certain I'll buy one of those unless someone here tells me otherwise. I love how I have a budget then blow it by going double over it.

Posted July 31, 2012 link

Well the dilemma for you might be whether you'd be the only person who will use the machine. Since you've said your wife might have a crack at it, the convenience of a superautomatic is clear, but some will say it just doesn't taste the same as a semi-automatic, DIY.

The CC1, LeLit PID and the Ascaso Uno are highly echoed choices, especially those with a PID factory installed.

If your wife is willing to learn, you just might be in luck! :)
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 4:38am
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

Personally, I think the CC1 offers the best value for money: besides the PID is has programmable pre-infusion, thermoblock enhanced steaming, an articulating steam wand, and a shot timer. The only drawback is that, it being a new model, there's no long term experience with that machine.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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CMIN
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Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,507
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 4:52am
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

sn_85 Said:

That's not what a fully automatic machine is.  I think you're confusing fully automatic with a super automatic.  

Fully automatic means volumetric dosing.  You do everything that you would do for a semi-auto except the machine dispenses out a preset amount of water.  So you press the button and it will spit out 2 oz for a double.  You still however have to measure your beans, grind, tamp, and lock the portafilter.  The La Spazialle Vivaldi, La Cimbali Junior, and Elektra T1 are examples of machines that have fully automatic capability.  Those aren't what I'd call cheap machines nor just for the office setting for a "decent" cup...

A super automatic is a machine that grinds, tamps, brews, froths for you.  Basically the Jura's.

http://www.1st-line.com/education/machinetypes.html

Posted August 1, 2012 link

I know what it is and difference is, wrote fully by mistake lol. Friend has a Jura C5.
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Coffeenoobie
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Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,052
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 6:35am
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

At 1200 bucks you could have your pick of a few new low Heat exchange units and have steaming ability while pulling shots.  One like mine costs about 500 bucks used.  It is rugged and is rated for low commercial use. There are others that are better looking than mine.  Don't get a super auto - read the reviews on amazon and you will quickly see why- problems, problems, problems.  One I read said they paid so much and had so many issues they turn it in every 6 months to get a new one under warranty. No idea how long the company will do that before they catch on.  A regular espresso machine that is like mine is easy to work on and the parts are easy to get on the web.  Even a girl can do it.

Good luck,

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

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Click Here (maps.google.com)

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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 881
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 7:20am
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

My first espresso machine was a Gaggia Synchrony Digital a not especially distinguished super-automatic. The espresso it made was better than any I'd ever gotten from a national coffee chain and many, if not most, local coffee shops. So I'm not going to rant against super-autos on the basis of beverage quality. They are more than adequate for non-geek tastebuds, especially as you're getting started. They can even be a sort of 'gateway drug' to truly excellent espresso. And my wife, by the way, loved the convenience of the Synchrony, and really enjoyed being able to have the coffee she wanted, when she wanted.

All that being said, my concern with super-autos is quality of construction and longevity. Every owner, service person, and salesperson I've talked to about them says that a 3-5 year service life is what you can expect. Repairs are quite expensive, as almost all part are proprietary, and frequently, repairs aren't possible (as was the case recently with our Synchrony). If you want the convenience, have zero DIY DNA, and are prepared to buy a new machine every few years, the upper-end super-autos can be an ongoing source of better-than-average espresso and coffee drinks. The Quick Mill Monza, at $2600, might even up the game over the Jura machines, and would be my choice if I had to have a machine that would get fairly heavy use from non-geek coffee drinkers.

But we're geeks here, and will tend towards a more immersive approach to the process, as well as expect (or demand) higher quality standards in our beverages and in our equipment. One of the advantages of the prosumer and professional machines is that you can work on them yourself, because they're mostly standard, non-proprietary parts. They're also fairly simple construction, and those factors combine to make machines that, with proper maintenance, can continue to make superlative espresso for decades.
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jttran28
Senior Member


Joined: 30 Jul 2012
Posts: 38
Location: San Jose, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Compak k3
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 7:31am
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

GVDub Said:

My first espresso machine was a Gaggia Synchrony Digital a not especially distinguished super-automatic. The espresso it made was better than any I'd ever gotten from a national coffee chain and many, if not most, local coffee shops. So I'm not going to rant against super-autos on the basis of beverage quality. They are more than adequate for non-geek tastebuds, especially as you're getting started. They can even be a sort of 'gateway drug' to truly excellent espresso. And my wife, by the way, loved the convenience of the Synchrony, and really enjoyed being able to have the coffee she wanted, when she wanted.

All that being said, my concern with super-autos is quality of construction and longevity. Every owner, service person, and salesperson I've talked to about them says that a 3-5 year service life is what you can expect. Repairs are quite expensive, as almost all part are proprietary, and frequently, repairs aren't possible (as was the case recently with our Synchrony). If you want the convenience, have zero DIY DNA, and are prepared to buy a new machine every few years, the upper-end super-autos can be an ongoing source of better-than-average espresso and coffee drinks. The Quick Mill Monza, at $2600, might even up the game over the Jura machines, and would be my choice if I had to have a machine that would get fairly heavy use from non-geek coffee drinkers.

But we're geeks here, and will tend towards a more immersive approach to the process, as well as expect (or demand) higher quality standards in our beverages and in our equipment. One of the advantages of the prosumer and professional machines is that you can work on them yourself, because they're mostly standard, non-proprietary parts. They're also fairly simple construction, and those factors combine to make machines that, with proper maintenance, can continue to make superlative espresso for decades.

Posted August 1, 2012 link

That is great info.  As of now, I'm not a coffee geek yet but may be in the future but I think the convenience of the super automatic wins.  The stores offer a full lifetime warranty on these products.  I don't think the store is going to go away anytime soon.  Is that a good enough reason to not have to worry about the servicing?
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GVDub
Senior Member


Joined: 25 Jan 2008
Posts: 881
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Londinium I, Arrarex...
Grinder: Gaggia MD85, Dienes Mokka,...
Drip: Behmor Brazen, Abid Clever
Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 7:46am
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

jttran28 Said:

 The stores offer a full lifetime warranty on these products.  I don't think the store is going to go away anytime soon.  Is that a good enough reason to not have to worry about the servicing?

Posted August 1, 2012 link

The Gaggia had a great warranty on paper, too. But the company was bought, the model was discontinued, and parts became unavailable. Add to that the evolution of our coffee palates, and the replacement machine is a used Nuova Simonelli Ellimatic that's capable of incredible shots.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,061
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Wed Aug 1, 2012, 9:43pm
Subject: Re: Suggestions on what machine to buy?
 

GVDub Said:

... Every owner, service person, and salesperson I've talked to about them says that a 3-5 year service life is what you can expect. Repairs are quite expensive, as almost all part are proprietary, and frequently, repairs aren't possible ...

Posted August 1, 2012 link

To phrase it maliciously: Most superautomatics are more or less disposable.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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