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Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
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shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Pleasanton
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:43pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Repeat after me:  "a) because the grind wasn't dialed in properly; AND b) because it's a super-automatic."

Posted January 1, 2013 link

Didn't someone just say the grind doesn't matter to much with superautos... and why is "because it's a super automatic" an excuse to make crappy shots...
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,376
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:48pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

But even if the whole puck is a sweet spot, why does the espresso come out worse than a standard semi auto's espresso?
What's the point it straying from the semiauto pressure model if the espresso brews faster but taste worse?

Posted December 31, 2012 link

c) what makes you think the puck is remotely "in" a sweet spot?
d) because -- repeat after me -- it's a super-automatic!  (What do you think happens when you take two of the four M's out of the equation?!?!?)

shadowsnuzzy Said:

Didn't someone just say the grind doesn't matter to much with superautos... and why is "because it's a super automatic" an excuse to make crappy shots...

Posted January 1, 2013 link

Because that's all they CAN make . . . (not really news to most people).

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Pleasanton
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:50pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

So then back to my original post, what's the problem with making a superauto that doesn't pressurize and uses a good grinder. If size and weight can be cut down is this practical? Hell I'll try making it, but my goal of this thread was to find out why someone hasn't already tried it and/or why it is not practical
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,376
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 12:51pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

Are pods ever considered good..? Especially compared to fresh real beans

Posted January 1, 2013 link

No.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

And my vision was to have very small steps or even a stepless grinder on the machine. If extraction is too fast all you wold have to do is make the grinder ever so slightly finer. The problem I see with the current supers is that their grinder is garbage, because it's cheaper that way. Also, I guess they use a pressurized system to counter their cheap grinder, which doesn't really help. I could be wrong here, but it seems to me they are just taking shortcuts and taking advantage of the customer because they know the customer doesn't care about excellent quality espresso, but I believe there is a market of people who desire top notch espresso in a timely fashion.

Posted January 1, 2013 link

The very purpose of a super-auto -- the raison d'être -- is "shortcut."

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 653
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 1:14pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

Shadowsnuzzy,

Seriously, please think twice before you hit that "Submit Reply" button. PLEASE read the responses to your post carefully before you reply.

You're just asking the same questions over and over while we're giving you the same answers over and over.

OK, let's step back a bit first. Jasons replies pretty much sum everything up.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough or perhaps I went on a bit of analogy rant which didn't make much sense, I apologize for that.

Let me clarify something for you that I don't think you understand.

The purpose of a super-automatic machine is to put beans and water in, push a button and get coffee out. It may not do it correctly, it may not do a
great job of it and it may have technical flaws, but that is what people want and that is the end usability the customer wants. From the cheap $800
consumer machine straight up to the $20,000 commercial class machines, they follow the same brewing principals.

Anything which can get in the way of convenience, anything which requires training, anything which requires maintenance or service defeats the purpose
as to why a Super-automatic is there. It is there to make coffee, quick, fast and cheap, that's it.. It's not there to make great coffee, although I wish it was.

I'm not going to profess to being an engineer or the most knowledgeable guy on the block, but I do know that when the traditional way of making espresso
isn't followed, you will not get a proper result. Like anything, the more time you put into something, the better the result will be, up to a point.

All I can say to you is this.. Until better technology is developed, no super-automatic design will brew better coffee than a knowledgeable barista with the
right tools at their disposal. There are too many variables which a super-automatic cannot take into account. The engineers that designed them tried to skirt the
issues and limitations around making espresso by working around them by using the best engineering solutions they had available at the time. They may not be
the right ones, but they work, mostly...

Now the way I see it, if you think you can do better, by all means please do so... Don't you think for a second that there are engineers working for the
major coffee equipment companies who think about this every day and get paid to do so?

I can certainly tell you that no engineer from any of those companies will be on these boards asking for advice and if there are, I'd be surprised.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,376
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 1:21pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

So then back to my original post, what's the problem with making a superauto that doesn't pressurize and uses a good grinder. If size and weight can be cut down is this practical? Hell I'll try making it, but my goal of this thread was to find out why someone hasn't already tried it and/or why it is not practical

Posted January 1, 2013 link

Seriously, re-read Randy's post above.

Seriously, the whole purpose of super-autos is convenience -- push a button and get a drink.  (Think vending machine.)  How long does it take to pull a shot on a semi- or full-auto?  I have a 1-group, and steaming milk for each drink, I made (god help me!) five vanilla lattes in under 15 minutes . . . pouring the milk separately for each drink, grinding each shot right before pulling, etc., etc.  I pulled a total of eight doubles this morning.

Throughout the time it takes to go through a pound -- heck, several times in a single day -- one has to adjust (tweak) the grind slightly.  How does a super-auto do that? (Or, rather, how do you do that with a super-auto?)

How do you adjust your dose slightly? How do you make subtle changes in dose, grind, shot timing?  All of these adjustments are essential to produce the best possible shot.  And even if you could, how, then, does that affect the convenience factor that is the entire purpose behind a super-auto in the first place???

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

The best shot I have ever had from a super-auto I would describe as "good."  "Very good" would be to give the machine the benefit of the doubt of my faulty memory.  But a great ("god") shot from a super-auto would be the most memorable shot anyone could ever have!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Pleasanton
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 1:21pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

I apologize for asking the same question over and over again, I kind of knew I was going in circles.

