This is my roundup of the best espresso machines with grinders.
I have owned three espresso machines with grinders (the Breville Barista Pro, the Jura E8 and the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 4200), and spent a whole day researching users’ experiences with these types of machines online to put together this roundup.
Let’s get started.
Best Overall (Automatic Machine): Breville Barista Pro
Cheapest That I am Happy to Recommend (Automatic Machine): Calphalon Temp IQ with Grinder
Best Overall (Super Automatic Machine): Jura E8
Cheapest That I am Happy to Recommend (Super Automatic Machine): Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI
I think that automatic espresso machines are a better option for most people than super automatic machines, therefore the best espresso machine with a grinder is the Breville Barista Pro:
Best Overall (Automatic): Breville Barista Pro
The Breville Barista Pro is the best automatic espresso machine with a grinder due to it being easy for beginners to make a good espresso with and because of its built-in brew timer which helps you fine-tune your espresso once you get more experienced in pulling shots.
Quality of Espresso
The Breville Barista Pro makes a very good espresso,
Its internal parts (grinder, pump and heating mechanism) are high quality enough that it will consistently brew at the barista’s recommended pressure and temperature.
I particularly like the fact that the machine automatically times your brews.
Timing your brews can help you troubleshoot any issues that might negatively affect your espresso’s flavor.
For example, if the shot pulls too slowly (over 30 seconds) it means that you are tamping too firmly.
Arming yourself with this type of information is how you go from being able to make good espresso to be able to make amazing espresso. The Barista Pro goes a long way in helping you to do this.
The only thing that I can dock the Barista Pro points for, as far as espresso quality is concerned, is that it does not weigh out your ground coffee dose.
The machine instead measures out your coffee dose by time to dispense.
This is not a fixed measurement because finer coffee grinds slower than coarser coffee.
This makes it hard to get your brew ratios consistent, putting a ceiling on how far you can perfect your espresso.
Quality of Espresso Rating: 9/10
Quality of Steam Wand
The Breville Barista Pro uses a four holed pin holed steam wand.
This is about as good a steam wand that you can get on a domestic machine, allowing you to create thick, luscious foam to top a macchiato as well as silky microfoam for lattes.
It is very similar to the type of steam wands you will find on a commercial machine in a cafe, so is more than adequate to make latte art.
To top it off the steam wand turns on in under five seconds and can blow steam for well over 90 seconds before overheating. This can allow you to make enough coffee for half a dozen lattes in one go.
Quality of Steam Wand Rating: 10/10
Ease of Use and Cleaning
The Breville Barista Pro is very easy to use, even for a beginner (I have named it as one of the best espresso machines for beginners.)
Although you do need to tamp your coffee manually, and this takes a bit of practice to master, the machine comes with pressurized portafilters.
Pressurized portafilters allow you to still make a decent espresso if you mess up your tamping.
They just do not allow you to make a great espresso if you tamp your coffee properly (the machine also comes with non-pressurized portafilters once you have mastered tamping).
The Barista Pro controls your water dosing, and times your shots to give you feedback on how you can improve your shot next time. This means that you can improve every shot you pull with this machine.
The machine tells you when it needs to be descaled and has a dedicated descale mode to guide you through this.
It also has a three-way solenoid valve. This means that all your espresso pucks will come out of your portafilter as a firm lump, meaning that you do not need to scoop out a soggy, spilly mess once you have pulled your shot.
Very few domestic espresso machines have this three-way solenoid valve.
Ease of Use and Cleaning Rating: 9/10
Design and Build Quality
The Barista Pro has a high internal build quality as evidenced by the fact that it can go from being off to being able to make an espresso in 3 seconds (this can only be the case if it has a really high-quality heating system).
Its external build is ok, but it is a bit lightweight and has a few flimsy plastic elements including its drip tray grill and water tank.
There is also an issue with its grinder in that it clogs up if you grind on too fine a setting (anything under setting five).
You can find out more about this technical issue in my in-depth Breville Barista Pro review.
This is an annoying technical issue and a big oversight by the manufacturer.
Design and Build Quality Rating: 7/10
Value For Money
The Barista Pro is good value for money, even if it is quite expensive.
