10 Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines | Fourth Estate
If you’re a true coffee lover, chances are you’re partial to a shot of espresso.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Super Automatic Espresso Machines
The process of espresso making has been honed over the centuries in Italy. Espresso making is the only method that can fully optimize the 800 compounds in roasted coffee without also allowing naturally occurring acids like tannins to taint the brew.
You brew espresso by forcing near-boiling pressurized water through your ground coffee and filter. Espresso is very thick and highly concentrated.
A great shot of espresso gives you everything you want in your coffee and nothing you don’t want so how can you recreate that at home?
With so many espresso machines flooding the market, there’s every chance you’re feeling confused.
Today we’re here to help you with our look at the very best automatic and super-automatic espresso machines on the market.
Before we outline the pros and cons of the best super-automatic espresso machines on the market in a little more depth, here is a quick snapshot of our overall pick for the most effective fully automated home espresso machine, the Breville Oracle Touch…
Our Pick: Breville Oracle Touch
The Breville Oracle Touch gives you all the convenience and speed of a super-automatic espresso machine with the flexibility of a less automated model. Choose from a wide array of long and short coffees remaining in control from bean to cup. Whether you want a no-nonsense espresso or a leisurely latte, investing in the Oracle Touch will save you money over time if you stop making expensive coffee shop runs and enjoy your drinks at home instead.
What’s the difference between these different types of espresso machine?
Automatic Espresso Machine
If you spot push-button functionality, it’s an automatic espresso machine.
As the name suggests, the machine does pretty much everything for you. The coffee and water will be measured and dosed so all you need to do is choose between a single or double shot and hit the button. It doesn’t get much easier than that.
Most automatic espresso machines come with onboard grinders.
With all main functionality taken care of at the press of a button, all you need to do is load up the filter and froth the milk and you’re good to go.
Automatic espresso machines are extremely simple to use but they will require some cleaning.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
The name of this machine also nails its colors to the mast…
With a super-automatic, all you need to do is pop your cup in the tray, push a button and wait for your golden shot.
While you’ll usually be able to make very small adjustments to grind size, you’ll otherwise have very little control over the variables.
Another major downside of super-automatic espresso machines is that they normally require professional cleaning.
Many super-automatic espresso machines come packing a milk tank that froths and pours milk, perfect for cappuccino and latte. Most have an integrated grinder.
If you’re not especially fussy about dialing in your shot, there’s little to beat the convenience of a super-automatic. If you want a more hands-on experience, check out our article on the best semi-automatic espresso machines.
I. How To Choose The Best Automatic Espresso Machine
There are some simple tactics you can use to simplify any buying decision.
Work out a budget and stick rigidly to this. Not only will you safeguard yourself against rash overspending, you’ll immediately whittle down your options and streamline your shortlisting process.
Once you’ve got the money straight, it’s time to double down on reading plenty of user reviews. Whether these are aggregate reviews or based on extensive testing of products, you can get an overall feel for where these espresso machines stand and fall.
Now it’s time to focus on some key issues that should inform your buying decision…
1. Category of Espresso Machine: Do You Really Want an Automatic Machine?
This might seem like a foolish question but it’s key if you want to end up with a coffee machine ideally suited to your needs.
The primary advantage of an automatic machine is convenience with speed coming a close second. On the downside, you generally won’t be able to make as many adjustments during the brewing process.
As long as you’re prepared to accept the limitations of an automatic machine as a trade-off for gourmet coffee in an instant, you’ll need to think about the different sub-classes of espresso machine…
2. Type of Automatic Espresso Machine
There are 3 broad types of machine:
- Single Boiler (Dual-Use): These machines have a single boiler controlled by thermostats so you can regulate the milk and water temperature. You can’t brew and steam simultaneously with these machines
- Dual Boiler: Coming with either a boiler and a Thermablock or 2 independent boilers, these machines are pricey and allow for simultaneous brewing and steaming
- Single Boiler (Heat Exchanger): With a single primary boiler and a coiled tube acting as a heat exchanger, these espresso machines generally occupy the mid-range. As with a dual boiler, you’ll be able to steam and brew at the same time
Be aware that some dual boiler machines perform poorly in North America on 110 volts so look closely at the voltage issue if you’re interested in a dual boiler.
