Automatic Espresso Machines
A question often asked is what is the difference between semi automatic espresso machines and automatic and fully automatic espresso machines. Well these are all types of pump espresso machines meaning that they feature a pump to push the water through the coffee at around 8 to 9 bar of pressure, which is the ideal for getting the best espresso extraction.
Semi Automatic Espresso Machines
With a semi automatic espresso machine the operator will push a button to engage the pump to start the extraction, and then push another button to disengage the pump to stop the extraction. These are called semi automatic to differ from manual machines that use a pull of a hand operator lever to pull the shot.
Fully Automatic Espresso Machines
On automatic machines the operator will push a button to start the shot, but the passes a preset amount of water through the coffee each time and stops the pump when that amount has been reach which is why they are referred to as automatic or fully automatic. Automatic machines are preferred by some as they are easier to use to get a consistent shot. Although the downside is that if the shot isnt that good then you may be stuck with a poor shot as you have less control of other factors.
Super Automatic Espresso Machines
If you want to take convenience and great coffee to a whole new level then super automatic espresso machines are designed to off just that. These machines, also known as bean to cup machine are designed to offer everything or almost everything that you need to make a great cup of espresso or espresso based drink at the push of a button or as close to it as possible.
They feature a built in fully integrated burr grinder, so that you just need to fill the hopper with beans and can be assured of getting the freshest ground beans in your coffee. They dispense the coffee, tamp it to the required level, and then pull the shot. They will also dump the used coffee grinds into a seperate are of the machine so there is no mess and can be cleaned up periodically as required. Indicators are available on these machines that tell you when they need cleaning, or when they need more water or when the spend coffee container needs emptying so making them super convenient and super easy to use.
The best machines will even clean themselves with little or no intervention. Or have the ability to froth the milk and add it to the espresso completely automatically with no intervention from you either. Although a lot is controlled by the machine, many machines provide features and settings that let you vary various options.
The grinder usually has a control or settings that let you control whether you get a fine or coarse grind with the better machines giving more grind settings. The bypass doser that is a feature of some machines allows you to use pre ground coffee in your super automatic machine if you so desire.