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  1. #31
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Los Angeles
    13 are the experts! If you decide to go for a collectible manual espresso machine let me know. I have several Faema E 61 in working conditions. You can check them out at:

  2. #32
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia/Bukit Sentul, West Java
    Seems I have missed a hum-dinger of an arguement while I have been off down in Sydney enjoying beautiful Spring days down on the harbour....ahhhhh......bliss

    OK, I knew from the outset that this question would be debated, it is always a hot subject (pardon the pun I). However, I think that we all respect each others opinions, so lets take some steam out of things (pardon the pun II). I think the ferocity of opinion is even more magnified as most of the posters are longtime contributors, a rarity indeed.

    The argument in itself, or debate, is really one that as Biscotto puts it, can be tossed too and fro without end. I guess the best we can do, even from opposing camps, is just give the best information to the questioner. He/she will have to decide the way to go.

    I am afraid that supers vs semi/autos factions are pretty much set in stone. Myself, DaveC and John would probably never cede that a super is a better option over a semi/auto with a well trained barista. CCafe has argued his point for supers on the other hand. OK, I reckon its enough on this topic, lets move on to greener beans or greener pastures.
    Merdeka Coffee (Indonesian Coffee Roasters and relationship coffee specialists) - Antipodean (Coffee - Cafe - Culture)

  3. #33
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Hartford and New Haven, CT
    Quote Originally Posted by John P
    If you own or manage an espresso establishment and are not the expert or do not have an expert to train them... why bother?

    A properly trained barista with fresh, properly roasted espresso, a good burr grinder, and a semi-auto/auto trumps a superauto any day.

    Point is, if you choose the machine based on the lack of barista skill... you're either hiring the wrong people, or you're in the wrong line of work.

    If we were talking about the average shop, then beans, grinder, etc... really wouldn't matter because the outcome would be poor espresso, which sadly, you still get in nine out of ten places you go.

    I would assume no one WANTS to be average. But unfortunately, many settle for it.
    But John, you are looking at the coffee market from your particular niche where you man the counter and you roast your own beans. Unfortunately majority of coffee drink sellers don't share such dedication and commitment. Frankly there are very few niche shops; but we have plenty of coffee shops/deli/sandwich shops/cafes of different strategy than yours and they sell espresso drinks too. Whatever is their raison d'Ítre, I don't see a barista control everything semi-automatic is a better alternative than superautomatic.

    As a side topic, I started to think even for a barista centric shop a automatic espresso machine is a better choice than a lever or a semi-automatic machine.
    You want cream and sugar?

  4. #34
    Join Date
    Nov 2005

    Re: Super Automatic or Manual for a 250 shot bar

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky

    So therefor I would like to ask the following:
    - Is a superautomatic capable of producing the same quality of a manual?
    - Does it really safe substantial production time?
    - Will the maintenance of a manual machine be a heavier burden?
    - From an investment perspective from cradle to grave which machine will be most cost effective?


    Wow, what a great debate on a topic I deal with on a weekly basis! But before I start, for, reference sake, I've been selling, repairing and using commercial espresso machines since 1986. So here's my 2 cents worth:

    1) Set up properly and maintained, yes, you can't tell the difference in quality.
    2) Very little time savings if you take into account the cleaning and PM that is required to keep a super-automatic operating correctly.
    3) A Manual, or traditional machine is much easier to maintain than a super-automatic
    4) From cradle to grave, the traditional machine will be less costly. A gorilla can be trained to repair a traditional machine, wheras many veteran service techs have difficulty troubleshooting a super-automatic. I've run service schools for several manufacturers, and it's one in ten techs who can truly grasp the subtelties of a super-auto machine, and most of them don't drink espresso, and won't understand how to dial-in a great shot.

    As a last opinion, and these are just my opinions I'm not claiming to be right, I usually discourage customers from purchasing super-automatic machines whenever possible. Their only advantage, as far as I can see, is their ability to produce consistant shots of espresso, with little training. But I've never found one that produces an acceptable drink as a one-step. Apparently Starbuck's agrees as they are using their $13,000.00 Schaerer as a two-step (they're still frothing the milk manually with a steam wand).
    So why buy a $13,000.00 machine to just brew espresso shots? Because a super-automatic machine can deliver a consistant 7-14 gram shot of espresso all day long, wheras an average (non-professional) barista cannot. One barista may use 2 pulls and the next barista 3 pulls and the next barista 5 pulls to make a drink... which means, if you're selling a lot of espresso drinks per day, you may be using 200lbs of beans per month more than neccessary. And that's when you should probably consider buying a super-automatic machine. But that's just my opinion.


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