Long black, Latte, Cappuccino, Americano, Flat white? The genius of super automatic machines is drinks like these in the comfort of your own home at the push of a button. Buying a Super Automatic espresso machine is kind of like hiring your own personal barista; it will cost you, but it will also give you café quality coffee on demand!
In this article we review the five best super automatic espresso machines. While some of these machines are on the pricier end of the scale, if you are serious about coffee and love convenience, they can be a great investment.
Our Pick: Breville the oracle touch
If you’re pushed for time our recommendation is that Breville the Oracle Touch is the best super automatic espresso machine. It is fully automated, utilizes cutting edge technology, and makes high end barista skills look like a walk in the park. But in all seriousness what sets this machine apart is the sheer quality of the espresso and milk. Whether you are a purist looking for a short black, or a traditionalist looking for a latte, The Oracle Touch has the ability to rival your favorite café at the push of a button.
What Is A Super Automatic Espresso Machine?
A Super Automatic espresso machine is pretty much a fully automated espresso maker. These machines will do everything for you from grinding and tamping, to brewing and milk steaming. Like we said earlier, a personal barista at your beck and call!
These machines are convenient, simple to use and clean, and will pull a consistent shot at the push of a button. So why doesn’t everyone have one!? The main reason is the cost; most of these machines are definitely at the higher end of the price scale (with a few notable exceptions!). However they are a great option for the coffee consumer who doesn’t have the time or inclination to develop their barista skills.
Advantages Of Super Automatics
Disadvantages Of Super Automatics
What To Look For In A Super Automatic Machine?
Entering the world of Super Automatic espresso machines can be a little bit like navigating in the midst of a thick fog. There are lots of technical specifications thrown in your face and nuanced functions that are hard to understand let alone know if you need. We have compiled a list of the things we think will help you figure out which is the best super automatic espresso machine for you.
The grinder is one of the most important aspects when it comes to brewing espresso and will determine how good a shot is pulled. There is a fair bit of skepticism among coffee purists about the quality of grinders in super automatic espresso machines. There is some truth to these suspicions as inbuilt grinders to date simply cannot compare with decent external grinders. This is largely due to the quality of the burrs and the number of available grind settings. So for example, the grinder in the high-end Breville Oracle Touch has 45 grind settings which is the most we have found in any inbuilt grinder. However, the grinder that we usually use at home for espresso has more than 55 grind settings. Similarly, while most inbuilt grinders now use burrs instead of blades (which is a very good thing), these burrs are often of poorer quality than in external grinders. So when considering which is the best super automatic espresso machine make sure you check the number of grind settings available and also whether the grinder is metallic or ceramic (ceramic is almost universally better)!
For the hobbyist barista, the degree of programmability matters a lot- they want to play around with things like grind size, water temperature, pre-infusion and extraction time to achieve the perfect espresso. However the very design of super automatic espresso machines negates this. They are designed to take away most of the control over brewing and have the machine do it all. You will find some machines, often the higher end ones, will allow more flexibility than others. They may allow you to alter things like grind size, water temperature and shot strength. If you are a coffee consumer and happy to have the machine do it all for you, you may not be concerned about the degree of programmability.
The brew group is the area of the machine where coffee is compressed and brewed. Most super automatic espresso machines have removable brew groups which are able to be rinsed by hand. This has the benefit of making maintenance and repair easier if a mechanical problem arises.
Other machines (most notably Jura machines) have a built-in brew group. These are easier to maintain as they have self-cleaning programs. The downside is that repair is more complicated if a problem arises.
Most super automatic espresso machines now use thermoblock systems. This functions to quickly heat small amounts of water required for a shot as opposed to heating a whole reservoir. Super automatic machines can either have 1 or 2 thermoblock systems. Machines with 2 systems are more pricey but are able to steam milk simultaneously to brewing. Machines with only a single system require up to a 40 second wait between brewing and steaming.
Are you wanting to have your milk steamed automatically or would you rather do it manually? If you drink mainly milk based drinks then opting for a machine that produces high quality milk is a good idea. Some machines will both steam and pour your milk for you while others will only steam or even require manual steaming depending on your preferences. The other thing to consider is whether the machine allows you to alter the temperature and texture of the milk produced. This can be a helpful feature if you are wanting to create different types of drinks.
Water Tank and Bean Hopper Capacity
You will find super automatic espresso machines differ in terms of capacity, particularly when it comes to water tank size and the bean hopper. Consider what size machine you need based on your needs- if the whole family or office will be using it you will want to opt for a larger machine so you won’t have to constantly be refilling it and vice versa.
