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Thread: Semi auto 1 group with auto steam?

  1. #1
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    Semi auto 1 group with auto steam?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello,
    I'm still looking for a new machine for our office. We have decided we want a proper machine and not a superauto, but due to space restrictions it will have to be a single group machine. Price is flexible.
    Does anyone know of any single group machines with auto steam temp feature?
    The aim here is to be able to achieve high quality results but still be relatively easy to use for the less experienced users. We will be pairing the machine with a mazzer electronic to make dosing a little easier.
    Suggestions?

    Many thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member mwcalder05's Avatar
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    I think the latest Breville has an inbuilt grinder/doser/tamper and also and auto steaming function?

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    Coffee Newbie okitoki's Avatar
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    i looked at a few videos but it might not be auto steaming... more of an insert over the steam wand that allows user to steam without needing to play with the milk jug...

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    Hmmmm, I'm not sure the breville would be up to the daily abuse an office environment would dish out.
    I was looking at office brugnetti compact, but it only comes in a two group. I like the idea of of the auto steam off function that can be set to cut the steam at say 65'C and prevent rookies from burning the milk.

  5. #5
    Coffee Newbie okitoki's Avatar
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    what about having one of those automatic individual milk frother thingy on the side just for those people who doesn't know or not confident enough to use the milk wand? mind you, it would need them to clean up after each use (which they should anyway for what ever method they use)

    Unless you are thinking like those superautomatic coffee machine that can hook up to a small fridge on the side?

  6. #6
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    If you cannot trust someone to steam milk, i hold little hope that they will be able to grind, dose, tamp, and brew a drinkable shot !
    All users will need a minimum training exercise on correct use & procedures, and that should include milk prep.
    Take a look at the Expobar Office Control, or if funds can stretch, go for a single group commercial.

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    I have bought superautos in the past and I dont like them at all. They are expensive ($10k), the coffee is both weak and bitter and the milk is not hot enough. On top of this they are very expensive to maintain as they tend to be a lot less reliable in my experience.
    I have bought single group commercials for another office before, and with a little training everyone was able to use it quite well. It lasted forever and hardly ever gave me any trouble. When it did, repairs were cheap.
    On this basis I am keen to get another one. I would be looking at machines around the $4k mark.

    Ok, forget the temp sensor in the milk steam arm. What about the best 1 group compact commercial, what would you get?

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    I recall the Iberital L'Anna Handy has been recommended and used in similar situations by some on this forum,..with good feedback.


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    Nuova Simonelli has an autosteam wand option for many models, eg have a look at the Appia brochure. Similar may be available on other brands as well

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    Might consider a La Pavoni Verobar Volumetric

    •Stainless steel boiler (2 litre) with horizontal heat exchanger
    •Pressurestat to maintain constant boiler pressure
    •Removable water tank (2.9 litre)
    •Pump pressure: 15 bar
    •Pump pressure gauge
    •Boiler pressure gauge
    •2 stainless steel steam nozzles
    •Adjustable hot water tap
    •Chrome plated brass group handle
    Optional automatic milk frother
    Attached Images Attached Images

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by DavidK View Post
    Nuova Simonelli has an autosteam wand option for many models, eg have a look at the Appia brochure. Similar may be available on other brands as well
    Yes, this is one that I am looking at. Apparently the Australian distributor only has the non-autosteam arm in stock. They are chasing up a price for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrislng View Post
    Might consider a La Pavoni Verobar Volumetric

    •Stainless steel boiler (2 litre) with horizontal heat exchanger
    •Pressurestat to maintain constant boiler pressure
    •Removable water tank (2.9 litre)
    •Pump pressure: 15 bar
    •Pump pressure gauge
    •Boiler pressure gauge
    •2 stainless steel steam nozzles
    •Adjustable hot water tap
    •Chrome plated brass group handle
    Optional automatic milk frother
    I did see this one as well, which looked interesting. Although from the user manuals pdfs that I downloaded, the optional milk frother was a kind of lazy attachment turbo frother that you just sit the jug in. I was really after the traditional steam wand with temperature sensing cutoff.

    Apparently these can be retrofitted to machines. Maybe I will have to go this way.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Struggling to understand how you could drop that kind of money on a machine yet not care enough to manually steam...

    Bit like getting a $90k sportscar and getting the optional base-level-commodore autobox installed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Struggling to understand how you could drop that kind of money on a machine yet not care enough to manually steam...

