Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine: 10 Models Reviewed
The rightfully automatic espresso machine is like having a trained barista right in your kitchen. A machine-barista is doling out delicious cappuccinos, and macchiatos at your command. Pretty amazing, right? But buying one of these premium espresso machines is a significant investment, and you want to get your money’s worth.
This article has everything you need to know about choosing the best automatic espresso machine. Plus, it offers our top ten for 2020, all guaranteed to satisfy.
At A Glance:
- What’s the Deal with Automatic Espresso Machines?
- How to Choose the Right Automatic Espresso Machine
- The 10 Best Automatic Espresso Machines in 2020
- 1. Jura IMPRESSA C9 – Best Overall
- 2. De’Longhi Eletta – Best for a Latte
- 3. Saeco PicoBaristo – Best with Built-in Grinder
- 4. Jura Z8 – Best Smart Machine
- 5. Breville Oracle – Best for Espresso
- 6. Gaggia Brera – Best Value
- 7. De’Longhi Magnifica – Best for a Cappuccino
- 8. Jura ENA Micro 9 – Best Compact Machine
- 9. Gaggia Babila – Most Customizable Drinks
- 10. Jura Z6 – Most Versatile
- The Verdict
What’s the Deal with Automatic Espresso Machines?
The first step in buying an espresso machine is understanding the different types. We broadly categorize espresso machines into manual, semi-automatic, and super-automatic espresso machines (1). With no sophisticated machinery, electronics, or pumps involved, manual machines give the user ultimate control over the espresso. They use the physical strength of the barista to force hot water through the grounds. Each parameter can be adjusted to suit the bean: the grind, the tamping, the pressure, and the extraction time (2).
If a certain coffee needs a longer pre-infusion or extracts more flavour with a distinct pressure profile, it is easy to do this. They allow creativity and experimentation
Manual espresso makers take practice to master. Logically, there is a lot of room for human error, but they allow you to understand the craft of espresso truly. If this sounds right up your alley, take a look at our list of the best manual espresso machine.
Differently, semi-automatic espresso machines have an internal pump to force water through the grounds. Also, some semi automatics have built-in grinders. These remove a little user control in favor of more consistent results. But, tamping and extraction time you still do manually.
FInally, super automatic espresso machines do it all. Above all, they guarantee you consistency. Just add water and beans, and they will grind, dose, tamp, and pull the shot. Many have automatic milk frothing and offer one-touch drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos. These programmable machines provide some degree of user control over brewing parameters. However, they lack the hands-on connection of manual operation. Though once maligned for this very reason, newer generation bean to cup coffee machines is a cut above (3).
How to Choose the Right Automatic Espresso Machine
Automatic espresso machines are expensive, so you want to make sure you choose the one that suits your lifestyle. This buyer’s guide will walk you through some essential features to consider.
What do you like to drink?
If you’re here, you like to drink espresso. But do you prefer a shot enhanced only by a rich layer of crema, a creamy latte, or foamy cappuccino? Answering these questions will help you decide if you want an espresso maker with a top-of-the-line milk texturing system or one that prioritizes the best quality espresso. If you regularly drink milky drinks, you may want to look for a machine that offers them at the touch of a button.
How do you like to froth?
Regarding milk frothing, most coffee machines offer either an automatic frother or a steam wand. An automatic frother provides the option of one-touch milky drinks and takes user error out of the equation. On the other hand, the wand takes more time to master, but you have more control over the milk texture and can use it for latte art.
How much control do you want?
Fully-automatic espresso machines take manual control out of the hands of the user. But they reintroduce it in the form of programmability and adjustable features. With many machines, you can still design a drink to your liking. You do this by customizing brewing temperature and strength, and milk temperature and texture.
I would venture to say that a properly programmed and maintained super auto can yield a higher quality cup of coffee than the average barista can in a busy café setting.
However, maybe you want to have control of a manual machine. But you also wish for the convenience of a super automatic espresso package? Then, look for a machine with a high degree of programmability.
How much capacity do you need?
The size and capacity of an espresso machine often depend on the size of the machine’s water reservoir. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker or a member of a large household or office, buying a coffee maker with a sizable water tank is worthwhile. It will save you from constant refilling, even if it takes up a little more space on the counter. In a similar vein, look for a machine with a large bean hopper to avoid the need for constant top-ups.
