superautomatic espresso machine

  • Whole Beans Vs. Pods

    You’ve heard us talk about how much we love superautomatic espresso machines. We’ve discussed the convenience, simplicity, and ease of maintenance that comes with these machines extensively. But you may think, “pod based machines offer all of this, right?” While technically true, there are lots of reasons to go for a superauto over pod based options, and we’re here to share them!

    Waste

    One of the biggest selling points of a whole bean brewing superautomatic is its lack of waste. Pod waste is an immense problem with pod based solutions. Whole bean coffee comes in simple paper packaging that is usually fully recyclable. What’s more, it’s recyclable without an expenditure of lots of energy.

    While some pods do tout compostability, they generally require high pressure industrial equipment to do so. In some cases, this still causes an environmental impact, and many users may not have access to composting options like this. While there are reusable pods available, you then must provide correctly ground coffee, which largely defeats the purpose in the first place. With their built-in grinders and ability to handle most whole beans, superautos definitely have a smaller waste footprint.

    Cost and Variety

    Another problem with pod based machines is only having access to what you can get in the pods. Blank, reusable pods exist, but then require more work to use. With standard pods, you get a limited set of options for what coffee you can use. Beyond that, pods are often more expensive than whole bean coffee. Using them for your daily cup can become quite pricey compared to a whole bean option.

    Superautos don’t encounter this issue. While we recommend avoiding oilier beans, otherwise the world of coffee is open to you. With thousands of roasts to choose from across a range of prices, variety is definitely better with a superauto.

    Flavor and Performance

    While this is the most widely varying element of the equation, you’ll generally always get better coffee from the freshly ground beans a superauto like a Philips or Miele uses. Pod based coffee can sit on a shelf for long periods and lacks that “freshly roasted, freshly ground” aspect that whole bean coffee has.

    While quality among superautos varies just like it does with pod based machines, in general, you’re going to like the coffee you get from your new superautomatic espresso machine more than a pod. Combined with all of the other elements we’ve mentioned, it’s clear why we encourage you to ditch your pods and go whole bean!

  • Miele CM6150 | Crew Review

    Overview

    Sleek, modern, and highly programable—it's the Miele CM6150. One of Miele's newest offerings in their line of Swiss-made coffee makers, the CM6150 serves as a relatively affordable entry point into high end superautomatic espresso beverages deliciously prepared. It features a sleek plastic case available in both white and black, simple one-touch drink recipes, and auto-on and off functionality. Perfect for a large family or small office of coffee drinkers who desire options without a headache, the CM6150 will look great in your kitchen or break room without breaking the bank. Worth noting as well is Miele's remarkably effective auto-rinsing as well as the milk siphon tube flush function preventing unappetizing build up anywhere in the machine.

    SCG_Miele_CR (3 of 4)How does it compare?

    When it comes to having options, your possibilities are endless with the CM6150. Easily one of the most programable machines at its price point, Miele's entry-level superautomatic gives you a truly impressive amount of drink options without sacrificing features found on many higher end machines.

    After comparing the CM6150 with the similarly priced Jura E6, we found the overall quality of the drink to be slightly smoother from the espresso to the milk texture. Moreover, the ability to set your drink to five different temperature settings allows for the user to enjoy their coffee without the fear of it cooling down too quickly (or being too hot for that matter). However, with so many ways to use your Miele, programming the machine may feel like a chore for the first few times of use compared to the E6's straightforward one-touch design. Additionally, the machine lacks Jura's Intelligent Water System, which keeps track and notifies you when your water filter is due to be changed.

    Nevertheless, we've found Miele's CM6150 tough to beat when it comes to superautomatic machines at this price point. The CM6150 looks great on a counter, can prepare two drinks at a time, and brews a super delicious "pot of coffee" featuring 3-8 cups of Joe!

    SCG_Miele_CR (1 of 4)Who will love this machine?

    Miele's CM6150 is the perfect semiautomatic espresso machine for the large family or small office that appreciates modern design and plenty of options when preparing a drink. It is affordable and easy to clean, so once you get the hang of its many features you'll be on your way to quick and delicious coffee!

    Purchase the Miele CM6150 here!

  • The Reluctant Barista: Jura GIGA 5 and the Secret Menu

    giga5_feature4There is something so intriguing about a secret menu. Starbucks has one. In-N-Out Burger has one. And now, the Jura GIGA 5 Automatic Coffee Center does too. After a hot tip from Kat that there was indeed a secret menu, I decided to play detective. I found these new recipes through my favorite machine testing method called 'random button pushing.' You won’t find this covered in the Jura user manual (unless you happen to look at page 20...). The Reluctant Barista has some delicious insider information to share.

    The initial screen shows what you might come to expect from a superautomatic menu: Ristretto, Espresso, Coffee, Hot Water, Cappuccino, Latte Macchiato, Milk, Milk Foam. From these simple settings you can further customize the coffee dosage, water temperature, water volume, milk volume and milk foam. The Jura GIGA 5 does not come standard with an integrated milk carafe, so I used a Jura Cool Control Automatic Milk Cooler and the included hose that came with the GIGA 5 to make a bevy of milk-based beverages.

