Saeco Xsmall Plus super automatic espresso machine

Super Automatic Espresso Machine Reviews – Jura vs Saeco vs Gaggia

The Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine

Super automatic espresso machine reviews - Saeco Xsmall PlusWe tested the most popular super automatic machines, Jura Elektroapparate, (Capresso), Gaggia, Saeco, DeLonghi and Krups, and although there is no clear winner, we can definitely point advantages and disadvantages for all the machines discussed.

The super automatics are a relatively new product on the market, and despite the relatively high price point, they popularity is continuously growing. The reason of this growing popularity of the super-automatic machine is that they remove the human error factor, and allow a fast brew, with consistent results, and with good results. Even though most of the espresso aficionados will convince you to get a manual machine, because you have more control over the brewing process, some of them admit that for them, espresso is not just a cup of coffee is almost a lifestyle.

For the rest of us, for whom an espresso is just a great cup of coffee, and a little luxury that we indulge without making more of a deal than it is, the fully automatic espresso machine is the perfect choice.

Super Automatic Espresso Machine Poll

What is the main feature you are looking for in a Super Automatic?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Jura Capresso ENA 9 Automatic

The Jura Capresso Ena 9 features are impressive because allow you a great customization of the shot. It features:

  • Programmable water quantity
  • Programmable coffee quantity, from 0.5 ounces to 8 ounces
  • Option to use ground coffee
  • Button selected shot’s strength
  • 2 years manufacturer warranty
  • One button touch latte and cappuccino

Read more about Jura Ena 9 – One Touch.

How To Get The Perfect Espresso Shot?

espresso cupThe perfect espresso shot is a combination of techniques, skills, intuition and coffee grinding and roast type. As a home barista, you first need to perfect your own espresso recipe. Starting from there, you can tweak the recipe for other people, some would like a lungo, some prefer the ristretto, while others will prefer a cafe Americano.

An important indicator of a well prepared espresso is the crema. If crema is abundant and has the right color and texture, the espresso is good. There are a few factors that will decide the fate of the espresso, some are brewing related, and they require the barista a lot of skills, and some are related to the coffee beans.

Here are some of the tips and tricks, and the techniques, that will help you in your quest of preparing the perfect espresso.

  • Tamping
    Tamping the ground coffee with the exact amount of pressure, and evenly distributed in the portafilter is very important.Training tip: start tamping on a scale. When you found the right tamping pressure continue exercising it on a scale, until you get the feel of it.
  • Grind size
    Grind size is very important, too coarse and you will get no crema, too fine and the espresso machine will not be able to force the water through the grinds. You can adjust the tamping, (more tamping for coarser grind), to compensate for the grind, but it’s not advisable.
  • Water Temperature
    Preheat your machine before pulling a shot. Pull a blank shot, to warm up the pipes, the portafilter, and the cup. If you have a fully automatic machine, make sure you choose the correct temperature. Play with the temperature, water too hot might destroy the more delicate coffee accents.
  • The Brewing Pressure
    The minimum pressure for a great espresso is 15 bar. If your machine is not capable of achieving that pressure, your shot will be poor.
  • Filter Holder
    When you warm up the machine, keep the filter holder empty, inserted in in the brew head, to warm it up, preparing it for brewing.
  • Filter Baskets
    The filter baskets are also a critical part of your espresso making. Not all filters are created the same, and some are better, some are not so great. The same machine can give you great results with one filter basket, and just mediocre with another one. Experiment, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In most cases, using the single filter basket produces better results. Usually, the grind/tamping ratios are different for the different baskets.

Grinding Machine

Do not even attempt to grind with a blade grinder, or a poor grinding machine. A blade grinder will give you uneven grinds, from powder to coarse, and this will negatively affect your espresso.

All these have to be mastered by the barista in order to get the right espresso. If you make a little mistake your espresso is compromised, it will only be average. And even if you know what it takes to get your shot right, there is very little room for error, so you’ll make mistakes often. In fact, you’ll notice in many coffeeshops that the shot differs from barista to barista.

This is where a fully automatic espresso machine comes in handy. Once you have set up the machine, and tweaked all the settings for your taste, and for the beans you are using, you can’t go wrong anymore. everything is fully automated, the dosage, the tamping, the grind size, temperature, extraction time, etc… You are guaranteed consistent results, a great espresso every time. Maybe that’s why many five stars restaurants decided to go with super automatic machines.

Espresso Drinks Infographic

Gaggia Titanium Office Espresso Machine

Gaggia Titanium is an elegant, astonishing looking machine, with an impressive feature set, meant to set it on top of its class. Here are some of the great features of the Gaggia Titanium Office:

  • A perfect milk steamer
  • A grinder with 18 grind settings
  • Adjustable brewing temperature
  • Pre-programmed buttons for beverage volume
  • The bypass doser allows the use of pre-ground coffee
  • Large water tank – 60 ounces
  • Height adjustable spout

Read this post for a full review of Gaggia Titanium.

