Post By Vinitasse
Post By readeral
Time for an automatic machine
Hello coffeesnobs ,
Now i know this is a contentious issue but i am contemplating an automatic machine for at home. I work fifo , so run an aaeropress minipresso or delonghi alicia moka when away so i can have a nice coffee . At home i have my stovetop running more often than not and a ROK for a lil fun experimenting with shot pulling etc. My missus still likes to endulge in the nespresso purely based on convinience. Now that i have a young baby at home i am finding less and less time to make a coffee in the morning . So i am wondering if an automatic machine is worth while, for me when i am home for a quick cup of decent coffee , and for the wife when i am away to get her away from pod coffee .
I have been looking at the Saeco Intelia , anyone heard anything about these , any good or not ? Or are there other options out there , i am looking at limiting it to $1000 purchase , and honestly the less the lower the better .
The coffee coming out of a sub $1000 auto would be much the same as the stuff coming out of any pod machine so I would suggest saving your money for something else
Firstly - I won't answer your question:
Why not a Nuova Simonelli Oscar, and a Compak K3T? Both will do the volume/time stuff that will make it that much easier for you to make your morning coffee without fuss. Auto dose for 15 seconds, tamp, timed shot while you prepare your milk for steaming, steam once the boiler heats and you're done. Sure you'll need to tweak every so often, but not that much.
Then all your wife needs to worry about when you're away is tamping well and steaming milk. If she's using the pod machine, then if she's not keen to steam milk, it's no loss from the present situation.
It's $1800 all up, but look at that extra $800 as an investment, because I promise you won't feel like you got your $1000 worth with a super automatic.
Secondly - to answer your question:
I've been staying with my inlaws this summer and they happen to own a Saeco fully-auto machine. I'm thankful I brought my own espresso machine down because honestly I've found it very infuriating.
Although the grind is adjustable, I've not managed to pull a shot in it that hasn't blonded in under 12 seconds. These machines are built with self preservation in mind, and to that end do not grind fine enough to put the machine under any strain. As a result the shots are severely underextracted. It might say it's a 15 bar machine - that's all well and good, all it's doing is flushing 15 bars of water through coarse ground beans (at it's finest setting). You can open a little drawer and examine the pucks. I did that, and it was as fine as I might go to do a staling french press. Was never going to be capable of doing espresso well. It will allow you to put preground beans into a special hole in the bean hopper, but that undermines the point of a super-auto.
The machine does not steam the milk for the inlaws (I think they have an accessory that is hidden away that might do it) so it has a small steam wand. It's honestly not powerful enough to make nice milk, but it does do ok frothy milk, and if not-quite-silky aerated milk is enough, this machine does it. The one you're looking at is a little different. It draws milk from your external container and aerates it on the way to the cup, microfoam is impossible because it never spins in a jug, it'll be stiff milk. To me, there's something nice about that foamy topped drink, but only as a novelty hot chocolate probably. Give me a flat white any day. You can choose to use the steam wand instead to do your own milk, but then again it undermines the point of a super-auto. Might as well get a more traditional espresso machine.
The final thing to say is that the inlaws machine is 3 years old and has spent a number of months across multiple occasions being looked at by the service agent. Take this cost into account because it won't just be your initial $$, but the $$ you spend getting take-aways while you wait. Also, the inbuilt scale filters will cost you $150/year to replace.
By all means, if a Super-Auto suits you, look into them - but it all comes down to how severely you're willing to compromise, and how much money you're willing to spend for that compromise. Before you purchase one, get a demonstration in a store and drink it. Make sure it's producing a product you're happy to spend $$$ on to drink. Don't rely on whatever beans they may have in the machine - purchase some fresh beans and take them with you to try. Don't assume the machine will be better once it's in your house, give it it's best shot while you're in the store. Ultimately it's a compromise. You can't get Quality + Convenience + Cost all at once. You have to choose the most important, the one that won't reach your expectation, and the one to just forget about.
Honestly, after we head back to Sydney with our espresso machine, I suspect my inlaws will be looking around for a better home-espresso solution.
Hi readeral , thanks heaps for your post . It was very insightful. This was my reasons for posting on the forum. My wife would never be keen on making her own traditional espresso , hence why she does the pods . She wont even use my moka when i am away because she doesnt like dealing with the grinding and clean up after . I knew the auto wasnt going to be the best machine in the world and i am glad you gave me some idea of what they are like . I would love to by myself a nice machine and in time i know i will , but i think it might be when my fifo life comes to an end . So maybe for now i will just keep that moka burning , and enjoy playing with my ROK .
Al makes lots of good points, but he's slightly off on two of them. Firstly a NS Oscar doesn't need to 'come up to steam pressure' as it's actually an HX machine. Secondly, they don't have appliance machine type usability. They are capable of making great coffee, but there's a learning curve as there is with any 'proper' espresso machine.
So if you're looking for something that won't scare the wife and have $1000 max to spend you should be looking at Breville or Sunbeam. People will jump on here and say 'get a Silvia', or 'spend double your budget'. In a way they're right as these options give you a better end product, but I hate when people do that cause it's clearly not what you want. So if you're keen on getting something now that suits your current lifestyle you need to stick to Delonghi for the low end super autos, or look at the Sunbeam EM6910 or 7000 and the Breville BES870 or 900 options.