My favorite things about the machine are its ridiculously fast heat-up time and its built-in shot timer.
You will not find a machine that has these features at a lower price than the Barista Pro.
Value for Money Rating: 8/10
Cheapest Espresso Machine With Grinder I Feel Comfortable Recommending (Automatic): Calphalon Temp IQ With Grinder
The Calphalon Temp IQ is a reliable, no-frills espresso machine with a built-in grinder. It’s not outstanding, but does not have any major flaws and represents excellent value for money.
Quality of Espresso
The Calphalon Temp IQ can make a decent espresso due to its high-quality grinder and the fact that it comes with a non-pressurized portafilter.
However, it does not allow you too much precision with your espresso-making for a couple of reasons:
- It does not measure out your ground coffee for you.
- It does not time your shots or show you the pressure that your espresso is being brewed under.
Therefore you will always be stuck in the “decent, but not great” range of espresso with this machine.
Quality of Espresso Rating: 6/10
Quality of Steam Wand
The Calphalon Temp IQ uses a pin-holed steam wand with one hole.
This is a good steam wand by domestic espresso machine standards.
Much like the Barista Pro, you can create a range of milk textures with this wand, so it’s good for pretty much any milk-based drink.
The Calphalon’s steam wand is not quite as powerful as the Barista Plus. This is both a good and a bad thing.
While it takes slightly longer to steam milk, its gentler steaming makes it easier to use for beginners as you are less likely to scorch your milk.
Quality of Steam Wand Rating: 8/10
Ease of Use and Cleaning
The Calphalon Temp IQ is very easy to use for beginners, but quite hard to put a fantastic shot with.
The machine grinds your coffee and doses your water for you, but gives you no assistance with your ground coffee dose. You need to do this by eye which, if you want any precision with your coffee making, is not ideal.
Cleaning and descaling the machine is easy due to its many removable parts and dedicated descale mode.
The machine does not have a three-way solenoid valve so coffee pucks can come out very wet and sloppy making the portafilter hard to clean straight after use.
Ease of Use and Cleaning Rating: 7/10
Design and Build Quality
Although the Calphalon Temp IQ is a reliable machine (indicating a good internal build quality), its exterior is made with far more plastic than the Breville Barista Pro.
The manufacturer has clearly cut some corners with its external build materials, but at least these savings are handed back to you as it is much cheaper than the Breville machine.
The Calphalon Temp IQ uses a thermoblock heating system.
This means that its heater will deteriorate faster than more expensive machines that use a more advanced boiler or thermocoil system (the Breville Barista Pro is an example of this using the thermocoil system).
Design and Build Quality Rating: 6/10
Value For Money
The machine is pretty much the most affordable espresso machine with a coffee grinder money can buy.
It’s a rarity that the cheapest machine of a particular type isn’t complete garbage, but the Calphalon Temp IQ is far from that.
It’s reliable (in the short term at least) if the unglamorous machine and well worth the money.
For more information on this machine, please see my Calphalon espresso machine review.
Value For Money Rating: 9/10
Best Overall (Super Automatic Espresso Machine): Jura E8
The Jura E8 is the best super automatic machine out there. It makes as good an espresso as any super-automatic machine and does not have its price tag inflated by extraneous features that do not add to the machine’s core performance.
Quality of Coffee
The Jura E8 makes the best coffee out of all super-automatic machines (along with other Jura machines).
This was confirmed by YouTube barista James Hoffmann in his video comparing super-automatic espresso machines.
The reason why Jura machines make better coffee than other super automatic machines is because of their patented “Pulse Extraction Process”.
Super-automatic machines tend to brew espresso too quickly to achieve a good extraction, but the “Pulse Extraction Process” slows down this brewing, leading to a better flavored and better-bodied espresso.
You can find out more about Jura’s “Pulse Extraction Process” in my review of the Jura E8.
Quality of Coffee Rating: 9/10
Quality of Milk Steaming
The E8’s milk frother can make really good thick milk foam for cappuccino and macchiato.
The machine’s finer milk foam leaves a little to be desired, however.
You can definitely make better finer foamed milk with a good quality steam wand.
