How to Choose An Automatic Coffee Machine
Nothing compares to the first taste of coffee in the morning. It is a vital part of the morning routine for people all across the globe.
We may prepare and drink it differently, but enjoying a steaming cup of coffee in the morning (or any time of day) is something that many people have in common.
While it is nice to grab a cup at your local coffee shop, the convenience and value experienced by preparing it at home can also be very satisfying.
Investing in a great coffee machine is one way to ensure that you will never be without your coffee and you will most likely save yourself some money in the long run.
The Ultimate Automatic Coffee Machine Guide
Choosing the right machine for you and your lifestyle can be a bit overwhelming at first. There are so many models to choose from with new features and styles on the market every year. There are some specific criteria to focus on that can make the choice easier.
After reading this guide, you should be able to narrow your options and feel comfortable with your final decision about which automatic coffee machine is right for you.
What are automatic coffee machines?
In order to make an informed purchase, you should really have some details about what exactly an automatic coffee machine is and how it can make your life easier.
Basically, an automatic coffee machine takes the time and hassle out of having to manually grind and brew your coffee. The latest models feature options that let you program your machine to start brewing whenever you would like with the push of a button.
A fully automatic coffee machine works by first grinding the beans and then forcing water heated to the right temperature through the ground coffee into your cup.
This sounds simple enough, and it really can make the coffee-making process incredibly easy.
Technology today is so impressive that you don’t have to settle for the same cup of coffee day after day. You can personalize your cup with some of the following options:
- Brew strength
- Water quantity
- Beverage choice
- Fine, medium or coarse grind
Not only can you personalize what goes in your cup, but you can make the process extremely easy by choosing a machine that does almost everything for you. With a fully loaded automatic machine you can do the following:
- Program brewing for the desired time
- Enjoy freshly ground beans with a built-in grinder
- Avoid mishaps with an automatic shut-off function
- Safely wash components in a dishwasher
- Enjoy easy maintenance with descaling alerts/self-cleaning options
These options and more are available with many of the models on the market today. Obviously, with a higher budget, more of the luxury options will be included while a budget-friendly machine will have more of the basic features.
Deciding which features you can’t live without can make your decision a little easier when it comes to narrowing down your choices.
Read Our Best Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines Guide
How much do automatic coffee machines cost?
If you have already decided that a fully automatic model is the best option for you, the next thing you should probably consider is your budget.
There are some great options in the budget-friendly category that will most likely satisfy the everyday coffee drinker who wants their brew strong, fast, and with as few steps as possible.
The Gevi Espresso Machines 15 Bar Automatic Cappuccino Coffee Maker gets the job done with options for making different types of drinks with control overheating elements to get your coffee to the perfect temperature for you – for around $100.
If you are looking for something mid-range, you might consider the Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine with Milk Frother for around $700. This machine includes a milk frother and the ability to adjust strength and volume. The Aquaclean feature makes descaling easier and less frequently needed.
If you really mean business when it comes to coffee with no expenses spared, you are going to want to look for a Breville or Jura brand machine. These come with a bigger price tag but they can do pretty much anything and everything coffee-related.
For example, the Jura D6 Automatic Coffee Machine can make cappuccino, espresso and regular coffee, plus it can be controlled using an app. It comes with an integrated grinder and can usually be found for under $1000.
The best time to look for a great deal on a machine would most likely be during holiday sales. Black Friday and Cyber Monday usually provide awesome discounts on these types of machines.
You may also find discounts at the end of the year when new models will be released and older models are sometimes put on clearance to make room for the newer merchandise.
What to Consider When Buying an Automatic Coffee Machine
If you’re thinking about an automatic coffee machine, the choice – in terms of manufacturers and machine options – can be a bit overwhelming.
To make your decision-making a bit more manageable, we’ve outlined some of the key things you should really be considering.
Automatic, ‘Super-Automatic’, or Manual Settings
Coffee machines today can do just about anything with the touch of a button. Some are even more hi-tech than others, functioning with smart technology from a phone or tablet.
A coffee machine with super-automatic settings is going to include all the features you are looking for if you want a very hands-off brewing experience – even taking care of frothing the mil for the perfect cappuccino!
If you are particular about how long you want espresso shots pulled or how you want your milk frothed, this may not give you enough control. You might look into a machine with a mix of manual and automatic settings if you have specifications that are important for you to control.