One question - what grinder do you currently use?
i have a sunbeam 480 atm home.. i havent had any troubles with it for what i use it for as it grinds for moka fine . And the rok i just play with grind settings on the day usually . If i was to buy a traditional machine i would look at a new grinder but for now i am happy . Yeah i was looking at the oscar just before . Nice little machine , but like i say my wife isnt the getting her hands dirty type so i could see it gathering dust for the two weeks i am away haha . My budget is set at what it is because al is right an auto isnt a machine that i can grow with and push my coffee making skills. But for now while i have to be away and cant dedicate the time i was thinking an auto might be easy , and make my wife appreciate a nice coffee more . She always likes to buy out at our cafe and then upset when nespresso doesnt make the coffee right haha .
Yeah my bad on the Hx. I initially thought it was then looked at that dial on the front panel and misinterpreted it as one of those kind you find on a sunbeam machine. I'm not sure how much more a learning curve an Oscar would be over an EM7000 or BES900, just cheaper.
And leroy i agree with you , i browse the forums all the time and see alot of ppl trying to upsell. If i had won the lotto on the weekend we would be having a different conversation haha :-) .
Oh, another thing. I thought the Oscar was volumetric. It's not. Alas. LeroyC is right - the higher level appliances are much easier then.
I have the EM0480. You'd do alright with it paired with one of the appliance level machines.
Honestly, I'd save the money and let the wife enjoy her coffees out. The Nespresso will satisfy better than most super-autos when under extracting.
Just to throw in another data point - my parents bought a super auto machine a couple of years ago. They spent about what I spent on my first Silvia + Rocky combo. The thing makes very thin bodied espresso. The truly odd thing with it is that irrespective of the beans you feed it, the resultant coffee tends to taste somewhat the same... They do under grind by quite a whack and the coffee completely lacks the sweetness it should have. My sister and I have both dialled the grind as fine as it'll go, and maximised the dose - to no real advantage... The coffee is definitely darker, but still tastes kind-of the same... I do tend to avoid answering 'yes' if asked "Would you like a coffee?"
I would rate the Nespresso thing at the fire station as doing as good a job, and possibly better because if you do put a different capsule in, it does actually taste different.
Originally Posted by Padams84
Just to throw you a curve ball...
1) +1 to all the "full auto" comments. I would add that any beans stored in the things cook within a couple of days and then their "coffee" really tastes foul. Even a cheap, crappy, all plastic pod machine using stale pods does a better job after that happens.
2) A friend brought me a 2/4 cup Rommelsbacher from Munich a while back (around $A100ish). As a long time Carmencita / moka pot user, the thing is a revelation. German made using a very high quality stainless steel and some clever electronics. It is basically a fully automatic moka pot: fill the water to the mark (i.e. 2 or 4 cup), put in the correct basket full to the brim with coffee (no tamping, works with any grind between espresso and drip), seal it up, turning until the marks line up, place it on the heating plate (think electric kettle type plate) and hit the switch. Pour it out when it stops gurgling. On a good day I can equal it with one of my manual carmencitas (I have at least 10 of them). On a bad day, it is a far better, more convenient cuppa. Obviously the same friend is now under standing orders to bring me a 3/6 cup version on his next trip... about three months away. BTW, I found one link from the UK https://www.alternate.co.uk/Rommelsb...product/954400 using google, which gives a mini review of one of their models.
The little Rommelsbacher beats any pod machine hands down, and will give a lot of aeropress afficianados a rather rude shock. I presume there is some equivalent available in Oz, if not feel free to PM me / drop in and try one of mine. As you can see, I live in Rockingham - presumably only a few minutes down the road from you. BYO grinder so you know exactly what it will do at your abode.
Hey Tampit ,
I think a good coffee might be in order. Always good finding a CSer local to me . Though i always seem to be away for work these days haha . I might have to look into the Rommelsbacher , looks quite neat , i use a delonghi emk6 at work so same principal electric moka but has a plastic reservoir for the brewed coffee so not sure how much of the oils are leeching into that , its quite well used now . I dont think there is any electric moka equilivents here , the only emk6 i can buy these days are from HK or similar . Its good the rommelsbacher is EU so its just a plugtop change and off you go . I dont mind using my stovetop moka at home, its not a bother for me . Was just looking for the wife tbh coz she is a fan of simplicity and little clean up. I was already half talking myself out of it before the post up , so i am very thankful to all the CSers that helped with their input. I think i might either keep my moka for the time being or look into the rommels just for futher simplicity ( ie preset temps so no burning coffees if your not watching) , when i am back in Perth full time might look into a way to reduce my kitchen bench space ;-)
I moved from a superautomatic Saeco to a Nespresso to a Vibiemme Domobar Junior. I was worried about the effort involved in moving to a real coffee machine (my kids were 3 and 1 when I bought the Vibiemme), but it is something that you can compress down to a very quick routine. I would have the machine plugged into a timer so it was hot when the kids woke up. I would take usually 2-3 shots to get it dialled in for the first shot of the day (under 5 minutes), then after that I would usually make a caffe latte in less than 2 minutes go to whoa. Definitely worth it, and it was a nice little excuse to retreat away from the kids every now and then to make a coffee!
Originally Posted by Padams84
"I think a good coffee might be in order. Always good finding a CSer local to me." Ditto. You are welcome. Feel free to PM me when convenient.
I looked up the emk6. About like comparing an aircraft to a Model T Ford - the Rommelsbacher is 100% (very) high grade stainless with some serious electronic clout. Still, I felt someone would be producing a similar "auto moka" somewhere...
Enjoy your cuppa