Also, take into account how many drinks you can brew at a time. Most machines offer dual spouts so you can pull two shots of espresso at a time. Additionally, some high-end machines can even brew a jug of coffee.
If you’re short on space or you value portability, you may want to consider one from our best travel espresso makers list.
Consider the cost
While there is no such thing as a genuinely cheap automatic espresso maker, there is a massive range of prices in this category. From a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. When you set out to buy one, first make a note of your budget. Then think for which features you’re willing to pay extra. This is immense help towards narrowing your search.
Lastly, a few other things can have a significant effect on the overall cost. For example, the presence or absence of a milk frother. Also, you want to see if the machine features a single or dual boiler, what are its construction materials, and the degree of programmability.
For some of our favorites from every category, check out our list of top-rated espresso machines. Our list breaks down into great espresso machines you can buy for $500 or less, higher-end espresso machine models, and inexpensive espresso machines you can avail for $200 or less.
Don’t forget about maintenance
A fully automatic espresso machine is an advanced piece of technology. Thus, it requires care to maintain peak operation. Though not as fun as drinking coffee, many manufacturers are adopting innovative technology to make maintenance as straightforward as possible.
Look for user-friendly options like removable brew heads, one-touch cleaning cycles, and automatic milk system sterilization. Machines with built-in water filtration and softening systems mean you’ll get purer water for your coffee and have to descale less often, if ever.
So, to make your decision easier, each machine on our list has a score. The simple scoring goes from 1 to 5, with 5 being the easiest to clean.
The 10 Best Automatic Espresso Machines in 2020
|Jura IMPRESSA C9||
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|Jura ENA Micro 9||
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Now that you know what to look for, here are our ten favorites for this year. Whether you want a great latte, a one-touch cappuccino or the best shot of espresso, one of these automatic or super automatic coffee and espresso makers is guaranteed to deliver.
The Jura IMPRESSA C9 is our favorite automatic coffee and espresso maker this year thanks to its top-of-the-line beverages, compact design, and affordable price. This sleek-looking machine is controlled by a user-friendly front panel. It offers several fully customizable pre-programmed drinks, as well as dispensing hot water or milk.
Furthermore, Jura C9 includes a built-in, conical burr grinder with six grind settings. It also comes with a 14-ounce thermal milk carafe, significantly increasing its value for money. The water tank is quite large at 64 ounces, as is the 8-ounce bean hopper, so you won’t need to refill frequently.
You can customize your drinks to one of three brew strengths and two temperatures. Moreover, milky options like lattes and cappuccinos are available at a single touch. The automatic milk frother features Jura’s patented Fine Foam technology. This promises long-lasting and perfectly sweet microfoam.
The IMPRESSA C9 includes Jura’s environmentally friendly energy-saving mode. This mode reduces energy use up to 40% by allowing you to adjust power consumption to suit your habits. It also features the Zero Energy Switch so that the machine pulls virtually no power when not in use, even when plugged in.
PRO TIP: You may find it useful to check out a refurbished IMPRESSA C9.
The De’Longhi Eletta offers everything you’d expect from a super automatic espresso machine. Yet, there are some special touches that make it our best automatic latte machine for home.
The bean hopper is a notably large 14 ounces, and the built-in burr grinder has 13 grind settings. Eleven pre-programmed drink options, from latte macchiato to flat white, can be customized by temperature, brew strength, and milk to espresso ratio. The Eletta even offers regular coffee, using a lower brewing pressure to produce a drip-style java.
Undoubtedly, a great latte is as much about the milk as the espresso. So, this is where the Eletta shines, with De’Longhi’s innovative LatteCrema automatic frothing system. LatteCrema yields creamy and long-lasting milk foam from the removable milk container. Moreover, if automatic frothing doesn’t appeal, the water dispenser doubles as a wand for steaming. This feature produces dense microfoam for latte art. Lastly, after frothing, you can clean the system with the turn of a dial.
The Eletta features dual thermoblock heaters, which allow the coffee and milk systems to heat separately to their ideal temperatures. Dual heaters guarantee optimum temperature for both and faster lattes.
Italy-based Seaco was the first company to introduce super automatic espresso machines. Clearly, their expertise in the field is unmatched. The PicoBaristo is a mid-priced model in their line-up. It features everything the home barista needs.
