Do you want a perfect coffee at home? Coffee lovers have the opportunity to drink an Americano, a ristretto, a latte or a cappuccino at home with a flavor and aroma like those of their favorite coffee shop, thanks to automatic coffee machines , an appliance that has become a essential in many homes for its ease of use, its simplicity in maintenance and its more than successful results, in many cases almost like those of professional establishments.

Do we drink coffee at home every day or only from time to time? Do we do several times during the morning? Do we want the coffee maker to do it all? Do we like to try different varieties of coffee? If you are considering purchasing one, before deciding on one model or another, the answers to these questions are essential to find the best coffee maker , which will simply be the one you really need.

From the simplest automatic coffee machines or those that grind the coffee to the thickness we want, or the super-automatic coffee machines, we have a wide range of options if we want to choose the one that best suits what we are looking for.

So that you can have a simple guide, in this post you will see:

  1. What are automatic coffee machines.
  2. Differences between automatic, super-automatic and manual coffee machines.
  3. Advantages of automatic coffee machines.
  4. Disadvantages of automatic coffee machines.
  5. Best brands of automatic coffee machines.
  6. Maintenance of automatic coffee machines.

1. What are automatic coffee machines

Sage Breville Barista PRO manual coffee maker

An automatic coffee maker is a compact appliance that allows you to prepare at home , very easily and quickly, an espresso coffee with a great flavor and aroma , almost like that of our favorite coffee shop.

Without having the knowledge of professional or amateur baristas about the pressure, temperature or the right dose for each cup, we can enjoy a great coffee at the touch of a button and, in some cases (depending on the model), even the precise point of grinding and foamed milk in the right measure.

2. Differences between automatic, super-automatic and manual coffee machines

2.1. Automatic coffee machines

Automatic coffee machines deal with the entire coffee extraction process, once the ladle with the ground coffee has been inserted into the coffee maker. They are compact coffee machines that do not take up much space in the kitchen, like the WMF Lumero .

From the simplest models, in which we have to manually start and stop the extraction of coffee when we have the desired amount, to the most complete, in which we can program the drink to our liking, we are faced with a wide variety of models and prices.

With this type of coffee machine, when we want to make a coffee or two at the same time, we don't have to do anything more than press a button to get the extraction, since both the water pressure and the temperature are set as standard, although there are some models, such as the Bambino by Sage Breville or the 50'Style by SMEG , which allow the latter to be adjusted.

SMEG 50'Style coffee maker, WMF Lumero coffee maker and Sage Breville Bambino coffee maker

But there is part of the process of "making a coffee" in which the human factor intervenes and that can make the result of each coffee vary:

  • the degree of grinding of the grain,
  • the amount of ground coffee that we put in the ladle,
  • and its compaction.

Some models of automatic coffee machines, such as the Sage Breville Barista Express , incorporate a tank for the coffee beans and a grinder, so they allow you to grind the coffee to taste (they offer several grinding options) and directly fill the ladle with the necessary grams

If we also want it with milk, we have the possibility of foaming it with the vaporizer , that small steam outlet tube that is usually found to the right of the ladle. And this is another factor that we can regulate and not the coffee maker.

In addition, there are models, such as the Sage Breville Barista Touch that have programmed drinks as standard and that also offer the possibility of memorizing different options to suit the taste of the people at home. Thus, every time we want to have a cappuccino or an intense black coffee the way we like it best, we will only have to choose this drink on the control panel.

2.2. Super automatic coffee machines

Super-automatic coffee machines do everything from the coffee beans . They have a grain tank and a built-in grinder. They grind it and infuse it with the right pressure and temperature, extracting the chosen drink in a few seconds . Without you having to do anything more than press a button and put the cup on the drip tray, they allow you to enjoy a coffee full of aroma and flavor.

They control all the phases of the process with precision, including cleaning, although in some cases they allow adjusting the parameters of water temperature or grinding level. They are very easy to use and very intuitive , designed to greatly facilitate the moments when you feel like a coffee.

Some models, such as the Krups Evidence , include a frothing accessory ideally designed for lovers of lattes and cappuccinos: a container that is easily attached to the steam outlet nozzle to froth the milk comfortably and without having to hold it.