SAECO Philips Intelia

Saeco Intelia is extremely easy to use, with a very intuitive interface, and many adjustments for the perfect espresso, just the way YOU like it. It is a lightweight machine, mostly because its ceramic grinder, which is consistently lighter than a steel grinder.

  • Two pre-programmed buttons for quantity selection
  • Grinder bypass function – for pre-ground coffee
  • Coffee strength adjustment
  • Height adjustable spout
  • Auto adjust function when you change the beans or the grind settings
  • Cappuccino device, manual frothing also possible
  • Automatic self cleaning

Check this page for a more comprehensive review.

Why Do We Need a Super Automatic Espresso Machine

Tamper and Espresso GearMaking an espresso requires skills, experience, and a little time every morning to prepare it. With fully automatic machines, all of these are taken off of your shoulders, the machine is going to deliver you a perfect espresso performing all of the operations automatically:

  • measure the coffee beans quantity,
  • grind the coffee,
  • place it on the portafilter,
  • tamp it and
  • pull the shot to perfection
  • dump the grounds in a container

You only need to put the beans in the machine and place the cup under the coffee stream. The most sophisticated ones will have digital adjustments for the size of beverage, temperature, brew time, coffee quantity and grind, and more. But these machines are on the high scale of the price range.

There are some some negative considerations with fully automatic machines:

  • Because of the high automation included, they tend to be more prone to break.
  • Many machines, need to be used with non oily beans, in order to avoid clogging.
  • Some weekly maintenance is needed, if you want to have it for a long time.
  • Lastly super-automatic machines are two-three times more expensive in comparison with manual or semi-automatic machines.

DeLonghi ESAM Magnifica

  • Great quality burr grinder
  • Perfect cappuccino
  • Perfect espresso with a smooth taste, and a thick crema layer.
  • Reliable machine, compared to other super automatic
  • Customizable  coffee strength
  • Grind size adjustments
  • Can be used with ground coffee
  • Removable bean container, giving you the option to change the beans
  • Cup tray that warms the cup

Read a more comprehensive DeLonghi Esam Magnifica review.

The Beans’ Quality Most Important for the Espresso Shot

The coffee beans are very important in the brewing process, and no matter how good and fancy your espresso brewer is, if you use bad beans, the shot will be under average.

  • Coffee Freshness
    The fresher the beans, the more dense and persistent the crema.Grind the beans just enough for the coffee you make, and just before making your espresso, this will ensure maximum freshness. In 15 minutes from the grinding you lose about 50% of the aromas and oils from the ground coffee.
  • Coffee Beans Quality
    The quality of your beans will decide the taste of your espresso. I prefer for my espresso Brazilian beans. Some people prefer
  • Coffee Beans Storage
    I store my coffee beans in the freezer, I found that freezing the beans lock in the flavors for extended periods of time. Use an airtight container, or bag, coffee absorbs food odours very easily.

The Perfect Espresso Shot

 Philips Saeco Vienna Plus
Philips Saeco Vienna Plus Automatic Espresso Machine – on Amazon

Many people ask what is the perfect shot? What are the attributes of the perfect shot?

I heard coffee lovers naming Starbucks as the perfect shot. In my opinion, Starbucks’ is one of the worst, because the coffee is over-roast, and the final result is bitter and with a burnt taste.

Some coffee experts have a strict idea of the perfect shot, and that can only be pulled using special equipment, and special beans. While partially this is true, the perfect espresso shot is a matter of personal taste, but it still needs to fit some general features, without which is not a good shot anymore.

Whether you like it regular, or ristretto, or long, or Americano, the espresso needs to be smooth. There is some slight bitterness, but it should be very faint, and the overall taste should remind of less sweet caramel. If you don’t have any idea of the taste, just go to a good coffee shop and order one. Go for a few days, and try to explore different baristas, and different times of the day. This will give you a great idea. If you don’t like it, and the coffee shop is renowned, give up, this is not for you. Some people just don’t like espresso, my wife will only accept one if there is no other coffee around.

I once failed one of my shots, no problems, it happens, is not an exact science. The problem was that my cup had almost no crema. I sipped it anyway, I never make shots so bad that they are not drinkable. I was absolutely stunned about the taste of that shot, somehow the combination of tamping and grind size, mad that cup so much flavorful than the ones with more crema. Never judge an espresso by its looks. This is why some people hate nespresso with a passion, it is very consistent, and it gives you a great shot with ample crema every time, but it is never fantastic. I love “fantastic”, but for the convenience, I settle with good, so Nespresso is one of my favorite makers.

Krups Espresseria Automatic Espresso Machine

This is a greatly priced espresso machine, with all the features you would ask for from a fully automatic:

  • It can brew without any manual interventions
  • Adjustments for coffee strength
  • Grind size tweaks
  • Great looking LCD
  • A water filter to ensure quality water
  • Auto-Cappuccino set included

More about Krups Espresseria and a full review of the product by following the link.