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Best automatic coffee machine?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by FibroBlast View Post
    Hey WCI,

    Any recommendations an automatic espressor machine for at home coffee? I mainly like making lattes.
    Got this one for my wife last Christmas and I gotta say we've been quite pleased with it

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

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    • #17
      Just bought one this month and have been really happy with it. Do your research first. Reviews from Seattle Coffee Gear are pretty honest. I ended up buying a Breville Smart Coffee Grinder Pro and a Breville Bambino. I think in total I spent about $700. Don't buy a combo machine it will be a mess. I like the grinder I purchased because you can use it for espresso (fine) through french press (coarse). Whatever you choose to purchase, also buy a knock box and thank me later !

      I previously had a Nespresso machine. I felt that the coffee was just okay and it was a hassle to order and recycle pods. For convenience, I would usually just buy compatible pods from the grocery store which were even worse.

      UPDATE: terrible espresso machine and even worse customer service. Broke in less than a year and company refused to replace!
      Last edited by braindoc; 08-26-2021, 04:07 PM. Reason: Updated

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      • #18
        Originally posted by FibroBlast View Post

        could you expand more on the downsides of a combo grinder/espresso machine?
        It is going to be a nightmare to clean! If the grinder breaks your entire machine will be unusable. Not to mention the grinders are often terrible and cheaply made. You are better off buying a more expensive grinder and less expensive espresso machine!!
        Last edited by braindoc; 10-11-2020, 12:32 PM.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by FibroBlast View Post

          Any recomendations for sites for refurbished?
          Seattle Coffee Gear has both refurbished and "open box"
          Last edited by braindoc; 10-11-2020, 12:28 PM.

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          • #20
            I have a bottom of the line Nespresso machine I bought for $150 on sale with a frother during residency (in-laws gave me a William & Sonoma gift card). I alternate between off brand pods (about 40c) and Starbucks pods (about 70c). If you get good pods, the espresso is pretty decent. It’s not as good as the espresso you buy from a coffee shop with a $7k machine, but for $100-$150 bucks and $0.50/drink, I think it’s at least good enough.

            We’re now in a good position financially. If it broke tomorrow, I would likely replace it with the same machine - which I think says a lot (maybe that I’m just cheap). Also, it takes up very little counter space which my wife appreciates.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by braindoc View Post

              It is going to be a nightmare to clean! If the grinder breaks your entire machine will be unusable. Not to mention the grinders are often terrible and cheaply made. You are better off buying a more expensive grinder and less expensive espresso machine!!
              While I agree that it generally makes sense to not buy combination machines since if something breaks down you will either need to repair it or replace the whole thing, it depends on what you are looking for and value more. I find incredibly appealing that with superautomatic espresso machines I can wake up, literally press one button, and have an great cup of double espresso (or cappuccino, latte, or americano) made with freshly ground coffee. The time I save is worth it to me. If it breaks down, so be it.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Tromner_Wielder View Post

                While I agree that it generally makes sense to not buy combination machines since if something breaks down you will either need to repair it or replace the whole thing, it depends on what you are looking for and value more. I find incredibly appealing that with superautomatic espresso machines I can wake up, literally press one button, and have an great cup of double espresso (or cappuccino, latte, or americano) made with freshly ground coffee. The time I save is worth it to me. If it breaks down, so be it.
                yup my thoughts exactly. How long does it take you from turning on the machine to cup? assume you are adding water and milk daily?
                DMD '21. Perio '24.

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                • #23
                  Haven't timed it, but I'd guess around 1.5 minutes.

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                  • #24
                    Is a cup of coffee from a $150 machine really that much worse then from a $1500 machine?

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                    • #25
                      We’ve had the pixie nespresso (and aeroccino) for almost 10 years. 10/10 would recommend! It’s interesting that Trader Joe’s sells espresso pods for it now - way cheaper than ordering the on brand pods.

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Lordosis View Post
                        Is a cup of coffee from a $150 machine really that much worse then from a $1500 machine?
                        Drip, no. Espresso, yes.

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                        • #27
                          I'm a ridiculous coffee person. Very particular (fresh roasted beans < 3 weeks off roast, burr grinder only, etc).

                          Agree with some thoughts earlier.

                          Grinder is arguably more important than the machine. Burr grinder only. I recommend the Baratza Encore - a good "entry level" (but still runs typically >$100).

                          For drip machine anything SCAA certified is good - as mentioned previously a Moccamaster is the old gold standard, but OXO and Bonavita make good products as well.

                          For espresso or "espresso lite" I have a Gaggia classic that I love. I use a Gaggia espresso grinder for it, but purists would use something nicer than that, but it was within the budget.

                          Before investing in a fully automatic or semi automatic machine for making lattes, here is what I would do:

                          1. Buy the Baratza Encore and a digital scale.
                          2. But a Bialetti Moka pot - preferably a Brikka - it makes more crema. They usually run $30-50 and make stove top espresso like coffee.
                          3. Get a milk frother.

                          That will probably be a nice budget friendly set up to make great coffee.
                          https://www.youtube.com/watch/rpyBYuu-wJI
                          Last edited by WCInovice; 10-12-2020, 06:55 AM.

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by RDB View Post
                            If you want a drip coffee machine, buy the Technivorm Moccamaster. No more research needed. However, you will not be making lattes with it.
                            You can spend a ton of money on espresso machines. We have a nespresso that has been great and once you find the right pods it is really good. Going beyond that is a little overwhelming to me, there is a lot out there in the espresso machine market.
                            We’re in the market for just a coffee maker. The Moccamasters look cool, for someone who has never used one or had coffee from one, what separates it from other brands at that price point?

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by jbmitt View Post

                              We’re in the market for just a coffee maker. The Moccamasters look cool, for someone who has never used one or had coffee from one, what separates it from other brands at that price point?
                              It has the longest track record for reliability as compared to newer models. For taste I slightly prefer the Bonnavita 1900TS but I too I use a Moccamaster daily.

                              In general, anything SCAA certified will do a great job. These makers brew at the correct temperature.

                              https://sca.coffee/certified-home-brewer

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                              • #30
                                Some semantics...in the coffee circle, the "super automatic" coffee machine means press a few buttons, the machine grinds and brews a finished product.

                                "Automatic" machines will dispense a set amount of water by volume, or dispense water at set length of time. There is also "semi automatic", where the machine does not have capability to set brew time; the operator controls the brew time. The barista steams the milk, grinds coffee with a separate grinder to determine grind finess, determines amount of coffee, attaches the portafilter, knocks out the spent coffee, etc.

                                Then are are manual machines, ie manual lever and spring lever espresso machines.

                                For a budget of ~$1000 new, it is actually quite difficult to get an automatic or super automatic espresso machine that produces decent espresso. There are a few semi automatic and manual machines close to this range.

                                Most of the super automatic, automatic, and semi automatic espresso machines sold at big box retailers are compromises. The temperature is not right nor consistent; the heat is generally produced in a thermoblock instead of boiler. They usually come with a small and cheapish vibratory pump. The portafilter is "pressurized" to give the illusion of crema. The grinder has limited setting. The burr carrier is plastic instead of metal, so there is a lot of flex and inconsistency. The electronic circuit board often is not well insulated from heat and moisture, so it breaks down and needs replacement after a while. Sometimes the parts are not readily available.

                                To make consistent espresso, budget for the grinder. It is not unusual to spend hundreds, and occasional thousands....this is another story.

                                The convenience of a super automatic can't be beat, especially with milk based drinks. It does come down to balancing convenience, cost, and coffee making quality to what is acceptable to the drinker.
                                Last edited by CalMD; 10-12-2020, 01:30 PM.

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