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Thread: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

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    Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

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    Hi All, was referred to this forum by a co-worker. Basically I am looking for an automatic [s]expresso[/s] espresso machine that will grind beans and make coffee. Dont care about automatic milk (manual milk frother is fine). Since I am a bit lazy and want to move away from my stove top expresso maker (cos im lazy :P ). I want to spend upwards of $1000. Thanks for any help/recommendations in advance!

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    The most common advice youll get here is "dont". At their best, superautos cant produce espresso that comes close of a reasonable manual at its worst.
    With the exeption Jura, there also seems to be huge reliability issues. I cant remember how many times my Saeco Incanto went in for repairs, but our house became a routine stop on the repairers run to and from work (when Saeco did their own repairs - which they dont any more).
    There are many tales of woe here, and my advice would be to avoid superautos - and Im speaking from experience, having owned the top-of-the-line Saeco. My brother ignored my advice and bought a new one about six months ago, and it has spent more time at the repairer than in his kitchen (and theyve admitted they cant fix it!).

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 474D40555649485544210 link=1232503729/1#1 date=1232504925
    The most common advice youll get here is "dont". At their best, superautos cant produce espresso that comes close of a reasonable manual at its worst.
    With the exeption Jura, there also seems to be huge reliability issues. I cant remember how many times my Saeco Incanto went in for repairs, but our house became a routine stop on the repairers run to and from work (when Saeco did their own repairs - which they dont any more).
    There are many tales of woe here, and my advice would be to avoid superautos - and Im speaking from experience, having owned the top-of-the-line Saeco. My brother ignored my advice and bought a new one about six months ago, and it has spent more time at the repairer than in his kitchen (and theyve admitted they cant fix it!).
    Hi, thanks for your response. I like good coffee but am probably not as anal as some of this forums members (no disrespect intended!). Since I am a bit lazy and would rather not drink instant, I thought an auto would suit me fine. coincidentally I am looking at the Jura ENA..even though it is about $1300, since we have a Jura Impressa X9 at work! :)

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Those anal ones arent really fussy enough for my liking.

    The Jura are the only super-autos youll hear get recommended around here.

    Site sponsor Gilkatho has the Jura Ena; you should give them a call.

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Nothing anal about sitting coffeeless while your superauto is on the repair bench (if youre lucky)!
    They simply have too many complicated parts that can - and do - go wrong.
    You may be spared some of that with the Jura, but I wouldnt bet on that.

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    A friend who lives in Canada had a Jura doing about 2 or 3 cups a day for 18 months before it broke. Out of warranty and cant be repaired cost effectively. Hes now shopping around again. :(

    He is also lazy and prefers an average cup of coffee within 30 seconds of pushing a button rather than an excellent cup that requires effort.

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    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Sounds like he wasnt the type to look after it.

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    The machine is supposed to be relatively maintenance free. Every now and then it will tell you to put in a cleaning tablet and run the cycle, which he did do.

    I think it boils down to too much automation requires too many parts which provide too many points of failure.

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    The problem with super automatics is as much to do with the type of user as the complexity of the machine...

    Users of Superautos want to walk up and press a button - and everything will work - time after time. They dont want to strip it and clean it themselves... or have it maintained properly by a service agent - they just want coffee!!!

    They may, occasionally, pop in a cleaning tablet..... but that is just part of the required maintenance regime..... If the rest isnt done.... the machine will become unreliable - and fail!!

    They require even more maintenance than a semi or an automatic machine - and on a regular basis (because of their complexity this is VERY important).

    If you buy a superautomatic then you are transferring the maintenance load (and cost) to a service agent in most cases.... and this MUST be done...

    There is a $$$$$ price to be paid for this level of automation. :(

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    Senior Member flynnaus's Avatar
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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    I think it is the level of automation that kills these machines. My area moved to a new floor late last year and the GM decided to buy a new coffee machine - an automatic. One week after buying it, it had an out of order sign on it.

