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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, 2:57pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

I hope you enjoyed exploring my previous post. Yes, I initially bought a superauto espresso machine as a sophomore in highscool, around 14/15. And I haven't updated that bio in a while.

I'm not here to argue, there's nothing to argue about, I simply wanted to know if this was possible, and it appears it is, so I'll look into it.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,431
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, 3:34pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

I'm not arguing about anything; I'm just trying to understand where you're coming from.  Getting into espresso at 14 is impressive.  I didn't buy my first machine until 1976 (1978?), when I purchased a La Pavoni Europicola-8 in my mid-20s.

I haven't said that a better super-auto can't be developed.  Given how poorly they perform, there must be some room for improvement.  I just think that -- at the end of the day -- you'll still have a super-auto which, by its very definition, is all about convenience over quality.  I still believe that making your own burger is going to taste better than McDonald'sŪ; that fresh squeezed OJ is going to taste better than TangŪ; and that an espresso you make yourself is going to taste better than one that a machine makes for you at the touch of a button.

That said, you have made some statement here that are contrary to the collected wisdom of the assembled masses, and you stick to them!  Well, maybe you are right, and the rest of us are wrong.  Believe it or not, I look forward to being proven wrong, to your development of a better mousetrap.  People will indeed beat a path to your door!

Good luck.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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diggi
Senior Member
diggi
Joined: 28 Nov 2011
Posts: 383
Location: Halifax, NS
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Spaz vivaldi S1 V2
Grinder: B Vario, OE LIDO
Drip: Chemex, Espro Press,...
Roaster: Poppery I
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 5:34pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

Just as a bystander.

Is this not a legitimate question? I recognize a bit of an ambitious goal for a young person to 'build', but isn't this a valid question? Why aren't supers more adjustable? The target market is not one of the 100 or so coffeegeeks who post regularly, but say.....oh maybe the 100's of thousands of fast-food industry establishments/gas stations/corporate offices/etc....
This question has likely been explored 1000's of times before by various companies/engineers. One issue driving these explorations is the almighty dollar. I assume that these projects only go forward if they are cost effective...This hypothetical machine must first be designed, then built/tested, then mass-produced, then priced to replace all other machines being used by that company.  In the end, it may make better coffee, but if it doesn't make the company any more money, then it won't be used. Even if it sells more coffee because it tastes better, if the operational/replacement costs are too high, then that too will decrease the profit margins and once again, not make the grade.

Then again, if you were looking at the question from a different angle and 'cost effectiveness' was not important, you might just succeed. You might construct a super that could be adjustable and make excellent coffee that you could use for yourself. But would it be cost restrictive. Likely anyone who wanted to have a high level of control would not be interested, but maybe a small market in people who didn't mind making adjustments but didn't like the mess.....likely a very very small amount of people.

So, yes an ambitious goal. I guess one must first identify the target market. Likely there aren't many in that market in which you could compete. Then again, didn't the clover get bought out by a coffee giant for likely a small fortune. Don't see many in use, so I'm guessing the clover fails to make the company more money, but it does make excellent coffee. But sometimes all it takes is a little money to make a problem go away.
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,431
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, 5:53pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

diggi Said:

Just as a bystander

Posted January 1, 2013 link

Doesn't mean you can't contribute.

diggi Said:

Is this not a legitimate question?

Posted January 1, 2013 link

Wasn't aware anyone said it wasn't.

diggi Said:

I recognize a bit of an ambitious goal for a young person to 'build', but isn't this a valid question? Why aren't supers more adjustable? The target market is not one of the 100 or so coffeegeeks who post regularly, but say.....oh maybe the 100's of thousands of fast-food industry establishments/gas stations/corporate offices/etc....

Posted January 1, 2013 link

Thus, my comment (above) re: if the OP is seeking to improve commercial super-autos, or home super-autos.  There is a substantial difference and distinction.

/\/\/\/\/\

diggi Said:

. . . didn't the clover get bought out by a coffee giant for likely a small fortune. Don't see many in use, so I'm guessing the clover fails to make the company more money, but it does make excellent coffee. But sometimes all it takes is a little money to make a problem go away.

Posted January 1, 2013 link

Actually I'm not sure it ever made "excellent" coffee -- good, yes, but I never had a cup from a Clover that "blew me away."  But then again, how else could *$ charge $7 for a cup of Clover-brewed coffee?

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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SStones
Senior Member
SStones
Joined: 24 Nov 2012
Posts: 486
Location: Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: Giga 5, ECM Giotto, Rocket...
Grinder: Anfim Milano-Best
Vac Pot: No  :(
Drip: Some $30 thing from Walmart
Roaster: I buy pre-roasted.
Posted Tue Jan 1, 2013, 9:04pm
Subject: Re: Challenge: Build the world's best Super automatic
 

Depends what one's definition of "Best" is.  Every top of the line superautomatic that comes out is the "Best" in some way.  The newer Quickmills are far better than the Aquaviva. The Jura Giga series is way better than the Jura Scala Vario.  The engineers have worked out some of the shortcomings of older attempts at "The perfect superautomatic".   You and I are both far better at making espresso than we were 20 years ago, we have worked out some of our shortcomings.  When we first tried to make espressos we were better than people 50 years ago working with less forgiving equipment.
Get started now. Design a machine that perfectly replicates a great barista at machinery he's comfortable with.  Your first attempt will have shortcomings but you can improve on the design. It will get better and better as the ideas and improvements come to you.
Keep it legal. It is illegal to capture a barista and put him in a box with buttons on the outside. You have to use motors. If your first machine is at least as good as whatever you had before your Silvia, then you're on the right track.  Traditional machines have more than a century of a head-start on you, but you can learn from their history.
If your definition of "Best" is that the grinder mimics a Mazzer and that the extraction time is always exactly .6ml/second, that will be easy.  If it makes excellent coffee and is available for the same price-range as other superautomatics, you will get your fair marketshare of people who choose flavor over speed.  I do look forward to seeing it.
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