If you love espresso but don’t love the effort and attention that goes into making an excellent cup, a super-automatic espresso machine might be exactly what you need. A super-automatic espresso machine is designed to make espresso from start to finish automatically. That means grinding the beans, heating the water, pulling the shot, and even frothing milk for cappuccinos and lattes, all while you sit idly by.
If that sounds pretty good to you, then you’re not alone. Super-automatic espresso machines have been around for a long time and are the pinnacle of at-home espresso making. But be warned, these machines are not cheap. Espresso is an expensive hobby in general, but super-automatic machines take that expense to a whole new level. If you are serious about getting the best hands-off espresso experience money can buy, sit back and let us walk you through the world of super-automatic espresso machines. These reviews are designed to fit many different priorities, so there’s something here for everyone.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||De'Longhi Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso Machine||
|Best Value||Gaggia 59101 Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine||
|Premium Choice||Breville Fully Automatic Espresso Machine||
|Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine||
|Saeco PicoBaristo Super Automatic Espresso Machine||
7 Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machines – Reviews 2021
1. De’Longhi Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso Machine – Best Overall
Kicking things off, we have the De’Longhi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso Machine. The grinder has a high-quality steel burr with 13 settings and automatically grinds your coffee on demand. Once the coffee is ground, the grounds are tamped, the water is heated, and the pressure pump initiates the brewing process while you watch. It’s easy to use, and there are a ton of options you can control to get the perfect shot.
A really nice feature is the ability to save your preferences for future use. Once you get the settings dialed in, you can make the perfect shot of espresso with only one button. We also love that the brew unit is removable, making it easy to clean without specialized tools.
There’s a reason this machine takes our top spot, and there aren’t many things to complain about. If we had to nitpick, we’d focus on the frother, which really isn’t anything special. Other machines come with automatic frothers that make your job even easier. While it would be nice to have, this machine does literally everything else with best-in-class results.
All in all, we think this is the best super-automatic espresso machine available this year.
2. Gaggia 59101 Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine – Best Value
Our runner-up is the Gaggia 59101 Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine. It doesn’t offer quite the same level of performance as the De’Longhi, but it is much more affordable, making it one of the best super-automatic espresso machines for the money.
The first area where Gaggia has cut costs is in the grinder. Instead of a steel burr grind, the 59101 Brera features a ceramic burr set. Steel and ceramic offer similar levels of grind performance, but ceramic can’t match steel in terms of durability.
Otherwise, the Gaggia holds up well. It has several preprogrammed drinks to choose from, and you can also create your own custom drink settings, which is nice to have. The brew group is removable, which makes cleaning much easier. It also has a manual steam wand.
The major selling point for this machine is its price. It is significantly cheaper than most other super-automatic machines, and yet it still makes great coffee. The tradeoffs are the ceramic burr, which is less durable, and a smaller capacity. The water reservoir only holds 20 ounces, and it can only hold five used pucks. This means you will find yourself filling the reservoir and removing old pucks frequently.
3. Breville Fully Automatic Espresso Machine – Premium Choice
If you thought the previous two machines were expensive, then you’re in for a shock. The Breville Fully Automatic Espresso Machine has literally anything you could want in an espresso machine. To make a drink, you use the touch screen to select what you want from a long list of preset options. There are settings for cappuccinos, lattes, flat whites. Almost any drink you could order at a coffee shop has a pre-programmed setting built-in.
Once you pick what you want, the proper amount of beans are automatically ground using the brushed steel conical burr set and tamped. There is an electronic sensor that keeps the brew temperature constant during the brew itself and a pre-infusion step that makes sure you get the perfect extraction. Even the frothing settings are adjustable and automatic.
There are no downsides besides the cost, which is extremely high. This is the peak of at-home espresso making. You can’t get any closer to having a live-in barista than owning this machine. If you have a lot of money to spend on espresso and want a true one-button experience, this is without a doubt the machine for you.
4. Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
That is a tough act to follow, but if any machine is up to the task, it’s the Philips 3200 Series. For starters, it is much more reasonably priced than the Breville, but of course, the quality is a significant step down as well. Like the Gaggia, this machine features a ceramic burr set that trades durability for a reduced cost.
There is an impressive list of drinks to choose from, and you can adjust them to your liking. What sets this machine apart from others is the easy frothing system. If you make a drink that requires frothed milk, the machine froths the milk and adds it to your cup automatically. It is a tubeless system that means no clean up is required even if milk is used. This is a big benefit if you frequently make lattes and cappuccinos.
We aren’t thrilled about the ceramic burrs, but we understand that the cost saved from having ceramic burrs is what allows them to pack so many great features into a relatively inexpensive machine. Overall, this is a great machine for the price, especially if you see yourself mostly using it for cappuccinos or lattes.
5. Saeco PicoBaristo Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Next up, we have a compact machine from Saeco PicoBaristo. This machine distinguishes itself by having an extensive list of 11 drinks in a small footprint. Most machines with a similar number of features and drinks to choose from are much larger. If you’re tight on space, this machine might be the one for you.
This one also has ceramic burrs, which is becoming a pattern as we move down the list. There’s nothing wrong with ceramic burrs in terms of coffee quality, but ceramic’s durability will always be lower than steel. In general, the construction of this machine feels cheaper than the others. When you’re spending this much money, the last thing you want is for your machine to look and feel cheap.
While the ceramic burrs and overall cheap feel are turn-offs, the bottom line is it makes exceptional espresso. Still, it is not as cheap as you might think based on the look and feel, which leaves us less impressed than we otherwise would be.