I was confused about why they made supers like that but your post definitely clears that up! Thank you, Qualin, and everyone else for these posts, it answered my question. Maybe if I have time later I'll talk this over with an engineering friend and see if we can build something different.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,376
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 2:03pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

The real question is WHY you're interested in this.  I mean, if you are trying to "make a million" by building the proverbial "better mousetrap" that's one thing, but it's highly unlikely the world will beat a path to your door.

Bud (qualin) is right -- don't you think that engineers have been contemplating on how to improve super-autos since they were first invented?

Ask yourself one question:  Why did Starbucks switch over to super-autos?

Starbucks had what was arguably at the time the #1 machine in the world at the time, the La Marzocco Linea double boiler machine.  Instead, they dumped all of them and replaced them with super-automatics.  Why?  Was it to improve the quality of their drinks?  (I think it's pretty obvious the answer to that is "no.")  

So why?

To "standardize" their drinks -- so that, like McDonald's, every Big Mac grande latte is the same no matter where you go.  (PLUS, they saved a fortune on employee training!  How much training does it take to learn which button to push?  Operating the cash register is more complicated.

Now, let's presume (as I do) you want to improve not Starbucks or other COMMERCIAL setups, but rather the HOME models of super-automatic . . . again, companies worth multi-millions (if not billions!) of dollars have been working on this.  Starbucks/Saeco, Nestlés, Miele, Bosch, DeLonghi, and many more -- but be that as it may. . .

Since, by definition, a super-auto eliminates at least one (if not two or more) of the four M's, I'm just curious to think why you think it would/could be better than a semi- or full-auto?

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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shadowsnuzzy
Senior Member


Joined: 8 Jan 2011
Posts: 70
Location: Pleasanton
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 2:11pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

I personally think that dialing in the grind is not hard and would not require any training. Especially with the immense bags of beans starbucks uses, the employees would only need to do it once every few days and it only takes a few mins.

But by your logic, we would never have innovation or entrepreneurship in this world. The entire silicon valley is composed of people who challenge giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple because they believe they have an idea that is better than the current products out there. History has shown time and time again, that a small start up has the power to revolutionize or even create a new industry. Call me naive and idealistic but our world would be nowhere without innovation.

I personally think that there is room for another kind of espresso machine in between semi and super. It's like the iPad of espresso, no one needs it, it's completely useless given the iPhone and Macbook, but it's just easy to use and gets the job done.

Now I'm certainly not proposing any of this will happen, but I do think this is an interest worth looking into.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,376
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 2:48pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

shadowsnuzzy Said:

I personally think that dialing in the grind is not hard and would not require any training. Especially with the immense bags of beans starbucks uses, the employees would only need to do it once every few days and it only takes a few mins.

Posted January 1, 2013 link

Uh, no.  Ask any serious barista -- though in Pleasanton, you'd be hard-pressed to find one.  But the next time you're in San Francisco, stop by Four Barrel or Ritual, or Blue Bottle in SF or Oakland, and ask them how often adjustments are made to the grind.

shadowsnuzzy Said:

But by your logic, we would never have innovation or entrepreneurship in this world. The entire silicon valley is composed of people who challenge giants like Facebook, Google, and Apple because they believe they have an idea that is better than the current products out there. History has shown time and time again, that a small start up has the power to revolutionize or even create a new industry. Call me naive and idealistic but our world would be nowhere without innovation.

Posted January 1, 2013 link

No.  First of all, I'm not saying that at all; secondly, there is a HUGE difference between inventing social media like Facebook or a personal computer accessible to the masses, than improving a super-automatic espresso machine.  Super-autos are NOT the punch-cards of espresso machines.  But you have yet to articulate your goal, nor your experience, nor your background.  All we know is that -- if we believe your profile (which may or may not be accurate):

1) You're 17 years of age;
2) You describe yourself as "just starting" when it comes to coffee experience;
3) You've owned a Silvia "for over a year now. You can pretty much infer the rest :p"; and,
4) According to your initial post in this thread, "I've owned a super automatic machine before my silvia."  (bought it when you were 14?)

shadowsnuzzy Said:

I personally think that there is room for another kind of espresso machine in between semi and super. It's like the iPad of espresso, no one needs it, it's completely useless given the iPhone and Macbook, but it's just easy to use and gets the job done.

Posted January 1, 2013 link

An iPad gets some of the job done, but there are things a Macbook can do that an iPad can't; things that an iPhone/Macbook are better suited for, than an iPad.

More importantly, however -- we are speaking of espresso machines, after all, and not Apple -- is what already exists on the planet, and what you are truly trying to accomplish.  Do you know about The 4M's and Babbie's Rule of Fifteens?  Do you know about Different Types of Machines?

For that matter, since you originally complained back in January of 2011 (when you were 15?) that you "CAN'T GET A GOOD SHOT" (sic -- all caps in the original), I have to ask if you've ever read Dialing in a new espresso machine.  (I am presuming that, by now, you know What does REAL espresso taste like?, which you asked in February 2011.)

Or . . . are you just fooling about your age? After all, in late February 2011, you posted:

shadowsnuzzy Said:

Hi, My current set up is Silvia and Rocky.  I bought it 4 months ago and Have been getting sour/bitter shots.

Posted February 27, 2011 link

So you bought it in November 2010?  So you've had your Silvia for TWO years, not one.  Right?

I'm confused . . . . I am also somewhat skeptical.  I'm presuming you can understand that.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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