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Thread: Fully auto unit???

  1. #1
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    Fully auto unit???

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Greetings all
    My first posting, so best thought that I make it a good one.
    I am in the process of setting up a "kiosk"style shop where coffee will be the prime selling item (little food). The envorinment in which this will opperate will be very high volume in a very short time frame. However, the volume will be constant (similar to waves reaching up to the beach)
    I was considering to purchase a fully automated unit (say a Cimbali M2 or similar). Now, before you start to have a go at me saying that it has taken away the art of coffee, please keep in mind large volumes of potential patronage that will be passing by.
    Now the question, what are your general thoughts on such a unit for this purpose? Has anyone used one? Pros, cons etc.
    Many thaks and look forward to reading your comments.
    RB

  2. #2
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    Re: Fully auto unit???

    Im sure that youre aware that the general sentiment with regards to superautos is that they dont produce great coffee and they are more prone to breakdown due to their complexity. If you are going to be doing high volumes, the machine will make things relatively easier for an untrained person behind the counter, but if and when anything goes wrong, youre out of business for good.

    You ought to go and check out the superauto before you decide. Take along the coffee that you intend to use in it, taste it and decide if you would return for it. Even if you have a location where people are basically forced to get coffee from you, producing a great cup will have a significant impact on your profit.

    If you are going to do high volume takeaway, I would suggest looking into the LM Swift auto-tamping grinder. This grinder was originally developed for Starbucks and gives you the advantage of being able to pair it with a traditional, reliable espresso machine. The grinder doesnt produce quite as sweet a shot of espresso as a great barista with a really hardcore grinder, such as a mazzer robur, but it does streamline the work flow. The taste difference is very hard, if not impossible, to pick in milk. I know of one espresso bar that has a robur, put a swift in and went from 30kg to 60+kg a week in increased takeaway business!

    If you are in Melbourne, send me a PM and Ill put you in touch with a few cafes using Swifts.

    Regardless of what route you intend to go down, make sure that you give your supplier a thorough grilling about what sort of technical support you can expect!

    Cheers,

    Luca

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Fully auto unit???

    I did a side-by-side comparison between a Cimbali M52 and an M28 and as good as the M52 is it wasnt capable of producing as good of a shot as the M28 was.

    If youre going for the best quality possible youll have to scratch the superautos off your list.


    Java "Got rid of the M52, kept the M28" phile

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Fully auto unit???

    And Id also reckon that after observing a competent barista operating a 2-Group San Marino for more than half-an-hour recently and about 4 bus-loads of tourists, that it is possible to churn out acceptable coffee without resorting to a Super-Auto. I asked a few people how they liked their coffee (just curious) and most were quite impressed (not up to my standards though ;), but reasonable when you consider the throughput).

    So, it probably comes down to optimising the setup of up your work area, know your machine(s) thoroughly and practice, practice, practice :(. I can only speak from an observational standpoint but Luca and other Pro Baristi will be able to throw more practical and meaningful input into the equation. All the best,

    Mal.

  5. #5
    Senior Member coastal_coffee's Avatar
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    Re: Fully auto unit???

    The volume may be fast and furious, but take away the human element of a good barista and your repeat patronage will not be nearly as good.

    It is the coffee not the food that brings most people back so scrap the superauto,
    Luca sounds like he has the best idea for you.

    Fast comes with training so may I suggest a course with a training professional, there are a few very good ones involved with this site.

    Craig.

  6. #6
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    Re: Fully auto unit???

    Id just like to highlight one sentence that Luca wrote.

    Quote Originally Posted by Veneziano Caffe link=1180678499/0#1 date=1180680562
    If you are going to be doing high volumes, the machine will make things relatively easier for an untrained person behind the counter, but if and when anything goes wrong, youre out of business for good.
    A super-auto machine has all the features of traditional auto (volumetric) or semi-auto machines but also has the added complexity of moving parts. In high volume use I can see a lot going wrong with these machines unless its seriously engineered for high volume coffee and serviced regularly. The La Cimbali M2 looks the part, but Ive never seen it in action. Ive used La Cimbali before...both grinders (Cadet) and espresso machine (M39 Dosatron) and can attest to their build and robustness. Just be prepared for extra servicing and $$$ when things do go awry.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Re: Fully auto unit???

    Superautos are not a set once and walk away forever from solution, not even the Cimbali M2 and M52s, if youre looking to produce great coffee. In order to maintain the best cup possible from them they will require constant adjustments to the grind and dosage rates. Otherwise you will get a consistantly poor to mediocre cup.

    The M52 that I had and played with for an extended period is far from a cheap machine. They retailed for $USD23,000 or more. No matter how much it was fiddled with and its adjustments tweaked it was never capable of producing as good a shot as the M28 sitting next to it running the identical beans.

    I believe this is due not to the brewing side of things as it is top-notch but rather to the delivery method for the espresso between the brewhead and the dispenser. Forcing the espresso through a narrow plastic tube changes its properties, and not in a good way.


    Java "Things that make you go hhhmmmm...." phile

  8. #8
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    Re: Fully auto unit???

    Just another thought. The M2 is only a single group machine. (makes two coffes @ a time) Imo if your doing high volume you may want to be able to add extra staff to the machine. On a 3 group machine with a swift grinder you could pull 6 shots in probably a similar time. (you would have two staff working the machine) Your gear would be more reliable, your coffee will be better, I cant think of anything more frustrating then having 50 coffees ordered and simply standing there waiting for it to do its thing.

    I think that super autos are not necessarily the time saver people think they are. If your main business is coffee then make it good. super autos belong in service stations where the main business is petrol. :)

  9. #9
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    Re: Fully auto unit???

    Some interesting, and sound replies.
    Luca, your Swift idea sounds very interesting indeed. I am not based in Melb, but may be heading through town in the near future. Will definately touch base with you when I do. Thank you for the offer. (and yes, support if a very key factor)
    One of my additional concerns is the difficulty in finding quality staff that are prepared to work with you for the long term, and not just move on a whim. Yes, the all important $ can assist, but finding the key people (that can actually do as opposed to saying that they can) in the fist place is very difficult.
    RB



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