Once you’ve dialed in the style and type of espresso machine you’re after and you’ve got some options in view, think carefully about how easy it is to use. It’s pointless investing in an appliance to save you time and effort if it ends up giving you a headache to navigate.
Think about the controls and how easy they are to access and think also about how conveniently the machine will pop on your counter top.
4. Build Quality
When you’re investing a considerable amount in an automatic espresso machine, you should place build quality and durability uppermost.
Most machines at this price point will come in stainless steel or aluminum and they’ll have varying degrees of plastic components.
Double down on user reviews where people will generally be pretty honest if a product has let them down.
You generally get what you pay for and espresso machines are no different. While you can get a perfectly serviceable machine without bankrupting yourself, if you’re looking for the very best coffee, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
5. Cleaning and Maintenance
Let’s face it, cleaning espresso machines can be a real grind.Look for models that include at least some degree of auto-cleaning so you’ll have at least some of the work taken care of.
Beyond this, look for parts that detach easily and keep your eyes peeled to determine whether the machine you’re interested in is dishwasher-safe if that’s a priority for you.
Most of the best machines should demand relatively little upkeep.
6. What Degree of Customization Can You Achieve?
One of the chief drawbacks with super-automatic espresso machines is the fact you’re largely thrown at the mercy of pre-sets.
If you prefer to exercise a little more control over your brew while still enjoying the convenience of an automatic machine, look for models allowing you to make adjustments to water temperature, froth and coffee strength as well as the type of drink you want. Many automatics now deliver a surprisingly flexible experience.
7. Range of Drinks Available
If you don’t deviate from espresso, it makes sense to angle toward one of the more basic and limited machines. Why pay for what you don’t use, right?
For larger families with varying drink demands, it pays to target a multi-purpose machine that will dole out latte and macchiato rather than being dominated by espresso.
You should have a reasonable idea now about what to look out for when you’re tracking down an automatic espresso machine.
We’ll get straight down to business now with our look at 10 of the very best super-automatic espresso machines so you’re spoiled for choice.
Read More: Best Espresso Coffee Beans
II. 10 Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machine Reviews
1) Our Pick: Breville Oracle Touch Automatic Manual Coffee Machine
Breville’s latest iteration of the Oracle Touch is not cheap but the best things in life rarely are.
If you want all the convenience of a super-automatic espresso machine while still remaining in control of the brewing process, the pioneering Oracle Touch occupies a niche of its own.
Whether you want to make use of the color touch screen and the intuitive automation for a seamless, almost hands-free espresso experience or you prefer to hit override and operate the Oracle manually, the end result is the same: a mighty fine cup of coffee in 60 seconds flat.
If you choose automatic mode, the Breville takes care of pretty much everything…
The integrated burr grinder ensures you get a uniform grind every time, essential for consistency in your espresso. You can easily tweak the grind size allowing you maximum flexibility whether you’re looking for a short, sharp espresso or a frothy latte.
Once ground, the machine will tamp the coffee automatically into the portafilter. This enables you to exert the same pressure every brew, another way of dialing in the variables.
You can let the Oracle froth your milk expertly or use the wand and whip it up yourself.
There’s a pre-set extraction system in place although you can tweak the times if you are extremely particular about your espresso.
Thanks to the dual burner, you’ll be able to extract your coffee while also steaming milk resulting in your drink served in under a minute. This speed of operation is one of the key selling points of the Oracle. It’s ideal for anyone with a hectic schedule but not prepared to compromise on choice coffee.