    Bit like getting a $90k sportscar and getting the optional base-level-commodore autobox installed.
    I can certainly appreciate the sentiment. This is not the sort of machine most coffee snobs would buy for that money, but this machine is for an office and as such must satisfy a number of users. The company is paying so cost is not so much an issue. But I cant bring myself to buy another superauto. I'd rather drink tea. I was originally looking at the officine brugnetti which is a two group/two wand setup with a temp sensor on one of the wands to auto shut off steaming milk at the correct temperature, which would be ideal for noobs. Only prob is we are running out of bench space, and can probably only fit a single group machine.
    Looks like i may have to forget about this idea and just go with a regular single grouper.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Ah, my mistake; I should've read the first post properly.

    How many people in the office? Few enough that it'd be feasible to get them together in a group and show them "Stick tip under right next to the jug edge, turn on steam, lift until you hear slight tearing then keep it there until the jug's too hot to hold"?

    Might not produce art-quality foam but it should produce better results than an autofrother for 90+% of people.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dragunov21 View Post
    Ah, my mistake; I should've read the first post properly.

    How many people in the office? Few enough that it'd be feasible to get them together in a group and show them "Stick tip under right next to the jug edge, turn on steam, lift until you hear slight tearing then keep it there until the jug's too hot to hold"?

    Might not produce art-quality foam but it should produce better results than an autofrother for 90+% of people.
    And as i said ... milk temperature will be the least problem of any untrained "office barista" using a commercial type machine & grinder.
    Training will be essential, and milk texturing should be part of that training.
    PS: have you considered a machine that has a separate PF that can also use ESE commercial pods as well as fresh ground. ?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Sincere question (not a challenge); how is it more complicated than any proper semi-automatic machine?

  18. #18
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    Other than posibly more imposing,..its no more complicated than say the BDB ...but all Semi-Auto machines need a little more skill than say a Nespresso, or a fully auto. With a random user base of say 20 workers in an office, how may do you think really want to aquire the skills to grind / brew /steam milk etc etc in order to make a GOOD coffee. ?......
    .. . But really, just saying , milk temperature is a trivial issue compared to the host of other variables in the process of making a good cup.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    It takes a little finesse to get good microfoam, but f-all to get better stuff than an autofrother will put out. I did it first time just by doing what I said earlier.

    Milk temp is reasonably important, I find. You need to texture milk properly to make it sweet, sure, but IME overheating will kill the sweetness as well as the texture.

    Remember, they don't have to be getting a GOOD coffee, just one that's better than the crappy pod coffee they're used to. As long as no-one's complaining that it's worse, then it's all good because the others have the option to make good coffee if they can be bothered. Besides; no reason you couldn't run a Pixie alongside it to cater for the DILLIGAF crowd; it's hardly gonna make a dent after the first $3400...

  20. #20
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    thanks for the responses. I appreciate the check of my logic/sanity.

    I think I'm going to forget about the auto temp steam arm function and just get one of those jugs with heat spot on it so that the noobs wont overheat the milk.

    I'm still confident that a commercial machine with mazzer auto grinder will be the best for this application.

    The pod machines can be ok for a small office, however the cost soon stacks up and we have a few short black drinkers who will really appreciate a well pulled shot. Aside from this, is Andy's point about the environmental impact of the plastic waste from all those pods.

    From my experience, good beans + good equipment + poor skill is still a better result than a superauto.

    Anyone disagree? Had a good experience with a superauto?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman01 View Post
    Aside from this, is Andy's point about the environmental impact of the plastic waste from all those pods.
    Commercial ESE pods are paper not plastic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gman01 View Post
    From my experience, good beans + good equipment + poor skill is still a better result than a superauto.

    Anyone disagree? Had a good experience with a superauto?
    Sorry but no,....
    A Super Auto may not make the best coffee, but it may well be a better & more consistent result than a novice on good equipment.
    But dont take this as a suggestion to get a Super Auto, simplyt as a "heads up" that good equipment does not guarantee good coffee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    Commercial ESE pods are paper not plastic.

    Good to know

    Sorry but no,....
    A Super Auto may not make the best coffee, but it may well be a better & more consistent result than a novice on good equipment.
    But dont take this as a suggestion to get a Super Auto, simplyt as a "heads up" that good equipment does not guarantee good coffee.
    hmmm, maybe not. But at least I'll be able to get some ripper shots out of it



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