Milk Steamer & Coffee Options
Choosing a different beverage every morning sounds like a dream come true for many coffee lovers. With the right machine, you can create the coffee drink of your choice with very little effort.
The ability to manually steam milk to your own taste gives you lots of beverage options, although choosing this type of machine will mean that the upkeep and cleaning may be a bit more tedious.
If you opt for one of the ‘super-automatic’ machines that will even take care of the milk-frothing, this may sound much easier, but you won’t have as much control over how you get the milk in your morning latte.
Hand grinding coffee beans is an unnecessary task these days since many automatic coffee machines include a built-in grinder.
This is a feature that you will most likely find in popular machines as most people are okay with skipping the mess and effort that comes with manual grinding.
There are different types of grinders (typically burr being better than blade), and they are often made of different materials, e.g. ceramic, steel etc.
The quality of the grinder is an important factor in how well your coffee machine matches your requirements, so keep that in mind when making your selection.
Take into consideration the style and available space in your kitchen when choosing a coffee machine.
A huge, shiny machine may look out of place in a small, retro kitchen. You should be able to find the features that you want in a coffee machine that fits your home and lifestyle.
Pay close attention to size specifications, particularly height and access for refilling the bean hopper and water tank, if your counter space is at a premium.
All coffee machines will require at least some maintenance. However, there are some that make it pretty easy to get done.
If ease of cleaning and descaling is important to you, look for a machine that includes dishwasher safe parts, self-clean options, and minimal disassembly when cleaning.
However, don’t sacrifice the quality of the coffee your machine produces just because it’s easier to clean. You should be able to find great coffee makers that are easy to look after, as well.
The Best Eco-friendly Coffee Makers Available Now
Sometimes, even with all the options narrowed down, it is still difficult to make a choice. This is especially true if you are making an expensive investment and want to be sure that you are making a solid decision.
The following suggestions of the coffee machines highly-rated by coffee lovers should make it a little easier to know you are getting a quality machine in the automatic category.
1. Breville Barista Express
It delivers speed and more in a beautiful package.
This is an example of an all-in-one machine that grinds the exact amount required for your cup of coffee – making the process as seamless as possible.
It includes a powerful steam wand for perfect milk-frothing, so you can indulge in your own latte-art.
2. Jura D6
This machine has the ability to grind and brew individual cups of your choice in less than a minute!
If you are looking for options, this machine offers strength, flavor, and volume customization, with Pulse Extraction technology for optimal flavor.
There’s even the option to use the Smart Connect app to make your coffee – so no more standing by your machine, waiting.
3. Breville Barista Pro
The precision built-in conical burr grinder features dose control, to ensure that you get exactly the right amount of coffee for your brew, delivering maximum flavor.
The innovative heating system means the water reaches the perfect temperature quickly – ready to start extracting in just 3 seconds!
The digital controls and intuitive interface make it even easier to control your coffee-making experience, so you get a cup of coffee perfect for your taste.
1. What is a ‘dual boiler’ coffee machine?
A double boiler coffee machine is a model that includes both a brew boiler and a steam boiler.
The benefit of a double boiler is that you are able to brew a cup and steam the milk at the same time. This comes in handy if you are making coffee for two or more.
2. Is a water filter essential?
Most coffee connoisseurs would agree that filtered water does make a difference in the taste of their coffee.
It is possible to brew and enjoy coffee made with a machine that does not include a water filter but that is a personal preference.
3. Is the quality of the grinder important?
In a word – yes. Your cup of coffee starts with the beans, so it makes sense that you would want a decent grinder to kick the whole process off.
The quality of the grinder can determine the quality of your grounds. If you are sensitive to the flavor nuances that can be found in fine, medium or coarse grounds, you will want to buy a machine that lets you choose the grind.
Most experts agree that a conical burr grinder gives a consistent grind as opposed to a blade grinder.
The Last Drop
With busy lives, comes the desire for convenience. Some things are so important to us that it is difficult to compromise when it comes to quality.
Fortunately, when it comes to automatic coffee machines, there are amazing options that not only help you create a delicious cup of coffee but can add a beautiful aesthetic to your home as well.
Knowing what features to search for can be helpful, so hopefully using this guide can get you started looking in the right direction.