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*SUPER* autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
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dorkroast
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dorkroast
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Posted Tue Oct 23, 2012, 8:50pm
Subject: *SUPER* autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

I had discounted super auto machines more because I wanted to actually make my own drinks rather than have a machine make them for me.

Then I started wondering- in a side by side comparison, do full autos make espresso as good or better than a semi-auto?

Over the years I've used many super auto machines- I don't remember the brands of any of them....I just know that the coffee from them while okay, was never outstanding. Maybe I never had drinks from a great machine, or maybe it's something else.

Anyone have an opinion one way or another?

Maybe I'm going the wrong way with all this machine grinder stuff and I should get an all-in-one that just spits out my lattes and gives them to me IV. :)
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frcn
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Posted Tue Oct 23, 2012, 9:01pm
Subject: Re: Full autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

Click Here (www.coffeegeek.com)

Little reason to rehash this for the 100th time. Use the search function and get back to us.

Short answer to your question: it depends.

 
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Posted Tue Oct 23, 2012, 9:06pm
Subject: Re: Full autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

Thank you, Randy.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

Dear Dork (or should I say "Mr. Roast"?),

The "all-in-one" machine you are describing is not a "full automatic." What you are describing is a super-automatic, not a full-automatic (aka volumetric dosing) machine.

Truly, use the search feature, but you might also want to read this post on the various types of machines out there in order to use the terminology correctly.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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NobbyR
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Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012, 1:00am
Subject: Re: Full autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

It all depends on what you expect from your machine. Like Jason said, you're talking about superautomatics which are mainly about convenience and less about espresso quality. So if it's the best possible espresso you're looking for as the base for your lattes, then you should quit those and start looking for a portafilter machine and a matching grinder.

 
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dorkroast
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Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012, 10:05am
Subject: Re: Full autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

I did use the search function but perhaps it was an issue with terminology.

As was said, I was referring to super-automatics, a term which I hadn't previously heard prior to this post so I guess I've already learned something.
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Markarian
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Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012, 11:28am
Subject: Re: *SUPER* autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

It's a funny thing. Last night, my boyfriend came with me to class and hung out in the building's kitchen area. There's a Saeco Cristallo 400 Superauto vending machine that will give you a shot with milk for $1.50 so he tried it. He said that, compared to the coffee we've been drinking for a few months out of my Oscar, the vending machine's coffee was "vile," and he admits he's no connoisseur.
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Coffeenoobie
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Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012, 12:37pm
Subject: Re: *SUPER* autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

I was amazed how fast my palate changed.  I thought I could never tell a good pull from a bad because of all the milk I had to drink it with... I can and I have gone from 12oz drinks to 6 oz drinks and 2 oz of that is my double shot....  Now to get rid of the last of the sugar....

 
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GVDub
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Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012, 1:16pm
Subject: Re: *SUPER* autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

In a word, "no."

To expand a little - Super-autos are all about convenience. That convenience comes at the expense of quality in the cup. Super-autos (at least consumer ones, but apparently most of the "pro" units as well) have grinders that aren't very adjustable, lack thermal stability, and rarely, if ever, get the water anywhere near hot enough for proper espresso extraction. Most use a variety of pressurized portafilter to get some foamed coffee on the top of the shot, that they call "crema".

That being said, my first machine that did anything even vaguely resembling espresso was a Gaggia Synchrony Digital super-auto. It got me hooked and started leading me down the path to geekdom. But the quality in the cup simply isn't there compared to what you can get from even an entry-level machine like a Gaggia Baby.
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frcn
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frcn
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Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012, 1:54pm
Subject: Re: *SUPER* autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

GVDub Said:

In a word, "no."

Posted October 24, 2012 link

And while I would be well at the rear of the line of people recommending a super auto, there are instances where it wouldn't matter what machine was used:
- Been drinking Folgers for years? A SA might very well be an improvement.
- Been making coffee with stale, over-roasted, black, oily beans, brewed in a Mr. Coffee drip machine from 1983? Fresh beans in a super auto would be an improvement.
- Prefers drinks with 2 ounces of espresso, 8 ounces of steamed milk, two tablespoons of sugar and five squirts of apple-crisp flavored syrup, sprinkled with cinnamon? It wouldn't mater.

But putting quality coffee beans into a consumer-grade super auto is like cooking Kobe beef in a Walmart Panini grill.

 
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GVDub
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Joined: 25 Jan 2008
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Roaster: Behmor 1600+
Posted Wed Oct 24, 2012, 2:43pm
Subject: Re: *SUPER* autos- are they really as good as semi? (or possibly better?)
 

frcn Said:

- Been drinking Folgers for years? A SA might very well be an improvement.
- Been making coffee with stale, over-roasted, black, oily beans, brewed in a Mr. Coffee drip machine from 1983? Fresh beans in a super auto would be an improvement.
- Prefers drinks with 2 ounces of espresso, 8 ounces of steamed milk, two tablespoons of sugar and five squirts of apple-crisp flavored syrup, sprinkled with cinnamon? It wouldn't mater.

But putting quality coffee beans into a consumer-grade super auto is like cooking Kobe beef in a Walmart Panini grill.

Posted October 24, 2012 link

In a way, you just described my coffee voyage, at least in part.

My folks used to drink freshly ground (though not necessarily freshly roasted - they bought 10 lbs at a time through a food coop and froze what they weren't using that week, non-vacuum sealed) whole bean in a Chemex or Melitta filter, but brewed very weak, as befits rural kids who lived through the Depression. When I moved out, I couldn't be bothered and spent years doing Maxwell House from a Mr. Coffee at home, drinking burnt coffee from a recording studio's Bunn station or whatever the truck stops had when the band was on the road.

Eventually moved to Don Francisco pre-ground, then whole-bean with a whirly-blade, then to a Cuisinart Grind'n'Brew, then started roasting for myself, then got the super-auto, then the Caravel and the start of the vintage hand grinder collection, then the other Caravel and more hand grinders, then the Nuova Simonelli and a Gaggia MD-85.

So I was, for a time, running my quality, freshly home-roasted beans through a whirly-blade and mediocre drip maker. Didn't taste a thing like Kobe beef.
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