Quality of Milk Steaming Rating: 7/10
The Jura E8 can make all the well-known milk-based espresso drinks like cappuccino and flat white.
Although latte is not on its menu, you can easily make this by creating an espresso and then adding plain foamed milk (there is a menu option for plain foamed milk).
The machine can make espresso and double espresso but does not give you the option to make other variations of espresso like ristretto or lungo.
The lack of lungo is a particular shame as I think that this is often the best drink on a super-automatic machine due to the necessary longer brewing time involved in making this drink.
The Jura E8 allows you to customize:
- The amount of ground coffee used in your drink
- The volume of liquid in your coffee
- The volume of milk in your coffee
This gives you really good scope for customizing your drinks and I love the fact that you can customize each drink on the fly as you are brewing it.
Functionalities Rating: 8/10
Ease of Use and Cleaning
The machine is button operated and has an LCD screen that shows you all your menu options and which guides you through the brewing and customizing your drinks.
The LCD screen also guides you through the descaling and cleaning of the machine.
The machine is self-cleaning, so its maintenance is really easy.
The only regular cleaning it needs is emptying the water tray and used coffee container. The machine will flash a warning on its LCD screen when this needs to happen.
I don’t like the fact that you cannot remove the machine’s brewing unit (you need to unscrew the machine to do this).
This makes troubleshooting technical issues difficult, as they are often resolved by lubricating the brewing unit. You cannot do this with the Jura E8 so fixable technical issues can make the machine unusable.
Ease of Use and Cleaning Rating: 8/10
Value for Money
The E8 is not the cheapest super-automatic available, but it is well worth the money.
Jura machines tend to be more expensive than other super-automatic machines. You are paying extra for their patented pulse extraction process which means that they make better espresso than any other super automatic out there.
The E8 is the best value-for-money Jura machine (as well as being the best Jura machine outright).
It has all the functionalities that make Juras machines great, without any of the superfluous features that inflate its price tag without adding much to the machine’s performance.
An example of this is a comparison between the Jura E8 and Jura S8.
S8 is just an E8 with a touch screen. The S8 is about $1000 more than the E8 just for this touch screen.
Value For Money Rating: 9/10
Cheapest Espresso Machine With Grinder I Feel Comfortable Recommending (Super Automatic): Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI
The Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI makes good espresso and is easy to use, making it one of the best value-for-money super-automatic espresso machines available. Its milk-steaming abilities are lacking, however.
Quality of Coffee
In his comparison of super-automatic espresso machines, James Hoffmann said that Delonghi machines make the second-best espresso after Jura.
Hoffmann commented that Delonghi’s espresso is particularly good if you opt for a lungo rather than traditional espresso.
Selecting a lungo lengthens the coffee’s brewing time allowing for better extraction.
Still, even when the Delonghi makes a lungo, its coffee is not as good as what a Jura machine can produce when brewing a standard espresso.
Quality of Coffee Rating: 7/10
Quality of Milk Steaming
Hoffmann was less complimentary about the Dinamica ECAM35075SI’s milk frother.
His finding, which matches with the general consensus online, is that Delonghi’s milk frother makes quite a large, thick foam.
Finer foam is usually considered to be more desirable than thick foam.
This is further backed up by the fact that the only milk drink that the machine offers is cappuccino. Cappuccino is generally made with thicker milk foam than a latte.
The machine just cannot make the finer foamed milk you want in a latte. Even its thicker foam isn’t that great, with many saying that it has a very non-uniform texture.
Quality of Milk Frother: 5/10
The Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI has three black coffee options (espresso, lungo and iced coffee) and one milk-based drink option (cappuccino).
It also allows you to dispense just foamed milk at the touch of a button. This can allow you to make a latte by making an espresso and adding foamed milk to it.
I like the fact that the machine gives you a lungo as a preset. Super-automatic machines are best suited to making lungos due to the inherent longer brewing time involved in making these drinks.
Super-automatic machines do not extract that efficiently so benefit from this extra brewing time.
Users of the machine on Reddit seem to be very complimentary of the iced coffee the Dinamica makes.
