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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Super-Automated...  
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SteveFreides
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 2:11pm
Subject: Super-Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

I hope this is OK to post here

I've gotten a little frustrated with how few of us seem to be using the so-called "super auto" kind of espresso machine, and since there is a Yahoo group just for Gaggia semi-automatics, which must be a fairly small category, I decided to create

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/superautoespresso/

for anyone using any brand of fully automated espresso machine.  We use the Gaggia Syncrony, a model no longer in production, and just love it.

The group is moderate - I approve all memberships.

Thanks, and please pass the word.

-S-
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,864
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 2:45pm
Subject: Re: Fully Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

Steve it's alright AFAIC.
Some corrections though:
Semi auto's, ANY brand are VERY popular, with lots of groups for all makes.
Also, your machine is not a "fully" auto, it's a SUPER auto.
A "auto" model of a machine still has the option of a manual timed brew, as well as programmed brew times (which are adjustable by the operator), and the op-erator tamps, distributes and grinds, from a SEPARATE grinder.
Again, USUALLY only SUPER AUTO's have a grinder integrated as part of the machine.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,383
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 Thu Jan 24, 2013, 3:41pm
Subject: Re: Fully Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

SteveFreides Said:

I've gotten a little frustrated with how few of us seem to be using the so-called "super auto" kind of espresso machine . . .

Posted January 24, 2013 link

Good Lord, why in heaven's name would you be "frustrated"?!?!?!?

You seem to be a bit confused by the terms involved.  Or, perhaps it only seems that way to me.  But:

a)  Semi-automatic espresso machines are the most popular machine type, in both home and commercial use.  

b)  Full-automatic espresso machines (also known as "volumetric dosing"/"volumetrically dosed" machines) and super-automatics are NOT the same thing -- not by a long shot.

(For a more thorough explanation, with examples, you may wish to read "Espresso Machine Types.)

Do not misunderstand:  I am glad to hear you are satisfied with your super-automatic.  Many people are.  However, super-autos, by their very nature, can never produce espresso the equal in quality to a semi- or full-auto.

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


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 4:20pm
Subject: Re: Super-Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

Ok, Super Auto it will be, and I thank you for the clarification.

As I've explained elsewhere, I am a music teacher giving private lessons from our home for most of my living.  I make espresso for many of my adult students and for the parents of many of my younger students.   I do not want to take the time or energy for anything other than what I consider a fully automated process of making espresso and which you are calling super auto, which is fine with me.

I'm sure I will someday own a more manual machine, called manual, semi auto or fully auto in your jargon, but for now, my Gaggia Syncrony is it for me and my wife.  We actually own two of them because we found one on eBay for cheap and bought it.

We home roast and we love the coffee we drink.

Can I call my machine completely automatic?  :)

Thanks very much.

-S-
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SteveFreides
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 6:33pm
Subject: Re: Fully Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

BTW, if a moderator would like to change the thread title/subject to reflect the jargon as it is used here - call it Super Auto - that's fine with me and I'd love it if you'd do that.  I cannot seem to do it myself that I can figure.

Thanks very much.

-S-
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,383
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 Thu Jan 24, 2013, 6:58pm
Subject: Re: Fully Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

SteveFreides Said:

We home roast . . .

Posted January 24, 2013 link

Which is more than most people do (myself included!).

SteveFreides Said:

. . . and we love the coffee we drink.

Posted January 24, 2013 link

And nothing is more important than that!

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 968
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Thu Jan 24, 2013, 8:04pm
Subject: Re: Fully Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

SteveFreides Said:

I've gotten a little frustrated with how few of us seem to be using the so-called "super auto" kind of espresso machine

Posted January 24, 2013 link

Well, it is CoffeeGeek.  I would guess that superautos would more likely be used by frequenters of the single serve machine sites as they also prioritize convenience.

SteveFreides Said:

we love the coffee we drink.

Posted January 24, 2013 link

As stated above, that is all that matters.
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SteveFreides
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Fri Jan 25, 2013, 11:25am
Subject: Re: Super-Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

"single serve machines" - you mean those Pod things?  Ugh!  That's old coffee that's been sitting around for I-don't-know-how-long and causing a lot of waste with a pod to throw away every time you have a cup of coffee.  Certainly doesn't seem like it has anything in common with my way of looking at things.

