kschendel Senior Member Joined: 7 Nov 2008 Posts: 280 Location: Pittsburgh Expertise: I love coffee
Grinder: Maestro Roaster: Freshroast
Posted Tue Sep 25, 2012, 11:59pm Subject: Re: 1st Super auto machine decision
I own a super-auto so perhaps I can help you here.
As best as I can tell, the price difference among super-auto's has much more to do with milk features than coffee brewing features. The brew groups are pretty much the same across models in any given manufacturer's line as best as I can tell.
If you're looking for a good espresso, the super-auto is not your best bet because of difficulties with grinding and distribution. Most supers don't have the best builtin grinders, nor any way to improve the grind distribution. Issues of metal vs plastic brew group on top of grind/distribution are relatively minor, IMHO.
The super is purely a convenience item. I own one because a) my wife very much likes to push a button and get coffee, b) I roast our beans so we're not feeding crap oily beans into it, c) we aren't all that concerned about ultimate espresso quality (we drink what I guess would be called caffe cremas) and d) I got our machine (Jura J5) at a 50% discount. At ordinary store prices, the super-auto is not a cost effective deal.
Having said all that, if you want to push a button and get reasonably decent coffee, and if you're willing to feed it decent quality beans (whether home-roasted or pro roasted), and if you value convenience over ultimate quality, and if cost is not your ultimate object, a super-auto might work quite well for you. It works for me.
Posted Wed Sep 26, 2012, 10:15am Subject: Re: 1st Super auto machine decision
Five years is good for a Superauto under 1000. Mine worked to the day I sold it. The only issue I saw was the fuse on the thermal block and the time someone put ground coffee in the grinder (Don't ask).
The build is not great, but dissect into a Incanto or the Italias. The build quality was terrible, deforming plastic, splitting valves for steam (Plastic). As I said, for the money it was much more reliable. The grinder chute was not as long holding less old coffee. I am not promoting it by any means, but if you must, it is marginally acceptable.
turbine Senior Member Joined: 17 Aug 2006 Posts: 6 Location: London, UK Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Thu Sep 27, 2012, 4:13am Subject: Re: 1st Super auto machine decision
I'm not familiar with the superautos on the market today so can't recommend a specific model, but for convenience I love my Saeco. It must be 6 years old now (Incanto Sirius) - I've had to replace a couple of parts (heating element and that useless plastic steam valve) but for machine reliability and easy availability of spare parts I'd recommend a Saeco again. I had a Krups before that - worst machine and customer service ever.
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