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Automatic machine recommendations

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  • Automatic machine recommendations

    Hi all,
    Our corporate bosses supplied automatic (Saeco) espresso machines several years ago, which, all things considered, have done a stellar job with minimal maintenance and kept us all reasonably caffeinated. The alternative is Blend 43 so we were quite happy with the fresh stuff. However the Saeco is now well and truly worn out so we need a new machine and the bosses have unexpectedly come to the party.
    We have been given the green-light to purchase a new machine with a budget of >$1k but <$1.7k. Any suggestions? It would be required to make 50-80 shots/day and cater for all types of much as I (personally) would prefer a manual device, it needs to be a semi- or fully-automatic machine.
    I look forward to your suggestions.
    Thanks in advance!

  • #2
    Re: Automatic machine recommendations

    Further to my original post, I have now done some research on the CS forum for similar topics and have found only a few threads and not any recent ones. I understand that automatic machines may not be the preferred equipment on this forum but if anyone has an opinion to offer Id like to hear it.
    Im particularly interested to hear what folks think about the modern Saeco range (found some equivocal opinions in old posts) and whether Jura machines are overrated or worth their asking price. :-/
    Any CSers have an auto machine in their office?


    • #3
      Re: Automatic machine recommendations

      If your bosses can spring for *two* machines within that $1.7K ceiling, Ill only half-jokingly suggest a $300 Nespresso for a full-auto experience that most non-snobs will find perfectly satisfactory. Then you and your more discerning colleagues can make good use of the remaining $1.4K to get a pretty reasonable grinder and manual/semi-auto machine.


      • #4
        Re: Automatic machine recommendations

        Hangdog has made an excellent suggestion - its worth considering something like this. Have you also considered a good quality grinder with a dripolator or plunger? Get the variables right and these make great coffee in large volumes too.

        We purchased a Jura Impressa Z5 about 1-2 years ago, about $3.5k I think. I think the price was over the top (could have got a nice Italian dual boiler commercial machine for that...)

        As company size fluctuates we put from 15 to 40 cups per day through it. I had a look at the counters the other day and I think its made thousands of drinks. anyway these are the problems I see with office full-autos:
        • While it can make pretty good coffee if the settings are correct (fine grind, 30mL), ours is set to the coursest grind possible and between 100 - 200 mL of water
        • The "quick" is a misnomer, because while you can make a quick drink, you need to clean it. Theres about 10 minutes of cleaning per day, plus internal machine cleans (using tablets) plus filter changes, plus various things it prompts you to do. Some of this is comparable to a traditional espresso machine, some is not.
        • For such an expensive machine its chrome plated plastic, so all the regular touch areas wear away pretty quickly.
        • The seals and fittings loosen gradually over time meaning its not as good at frothing as it used to be
        • I find people who dont know how to use (ie guests) it have trouble finding the right button to push, and end up not using it!
        • Its debatable whether we could have trained people on a real machine for the same amount of time weve spent training people on this machine. (I just read the manual, but others seem to need to be shown and told).
        • Milk is bubbly

        Having said that, it is lasting well, and coffee quality (when I get to adjust it) is as good now as it was when purchased, partly from the fact that I insist on a good roaster that posts from QLD.

        If I were to buy a full-auto again I would look for one that mixes hot water automatically post extraction to make >30/60mL which is what people seem to want. (Most aussies want most of a cup of boiling water with a dash of milk, which is why they usually think espressos are too cold!)

        HTH, I can take pictures if you want.


        • #5
          Re: Automatic machine recommendations

          Originally posted by 514E484F0A5654495E3B0 link=1302584765/0#0 date=1302584765
          Hi all,
          .....We have been given the green-light to purchase a new machine with a budget of >$1k but <$1.7k.  Any suggestions?  It would be required to make 50-80 shots/day and cater for all types of users...
          Trust me, that usage, for that price doesnt work...or of it does, it will wear out dang quick! Eg a good small auto designed for office coffee situations (not home), costs more than that and is only rated at half the daily use.

          Instead of asking this question in an end user forum, you need to ask this of a supplier that specialises in office coffee. If you called me, I would recommend something in the probably over $4000.00 mark, in a brand that IS office coffee designed and built rather than a beefed up domestic, & where because of this the name isnt even recognized in the retail market. You are looking for a good, reliable self serve machine and lets face it 99.9% of the users are not CoffeeSnobs and if the machine is tended properly by your nominated staff member (the one how will become responsible for the machine) they will get in most instances better coffee out of it than they will get down the local cafe or takeaway joint with their lunch......

          And.....some of the misgivings brought up in the previous post are addressed or are not a problem, when buying a "better" (more expensive) purpose machine for the numbers given / expected.

          Suggest you let your fingers do the walking and find someone in your local area that can help with this office specific equipment but ultimately if your employer is going to do this, they need to understand that a more realistic budget is required.

          very first CS site sponsor.


          • #6
            Re: Automatic machine recommendations

            Attilio I only wish I knew you before we purchased ours from Hardley Normal


            • #7
              Re: Automatic machine recommendations

              I was just talking to a collegue and I should correct a few details on the Jura:

              Its about 2.5 years old now

              Its made 14000 drinks, including about 4000 plain milk which is used as a "top up", so in effect its made about 10000 coffees.

              Thats an average of about 17 per day on a 5 day per week, 48 week per year life.

              10000 capps would have collectively cost us $45,000 (at the average Darwin price)...


              • #8
                Re: Automatic machine recommendations

                Perhaps if you talk to your colleagues, and include comparative cost of takeway drinks in the discussion, suggest that you all chip in a $ amount to boost the available budget, (at 50-80 shots/day, there must be enough people to make a difference if all contribute something proportional to their use), then go back to the bosses and see if they cant come to the party with a bit more, to provide something along the lines that Fresh_Coffee suggested, that will do a reliable, decent job, for a longer time period.


                • #9
                  Re: Automatic machine recommendations

                  Spent a few hours yesterday with one of our self serve machine the flesh, going through a couple of their models on our test bench including pulling the bodies, getting inside, and .....talking numbers.

                  Around the "middle" 4 thousands will get you a machine that will be great say around 40 a day, but after that you will have to hike up to around 7 thou.

                  The ability to do the extra numbers is not necessarily to do with the actual workings in the machines although there really are internal modifications & upgrades that allow making the extra coffees easier on the bigger volume rated models.

                  Where the more obvious differences lie is in the ease of management of the smaller (say under 50 a day) models. Whoever is the designated responsible person for the coffee machine, will find themselves getting pretty tired of filling the small water container and coffee hopper, & emptying the tiny drip / dregs trays. The larger machines  have larger capacities everywhere, and plumb in and drain out.

                  And for offices with that kind of capacity, for employees whose only interest is to get the cuppa and get back to the desk without having to do anything else, spending the money on purpose design / build equipment is the only way.

                  Even to buy the minimum spec auto OFFICE coffee machine, say a Saeco Royal Cappuccino, at roughly 2 thou, and only rated at around 20 to 30 a day from memory, with TINY bean water and dregs / waste capacities, you would want say a minimum of 3 machines for your numbers, which equals 6 thou anyway and you are stuck with tiny machines with limited self serve selections that will wear out quickly in that environment.

                  Its kind of like buying a ute & making 4 rounds of deliveries a day, instead of buying a truck and making one round a day with the total and doing it more comfortably and for a longer term..............!

                  By the way, we do have a solution 

                  Hope that helps,