It does this by brewing at a lower temperature for a longer time so your coffee does not immediately melt your ice (the coffee is still warm though so you need a lot of ice).
You can customize the amount of ground coffee and water in each drink but you need to hard code this into the machine before brewing rather than doing this on the fly. This makes the whole customization process a bit more cumbersome than with the Jura E8.
Functionalities Rating: 7/10
Ease of Use and Cleaning
The machine has a digital display screen to guide you through the brewing process.
While you control its menu with buttons labelled with icons for specific drinks, the display screen also tells you the drinks name so you are left under no illusion of what you are making.
The machine has dedicated self-cleaning and descale modes making cleaning the machine a breeze.
It also tells you when its water and used coffee container need to be emptied so you do not end up making a mess in the kitchen.
You can easily remove the machine’s brewing unit to clean and lubricate it. This helps keep your machine in top condition over the long term.
Ease of Use and Cleaning Rating: 9/10
Value For Money
The Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI is good, but not excellent value for money.
It delivers a good quality machine for the money you spend, but I think that the gulf between Jura and Delonghi super automatics is so vast that I’d rather spend a little bit extra for a Jura.
You can find out more about this machine in my Delonghi Dinamica review.
Value For Money Rating: 7/10
What You Should Look Out For When Buying an Espresso Machine With a Grinder
Here are the following features you should pay attention to, and questions you should ask yourself when shopping around for an espresso machine with a grinder.
Do I Want an Automatic or Super Automatic Machine?
Espresso machines with grinders fall into one of two categories based on their fundamental design and operation: super-automatic machines and automatic machines.
Super-automatic machines grind your coffee, dose out your coffee and then brew your coffee all for you at the touch of a button.
Automatic machines just grind and brew your coffee. You need to dose out and tamp your ground coffee in a portafilter.
Not all automatic espresso machines have grinders, in fact, most do not and rather just dose out your water and brew your coffee for you.
The table below shows the pros and cons of these two types of espresso machine.
|Automatic espresso machine||Super-automatic espresso machine|
|Quality of Coffee||Higher (generally speaking)||Lower (generally speaking)|
|Ease of Use||Harder to use||Easier to use|
|Ease of Cleaning||Several components to clean manually after every shot pulled||Largely self-cleaning|
|Price||$50 – $1,500||$300 – $5,000+|
|Best for…||People who want to experiment with different brewing methods to create the best possible espresso.||People who want a 7/10 espresso with as little work as possible.|
- If you value the quality of espresso that you can make with your machine above everything else then go for an automatic espresso machine.
- If you value convenience above all other factors then go for a super-automatic machine.
Due to the differences between these two types of machines, it is very hard to compare them against each other.
I’m therefore going to split the rest of this buying guide up by machine type.
What to Look Out For When Buying An Automatic Espresso Machine With a Grinder
The first question you should ask yourself is:
Should I Even Buy An Automatic Machine With A Built-in Grinder?
Below is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of having a machine with a grinder:
Advantages of an espresso machine with a built-in grinder
- It saves you space.
- It is a less messy way of making espresso as you do not need to move the portafilter from one machine to another.
Disadvantages of an espresso machine with a built-in grinder
- It’s harder to fix a grinder if it clogs up – this can put the whole machine out of use.
- You will get better quality for your money if you get a separate machine and grinder.
- A separate grinder will likely give you scope to grind more coarsely for french press and drip coffee.
In short, the main reason to get a machine with an integrated machine is to save space and a bit of cleanup.
If these are not a priority to you then you might want to get a separate machine and grinder.
If you are in this position then you might want to check out my roundup of the best espresso machines for beginners.
If you have your heart set on an automatic espresso machine with a built-in grinder, then these are the features of the machine that you should focus on when choosing which one to buy.
The grinders that you find on automatic espresso machines vary in a couple of ways
Grinder type: Either a blade or a burr grinder
Number of Grind Settings: This usually ranges from around ten to around fifty settings
You should always look for a machine that uses a burr grinder. Blade grinders are not suitable for espresso making.
You may notice that some machines use flat burr grinders and some use conical burr grinders. There is very little difference between these two types of grinders.