One thing that elevates the Breville above most of the competition is the variety of drinks at your disposal. Whether you want a jolt of espresso or a leisurely long black, you can choose from 5 preset beverages with the ability to program in 8 more of your design.
The polished steel finish has a fingerprint-resistant coating so it will still look slick on your counter after years of faithful use.
If you’re looking for a top-notch espresso and you’re caught between the simplicity of an automatic machine and the flexibility of a semi-auto, the Breville Oracle Touch is in a class of its own delivering just what you’re looking for. While it’s not cheap, there are far more expensive options out there, and overall it’s our top pick super-automatic espresso machine.
You Can Brew The Following Cups With This Machine:
- Long Black (Americano)
- Flat White
- 8 personalized coffees
- Fully automated grinding, tamping and steaming takes all the sting out of operation
- Onboard grinder for optimum consistency in your brewing
- Dual brewer allows to you to steam and brew simultaneously
- Steam wand for perfectly frothed lattes every time
- Ability to override automation for maximum versatility
- Weighing 37 pounds and measuring 15 x 17 x 18 inches, you’ll need plenty of space on the counter
2) Best Budget: Jura 15068 IMPRESSA C65 Automatic Coffee Machine
With over 30 years in the trenches building first-class espresso machines, Jura is a Swiss brand with immaculate heritage.
The Impressa C65 is not cheap but it represents outstanding value for such a capable automatic espresso machine. Once you step up into this territory of machine, there are no cheap options but the Jura is the next best thing and our best budget pick.
Where many coffee machines look relatively bland and samey, the striking Impressa will make a statement in any kitchen with its combination of a minimalist palette and curving angular lines.
Jura specialize in beans to cup machines and from popping your preferred beans into the conical grinder onboard through to the piping espresso in your glass, the Impressa takes all the hard work out of this brewing method.
Unlike many espresso machines which are incredibly complex and awkward to use, the Jura has a central color display and a rotary switch so you can flick through the menus seamlessly.
If you prefer longer drinks, you’re spoiled for choice with 13 styles of coffee from espresso through to macchiato and latte. Frothing is first-rate so you can enjoy the finest longer drinks not just the best shot of espresso.
While you might generally like using fresh coffee beans and grinding them just before drinking, sometimes you might also fancy using pre-ground. Maybe you just want a quick cup of decaf without needing to empty out the hopper. It’s nice to have this option, even if you don’t make use of it very often.
You should never overlook the importance of water when aiming for the best coffee. You’ll get a replaceable water filter with the Impressa which is ideal if you live somewhere where the water supply is too hard or soft for your liking.
Speed is of the essence with this super-automatic espresso machine. A large part of the delay with many machines is the need to heat the water. The Impressa does this as it passes through the machine so you’ll have a tasty drink in your cup in no more than a minute.
Since you have such a broad spread of choice when it comes to drink type, you’ll appreciate the adjustable spout so you can easily accommodate even much taller cups and mugs without spilling coffee everywhere.
If you’re looking for an entry into the world of super-automatic espresso machines without bankrupting yourself, you can’t beat the Jura Impressa. You’ll be covered by a warranty for 2 years or 6000 brewings, whichever comes first, so you can buy without any headaches.
You Can Brew The Following Cups With This Machine:
- Flat White
- Fantastic choice of 13 pre-set coffees
- Control panel and menus intuitive and a pleasure to navigate
- Replaceable water filter is a nice touch
- Froths to an extremely high standard perfect for longer drinks
- Adjust strength quickly and easily
- Could heat the water a little more
3) The Best Fully Automatic Espresso Machine: DeLonghi America Prima Donna
If you’re looking for a fully automated espresso experience from a brand you can trust, the DeLonghi Prima Donna might be just what you’ve been waiting for.
With any super-automatic espresso machine, user-friendliness should be uppermost. It’s senseless having a machine packed with features if you struggle to navigate. From the oversized color screen through to using your smartphone via Bluetooth for control, functio