Auto or Semi?

CBCOFFEE

New member
Mar 23, 2006
1
0
I am opening a coffee shop and read alot of posts here. This is my first post and please forgive me but what do most coffee shops use? Automatics of semi auto for espresso machines?
 
You are going to get a huge range of responses here. For me I say Semi- it makes the barista more likely to focus on the quality in the cup, rather than just press the extraction pad and walk away...also where we are humidity can play a hand in chosing a semi over an auto. Lets wait nd see what some of the barista guys such as Andrew say.
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,553
1
Des Moines, Iowa
I agree with that and I disagree as well. I agree to the point that it helps to make a better barista in controlling your shot times. But that is where I stop.

The problem with this comes down to when you get busy. People have a tendency to multitask and this is when I see it break down. People walk away from both types of machines and when you get busy it does not pay to be a perfectionist. I know you should try your hardest to make it the same way with the same quality every time. But when you have a line out the door and it’s not moving, people will start to leave.

My other problem comes from how the shot was produced. When barista uses metal pitchers to catch the pour, it is very hard to know when you have made an ounce of espresso. It can be even harder if your espresso is rather fresh and is quite foamy. Heck it’s hard to even set an automatic with a white line shot glass using fresh espresso.

The few people that I have worked with in the past could never get a precise pour every time and that's what bothers me. I would end up with a ristretto or a shot that comes in around 1.5 to 2 ounces.

Now slap employees in to this equation who only care about the small paycheck and the tip jar.

This is my only my opinion, but I think automatics just make more cents. (Pardon the pun!)

But hey if your going to do everything yourself and take the time and make the effort then I say go for the manual! :)
 

equus007

New member
Apr 4, 2006
315
0
Austin, Tx
super v. sub auto

While supers are nice and convenient they will never be able to match the old hand crankers in quality. This is not to say that a super is not right for you. I have been a barista/roaster/shop owner/retailer/wholesaler/ etc. for many a year and have worked with everything from the big brass daddies to the fully auto-could train a monkey to do this sort. The question you need to ask is what sort of employee can I expect to hire? Will you actually shell out the bucks to get a real barista that will care about the shot or will you simply be paying six bucks an hour and expect a teen-ager to make your shop magic. Old style machines will produce the best shots...new ones will produce the same shot(good or bad) every time but stiffle any creativity a good barista could offer you. The only time I have seen a ned for a super was while working outside in the elements. In Texas wind and humdity are your main enemies and supers solve at least one of those.
 

Parts Guru

New member
Jan 1, 2005
34
0
Lansale, PA
I am opening a coffee shop and read alot of posts here. This is my first post and please forgive me but what do most coffee shops use? Automatics of semi auto for espresso machines?

I recommend electronic delivery system. This is commonly stated as automatic delivery. The only automatic thing about it is that espresso dose is programmed and it shuts of automatically. The reference made to the humidity is reaaly is more at the grinding stage. Training a staff can be a problem in the western working conditions.

I recommend Rancilio Epoca, Nuova Seminolli Mac2000 or Fiorenzato Duclae electronic delivery models.

A real automatic machine is Superautomatic which can be expensive. Check out Fiorenzato Ducale superautomatic or Astra superautomatic. These two are less complicated for service and parts.
 

mrgnomer

New member
Jan 22, 2006
149
0
Canada
Re: super v. sub auto

equus007 said:
While supers are nice and convenient they will never be able to match the old hand crankers in quality. This is not to say that a super is not right for you. I have been a barista/roaster/shop owner/retailer/wholesaler/ etc. for many a year and have worked with everything from the big brass daddies to the fully auto-could train a monkey to do this sort. The question you need to ask is what sort of employee can I expect to hire? Will you actually shell out the bucks to get a real barista that will care about the shot or will you simply be paying six bucks an hour and expect a teen-ager to make your shop magic. Old style machines will produce the best shots...new ones will produce the same shot(good or bad) every time but stiffle any creativity a good barista could offer you. The only time I have seen a ned for a super was while working outside in the elements. In Texas wind and humdity are your main enemies and supers solve at least one of those.

What equus007 says sounds very reasonable. I don't have any experience on super automatics or even automatics but from what I've read the manual control one has with a semi automatic produces the better espresso.

Maybe it's because barista skills are necessary with a semi automatic. Dose, distribution, tamp, pressure, water temp: the essential variables of a good pull have to be understood and monitored by the operator and therefore a better espresso results. I've had espresso at cafes with automatic machines and the operators either don't seem to know how to pull a good shot or are pulling for cup volume. No tamp to speak of and lungo pours that are more like strong, bitter coffee than espresso.

In the end I guess one has to decide which is more important; shot quality or volume. If I were to run a coffee/espresso shop my focus would be on quality and I'd be pulling shots with semi automatic machines. Ideally the clientele would patronize my shop not for speedy service but really good espresso. Sure, the out the door line ups might never happen but that would be the price to pay for offering quality over volume, IMHO.
 

Parts Guru

New member
Jan 1, 2005
34
0
Lansale, PA
Don't some of the autos have a manual override that allows the machine to be operated as a semi-auto? Best of both? Just a thought...

Yes there are many makes and models in which they have an extra rocker switch that can be used for manual dispensing of espresso when the electronic controls fail.