    To be fair, I have seen two superautos used in a call centre and they seemed to be always working but I think they had someone maintaining them all the time. That was the first time I had ever tried a superauto and even though it was in my pre-CS days, I never felt inclined to go for a second cup. It wasnt awful, just not good.

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    Senior Member fatboy_1999's Avatar
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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Personally, I think the reason a lot of these machines fail is due to inherent laziness.
    People are happy to use the machine, but most will not even attempt the most basic cleaning or maintenance. And sometimes, even if you want to do the right thing, you cannot.

    We have recently moved into a new building at work. Each floor has a super duper Azkoyen Expression (which Im sure are not cheap). Its capable of making a decent coffee if you bypass many of the auto settings, however it is often out of action due to various messages on the screen.
    Some things we cannot do anything about (due to someone taking the odd decision that we cannot be trusted with the cleaning of the machine), but some are very simple tasks that the lazy just ignore.
    EG: Asking for the dregs tray to be emptied - I have seen people walk up, read the message, press buttons, swear and move on. OR, partially remove the tray, shake it, put it back in and you might get another 1 or 2 coffees before it asks again. the bin is RIGHT NEXT TO IT!
    The other one is no beans. The hopper sometimes needs refilling or the beans to be agitated a bit. People would rather walk to the floor below than actually try to do something.

    When fighting this level of laziness, super-autos are doomed to downtime.

    My brother recently purchased a Delonghi Magnifica (about 5 months ago I think). He saw one at a clients site and liked it, so went and got one. Hes probably done 500+ cups on it now and it hasnt missed a beat. Hes more than happy with the results because he wants the push-button simplicity. He readily admits he likes my coffee more, but would not spend the same time I do making it. He cleans the machine regularly and does not abuse it, so far so good. The client site however, does have issues with theirs because they dont maintain it. He was there one day shortly after buying his and the machine had a message saying descale. He asked one of the workers there what needed to be done and the answer was Turning it off at the wall and turing it on again gets rid of the message.

    Whee.

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Im fantical about cleaning and changing filters, etc. So I think that blows the "users are lazy" argument out of the water. Case in point: the Saeco Incanto had a design fault on the steamer mechanism. First, they used a plastic one that wore out. Eventually, they replaced it with a brass fitting, but that didnt last - and they didnt tell anyone (there was a free repair for anyone who complained enough). Finally, I believe, they came up with full brass assmebly. That whole process covered the two years and two machines of my Saeco experience. Then there was the grinder set too fine so it choked the machine and needed to be re-assembled. Then there was a plastic bit that was meant to be "finger tightened" and snapped off when using the supplied adjustment tool (Never use that! said the repair guy. So why was it included in the kit and shown in the manual). There were scores of other issues as well - onne of them user-related.
    Sorry, but I dont think you can simply blame the owners.

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    We have a full auto at work, and I reckon its more work than my VBM Piccolo at home. The VBM needs the maintenance every use, (wipe steam wand, flush grounds from head, refill boiler) while the auto needs an intensive hour every 3 weeks (complete take-down and clean).

    The auto is 2 years old and has been back for repairs or factory-only maintenance 4 or 5 times, and it is now out of warranty.

    The VBM hasnt left my counter in over a year since it arrived.

    And the espresso from the VBM is at least twice as good as from the auto!

    Greg

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Ive said it before somewhere, but i reckon the Seaco Royal Cappuccino is the best auto if that is what you want. Easily adjustable, hasnt changed in years, heaps of service agents, think they still offer two year warranty, parts are readily available. Similar parts in Gaggia, Miele, Spidem. Just stay away from Saecos new machines.

    Remember to heat your cups before you use any autos or any machine for that matter.

    James Carter

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    i also have a friend determined to buy a fully automatic coffee machine, is the consensus that the Juros are the best class?

    do they require servicing on a regular basis by an agent? this is not really feasible due to our remote location.

    we do have very soft water with no scaling whatsoever if that helps.

