Espresso Machines – Manual vs. Automated vs. Super Auto; It’s Complex!

When I first discovered my love for espresso coffee and began to understand how to make it at home only four types of machine technologies available that could create genuine espresso (I’m not including stovetop boilers, stovetops, or camp espresso devices):

  • Manual Machines, built on levers that use your hand strength to move water across a coffee-based bed or utilize a spring to complete the work.
  • Semi-Automatic These were machines with an internal powered pump that could force water through the coffee’s bed after activating a switch and then cease pushing water once you turned off the switch.
  • Automatic The machines that had an internal pump and likewise had some type of volumetric control to regulate the quantity of water necessary to make the espresso coffee shot. Press one button and the machine will then activate the pump and release the pre-set amount of water before shutting off the pump in a sequence.
  • Super Auto, a new technology that was introduced to domestic espresso coffee coffee machines in the year 2000. It has an internal mill and the tamping mechanism, which takes over the entire procedure of creating an espresso shot. At the press of an electronic button it grinds coffee, puts it into an brewing chamber, compresses it, and then brews with a pump that gives pressure, delivering a set amount of water before shutting down. The coffee-soaked puck is removed in an internal garbage bin.

This was the norm for most of years (with the Super Auto coming in late). You could purchase semi-automatic machines, manual machines and automated machines dating back to the 1980s to utilize at home for espresso coffee work. The Super Auto joined in 2000 in full force (even though super-automatic espresso coffee coffee machines that commercial utilize were first developed in the 1990s by the co-owners and owners of the Baratza milling company, Kyle Anderson).

Things have changed over the past five years however. A little bit more. The two categories which are first and the lastthe categories of Manual and Super Auto aren’t as they once were. There are new technology (some modified versions of old technologies) currently available that significantly increase these categories. This is the manual category first.

Manual Espresso coffee coffee Machines

Manual espresso machines have historically been built around the lever.

The lever is employed in two ways: either press the lever to cock an very strong spring inside the espresso coffee coffee maker. Once you release the lever, the spring is released and pushes a piston that is then pushed by the water to brew across a bed of coffee.

A second kind of lever is known as people are discussed as direct levers. This implies that your hand is direct pushing a piston which pushes the brewing water through the coffee’s bed.

Both models are powered and work with the power to regulate and heat the temperature of water in boilers. The power source is not used to run the pump. There isn’t an on/off switch for boiling water, but only an off/on switch to turn off the water heater. They’re a huge boiler that has a couple of lever arms that are attached.

In the last quarter of the decade that began the century the Handpresso manual travel espresso coffee maker was introduced to the market. Instead of levers and electro-mechanical pumps, this machine utilized a type of bicycle pump to fill the chamber to create air pressure (all up to 6 BAR!) to make a shot espresso coffee coffee. This was certainly manual espresso coffee coffee maker, however it was not electrical; you necessary boiling water.

The bicycle pump, first edition handpresso espresso maker.

The next major equipment to arrive and shake up the market was the Mypressi espresso coffee coffee maker. It was a model that resembled a tool from the movie of 2001: Space Odyssey. It was manual in the sense that it didn’t have a pump and and no switch to turn off or on, but it utilized small nitrogen capsules of the same type that are used in whip cream dispensers to force water with high pressure across the coffee’s bed. (ed.note that I’m unsure if it’s appropriate to call this a manual equipment since it relies on gas capsules to create pressure).

The Handpresso is next to the tragically gone MyPressi gas powered espresso coffee coffee maker.

There have been other gadgets to be invented since. One company even has an exclusive cap specifically for the Aeropress so that it can pour out a consume that’s very similar to espresso coffee coffee, based on how hard you press into the Aeropress plunger.

Recently, we’ve had the Flair Espresso coffee Machine and the Cafelat Robot both of which are both manual espresso coffee coffee machines. Both work with a lever system for direct pressure application to the brewing water, which is then moved across a coffee bed. But, both are completely mechanical, and don't require electricity is needed. You provide the water to the machine.

The Flair espresso coffee makeking device.

I have I have a Flair apparatus and I’m able to assure you that it steeps genuine espresso coffee. It’s a lot of work and I’m unable to produce shots after shots, but it produces real espresso coffee that is delicious and satisfying. It’s not able steam milk, but it produces an enjoyable shot of espresso! I see robot owners on Facebook constantly discussing their sleek Cafelat machines , and how they absolutely enjoy their functionality and output.

So , it appears that the Manual category extends beyond the standard La Pavoni lever machine, or an Elektra Micro Casa a Leva (lovingly discussed as the MCaL).

Super Automatics

Super Automatics are a relatively new category however, one that has experienced significant change since they first appeared on the market in the early 2000s.

Breville Oracle and Breville Oracle Touch are Breville Oracle and Breville Oracle Touch are considered to be Super Autos according to the current definition of the term, but they are undoubtedly not like other super automatics in the market in the present.

They do tick the majority of the boxes:

  • Automatically grind coffee
  • Dosage the coffee automatically,
  • You can tamp the coffee, automatically,
  • Brew the coffeeusing a the volumetric dose that is pre-set for water.
  • Steam and froth milk in a controlled manner and
  • With Oracle Touch, can build drinks for you nearly 100% automatically with an on-screen menu system.

The one thing the Oracle machines are distinct from the other super automatics is that they use traditional 58mm portafilters, and you as the user needs to move the portafilter out of the coffee grinder to the grouphead and then remove it to serve the coffee that has been sucked out. The rest of the machine is automated with the use of temperature-sensitive steaming and frothering of milk.

I had the opportunity to utilize the Oracle Touch machines when I was hired as barista for some special events in a premium kitchen retailer a year ago. It’s an impressive piece of tool. It is a take on super automatic, and puts through tried and tested “barista level” items, such as the commercial-grade portafilter to make a shot espresso or a steam or foamed consume literally as good as what you’d find out in any cafĂ©.

Overall the entire set of espresso coffee machines appears to be undergoing a shake-up to incorporate new and innovative techniques. This is exciting!

Natia is a coffee lover and loves each time she can write about it. She’s participated in regional barista contests in the past. While she’s no longer a Barista as a profession, she admits that espresso coffee is a part of her blood.

This article is inspired by the idea at CoffeeGeek, a community website, with the purpose is to inform, educate and entertain coffee and espresso lovers. Coffee Geek is one of the oldest specialty coffee websites, and most baristas, coffee champions and roasters started their career with questions on the Coffee Geek forums.