How easy is the machine to clean? Does it come with self-cleaning functions? How often are you going to have to empty the drip tray, purge the steam wand, decalcify the boiler?
Pre-programmed drinks are a good option especially if you are in a rush. The machine is pre-set with different recipes to produce your latte, cappuccino or espresso at the push of a button. However the number of recipes varies between different machines, some will only have a few options while others have up to 8.
Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine 2021
The Breville Oracle Touch is perhaps the best super automatic espresso machine on the market. The machine brews a cafe quality coffee in 3 easy steps: Grind, Brew and Milk. Firstly the machine automatically grinds, doses and tamps coffee into a portafilter. You then move the portafilter from the grind outlet onto the group head and select the brew function on the screen. Milk can be prepared at the same time using the automatic steam wand by pushing the milk function.
The machine features a clever touch screen allowing you to select from a range of drinks or to save your own customized drinks. While the machine produces top quality espresso perhaps the most exciting feature is the milk wand. The milk wand automatically produces high quality micro-foam which is perfect for latte art and can rival barista-made milk.
Coffee strength, milk temperature and texture are all customizable. This machine is ideal for the coffee enthusiast who loves a high quality cup of coffee and is willing to invest to make the dream a reality.
The De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is a terrific machine for those who want quality coffee without breaking the bank. It is very simple to use with a single and double shot button to brew your shot. It has 2 dials allowing you to adjust the grams of coffee and volume of the shot. The grinder is a burr grinder and has 7 settings to adjust the fineness. The machine comes with a panarello steam wand allowing you to froth your own milk. It has a lot of programmability and high end features.
Similar to the Magnifica, the Gaggia Brera is really an entry level machine with high end features for a great price. It comes in 2 colours (silver and black) and is quite compact. The machine is easy to use with a digital display. It features a ceramic burr grinder with 5 different grind settings. It has 3 different dosing options (light, medium or strong). This machine is our top pick for an entry level super automatic espresso machine.
It comes equipped with a steam wand that can either steam milk automatically or manually. For maintenance the water and dreg drawers are located at the front of the machine. It has a removable brew group and cleaning alerts.
This machine is ideal for americanos or milk based coffees rather than straight espresso. What we love about this Super Automatic is that it uses the same brewing technology as more expensive machines. It can also make two full strength coffees at the same time which is a great feature!
The Gaggia Academia is a top of the line machine ideal for both beginners and coffee connoisseurs. The machine is one of only a few machines on the market that features both a milk carafe and commercial style steam wand. It contains a ceramic burr grinder with 8 grind settings allowing a high degree of control over the flavour of your coffee. It offers a large degree of programmability with dials to control the flow of coffee, volume of water, size of dose and amount of foam. It produces 6 drinks with the push of a button ranging from espresso, to cappuccinos or lattes. This machine is great for larger households or businesses who love good coffee.
The Jura Impressa is a well built, easy to use machine. It features a rotary switch and plain text display allowing you to easily pick what type of coffee you want. The machine features a stainless steel conical burr grinder. The user can choose between mild, normal, strong or extra strong strength of coffee. It has an auto-frother that works by sucking milk from the reservoir into the boiler where it is heated. It is then dispensed from a separate milk spout.
The Verdict- The Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Breville The Oracle Touch is our pick as the best super automatic espresso machine. This machine is an excellent machine and well worth the money. The technology utilised is unique and superior to a lot of other machines. It is able to produce high quality espresso for our coffee connoisseurs while at the same time making the creation of microfoam milk look easy. This machine will allow you to produce cafe quality drinks in the comfort of your own home.
Most of the cons with the machine are only issues for those who are wanting to fine tune their barista skills in which case we would recommend a semi-automatic or manual machine. rather than super-automatic.
Tips for using your machine
Choose the right beans
Super automatic machines often have trouble with dark roasted beans. Due to the oily film on their surface they tend to clog up the grinder and brew unit and cause breakdowns. It is better to opt for light or medium roasted beans.
Adjust your grind
Adjust your grind to pull the perfect shot. You may need to adjust when using different types of beans. In general lighter roasts require a finer grind than darker roasts.
Use good quality water
Better water means better coffee. Use a water filter to remove nasty tasting chemicals such as chlorine from your water. A filter also helps prevent the build-up of minerals in your machine so you don’t have to descale as often.
Clean your machine
Clean out your brew group once a week. This is done by simply rinsing it under running water and leave it to drip dry or running through a cleaning cycle if it is built in. Clean the milk frother to prevent clogging. Read your machines manual for detailed instructions on how to maintain your machine.