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    A_M
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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 21272A332B273F460 link=1232503730/14#14 date=1234179282
    i also have a friend determined to buy a fully automatic coffee machine, is the consensus that the Juros are the best class?
    I can not comment first hand, but I have heard it said that they are one of the better systems...

    do they require servicing on a regular basis by an agent?
    All machines require some level of user maintenance and Auto often require works to be performed by experienced tecs due to the level of complexity and intergration of grinders etc etc.

    If you set your grind too fine and / or use poor quality beans etc. You can get blockages and to clean it: the system may have to be partly dismantled... Service AGENT in most cases..

    this is not really feasible due to our remote location.
    If so then you have to manage the risk or look at another system.. However all systems require some level of service... It is just that some, allow more user intervention and these are usually the more manual systems.

    we do have very soft water with no scaling whatsoever if that helps.
    Umm I wonder where you are and why you say this ??? Not that I do not believe you but !!!!



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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 0E21282A3D022E212E282A222A213B4F0 link=1232503730/15#15 date=1234183205
    If so then you have to manage the risk or look at another system.. *However all systems require some level of service... *It is just that some, allow more user intervention and these are usually the more manual systems.
    yes, i think they are in a no win situation, they dont want to do the maintenance themselves so they will just have to accept the risk that they have to pay to freight the machine for servicing.

    Umm I wonder where you are and *why you say this ??? *Not that I do not believe you but !!!!
    unusual i know! i live in NE Arnhem Land, the water is artesian and i work in a Lab, the TDSs are 0.

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 5355584159554D340 link=1232503730/16#16 date=1234223169
    yes, i think they are in a no win situation, they dont want to do the maintenance themselves so they will just have to accept the risk that they have to pay to freight the machine for servicing.
    Unfortunately that will probably lead to more time without the machine than with it!

    Super automatics (and Jura is one of the best - if not the best) require a fair bit of maintenance because of their complexity.

    A lot of this maintenance can and should be done by the end user - just like any other coffee machine - and needs to be done on a regular basis.

    Failure to carry out this maintenance is the prime reason for failure of super autos..... requiring far more major (and expensive) professional repair and adjustment......

    A less automatic machine (which is far more robust) would be better suited to their needs - but will require more skill to operate....

    So I guess they will either have to live with a lot of down time.... or purchase 2 machines and swap them when one is back for repair...

    Or just learn to live with instant coffee...

    (IMHO a plunger would be a good choice)

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    I really dont understand why people want superautos. I guess in comparison to some cheaper domestic espresso machines (which are a real pain, and not worth it), superautos may seem desireable. But I personally I think hx machines are easy as and so reliable. They are easy to get good coffee (on most), and quick to clean. it is then even easier if it is plumbed in, and drip tray connected to drain. I mean to make a coffee during the day (including cleaning) takes about 1m total, then backflushing at the end of the day about 1m, plus a clean of the drip tray 2m. How can you get much easier than that!

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 2B2E22262E217E4F0 link=1232503730/18#18 date=1234266214
    I really dont understand why people want superautos. *I guess in comparison to some cheaper domestic espresso machines (which are a real pain, and not worth it), superautos may seem desireable. *But I personally I think hx machines are easy as and so reliable. *They are easy to get good coffee (on most), and quick to clean. *it is then even easier if it is plumbed in, and drip tray connected to drain. *I mean to make a coffee during the day (including cleaning) takes about 1m total, then backflushing at the end of the day about 1m, plus a clean of the drip tray 2m. * How can you get much easier than that!
    I know people who obtained an EM6910... Did the training and after a small dinner party of 4 people... Sold it and went to a Auto and spent something in excess of $6K.

    Their comment... They love the simplicity of the Auto... Poor in ya bag of beans .. Add milk etc and then just press the button... No Mess and other than cleaning up at some stage ie. Milk... She is good to go till the beans run out. 4 people over for dinner hit the button a few times and presto... No mucking about with SS milk jugs / Frothing, Grinding , Tamping etc etc...

