BLACK & WHITE CTS, is this a good machine?


New member
May 4, 2008

This is my first post here and I’m looking for some advice. I’m the owner of a busy restaurant but unfortunately I’m not a good judge of coffee due to drinking neither tea nor coffee. I judge the quality of my coffee largely on customer feedback.

I currently have a traditional machine which up to now has always be adequate but has become somewhat problematic over the last few months, probably due to its 4+ years of daily heavy use. It cost approx €4,500 when I bought it originally.

I used to use Robt Roberts coffee but have been using java republic for the last year or so. I’m thinking of buying a BLACK & WHITE CTS machine form here ... 72_119_133 which can produce 220 shots per hour. It costs approx €8,500.

My problem is that a number of fellow restaurant/hotel owners have told me that traditional machines are superior to automatic machines and are less problematic. I would still like to try out this new machine as it would in theory produce coffee of a consistent high standard and wouldn’t be reliant on the skill of the staff member involved to such a large degree. The problem with traditional machines from my experience is the amount of training it requires to for a staff member to learn how to make a decent tasting cup of coffee. This problem is further exasperated by the high rate of staff turnover prevalent in the catering trade.

So my question is does anyone have experience with this type of machine and which would you rate as being superior, a traditional or automatic machine?

Many thanks for any advice


New member
Feb 3, 2008
I agree that traditional machines are less problematic, in themselves, and for your business. Over the last several years, Starbucks made a move to automatic machines, and admittedly, they are consistent and require little training or skill. However, there is also no room for improvement beyond what the machine delivers, and reliability is an issue.

The most common problems with traditional machines are essentially "plumbing" problems. Keep the machine on a regular maintenance schedule and you are only subject to the occasional failure of simple parts, such as valves, solenoids, heating elements. Sometimes the failure is only related to one group, so the machine is still functional while waiting for repair. On an automatic machine, you are putting complex electronics in an environment where they're exposed to high temperature and humidity. You still have mechanical and plumbing failures, but you add to it electronic circuits and connections as points of failure. Plus your grinder is also a part of the machine, so a grinder failure also shuts down your coffee-making.

Then there is an expectation by more savvy customers that a traditional machine will serve better coffee. While it's not necessarily true, the perception is still there. If your machine is in a prominent place where the customer sees it, this will be a factor you should consider.

But there are a lot of automatic machines and people clearly see an advantage to buying them. I would not have an automatic as my only machine--I'd want a back-up in case there is trouble replacing burned-out circuits. Also, you need to make sure you have someone locally who can properly troubleshoot and service an automatic machine if it does have problems. This is a big challenge in smaller markets.

Personally, I'd rather put the effort into training staff and maintaining a traditional machine. Making espresso can be a point of pride, and there are plenty of people who would consider having a traditional espresso machine to operate a perk to their job.



New member
May 9, 2008
i am new here and an israeli so forgive my spelling mistakes.
my expriance is preety good so i can tell you that bringing an aotumatic
machine will make your costumers vote with thier legs, meaning, they will stop coming.
a fresh coffee made from fresh beans, tasty water and a well triand brista
is the secret of all sucessfull coffee shops.
my edvise to you is : save your money and repair the old machine if it is a good machine
or but semi auto machine'' prefer with faema e61, classic . hire a traind brista and ask for his advise. it is his profsion so it must be his call to.
if u have any ques , i will help.
good day


New member
May 9, 2008
CTS Machine

A customized Black and White machine is what Starbucks (US) uses in all of it''s stores. They went from La Marzocco 3-4 groups to these superautomatics for higher volume and consistent shots. A few weeks ago all of our machines were recalibrated to \"simulate\" a hand pulled shot from a La Marzocco. Starbucks is kind of going backwards, because it wants to sustain massive growth, with underpaid, inexperienced baristas, and \"fake\" the quality of the past. These machines certainly are easy to use and maintain, and they do pull a decent shot. (Plus one can steam good quality milk with a little practice - there isn''t any control of the amount of steam, it''s either on or off). So I guess my 2 cents are, if you have the cash, and you want a machine with a small learning curve, this superautomatic is by far superior because of the modular design - something goes bad, pull the module, slap another one in, send the bad one in to be repaired, little downtime. However, if you want the to produce espresso drinks that will make people weep with joy, go with a tamping, semi-automatic and train your staff correctly.