The built-in ceramic burr grinder has ten grind settings, and a bypass doser is available for pre-ground coffee beans. The PicoBaristo offers eight preset drinks at the touch of a button. Each drink can be customized by size, brew strength, and temperature. You control it by a user-friendly LCD screen, which also keeps you apprised of necessary maintenance and lets you know if the water or beans need refilling.
Moreover, the maintenance of this super automatic espresso machine is among the easiest in its class. Thanks to its Aquaclean filtration system, the PicoBaristo only needs descaling every 5,000 cups. You sterilize the entire milk system automatically with hot steam after each use. Also, the brew head is easily removable for a rinse. Finally, the automatic milk frother produces a creamy microfoam, and the removable milk carafe can be stored in the fridge when not in use.
Jura Z8 is one of the most technologically advanced models from a company that prides itself on the integration of novel technologies. Therefore, be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it. For a full rundown of Jura’s line-up of tech-heavy machines, check out our Jura coffee machine reviews.
The Z8 offers Bluetooth connectivity, allowing it to sync with Jura’s J.O.E. app. This gives the user access to more drink options, maintenance instructions and videos, customer support, and more. It also allows you to link the machine with other smart devices, like Jura’s Cool Control 1 milk cooler.
Furthermore, there are three new one-touch drinks, an Americano, a Caffe barista, and a jug of coffee. All are prepared using a novel method that mixes hot water into the coffee during extraction. This produces a rich and full-bodied beverage.
Coffee drinks, along with 18 other specialties, can be programmed and customized using a best-in-class 4.3-inch high-resolution touch screen color display. You grind the beans in the fast and quiet Aroma G3 grinder, and the patented pulsed extraction process guarantees ideal extraction. The automatic milk frother includes Fine Foam technology for sweet and long-standing microfoam.
Perhaps the coolest thing about the Z8 is that it self-cleans when you power it on. The water reservoir houses Jura’s CLEARYL filters and intelligent water system, which uses RFID technology to simplify the maintenance process. Just follow the machine’s guidance, and you should never need to descale.
The Breville Oracle falls between a semi-automatic and fully automatic design. This espresso maker will still grind, dose, tamp and pull the shot for you. But you will have to move the portafilter from the grinder to the brew head. To clarify, this intentional design decision lets you visually inspect the puck. This is particularly useful when you’re trying new beans. It also offers the option of manual tamping.
The Oracle has both dual boilers and dual pumps. For sure, a rare inclusion that allows you to pull a shot and froth milk at the same time, without worrying about temperature variations in either process. Not only that, but the brew head temperature is also digitally controlled and can be precisely set between 190 and 205 ℉ for a perfectly balanced extraction.
The built-in, conical burr grinder has a whopping 40 settings, as well as 19 to 22 grams dosing for a creamy double shot. A low-pressure pre-infusion step precedes pulling the shot, performed with an industry-standard 15 bar pump. The Oracle even offers the rare one-touch Americano, which adds water to the shot via a dedicated water spout.
The steam wand is fully automatic, with user-selected options for milk temperature and texture. But because this machine is all about giving the user more control, you can also use the wand manually.
The Gaggia Brera is one of the company’s entry-level models. Still, this renowned Italian manufacturer couldn’t make a low-quality espresso machine if they tried. Therefore, the Brera is an incredible value.
Its iconic Italian style has a retro feel and a durable stainless steel casing. Nevertheless, its functionality is modern, controlled by an LCD screen. At only 12 inches tall, it fits comfortably under low-hanging cupboards, and the bean hopper and water reservoir are accessible from the front.
Furthermore, the flat ceramic grinder (4) has five grind settings. A pre-infusion cycle readies the grounds for optimum extraction, and the 15 bar pump ensures plenty of pressure for real crema-topped espresso. Additionally, Gaggia’s Opti Aroma technology allows you to choose between 3 coffee strengths, and hot water is available on demand for an Americano.
Finally, a Panarello style wand froths milk for a latte or cappuccino. It offers a bit more control than an automatic frother, albeit with a small learning curve. Thanks to rapid steam technology, the wand heats in under 10 seconds.
Here’s a more in-depth Gaggia Brera review.
The Magnifica is De’Longhi’s entry-level model in this category. Therefore, an affordable choice that still offers plenty of functionality. This machine is relatively compact. It has a small footprint, short stature and space-saving features like a front-removable water reservoir.
