espresso machines for dummies please?!!


New member
May 7, 2004
I am looking to get an espresso machine for commercial use at our restaurant. I have previously used an excellent hand levered one at a cafe I ran in England. However, this time, I would like the best machine that is automatic, preferably a machine that grinds loads the hopper automatically. I need a machine that all one needs to do is press a button and that's it. I can show the staff how to use the steam but I don't take any chances with the espresso. So my question is (finally!). can anybody suggest an excellent machine for me, please?

I am in the western part of Canada, if that makes any difference.

Thank you all.


New member
Jun 22, 2004
I don't have a recommendation on a super automatic but a warning. I used one at a coffee shop I worked at and it lasted about six months. That stupid thing would go crazy on us, where at times it just didn't want to pull a shot. Then we would have to call the repair guy to come and play with this computer chip in the thing and then it would start working again. Way too computerized if you asked me. We finally got rid of it and went with a more traditional machine. It was a Franke, so beware. Plus they charge you up the wazoo for the super automatics. Just not worth the headache or the $80 an hour for a repair guy.
I have to agree with Trevor. I think the best way to go is a semi-auto. In south-east asia you have humidity concerns that can play havoc with the electronid components inside the full autos (although I am sure you don't have those problem in Western Canada :grin: ). Also I really like having a couple of seperate grinders. I think the machines with built in hoppers and grinder units are best suited for offices rather than cafe opperations. Anyway I guess this doesn't answer your question....if you are really insistent on a machine like this I think Astoria (which I know have a good reputation in Canada) stock an auto like this. Good luck!


New member
Jun 17, 2004
Houston, TX
Superautos can be a savior if you treat them right and use the right type of beans. You cannot use flavored or really oily beans is many of them. Keep in mind they also do not make as good of quality espresso as the semi-automatic machines. What every you do, get a machine with a dual boiler. This will allow you to froth milk right after you brew espresso, and vice versa. Super or semi...this is the biggest time saver. Check for some good references on machines. They are great seller. I use them exclusively because they have great customer service and a knowledgeable staff.

Good Luck!
Pillguy brings up a good point here... flavoured beans are the BANE of the espresso machine....not to mention the grinder. One thing you should never do is use flavoured beans in either. If you do you will need to spend a whole lot of time cleaning up both the espresso machine and the grinder. The easy part is the machine. You can back flush it and get the flavour of the beans out....but the grinder is much harder work. You would need to dismantle the grinder, clean it down...then reassemble it!

Over Caffienated

New member
Mar 2, 2004
Every superautomatic I've ever worked with has been pure trouble. Not only is their espresso inferior but they break down constantly. (are these replies getting redundant yet?) Your best bet is to get a semi automatic machine I'm going to follow up on Alun's suggestion, by recomending an Astoria Divina 2 group semi-automatic, and a good doser-grinder. The grinder will spit out the right amount of coffee into the portafilter, and the semiautomatic machine will brew just the right amount of espresso. easy enough.
The tricky part is frothing, which you'd pretty much have to teach your employees anyway. The good news is that when you buy an Astoria machine they send out a guy to install the machine and to train your employees how to use it correctly. Most Astoria dealers even give you training booklets and a video as well.
As for the flavored beans.....duh! Don't use them PERIOD. To anyone interested in selling flavored coffees I suggest Torani or Monin flavored syrups. Not only does this keep your machines happy, and your coffee tasty, and it makes a good add on to your espresso sale.

Topher's Discount Code!