There’s nothing like the aroma and flavor of freshly brewed espresso. We coffee lovers understand that inexplicable pull as our senses are awakened by the experience.
As a kid, I remember waking up to the sound of my dad grinding the beans in the early morning light. I would tiptoe to the kitchen and watch him. Every part of his ritual—from the grinding to the frothing to pulling the shot—fascinated me.
When he was done, he’d inhale deeply before taking a careful sip. Then he’d nod in satisfaction, pleased with the result. Sometimes he’d let me smell the coffee. The froth tickled my nose, but I always loved the smell of the earthy richness.
As an adult, I still enjoy making espresso. Technology has given us so many options, with super automatic machines on one end of the spectrum, and semi-automatic on the other end. How can a person decide between the two types?
Well, here are a few things to think about. Hopefully, this helps you figure out which one works better for you.
Super Automatic Espresso Machines
Basically, a super automatic espresso machine does everything for you. There’s very little human interaction or even creativity involved. All you have to do is drop in the beans, add the water, and push a button. Some models even warm the milk while the coffee is doing its thing. So convenient, I know.
However, if you’re looking to add your own spin to the process, perhaps wanting a fuller body or a more complex flavor, you can’t just stop the machine. Various machines have grinding options, however, so that may give you the opportunity to try out different results.
This machine is for busy people who want a good quality espresso but don’t want the hassle of grinding the beans themselves. If you belong in the camp of those who want to be more involved in the process, then the semi-automatic machine is the one you want.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
The semi-automatic has a higher learning curve than the super automatic. But the extra effort in learning the machine and its capabilities, in addition to the extra practice of pulling the shot, will produce a superior espresso than the super automatic machine.
Yes, you’ll have to grind your own beans beforehand. And you’ll have to heat up your milk separately. But if you are the type of person who enjoys the process of things because you’re willing to wait for the result you want, then you won’t mind this machine at all.
Other Things to Consider
So you’ve taken note that one machine requires less time than the other, and one machine has a higher learning curve. You may want to consider other factors as well, such as cost and maintenance.
Most often, the super automatic’s convenience and quickness translate into a higher price tag than the semi-automatic. But different models have a range of costs, so if you prefer the convenience and the consistent results of a super automatic machine, I recommend you do your research.
Don’t forget to consider maintenance too. The super automatic contains more parts because of its extra features. But if you choose a machine with better quality parts you may not have to deal with this headache as long as you keep your machine clean.
Remember that you need to choose the machine that best meets your needs. Take everything I’ve told you into consideration, especially looking at how the benefits work with your lifestyle. I want you to enjoy and love the machine. But most of all: make sure to savor the flavor, and inhale the aroma. As my dad would say, life is too short to miss out on magic like this.