A 9-ounce bean hopper funnels into a built-in stainless steel conical burr grinder (5) with seven grind settings, or a bypass chute for pre-ground coffee is available. A volume dial lets you dispense between 0.5 and 6 ounces at a time. Moreover, brew strength dial controls the amount of ground coffee distributed for intimate control over the size and strength of your espresso.
Despite being a budget offering, this machine still features dual boilers, so you can make drinks faster and have both your espresso and milk at the perfect temperature. The steam wand features De’Longhi’s patented Cappuccino system, which mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy froth.
Unfortunately, one issue with the Magnifica is that the water reservoir is not compatible with a filter. This machine will therefore require more frequent descaling.
Jura’s recently released E.N.A. line produces great espresso from compact machines. The Micro 9 is our favorite of the lot.
Despite its small stature, the Micro 9 offers many customizable drink options via its intuitive rotary dial. The built-in, conical burr grinder offers five grind sizes, and you can adjust the water and milk volumes, the coffee strength, and the brewing temperature. You can also tailor the water hardness thanks to the included CLEARYL filter.
This automatic coffee machine heats rapidly using a thermoblock heating system. Furthermore, it includes Jura’s proprietary two-step pre-infusion system, which prepares the grounds for optimal extraction. Though a compact machine, it can pull two shots at once, and spout height is adjustable to accommodate different mugs.
The milk and coffee systems have separate plumbing, which ensures proper hygiene and facilitates one-touch lattes and cappuccino options. Also, the automatic milk frother uses Jura’s patented Fine Foam technology, which promises a long-lasting and finely textured milk foam.
The Italian-made Gaggia Babila combines an incredible amount of beverage personalization with Gaggia’s reputation for consistently great espresso. As such, it guarantees satisfaction for users of any taste. This slim machine with retro styling will fit nicely in any kitchen, and its stainless steel housing ensures its longevity.
The built-in grinder has 15 settings. There are eight options for pre-programmed one-touch drinks, including ristretto, flat white, and macchiato. Each is customizable by strength, volume, temperature, and taste. Additionally, dual boilers ensure that both espresso and milk are at the perfect temperature. A flow knob adjusts extraction levels for precise strength control, and you can even modify pre-infusion time.
Gaggia Babila offers both automatic frothing and a wand for steaming, depending on how much control you want over the milk texturing process. The latter also doubles as a water dispenser, for making tea or Americanos.
Lastly, its brew group is removable for easy rinsing. Also, the milk carafe is auto cleaned after each use, and using the included Aquaclean filter means you rarely need to descale. The Babila even ships with a water hardness test strip.
Jura’s Z line is one of their most advanced, showcasing all the bells and whistles. The Z6 features an award-winning (6) compact design, encased in a stylish and durable aluminum.
This machine includes the fast and quiet Aroma G3 burr grinder, fed by a 9.5 ounce sealed bean hopper. It offers both Jura’s P.E.P. and pre-infusion technologies, so you can trust that a high-quality espresso will form the basis of any drink. Additionally, there are 13 pre-programmed beverage options, which you can customize to your heart’s content. You can choose one of ten coffee strengths, three brewing temperatures, and even two water temperatures for making tea. Amazing, indeed.
There are also ten temperature settings for steamed and foamed milk. As if that wasn’t enough, the innovative milk nozzle automatically switches from steam to foam depending on drink selection. The only downside is that you don’t get a milk carafe included. Certainly, a surprising thing for such an expensive machine.
The extra-large water reservoir, which is accessible from the front, is paired with Jura’s new Intelligent Water System. To clarify further, the IWS uses RFID enabled smart filters to monitor your water supply. So, this fine system effectively takes the guesswork out of water quality and maintenance.
PRO TIP: This model is also available as refurbished.
Buying a super-automatic espresso machine is a big investment. But if you get the right one for you, it pays for itself in convenience and satisfaction. With this article, you now know just what to look for when purchasing your own. And, we recommend Jura IMPRESSA C9 for the best automatic espresso machine. It’s the best balance of quality, functionality, and value.
The difference between an espresso machine and a coffee machine is that an espresso machine brews using high pressure of at least 9 bars. In contrast, a coffee machine relies on the pressure of the atmosphere, which is about 1 bar (7).
In a single espresso shot there usually is between 6 and 10 g. Thus, a double shot varies between 15 and 21 g (8).
A Pannarello steam Wand attaches to the steam arm of an espresso machine. It makes it easier to achieve perfect froth. Pannarello wand comes in plastic, metal, or a combination of both.
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