Krups Evidence super-automatic coffee machine

23. manual coffee makers

Manual coffee machines are the ones that require the greatest intervention of the human factor . From the point of grinding of the coffee bean, the grams of ground coffee for each dose, the quantity and temperature of the water and the pressure bars, each and every one of the steps is controlled manually. They are the perfect coffee machines for expert baristas , since they are professionals who know all the secrets for preparing and obtaining good coffee.

There are models that allow you to carry out some steps of the process manually, such as choosing the thickness of the grind, the amount to fill in the ladle or the intensity of the coffee obtained, for example. They are a great option for amateur baristas, or those who want to start in this world, but do not want to automatically stop drinking a good coffee whenever they want.

We could also consider the simplest automatic coffee machines as manual coffee machines, those that have an on and off button and a pilot light that lights up when the water is hot. The process is intervened manually, since we have to grind the coffee, fill the ladle, place it in the coffee maker and turn the wheel to start the extraction, turning it in the opposite direction to stop it, but it is not possible to adjust anything else. They are coffee machines that fulfill their function, getting a good coffee in a simple and effective way.

3. Advantages of automatic coffee machines

  • They are comfortable and very easy to use. In many cases, all you have to do is press a button.
  • You don't need to be an expert barista to enjoy a good coffee, the coffee maker is the one that takes care of preparing it.
  • They allow you to prepare coffee in a very short time.
  • The cost of each coffee is lower than that of coffee in capsules.
  • You can choose the grain you want and the variety of coffee that you like the most on each occasion.
  • Some models allow you to program one or several drinks, so that the result is always the same, to the taste of each one.
  • There are many models to choose from, allowing you to find the one you really need or want to incorporate into your kitchen.

Krups Quattro Force Arabica coffee maker

4. Disadvantages of automatic coffee machines

  • It does not allow to intervene in many of the phases of coffee preparation, since all or almost all of it is automated.
  • Although it takes very little time to have the coffee in the cup, you have to spend a minimum amount of time putting the ground coffee in the filter/scoop, or grinding it if you buy it in beans.
  • Even though it is a very good coffee, it does not have the charm of the coffee served and drunk in your favorite coffee shop.
  • Depending on the model, the price varies considerably and they are more expensive than conventional coffee machines (Italian or French).
  • They require proper maintenance to avoid breakdowns. In the event of a breakdown, having more components, its repair can be more expensive. For this reason it is important to choose a solid brand to ensure the quality of both the product and its technical service.

5. Best brands of automatic coffee machines

As we mentioned at the beginning of the post, if you are considering purchasing an automatic coffee machine, the most important thing to keep in mind is what you really need.

Brands such as Krups (with excellent value for money), Philips, WMF, Smeg or Sage-Breville (authentic specialists, with coffee machines designed to be enjoyed), for example, are a guarantee of quality and offer great results.

6. Maintenance of automatic coffee machines

Good maintenance and cleaning is essential for the proper functioning of our coffee maker , according to the indications given by the manufacturer in the instructions. In this way, not only will we extend its durability, but the result in terms of flavor and aroma of each coffee will be as expected.

Depending on each type, we must take into account that:

  • In automatic coffee machines, it is necessary to clean the ladle with water after each coffee, trying to remove all the remains, as well as the drip tray, as well as periodically washing the water tank. The outer casing of the coffee maker can be cleaned with a damp cloth or cloth.
  • If the coffee maker has a steamer to froth milk, it is very important to clean it after each use. The head is usually removable, so it is easy to clean. We can also release steam to remove any traces of milk that may have remained inside the steam tube.
  • Automatic coffee machines that have a coffee tank and grinder, as well as super-automatic ones, usually incorporate self-cleaning or purge systems among their functions. Some, like the SMEG super-automatic steam coffee maker , have warning systems if the coffee grounds tank is full, if the water tank is empty, or if it is time to proceed with descaling. Others, such as the Krups Quattro Force Arabica , have a self-cleaning system, which automatically performs maintenance and descaling.

The times we use the coffee maker, as well as the hardness of the water used, are factors that will determine the frequency of its maintenance. To do this, the use of preparations such as Krups coffee maker cleaning tablets is essential if we want our machine to work without problems and the resulting coffee to be as it should be.

Claudia Ferrer

Leave a comment