    Last week I made my go-to drink, a foamy hazelnut latte and was happily surprised by how hot the drink got. Monday morning I had the GIGA 5 pour me a double cappuccino. I needed it! After the caffeine kicked in, it was time to explore uncharted territory. There were 12 more "secret" recipes once I twirled the rotary dial on top. I have to admit, these recipes perplexed me. Were they chosen by an Italian espresso aficionado? Were they chosen by the Swiss manufacturer? Who mixes lemonade and espresso? They did not seem to be targeted to Seattle taste profiles, or at least not my particular taste. However, I did try the recipe for 'Winter Magic Coffee.' This turned out to be what I would describe as a Nutella Latte. It was so popular with the SCG Crew that I ended up making 5 drinks back to back.

    Sadly, there was no barista gnome inside the Jura GIGA 5 to prepare the drinks. You need to provide your own ingredients. From home I brought my treasured Nutella and used Monin Honey Sweetener although it was sweet enough without it. The GIGA 5 walked me through each step with a series of easy to read screens. I especially liked the final step of each drink I made when the GIGA 5 screen simply said, 'Enjoy!'

    The Jura GIGA 5 "Secret" Drink Menu:

    • Marocchino – espresso, Monin Dark Chocolate Sauce, chocolate powder
    • Pepresso – espresso, Monin Dark Chocolate Sauce, mixed peppercorns (Watch Brandi make this recipe)
    • White Cool – espresso, carbonated lemonade, ice cubes
    • Gourmet Latte Macchiato – espresso, evaporated milk, Monin Irish Cream Syrup (non-alcoholic) or Bailey’s Irish Cream (alcoholic)
    • Irish Coffee – coffee, brown sugar, Irish Whiskey (alcoholic), whipped cream on top
    • Café Melange – coffee with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top
    • Viennese Coffee – coffee, vanilla ice cream, Monin Vanilla Syrup and chocolate shavings on top
    • Winter Magic Coffee – espresso, Nutella, honey and a pinch of ginger and cardamom on top
    • Shakerato – espresso, lemons, sugar, ice
    • Mango Lassi – espresso, yogurt, mango puree
    • Red Cool – espresso, carbonated lemonade, Campari (alcoholic), ice
    • Summer Fire – espresso, Monin Coconut Syrup, lemon pepper

    Thank you GIGA 5 -- we will enjoy!

  • Compare: Convenience of Superautos vs. Capsule vs. Pod Espresso Machines

    If convenience is king in your household, your espresso machine selection will likely center on superautomatic, capsule or pod-friendly options such as those made by DeLonghi, Jura, Nespresso and Saeco.

    But which of these three machine styles produces a better shot? Does it matter? Of course it does! Watch as Gail demonstrates making an Americano on a pod-friendly semi-automatic, a capsule machine and a superautomatic. We compare flavor and discuss the relative convenience and ease of use.

  • Compare: Jura Superautomatic Espresso Machines

    Interested in a superautomatic machine but not sure how different manufacturers measure up? We're here to help!

    Watch Gail take on Jura's currently available (as of July 2012) line of superautomatic machines, describing their features and functionality and talking about why you might select one model over the other.

  • Testing: Steaming Lactose Free Milk

    We had a viewer query regarding lactose free milk: Was his inability to get great microfoam caused by the nature of the lactose free milk or did he just need to practice more? Milk is magically (OK, scientifically) transformed into lactose-free with the addition of the lactase enzyme, which will break down the lactose before you get your paws on it. Does this change on the molecular level inhibit the the milk's frothiness?

    Watch Gail test it out on the Saeco Xelsis superautomatic to see how well it performs.

  • Crew Review: Saeco Incanto DeLuxe Superauto

    This is one of our crew faves (from !!!Bunny!!!) and we realized the only video crew review we had done on this machine covered the refurbished models we work on and carry. So we thought we'd take you through a brand spankin' new model -- which performs exactly as a refurb, it's just a little bit shinier. Watch Gail take us through her usual lecture on the Incanto Deluxe's features and functionality, then demonstrate making a latte.

  • Crew Review: DeLonghi Caffe Venezia

    Practicality is king with this budget-minded superautomatic from DeLonghi. Pretty sure the Caffe Venezia isn't going to win any pretty design awards, but if you want a superauto for less than $600, its definitely worth considering. Gail takes us through its features and demonstrates whipping up a latte.

  • How To: Descaling the Saeco Vienna Plus Superautomatic

    This popular superautomatic is simple and straight forward to use, but we often get questions around how to care for it. In addition to regularly removing the brew group and spraying it down, cleaning the dregs box and the drip tray, you'll need to descale the Vienna every 1 - 3 months (depending on the mineral hardness of the water you're using).

    Remember: Descaling isn't based on usage, but on timing. If you're not using the machine, water is still sitting in the waterworks and scale can build up. If you use your machine very rarely, it may prompt you to descale less regularly then you might need to, so using the general 3 month rule of thumb is always a good idea.

    Watch Gail take us through the process.

  • Crew Review: Quick Mill Monza Superautomatic

    A couple of years ago, Quick Mill's first superautomatic offering hit the US market. It had a lot of great things about it -- primarily that it had a heated metal brew group -- but the fit and finish left a bit to be desired. They took it back to the workshop and revamped it a little, addressing several of the things we didn't dig about the first edition, and have now released the Monza.

    Gail takes us through its features and then demonstrates its shot and steaming functionality. If you're looking for a superautomatic that will get you the closest to a traditional espresso extraction, this may be the machine for you.

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