6. KRUPS EA89 Deluxe Super Automatic Espresso Machine
KRUPS EA89 Deluxe Super Automatic Espresso Machine strikes a good balance between cost, features, and performance. It can make 15 different drinks and includes a built-in milk frother. While there are custom options, they aren’t as flexible as the settings on other machines. You can select a “bold” option that changes the amount of coffee used, and there is an “extra shot” button that doubles the espresso content of your chosen drink. Beyond that, there aren’t any settings to adjust or play with.
There is a steam wand on board that works well when it works at all. We had quite a difficult time keeping it from clogging and resorted to soaking the wand in hot water after every use, which eliminated the clogging but is a lot of maintenance. Speaking of maintenance, if you buy this machine, anticipate cleaning after every fourth or fifth use. If you don’t clean it very frequently, the grinder clogs and stops working.
The maintenance issues are a pain, but if you can keep it in good working order, it makes excellent espresso. It is a decent amount cheaper than other super-automatics but doesn’t work nearly as well as the Gaggia 59101 Brera.
7. Espressione 8212S Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
Our final machine is the Espressione 8212S. We’ll start by saying this machine has its fair share of issues, but it can make good espresso and is very cheap by super-automatic standards.
This machine’s design is interesting in a few ways. First, it has a stainless steel burr grinder, which is unusual at this price. Second, it is extremely thin, which means it can fit where a traditional super-automatic machine cannot. Finally, there are no preset drink options. This machine makes shots of espresso. It is up to you to use the espresso it makes in your drink of choice. In our view, this makes it more of a standard machine than a super-automatic, but the grinder does technically put it in the super-automatic category.
Our primary concern is the bean hopper. In about half of our brews, we had to manually help the beans feed into the grinder, which defeats the purpose of having a super-automatic.
Overall, we appreciate the attempt to offer a very affordable machine in the super-automatic category, but it doesn’t quite work. You can use it to make good shots of espresso, but it takes some effort.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Buying a super-automatic espresso machine is a big purchase. If you’re going to spend a lot of money on an espresso machine, you want to make sure you know what you’re getting. In this section, we’re going to walk you through the important things to think about as you decide what super-automatic espresso maker is best for you.
What’s Your Budget?
The most important factor that determines what kind of machine you can buy is your budget. Even with a significant amount of money, the features and quality you’re looking for might be out of reach. It is important to decide on a budget before you start seriously shopping so that you can immediately rule out machines that exceed what you’re willing to spend.
What Features Do You Want?
Part of your budget consideration should include what features are essential and which are just nice to have. There is a broad spectrum of features available in super-automatic espresso makers, some of which might not interest you. You don’t want to spend some of your budget on features that will get little to no use.
What About Grinders?
We think the most important consideration is the grinder. A good grinder that consistently produces the fine grounds needed for top-notch espresso will make the difference between outstanding shots and shots that are only passable.
Look for stainless steel conical burrs. Stainless steel burrs will outlive almost every other part of your machine, and you won’t ever have to worry about replacing them. Conical burrs are the standard for consistency, so make sure any machine you look at is at least using a conical burr. Ceramic is an acceptable replacement, but if you plan on using your machine regularly for years, you might have to replace a ceramic burr eventually.
Tips for Longevity
Since super-automatic machines are such a large investment, it’s important to take care of them properly. A properly cared for machine can last for many years. Most machines have a light that comes on when you need to perform a descaling. Some machines don’t come with a descaling light and instead recommend descaling after a particular set time interval. We recommend looking for a machine that comes with a light. Without a light that automatically comes on, it’s very easy to forget to descale your machine, which will reduce its lifespan.
In addition to descaling regularly, you should also clean your machine at least once a month. A machine with a removable brew unit will make regular cleaning much easier. If you have to buy a machine that doesn’t have a removable brew unit make sure you know what you’re getting. Brew units need to be rinsed regularly and also require more extensive maintenance occasionally. Lubricating the moving parts of a brew unit that isn’t removable is a much bigger job than lubricating one that comes out easily.
Don’t Forget Customer Service
Something that people often overlook is the reliability of a company’s customer service. Super-automatic espresso machines are complex, and even the highest quality and most expensive ones will experience malfunctions every once in a while. When your machine isn’t working as intended, you want to be sure that there is dependable customer service assistance available. We recommend calling a company’s customer service number before you purchase one of their machines. Long hold times or rude operators are a major red flag.
When you get in contact with someone from customer service, ask about the availability and cost of replacement parts. Some manufacturers offer lifetime warranties that provide replacement parts free of charge. Knowing that you have recourse in case there is a problem down the road goes a long way to mitigate the possibility of buyer’s remorse.
Hopefully, you’ve found these reviews helpful! Super-automatic espresso machines are very expensive, and the decision to purchase one should not be made lightly. We hope our recommendations help you find the right machine for you and hope our buyer’s guide helps you sort out what to look for in a super-automatic.
Our overall recommendation is the De’Longhi Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso Machine. It is the best balance between cost and features and is the perfect introduction to the world of super-automatics. If that is too expensive for you, then a great budget-friendly choice is the Gaggia 59101 Brera. It isn’t as convenient as the De’Longhi but still makes excellent espresso. Instead, if you’re looking for the best in-home espresso experience money can buy, with one-button operation, look no further than the Breville Fully Automatic Espresso Machine.
Table of Contents
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- 7 Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machines – Reviews 2021
- 1. De’Longhi Magnifica Super Automatic Espresso Machine – Best Overall
- 2. Gaggia 59101 Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine – Best Value
- 3. Breville Fully Automatic Espresso Machine – Premium Choice
- 4. Philips 3200 Series Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
- 5. Saeco PicoBaristo Super Automatic Espresso Machine
- 6. KRUPS EA89 Deluxe Super Automatic Espresso Machine
- 7. Espressione 8212S Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
- Buyer’s Guide: How to Select the Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine