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Date: 10 Mar 2007 17:09:43
From: Mike Hartigan
Subject: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot. Not necessarily
bad, but never great. Aside from the obvious convenience, their
charm is largely in the fact that you sacrifice the occasional 'knock
your socks off' shot for the sake of never getting a bad one. Why is
that? Once the beans are roasted, the variables are grind,
temperature, and pressure. Since all three are adjustable (either at
the factory or by the user, depending on the machine), why can't a
good superauto be tweaked to make a consistently great shot?

--
-Mike




 
Date: 11 Mar 2007 15:42:30
From: LF
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
On 10, 7:09=C2=A0pm, Mike Hartigan <m...@hartigan.dot.com > wrote:
> There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
> turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot. =C2=A0<snip>

Mike,
Assume for the sake of discussion that a high end superauto can turn
out consistently very good espresso, given the will do so so, great
fresh beans and a great technician.
What do you think might happen if a large coffee company, like *$,
Peets, or DD began offering good espresso, and educating the public
about it (advertising)? Do you think they could make money from it?
Best,=E2=80=A8Larry





  
Date: 12 Mar 2007 10:15:44
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
IMHO, "the public" is NOT inclined to spend the money, maintenance effort
and tweaking to make most supers perform optimally.

Just based on the ones I see here in for repair.

dave
Saeco / Rancilio service center SE



"LF" <fieman@gmail.com > wrote in message
news:1173652950.323918.14990@64g2000cwx.googlegroups.com...
On 10, 7:09 pm, Mike Hartigan <m...@hartigan.dot.com > wrote:
> There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
> turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot. <snip>

Mike,
Assume for the sake of discussion that a high end superauto can turn
out consistently very good espresso, given the will do so so, great
fresh beans and a great technician.
What do you think might happen if a large coffee company, like *$,
Peets, or DD began offering good espresso, and educating the public
about it (advertising)? Do you think they could make money from it?
Best,?Larry






 
Date: 11 Mar 2007 12:32:23
From: Flasherly
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
On 10, 7:09 pm, Mike Hartigan <m...@hartigan.dot.com > wrote:
> There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
> turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot. Not necessarily
> bad, but never great. Aside from the obvious convenience, their
> charm is largely in the fact that you sacrifice the occasional 'knock
> your socks off' shot for the sake of never getting a bad one. Why is
> that? Once the beans are roasted, the variables are grind,
> temperature, and pressure. Since all three are adjustable (either at
> the factory or by the user, depending on the machine), why can't a
> good superauto be tweaked to make a consistently great shot?
>
> --
> -Mike


Crema is in part a mix of robusta blending (maybe 10%-30%). Pressure
and grind, though not to be understated, I'd wonder if they truly hold
greater emphasis across a range of machines (assuming fair water
dispersion, flow rate, and overall sound machine design
construction). What's then left to distinguish a notch up -- the
"High-End Machine" -- verily, be it temperature, quality boiler
assembly and group head characteristics. That may be what it takes to
knock your socks off, specifically, one sock directly after the other,
sic, without any equivocating between. Another thing is SO beans, or
known good coffee. Sweet is as good and good is what any prosumer
will ever get? Tinge of sweet plus sour, maybe? All of the above,
only plus more of the above?



 
Date: 11 Mar 2007 12:09:48
From: daveb
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?

> Barista Magazine had just had a really good article on this subject.

Since all coffee quality is subjective, then some may say that super
coffee is great!
there you have it.
Dave




 
Date: 11 Mar 2007 11:46:27
From:
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
On 10, 7:09 pm, Mike Hartigan <m...@hartigan.dot.com > wrote:
> There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
> turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot. Not necessarily
> bad, but never great. Aside from the obvious convenience, their
> charm is largely in the fact that you sacrifice the occasional 'knock
> your socks off' shot for the sake of never getting a bad one. Why is
> that? Once the beans are roasted, the variables are grind,
> temperature, and pressure. Since all three are adjustable (either at
> the factory or by the user, depending on the machine), why can't a
> good superauto be tweaked to make a consistently great shot?
>
> --
> -Mike

Barista Magazine had just had a really good article on this subject.



 
Date: 11 Mar 2007 05:45:46
From: ramboorider@gmail.com
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
On 10, 10:34 pm, shall <mrf...@ihatespamearthlink.net > wrote:
> On Sat, 10 2007 17:09:43 -0600, Mike Hartigan
>
> <m...@hartigan.dot.com> wrote:
> >There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
> >turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot.
>
> There is no such consensus, and in fact it isn't true. The problem is
> in keeping the machines properly tuned to keep brewing a good shot. By
> they way, I am talking about high-end commercial machines, like the
> Cimbalis, not home superautos. On those, I agree with you.
>
> shall

Don't most/all home super-autos use a pressurised PF? I'm assuming
with the level of grinder that most of them have built-in, you'd need
a pressurized PF to make it work at all. So that's a pretty huge
limiting factor right there. Do the high-end, commercial super-autos
have built in grinders? If so, I'm guessing they're much higher
quality than you'd get in the typical Capresso or Saeco or whatever.

-Ray



 
Date: 11 Mar 2007 10:05:08
From: Ronald
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?


"Mike Hartigan" <mike@hartigan.dot.com > wrote in message
news:MPG.205cf6b236e855dc989986@newsgroups.comcast.net...
> There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
> turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot. Not necessarily
> bad, but never great. Aside from the obvious convenience, their
> charm is largely in the fact that you sacrifice the occasional 'knock
> your socks off' shot for the sake of never getting a bad one. Why is
> that? Once the beans are roasted, the variables are grind,
> temperature, and pressure. Since all three are adjustable (either at
> the factory or by the user, depending on the machine), why can't a
> good superauto be tweaked to make a consistently great shot?
>
> --
> -Mike


Sure they can produce a good shot if they would be build around a E61 group
machine and a Mazzer grinder.
Problem is they are not. Especially the grinders used are below any
standards.

Ronald



  
Date: 12 Mar 2007 00:20:53
From: Coffee for Connoisseurs
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
>Especially the grinders used are below any standards.

Not true. They mostly use the Lux (trespade) and Solis burrsets, so the
potential is there. What is normally crippled is the adjustment. The
manufacturers won't allow "espresso" fineness because it damages the plastic
groups.


--
Alan

alanfrew@coffeeco.com.au
www.coffeeco.com.au




 
Date: 10 Mar 2007 21:05:41
From:
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
"Once the beans are roasted, the variables are grind,
temperature, and pressure."

I would add the cleanliness of the brew path, how even the water is
applied to the cake, and basket size, which seem to be smaller in
super autos.



 
Date: 11 Mar 2007 03:34:44
From: Marshall
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
On Sat, 10 2007 17:09:43 -0600, Mike Hartigan
<mike@hartigan.dot.com > wrote:

>There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
>turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot.

There is no such consensus, and in fact it isn't true. The problem is
in keeping the machines properly tuned to keep brewing a good shot. By
they way, I am talking about high-end commercial machines, like the
Cimbalis, not home superautos. On those, I agree with you.

shall


  
Date: 11 Mar 2007 21:39:53
From: Andy Schecter
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
shall wrote:
> The problem is
> in keeping the machines properly tuned to keep brewing a good shot. By
> they way, I am talking about high-end commercial machines, like the
> Cimbalis, not home superautos. On those, I agree with you.

At the SCAA show in Charlotte, k Crawford from La zocco gave a very
informative talk about some of the limitations of commercial superautos.

As you say, shall, they can make very good shots shots, but it is difficult
to KEEP them making very good shots. k believed that even the best
superautos available today needed adjustment far more often than is practical
in real-world shops.

Another interesting problem is the unintentional thermal coupling between
grinder and boiler in a superauto. Heat is the enemy of coffee bean quality,
and conventional espresso machine setups keep the bean supply and the boiler
physically separated. In superautos, however, they are brought together in
much closer proximity. Surprisingly, k said that no one had effectively
dealt with this situation yet.

--


-Andy S.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andy_s/sets/


 
Date: 10 Mar 2007 19:04:14
From: sprsso
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
It can, when done correctly...al


On Sat, 10 2007 17:09:43 -0600, Mike Hartigan
<mike@hartigan.dot.com > wrote:

>There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
>turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot. Not necessarily
>bad, but never great. Aside from the obvious convenience, their
>charm is largely in the fact that you sacrifice the occasional 'knock
>your socks off' shot for the sake of never getting a bad one. Why is
>that? Once the beans are roasted, the variables are grind,
>temperature, and pressure. Since all three are adjustable (either at
>the factory or by the user, depending on the machine), why can't a
>good superauto be tweaked to make a consistently great shot?



  
Date: 11 Mar 2007 11:00:07
From: Jack Denver
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
Correctly would be a large commerical superauto that is properly set up and
clean and full of fresh high quality beans (itself a rarity). As you say it
can be done, but often it isn't.

The home superautos are built around cheap grinders and plastic groups and
tiny boilers and they don't have a prayer of making "god shots" - just
adding some degree of automation does not turn the guts of a cheap Saeco
home machine into something better, it just raises the price tag.


"sprsso" <acritzer@cfl.rr.com > wrote in message
news:0qh6v29np4eqql4gvjnorvs7ai5imd5elf@4ax.com...
> It can, when done correctly...al
>
>
> On Sat, 10 2007 17:09:43 -0600, Mike Hartigan
> <mike@hartigan.dot.com> wrote:
>
>>There appears to be a consensus that a great superauto machine can
>>turn out, at best, a consistently mediocre shot. Not necessarily
>>bad, but never great. Aside from the obvious convenience, their
>>charm is largely in the fact that you sacrifice the occasional 'knock
>>your socks off' shot for the sake of never getting a bad one. Why is
>>that? Once the beans are roasted, the variables are grind,
>>temperature, and pressure. Since all three are adjustable (either at
>>the factory or by the user, depending on the machine), why can't a
>>good superauto be tweaked to make a consistently great shot?
>




  
Date: 11 Mar 2007 01:10:51
From: pltrgyst
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
On Sat, 10 2007 19:04:14 -0500, sprsso <acritzer@cfl.rr.com > wrote:

>>that? Once the beans are roasted, the variables are grind,
>>temperature, and pressure. Since all three are adjustable (either at
>>the factory or by the user, depending on the machine), why can't a
>>good superauto be tweaked to make a consistently great shot?
>
>It can, when done correctly...al

Definitely. I've had some outstanding espressos and Americanos from commercial
machines in company/government cafeterias in Europe.

-- Larry


 
Date: 11 Mar 2007 00:01:39
From: Coffee for Connoisseurs
Subject: Re: Why can't a superauto make a great shot of espresso?
>the variables are grind,
>temperature, and pressure.

And dose. The majority of consumer superautos allow a maximum dose of around
6g. I can get quite respectable shots from a superauto that allows for a
12-13g dose. Commercial superautos are a different matter, they can be set
up to produce excellent shots but rarely are. The people using them are
usually looking for maximum profit per shot rather than maximum quality.


--
Alan

alanfrew@coffeeco.com.au
www.coffeeco.com.au