Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 1:11pm Subject: Super-Automated Espresso Machine - Group
I hope this is OK to post here
I've gotten a little frustrated with how few of us seem to be using the so-called "super auto" kind of espresso machine, and since there is a Yahoo group just for Gaggia semi-automatics, which must be a fairly small category, I decided to create
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 1:45pm Subject: Re: Fully Automated Espresso Machine - Group
Steve it's alright AFAIC. Some corrections though: Semi auto's, ANY brand are VERY popular, with lots of groups for all makes. Also, your machine is not a "fully" auto, it's a SUPER auto. A "auto" model of a machine still has the option of a manual timed brew, as well as programmed brew times (which are adjustable by the operator), and the op-erator tamps, distributes and grinds, from a SEPARATE grinder. Again, USUALLY only SUPER AUTO's have a grinder integrated as part of the machine.
Do not misunderstand: I am glad to hear you are satisfied with your super-automatic. Many people are. However, super-autos, by their very nature, can never produce espresso the equal in quality to a semi- or full-auto.
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 3:20pm Subject: Re: Super-Automated Espresso Machine - Group
Ok, Super Auto it will be, and I thank you for the clarification.
As I've explained elsewhere, I am a music teacher giving private lessons from our home for most of my living. I make espresso for many of my adult students and for the parents of many of my younger students. I do not want to take the time or energy for anything other than what I consider a fully automated process of making espresso and which you are calling super auto, which is fine with me.
I'm sure I will someday own a more manual machine, called manual, semi auto or fully auto in your jargon, but for now, my Gaggia Syncrony is it for me and my wife. We actually own two of them because we found one on eBay for cheap and bought it.
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 5:33pm Subject: Re: Fully Automated Espresso Machine - Group
BTW, if a moderator would like to change the thread title/subject to reflect the jargon as it is used here - call it Super Auto - that's fine with me and I'd love it if you'd do that. I cannot seem to do it myself that I can figure.
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013, 10:25am Subject: Re: Super-Automated Espresso Machine - Group
"single serve machines" - you mean those Pod things? Ugh! That's old coffee that's been sitting around for I-don't-know-how-long and causing a lot of waste with a pod to throw away every time you have a cup of coffee. Certainly doesn't seem like it has anything in common with my way of looking at things.
I'd appreciate an explanation as to why semi-auto machines are so popular. If I was going to buy something other than a super-auto, I'd buy manual - what, other than getting less exercise for your right arm, is gained by going semi- or fully-automatic? Just the fact that the machine controls the quality of what manually would be the pull?
And many people do! There are some excellent manual/level machines out there, from open-boiler (espresso only) machines, tank machines, or commercial lever machines connected directly to the water supply.
(W)hat, other than getting less exercise for your right arm, is gained by going semi- or fully-automatic? Just the fact that the machine controls the quality of what manually would be the pull?
The point here is that there is a world of difference between a shot pulled on the Europicola and an Idracompresso. (And, BTW, I'll put up a Europicola against your super-auto any day of the week.) AND, for that matter, there is a distinct difference between shots pulled on a lever machine and one with a pump. It's just inherent to the nature of the beast.
Now, even though a well-made SBDU -- like a Rancilio Silvia, a Gaggia Classic, or a Le'Lit PL041 -- will beat a super-automatic in quality, I will go so far as to say that SBDU consumer machines such as these are easier to operate consistently than a manual lever consumer machine like the Europicola.
The primary role of of any espresso machine is as a "hot water delivery device." That is to say, a great machine with a mediocre grinder can never yield as good results as an average machine with a great grinder. However, the greater the mass, and the larger the boiler, the more thermally stable the machine is. So this is a case when bigger is better . . . more thermal stability = higher quality shot. This is why most of us who are (relatively) serious about our espresso have prosumer, if not professional, machines.
The difference between a semi- and full-automatic is minimal. With a semi-auto, the operator must start and stop the pump manually. This is true regardless of whether you're speaking of an SBDU, an HX, or a DB. With a full-auto, EITHER the operator can start AND stop the pump manually, OR the operator will start the pump and the machine will stop automatically once a certain, pre-programed volume of liquid is dispersed. (This is why full-autos are also known as "volumetric dosing" machines.) In the grand scheme of things, that is an extremely minor difference.
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 10:52am Subject: Re: Super-Automated Espresso Machine - Group
Thank you very much. I'm enjoy my education about the wide world of espresso machines.
I've been poking around the Internet, looking at various models of machine, reading even old posts on this forum because Google found them in response to things I was searching.
One thing I find surprising is that a semi-automatic machine often costs less money than a lever machine - that seems backwards to me, e.g, this one
seems to be inexpensive and get great reviews - $206.43 on Amazon.com today. One of the lever machines you mention as consumer grade,
La Pavoni Europicola
costs over $800 - why 4 times the cost? I'm not doubting - I simply don't know and would appreciate an explanation. I always figured that, if we got a backup to our super-auto, I'd want to spend as little money as possible, and I just assumed that meant a fully manual machine - but that's clearly not the case.
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