    Last I heard it had to go back for servicing :o But they still say it was one of their better purchases ::)

    Then again... If that is what their happy with.... Who are WE to argue.

    Are they passionate about coffee... NO.. Are they after a perceived convenience and $$ no issue ... YES.

  21. #21
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Why not buy a swag of AeroPress brewers, a decent grinder and establish a rapport with a reputable specialist roaster (plenty to choose from here) and show everyone how to use an AeroPress properly. Its dead easy as a process, easy to clean and the filter papers are reusable. All this coupled with the capacity to produce excellent coffee suitable for Long Blacks, a Pseudo Espresso, and terrific Flat Whites.

    Just need to make sure that you buy a really good grinder and source a regular supply of excellent, freshly roasted coffee. Then, give it a trial with a couple of AeroPresses to start off with to see how it would work, re: grind setting, brewing procedure, etc and once youve got that down pat, spread the word. Your company could probably get a bulk buy discount for more than a minimum number of AeroPress units that drinkers could then buy off you, deducted from salary or what ever seems reasonable at your workplace.

    Thereafter, anyone who wants to jump on the bandwagon could buy an AeroPress from one of our Sponsors or elsewhere and enjoy the fruits of your hard work ;).... Seems like a plan ;)

    Mal.

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Cant resist adding some anecdotes.

    In a past life, work had a Saeco Royal - it worked great for about a year+, around 10,000+ coffees. It died in what supposedly is a common death for them, a seal goes that showers some of the electronics in water. Seem to recall it was expensive to fix - about 50% the price of the machine if I recall correctly

    Next job, we got a Jura (S9), it lasted about 2+ years, with about 2-4 modest services/repairs - about 30000+ coffees, before we replaced it with the same. Not a bad innings I thought.

    The current one is going well again - except when some bright spark put whole beans in the ground coffee chute.

    Having a Silvia at home, I agree that the coffee is not as good out of the automatics. But the automatics result in virtually zero mess - something some people value - also, the instant caffeine fixes are something I cant say I mind :).

    I would not bother with an auto at home though, Id rather grind coffee, load and tamp while the machine warms up, than wait twiddling thumbs for an inferior shot - the first one after switching on is always cold and sour. Milk frothing sucks on all the automatics Ive tried as well.

    - Kevin




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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Re: Saeco Royal.

    Kevin - sounds like the Saeco you had would have been 4 or 5 years ago. I know that since then Saeco have been using stainless steel boilers/thermoblocks and at about the same time introduced a 2 year warranty. I am not sure if that still applies.
    I think that the advantage with the Royal Capp over other machines is that essentially the workings and parts are the same as they have been for many years - other than the ones that have been improved upon.

    James Carter

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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Actually, it was 7-8 years ago. So youre definately correct in saeco royals being around for years :)

    Id expect youre also right in that they would have made improvements in that time. I havent experienced a Saeco since then, so cant really comment on more recent machines.




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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 2B2E22262E217E4F0 link=1232503730/18#18 date=1234266214
    I really dont understand why people want superautos. *I guess in comparison to some cheaper domestic espresso machines (which are a real pain, and not worth it), superautos may seem desireable. *But I personally I think hx machines are easy as and so reliable. *They are easy to get good coffee (on most), and quick to clean. *it is then even easier if it is plumbed in, and drip tray connected to drain. *I mean to make a coffee during the day (including cleaning) takes about 1m total, then backflushing at the end of the day about 1m, plus a clean of the drip tray 2m. * How can you get much easier than that!
    Hi, I know I havent been a regular of this forum, but I have some input to this discussion which I know is now two months (?) old, but...

    I just timed myself making a coffee on my Promac Creen Compact commercial machine, using a Delonghi burr grinder. *From start to walk away took just over 2 1/2 minutes. *The first 1 1/2 mins was just grinding, pack & tamp, get milk. *Then to extract, froth & pur another minute. This was uninterupted and for someone with experience.