The seller will mention this feature as a plus for the equipment. No doubt aboutit, this is a good feature to have. When this feature is not mentioned, one could ask for it or look for a machine that has this feature.
 

Parts Guru

New member
Jan 1, 2005
34
0
Lansale, PA
I am opening a coffee shop and read alot of posts here. This is my first post and please forgive me but what do most coffee shops use? Automatics of semi auto for espresso machines?
I am sure that you have received many recommendations. It may still leave you in a state of doubt, which way to go?
The final call will be the quality of espresso served and how best to achieve that.
In a commercial setting and depending on your location, you have to be sure that trained staff will not change jobs and bring you back to point of start all over again. Then there is a tough job of training a new Barista. Even Starbucks has faced those problems and decided to go with consistent quality with fully automatic/Superautomatic espresso dispensers.

The factors of humidity, tamping or grinding are factors that should not influence the quality when fully automatic machines are used. I know many eye brows are rising and twisting, when I say this.

The humidity becomes a factor when you have reground coffee waiting in the grinder to be used up. Ground coffee does absorb moisture. In the full automatic machines, grinding takes place for immediate extraction following grind. So, bye bye humidity. Tamping pressure is balance when espresso machine is not having an automatic pre-brewing feature. The full automatic machines have pre brewing feature. This eliminates the extra attention to be given to fineness and uniform tamping pressure by a trained Barista. You can get away with that in a fully automatic machine.
Lastly, the pre-brew extracts espresso in half the time of what is a standard for extraction without pre-brew. Thus the taste of espresso is sweeter.

Adjust the single shot espresso to max. 2=oz. and double shot to 2.75 oz. The extraction time with pre-brew is still less than 20 seconds.

I expect many excited responses to what I mentioned above. The fact is that the extraction of espresso has to be according to parameters laid out by experts and especially the SCAA. The espresso dispensers are just the tools to make it happen. If one knows what the best way to make espresso is, it will be easy to adjust the selection of equipment and staff.
Good luck. I hope I am not annoying too many readers.
 

ElPugDiablo

New member
Jul 16, 2004
991
0
Hartford and New Haven, CT
Re: super v. sub auto

mrgnomer said:
equus007 said:
While supers are nice and convenient they will never be able to match the old hand crankers in quality. This is not to say that a super is not right for you. I have been a barista/roaster/shop owner/retailer/wholesaler/ etc. for many a year and have worked with everything from the big brass daddies to the fully auto-could train a monkey to do this sort. The question you need to ask is what sort of employee can I expect to hire? Will you actually shell out the bucks to get a real barista that will care about the shot or will you simply be paying six bucks an hour and expect a teen-ager to make your shop magic. Old style machines will produce the best shots...new ones will produce the same shot(good or bad) every time but stiffle any creativity a good barista could offer you. The only time I have seen a ned for a super was while working outside in the elements. In Texas wind and humdity are your main enemies and supers solve at least one of those.

What equus007 says sounds very reasonable. I don't have any experience on super automatics or even automatics but from what I've read the manual control one has with a semi automatic produces the better espresso.

Maybe it's because barista skills are necessary with a semi automatic. Dose, distribution, tamp, pressure, water temp: the essential variables of a good pull have to be understood and monitored by the operator and therefore a better espresso results. I've had espresso at cafes with automatic machines and the operators either don't seem to know how to pull a good shot or are pulling for cup volume. No tamp to speak of and lungo pours that are more like strong, bitter coffee than espresso.

In the end I guess one has to decide which is more important; shot quality or volume. If I were to run a coffee/espresso shop my focus would be on quality and I'd be pulling shots with semi automatic machines. Ideally the clientele would patronize my shop not for speedy service but really good espresso. Sure, the out the door line ups might never happen but that would be the price to pay for offering quality over volume, IMHO.


I agree. The drinks made by caring barista will always be better than drinks made by super automatic button pushers.

Parts Guru said:
The humidity becomes a factor when you have reground coffee waiting in the grinder to be used up. Ground coffee does absorb moisture. In the full automatic machines, grinding takes place for immediate extraction following grind. So, bye bye humidity.

I disagree. Beans absord and exude humidity just like ground coffee, albeit at a slower rate. Because ground coffee absord and exude humidity faster, this is why there should be no pre ground coffee in the doser waiting to be used. Beans should be grind to order, and ground coffee in the doser for more than a few minutes should be dumped.
 

Parts Guru

New member
Jan 1, 2005
34
0
Lansale, PA
ElPugDiablo wrote:

"I disagree. Beans absord and exude humidity just like ground coffee, albeit at a slower rate. Because ground coffee absord and exude humidity faster, this is why there should be no pre ground coffee in the doser waiting to be used. Beans should be grind to order, and ground coffee in the doser for more than a few minutes should be dumped."

Reply:

I cannot agree more with you. The reason why I am in favor of fully automatic machnes is that there will be very few steps to worry about. You mentioned the ground coffee should be used up within minutes. We humidity or not, you reasearch all the coffee shops from Vancouver to San Diego and see for your self how much ground coffee waits for hours to be used up.

Breathing down the neck of any staff is not easy. One can hire a Barista and still give him or her a fully automatic machine to reduce the burden of attention to all details. They can just watch the settings twice in a day and take care of the customers.
Well, we all agree on the process of making espresso. Originally we were trying to suggest the type of machine for a new coffee shop.
I hope we have helped in some ways.
 

Latest posts

Top