Am I really in the right forum this time?

lse

New member
Aug 6, 2004
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What do all you fine people think of the Astoria machine? Also, I am ashamed to ask this but here goes...what is the difference in an automatic and a semi automatic?
 

phaelon56

New member
Sep 25, 2003
74
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Syracuse NY
This requires some clarfication....

The categories are:

Manual - has a heated boiler and uses a hydraulic lever that the operator pulls to create pressure and draw the shot

Semi-Auto - has a pump to provide pressure and a button or small lever that the operator pulls to start and stop the shot

Fully-Auto (automatic) - has volumetric dosing control. Does all the the semi-auto does but also regulates the volume of liquid inthe shot. The user pushes a button to start the shot and the machine does the rest

Super-Auto - does everything that the Fuly-Auto does but has a built in bean hopper and automatic grinder. It grinds and doses the beans, does the tamping for you and mkaes the shot - all at the touch of one button.

The feature that allows a machine to automatically froth the milk is a separate featuire and is typically a standalone device that is not built into the machine.

Astoria and Rio are exacty the same machine and it is an excellent brand. If you can't afford a La Marzocco and need a one group or two group machine it's a good choice.
 
OP
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lse

New member
Aug 6, 2004
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  • Thread Starter
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manual, semi, auto

Thanks for info. I'll have to let all that digest.
 

CoffeeGoddess

New member
Oct 13, 2004
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So, the question becomes, which type is best? :grin:

I just purchased a Conti manual machine. I have to admit, part of it is because I think the levers give it a sense of ambiance- "authentic Italian espresso", and partly because I've read they're easier to clean and repair.

I can't wait to play with it! (It's still in shipping).

In the meantime, have any of you used a manual, and if so, how did you like it?
 

phaelon56

New member
Sep 25, 2003
74
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Syracuse NY
The question is really... "Which type is best for your needs?"

I'm told that the manual machines have an optimal window after a certain amount of warm-up time in which you'll have the most ideal temp for espresso brewing. Pull shots then and if you do everyhing the right way (grind, tamp etc.) the results (so I'm told) can be absolutely sublime.

I use an E61 style one group HX machine at home (Isomac Tea). It's easy to use and delivers remarkably consistent results with proper use. If I had to pick only one machine for home use I'd stick with what I have.

In a busy commercial environment an automatic mahcien is a boon as it allows you to do things pull milk or pour coffee while the shot is being pulled. In other commercial settigns where there may be difficulty in getting dedicated and well trained barista's it's even worth considering getting one of the better commercial super-auto's.

Check coffegeek.com for Mark Prince's review of the Elektra Casa Micro Lever - he makes some very useful observations.

My feeling? It's like the way I feel about cars... someday I want to have that idiosyncratic British sports car int he garage that I can tinker with and take out for fun drives on weekends but I need to have my trusty Toyota for the everyday driving. Something where I turn the key, it starts every time and I dont' have to fiddle with getting things to run the right way.
 

CoffeeGoddess

New member
Oct 13, 2004
33
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Ah, but living the "tinkering" life seems so much more enjoyable! If I'm freezing my tushkaneenee off making coffee, I'm going to enjoy it.

(Also, my husband is creating a complete plumbing system for the entire cart that should meet all the needs.)

:p
 
My first car was a Triumph TR-4A and it had style flowing over its curves, especially the little bump on the hood for the twin carbs, but nobody ever saw it unless they were in the gargage.

Hobbies are expensive enough without piling lost sales on top. If you love tinkering, do it on your own time. You'll come to hate it if you have a business to make a living and you're always fighting with your equipment.
 

CoffeeGoddess

New member
Oct 13, 2004
33
0
This machine, however, will not be in the garage. It's suppose to be in great working condition with the owner calling it a "real workhorse that makes great cups repeatedly". The owner is actually creating a manual for me and is really helping me a lot. I am a full believer in Buyer Beware, however, and will have a back up, though I haven't chosen the model yet.

I WANT to go the extra mile of using the levers and learning to create beautiful, authentic espresso drinks. I also know my customer base enough (as I've been a vendor at the community market I will be serving for five years) to know the espresso machine will not run constantly- they are regular coffee people, so I've purchased the over-priced satellite drip coffee makers to serve their needs (and our local health departments).

The ultimate goal is for the coffee vending to finance a small coffee/book/gift store near our colleges (nothing is over there!). I'll know the manual machine well enough by then to decide if I need to step into the auto or semi-automatic world for a customer base that would be heavier on the espresso side.

My heads may be in the clouds, but my feet are firmly in the bank vault.
 

CoffeeGoddess

New member
Oct 13, 2004
33
0
Goddess of War baybay! Athena rocks! Of course, being the power behind death and rebirth might not be so bad either. But ya gotta love a chick that crashed out of her dad's head, so I'll stick with Athena.

My coffee shop will be themed around the ~*Green Man*~
 

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