    From my prespective there are two reasons people would buy a superauto machine:
    1. The time factor, only about 1 or 1 1/2 minutes per cup.
    2. Easy enough that anyone can do it with little training.

    I am a teacher and in my workplace, I need to get 7 or 8 cups made in about 10 minutes, without a barista operating - each person making their own.

    I bought a Saeco Royal Capuccino about 6 years ago (paid $2400), which lasted around 5 years. *It produced an excellent extraction for an auto machine - took some tampering with the grinder to grind finer than it was default able to. *I sent it away for servicing once a year which cost about $200 each time. *In the end, the milk frothing device wouldnt suck any more. *But overall it was quite easy to use, two boilers, meaning you could extract and do milk at the same time - much quicker, probably only took 1 1/2 minutes per coffee.

    Then I picked up a cheap Delonghi (Magnifica EAM3500??) from Cash Converters at a steal $550. *Couldnt resist at that price ($1200-$1400 RRP). *Again, the extraction was very good, grinding as fine as possible, but the milk came out way too cold. *I had to slow down the milk rate by taping a piece of plastic over the inlet of the milk hose and using a skewar to poke a hole just the right size into it. *This slowed down the flow rate and made it OK. *But this was a bodgy solution and needed replacing every month or so. *After that, the coffe was really, very good for superauto!

    Also, the Delonghi only has one boiler, so this slowed down the whole process often meaning if there was a line, you would miss out during our short morning tea breaks. *(not cool).

    The big plus with this machine was the CLEAN button on the milk jug. *This makes it easy for people who dont care as much to remember to rinse the milk spout when putting the milk back in the fridge. *The whole milk device is much cleaner and easier for people to use and clean than the Saeco machine, which you used your own jugs, and had to get a separate jug of water to run through it to clean it. *It was a pain and often people wouldnt bother mucking around with it.

    My two cents worth, I would not buy a Delonghi again, because of the milk being too cold, and I would definitely not look at a single boiler machine again - too slow. *If they fixed the milk temperature and on a two boiler model, then it might be OK.

    Im now looking at a Jura X9 on a rent to buy plan. *This is why I ended up checking out this forum to see what people thought of the coffee.

    My biggest complaint with these superautos, is they put the milk in first, then extract over the milk. *I hate this as you dont get any crema on the top. *I always do the extraction first, then add the milk to that. *Does anyone know if the Jura X9 can do this within the on-touch programs. *ie. hold off on the milk untill the coffee is in the cup?

    Cheers.

  26. #26
    TC
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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 6D47544A6E434A444F41260 link=1232503730/24#24 date=1272071140
    In the end, the milk frothing device wouldnt suck any more....
    Really??!! I am yet to see a milk frothing device which didnt suck....
    GreenBeanGenii likes this.

  27. #27
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Quote Originally Posted by 1025282F1B072B22222121440 link=1232503730/25#25 date=1272082902
    I am yet to see a milk frothing device which didnt suck....
    Saw it coming...laughed anyway. ;D
    GreenBeanGenii likes this.

  28. #28
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    Re: Hi All, need help & recommendations on an automatic coffee machine

    Behmor Brazen - $249 - Free Freight
    Quote Originally Posted by 734F5249434255404843270 link=1232503730/26#26 date=1272094795
    Quote Originally Posted by 1025282F1B072B22222121440 link=1232503730/25#25 date=1272082902
    I am yet to see a milk frothing device which didnt suck....
    Saw it coming...laughed anyway. *;D
    Dont be too critical!! Yes the commercial machines are better, but the superautos have a place as well. My Saeco generally made very acceptable coffee for about 5 years, quickly, and quite good result. And any bozo could use it .

    As others have said, superautos really need somone involved in the machines operation on a regular basis who has a clue about what makes good coffee, and make the adjustments required to make it work well. And some cleaning might be required.



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