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need help with automatic coffee machine

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  • need help with automatic coffee machine

    My friend wants to buy a automatic coffee machine, I can see it will be used to serve dozen or so people each time as it is a family gathering thing, the budget is $1k to $2K for the coffee machine and espresso quality has to be good, as good as commercial machine the better. Any recommendation ?

  • #2
    The only time I was able to get *good* coffee out of an auto in that price range, I ground my own beans, added them into the machine manually, and tweaked the output.

    While the end result was good, the process itself wasn't automatic.

    Using the inbuilt grinder on 2 or 3 other autos gave only fair-average coffee.

    Good luck.



    • #3
      As below, you wont really ever get great coffee out of an automatic machine without a bit of work. The best you can do is like said previously, grind your own and use it, or disassemble the grinder and set the grind adjustment much finer. Preparation work with preheating cups and using fresh beans/ground etc. is much the same as semi automatic machines and will improve the end result.

      On pretty much all auto machine grinders, there's a lot of possible adjustment on the grinder but it's built to only use about 35-50% of the possible adjustment. This, primarily, is to avoid people grinding too fine and choking the machine. However, the machines usually can cope ok with it.
      I've found that there's actually a reasonable amount of potential in an automatic machine which remains mostly untapped due to the need to satisfy a large consumer base. If you're confident inside a coffee machine then that's also an option to improve results. I would suggest playing with other machines first though before touching a brand new one. I also don't advocate voiding warranties so maybe forget i said that :P

      In a 1k-2k price range there's a lot of choice. My first choice would be a Delonghi. Many people are of the opinion that Delonghi just makes rubbish pod machines and stuff but their automatic machines are quite good. I recently repaired a Delonghi Magnifica EAM3500 which retails now for $1200 and am yet to learn all of its functions but it's very user friendly and i would even go as far to say anyone can use it.

      With the Delonghi's, you can adjust extraction temperature along with dosage and strength which may be fun for some people to fiddle around with. For those that don't want to mess about, they stick a big "Automatic Cappuccino" button on the front which when pressed, froths the milk by itself from the supplied container and then pours the shot. The whole process takes about 40 seconds so from an empty cup to a cappuccino in 40 seconds when entertaining a crowd is excellent. It's also ready to go again straight after preparing the first cup so there's no wait time for reheating (although i would suggest waiting a little bit).

      A Saeco machine is also another good option. In my experience, they're built well and are user friendly. Also most, perhaps all, Saeco automatics incorporate a brass over pressure valve (some are even adjustable) on the pumps which can help when extracting with fine grounds as it prevents the machine from choking too much. However they're not the most attractive machines (again i think Delonghi wins this one) and i wouldn't see them fitting in properly in today's modern kitchen. The Saeco Odea machine does look ok however and strays from the boxy shape of most automatic machines. At around $700-800 for the Odea you'd have money spare for other useful accessories.

      I wouldn't suggest Jura or Krups. They are essentially the same brand and use the same or very similar parts and features. Build quality and functionality along with user friendliness isn't great so when a lot of people are needing to use the machine you want it as simple as possible. However, the newer models are improving, much like most brands, but i'd still avoid it.


      • #4
        If your friend wants an auto, suggest buying the very best auto machine within the allocated budget. Buying cheap autos is a big mistake and there is no joy in being cheap just for the sake of it especially when it comes to breakdown time.

        Anyone that moves the grind adjustment scale around on an auto has to accept that there will be a good chance of choking the machine. Italian market machines do have the scale wound round a bit further than Australian market machines, but they drink ristretto coffees over there so the brew cycle is far shorter than here where people try to make milk shake containers of coffee.

        Jura has a far better breakdown rate than Saeco.

        No point wanting an auto that produces brew as close to commercial type coffee as possible, because auto coffee and commercial coffee are not the same unless you spend over roughly 10 thou on your auto.

        If commercial type coffee is required, then an auto machine really isnt the right kit for it.


        • #5
          need help with automatic coffee machine

          What is the reason for wanting an auto? Is it to make coffees quickly with minimal effort? Cost? Is it a multi user machine?

          Having just moved from what I thought was a reasonable auto machine to a fully manual double boiler there is a world of difference between the quality of the coffees made in these machines. If quality is the most important factor than convenience, then consider a manual machine.

          If the machine is for an office and multiple people will use it, an auto is a good choice as it does take a little bit of practice, patience, cleaning up and maintenance to use a manual machine at first.