Not all automatic espresso machines are created equal. As a Vancouver business owner turning out espressos in the land of milk and *coffee* – you probably know your way around a semi-automatic or fully automatic espresso machine – or perhaps you’re setting up the big-time for the first time. Either way, it’s good to know all the ins and outs. There are so many options out there these days – the technology keeps getting better and better. Just keep in mind the various logistics, such as NSF certification, plumbing requirements, as well as placement and location.
You might be considering your options and wondering whether you’d benefit more from a fully automatic or a semi-automatic espresso machine. Which is best for quality and control, and which is best for convenience? The truth is, they both have their advantages.
Semi-Automatic vs Fully Automatic – What’s the Difference?
Semi-automatic espresso machines have been around since the 1940s and remain the most widely used in the coffee industry today. This is because although they require more effort and brainpower (you will have to grind your own beans and steam/froth your own milk), semi-automatic espresso machines are simply the best with respect to brew control and precision. If you’re running a business built on artisanal quality espresso-based beverages, and your target customer is the espresso aficionado, you may want to go with old reliable. Semi-automatics offer much more customization than automatics, and as expected, require more barista skill. For this reason, many amateur and professional baristas prefer them.
You can probably guess the main difference when it comes to fully automatic machines. Generally, they are much more convenient and user-friendly, and less hands-on, making them a popular choice for businesses where coffee isn’t their main gig. You simply push a button and voila – espresso awaits. The main drawback is the lack of control that you’re able to achieve with a semi-automatic machine. Although, do keep in mind that unless you opt for a super automatic machine – which basically does it all – with an automatic espresso machine, you are still required to grind the beans and tamp the portafilter, so it’s not entirely hands-free.
With all that said, there are some incredibly high-quality automatic and super automatic machines on the market today – even those with expertly-trained espresso pallets may fail to recognize the difference. So if you’re still leaning towards something that requires less fuss, that doesn’t necessarily mean lesser quality.
Things To Consider
What are your requirements in terms of brewing capacity? What level of robustness would best suit your business needs? Will your machine be fitted into a professional kitchen? These are all things that would influence your decision.
Don’t forget that with any commercial espresso machine hooked up to your building plumbing, mineral deposits are your worst enemy – there’s no question that you will extend the life of that investment and see many benefits by implementing the use of a water softener.
I love our Monte Carlo espresso machines! From the great Barista friendly design, the stable power and pressure that it delivers to extract the perfect shot even in super high volume production times, the ease of steaming micro-foamed milk and the reliability that with simple cleaning and maintenance we will not have any down-time. This machine also looks great on the front counter with the low profile design that allows our staff to engage with the customer as they craft their drink.
We are extremely happy with the performance of the WMF1500S Espresso machine!
The ease of automation, cleaning, lack of maintenance and durability is far superior to the Franke we had here before! I would highly recommend this model to other GM's in our company.
I had to service my JURA for the first time after more than 4 years.
The staff told me about the flat fee and that the unit will be ready within the next 2 days. 24 hours later the JURA was ready for pickup!
It is running great since. Perfect service, friendly staff and knowledgeable technicians.
It was great to have you onsite and oversee the café start-up, provide training and share recommendations to improve the offering.
The juice offering is clearly very successful and glad to see that our ideas came into a reality. We love both ZUMEX machines, the Essential & MultiFruit!
Thanks so much for your help with this Schaerer Espresso machine. I really am privileged to have such awesome peeps in my corner! Thanks again so much! Till Next Time!