I'd appreciate an explanation as to why semi-auto machines are so popular.  If I was going to buy something other than a super-auto, I'd buy manual - what, other than getting less exercise for your right arm, is gained by going semi- or fully-automatic?  Just the fact that the machine controls the quality of what manually would be the pull?

Thanks.

-S-
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JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,383
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 Fri Jan 25, 2013, 2:34pm
Subject: Re: Super-Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

SteveFreides Said:

I'd appreciate an explanation as to why semi-auto machines are so popular.

Posted January 25, 2013 link

Uh, because they produce excellent quality shots of espresso?

SteveFreides Said:

If I was going to buy something other than a super-auto, I'd buy manual.

Posted January 25, 2013 link

And many people do!  There are some excellent manual/level machines out there, from open-boiler (espresso only) machines, tank machines, or commercial lever machines connected directly to the water supply.

SteveFreides Said:

(W)hat, other than getting less exercise for your right arm, is gained by going semi- or fully-automatic?  Just the fact that the machine controls the quality of what manually would be the pull?

Posted January 25, 2013 link

Good lord, no . . . .

OK, so let's break down the issue by category, to start with.  Are we talking about low-end, strictly consumer machines?  Like a La Pavoni Europicola or an Elektra MCal?  Are we talking about the new-ish prosumer-level machines, like a Bezzera Strega, a Izzo Pompei, or a Bosco Sorrento?  OR, are we talking a true commercial lever machine, like Kees van der Westen's Mirage Idracompresso, or the Pavoni Bar L?

The point here is that there is a world of difference between a shot pulled on the Europicola and an Idracompresso.  (And, BTW, I'll put up a Europicola against your super-auto any day of the week.)  AND, for that matter, there is a distinct difference between shots pulled on a lever machine and one with a pump.  It's just inherent to the nature of the beast.

Now, even though a well-made SBDU -- like a Rancilio Silvia, a Gaggia Classic, or a Le'Lit PL041 -- will beat a super-automatic in quality, I will go so far as to say that SBDU consumer machines such as these are easier to operate consistently than a manual lever consumer machine like the Europicola.

The primary role of of any espresso machine is as a "hot water delivery device."  That is to say, a great machine with a mediocre grinder can never yield as good results as an average machine with a great grinder.  However, the greater the mass, and the larger the boiler, the more thermally stable the machine is.  So this is a case when bigger is better . . . more thermal stability = higher quality shot.  This is why most of us who are (relatively) serious about our espresso have prosumer, if not professional, machines.

The difference between a semi- and full-automatic is minimal.  With a semi-auto, the operator must start and stop the pump manually.  This is true regardless of whether you're speaking of an SBDU, an HX, or a DB.  With a full-auto, EITHER the operator can start AND stop the pump manually, OR the operator will start the pump and the machine will stop automatically once a certain, pre-programed volume of liquid is dispersed.  (This is why full-autos are also known as "volumetric dosing" machines.)  In the grand scheme of things, that is an extremely minor difference.

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


Joined: 9 Jun 2012
Posts: 21
Location: Ridgewood, NJ
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Syncrony
Drip: No Drip - French Press
Roaster: Poppery II
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 11:52am
Subject: Re: Super-Automated Espresso Machine - Group
 

Thank you very much.  I'm enjoy my education about the wide world of espresso machines.

I've been poking around the Internet, looking at various models of machine, reading even old posts on this forum because Google found them in response to things I was searching.

One thing I find surprising is that a semi-automatic machine often costs less money than a lever machine - that seems backwards to me, e.g, this one

DeLonghi EC702

seems to be inexpensive and get great reviews - $206.43 on Amazon.com today.  One of the lever machines you mention as consumer grade,

La Pavoni Europicola

costs over $800 - why 4 times the cost?  I'm not doubting - I simply don't know and would appreciate an explanation.  I always figured that, if we got a backup to our super-auto, I'd want to spend as little money as possible, and I just assumed that meant a fully manual machine - but that's clearly not the case.

-S-
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