CMIN Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 1,219 Location: South FL Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 5:23pm Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
I must respectfully disagree. We just took our Gaggia Syncrony in for service, having purchased it used for $375. The counter says it's made over 15,000 shots of espresso. Ours was manufactured in 2003 and used very little by its previous owner. I didn't check the shot count when we got it, but I do remember checking a while back and it saying 8,000 shots.
A complete servicing at Repair Shack, in Berkeley Heights, NJ, is costing us $256, after which we will have an essentially new - rebuilt is the proper term - machine. It'll have a new boiler and whatever else needs made new. If I get another 5 years out of it, that'll be $50 per year for my coffee machine, and I think that's great.
I prefer the espresso that I get out of my super-auto to just about any I've had in a coffee shop. I pick the coffee I drink and I buy green beans and roast them myself at home. The super-auto has a built-in burr grinder that you adjust to your liking, and it also lets you adjust the amount of coffee. It does the tamping for you and puts the pucks into a hopper you empty when it's full. It's also got 5 different water temperature settings - again, you pick what you like.
We adore the coffee we drink, to the point where it's tough to even order coffee in any form when we go out.
We like the Gaggia Syncrony well enough that I bought one, from some sort of estate sale, on ebay - a second machine which, it turns out, works but also needs an overhaul. This one cost me only $160, and for $400 total, I'll have a second machine to either keep as a spare or keep out for those times when I want to make 4 shots quickly rather than just 2 - we'll decide that once we have both machine back here. Our second Syncrony is a new model than our first but they seem to be basically the same machine - the newer model (both are discontinued) is a bit more compact, which is a good and a bad thing. It takes up less counter space but you have to give it water and empty the hopper more often because both are smaller.
Different strokes for different folks, I suppose. In an ideal world, we'd all grow coffee in our back yards, roast it ourselves, grind it ourselves, and use lever espresso machines. In lieu of that, I'm happy with roasting it myself and using a super-auto.
Allow me to put in a good work for http://coffeebeandirect.com - we buy most of our green beans there, but before we started home roasting, we bought roasted whole bean coffee from them and they did a great job. They roast only upon receipt of your order - all of one day's orders are roasted the next day and shipped that day or the following day, so you're getting coffee that was roasted only a few days prior, and to me, that might be the most important variable of all - well, that and having it fresh ground, too.
Best of luck to you, and all the above is just my opinions, nothing more and nothing less, based on my own experiences over the last few years.
Still completely different, I have friends with Jura superautos, just no comparison to my setup which is actually cheaper vs what they spent lol. Yeh you can adjust things, but no matter what the manufacturer says, superautos just don't have temp stability, correct temps for espresso, tamping is nothing like what you can do with a good tamper, and the grinder in the Synchrony is still just your average low end burr grinder which is fine for that machine and other similar ones in other superautos but nothing like even a starter "espresso" grinder like the Preciso..... however the built in grinder doesn't grind fine enough or consistent enough, if you were to take those grinds and use in a semi-auto you'd end up with a gushing shot. Superauto shots are convenient no doubt, but not near the right extraction time, flavor, crema etc of a semi-auto. The only affordable (relatively speaking) superauto that can perform close to a semi machine with decent temp stability etc is the Quickmill Monza but that's an almost $3k unit.
But long as you like the coffee then thats what matters. My friends loved theirs, 'cept for few that have tried coffee from my machine lol, one has an h/x now when he saw the taste difference. I wouldn't put too much thought into cafe coffee's, 99% of them suck, I can only think of a couple I've been to in South FL that are actually good, all the others blahhh. But long as you like your coffee better, thats what matters.
Posted Sat Jan 26, 2013, 7:15pm Subject: Re: Time for a new machine - Manual vs automatic
OK. Like it or not, my opinion is that there is a suspicious influx of "Super Auto" hipsters here. Doesn't matter what you say, how you try to explain the advantages of making real espresso over that which an SA creates,.
I won't name names, but a poster on this thread started this sudden "interest" in SA's. You KNOW who you are. OKJ, I will. Steve, I have no idea why you're working so hard with your friends to stir things up over here, but if, in fact, you believe you make better espresso in your SA than any coffee shop there are 2 possible explanations. One, you're going to substandard cafes that make inferior drinks, perhaps prepared in exactly the same manner as yours at home. Or, you have an agenda.
Of course, this website welcomes opinions of all sorts, and as such what I say here is just another opinion.
But you can wax poetic all you want about your SA, but those of us who have had coffee from an SA KNOW how much better is our coffee from a proper espresso grinder and REAL, semi auto, auto, or Manual (LEVER) machine.
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