So long as the machine uses a burr grinder you are good to go.
|Grinder type||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|Flat burr||Ideal (but less common)|
Number of Grind Settings
Grinders have a certain number of settings that determine the size of your coffee grind.
The higher number of settings a grinder has, the better.
More settings imply that there is less difference between each grind setting.
For example, the difference between size 6 and size 7 on a grinder with thirty settings will be less than the difference between size 6 and size 7 on a grinder with only ten settings.
A smaller difference between each grind setting means that you have more scope to experiment with different grind sizes.
Since grind size is one of the biggest variables of espresso flavor and body, having a lot of different settings to play with makes a significant difference in the extent that you can perfect your espresso.
|Number of grind settings||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|Less than Ten||Undesirable|
|Ten to Thirty||Acceptable|
The table below shows the type of grinder that the two automatic espresso machines featured in this article have:
|Machine Name||Grinder Type||Number of Grind Settings|
|Breville Barista Pro||Conical burr||30|
|Calphalon Temp IQ with Grinder||Conical burr||30|
Assisted Coffee Dosing
Since one of the most important parts of espresso brewing is getting your ground coffee dose correct, you want a machine that helps you to measure out your coffee as you grind it into your portafilter.
Automatic espresso machines with built-in grinders have three ways that it can manage your coffee dose:
- No assistance at all. You need to dose out your coffee by eye.
- The machine doses out for you based on the time it takes to grind and dispense the coffee.
- The machine doses out for you based on the weight of the coffee dosed.
Out of these three options, you want a machine that doses out your coffee by weight.
While dosing out by time to grind is better than nothing, it is a flawed measurement because the finer you grind your coffee, the longer it takes.
Therefore two grinds of 15 seconds can result in different quantities of coffee in your portafilter based on your grind fineness.
Fifteen seconds worth of super fine coffee will be lower in weight than 15 seconds of coarsely ground coffee.
|Ground coffee dose assistance||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|Measuring out coffee by time to grind||Acceptable|
|Measuring out coffee by weight||Ideal (only found on very expensive machines)|
The table below shows how the two automatic espresso machines featured in this article assist you in dosing out your coffee.
|Machine Name||Ground coffee dose assistance|
|Breville Barista Pro||Measures out ground coffee by time to grind|
|Calphalon Temp IQ with Grinder||No assistance|
Portafilter Basket Type
Portafilters (the detachable part of an espresso machine that holds your ground coffee during brewing) can have two types of baskets: pressurized baskets and non-pressurized baskets.
Pressurized portafilter baskets (also called single-walled portafilter baskets) force all your espresso through one tiny hole.
This helps you to achieve an even extraction with unevenly ground coffee and tamped, but puts a lower ceiling on the quality of espresso that you can brew.
Non-pressurized portafilters (also called dual-walled portafilter baskets) have hundreds of tiny holes that your coffee can get pushed through when brewing.
This creates a better espresso when using fresh, evenly ground and tamped coffee but creates a poorer espresso when working with pre-ground coffee.
|Portafilter basket type||Also called||Best for…|
|Pressurized||Double walled||making espresso with pre-ground coffee|
|Non-Pressurized||Single-walled||Making espresso with freshly ground coffee|
Ideally, your espresso machine will come with both types of portafilter baskets.
This means that you can still create a good coffee with poorly tamped coffee but that you can create a better espresso once your tamping technique improves.
If your machine only comes with one type of portafilter basket, then you want it to be a non-pressurized basket.
Machines with built-in burr grinders should be able to grind coffee evenly enough to make the most of a non-pressurized portafilter basket.
Therefore, if your machine only comes with a pressurized portafilter basket then this is a bit of a waste of having the built-in grinder.
You might as well be using pre-ground coffee.
|Type(s) of portafilter basket||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
The table below shows the portafilter basket types that the two automatic espresso machines featured in this article have:
|Machine Name||Types of Portafilter Baskets|
|Breville Barista Pro||Pressurized and Non Pressurized|
|Calphalon Temp IQ With Grinder||Pressurized and Non Pressurized|
Automatic espresso machines almost always have one of two types of steam wands. They are:
Panarello steam wand: These steam wands have a sleeve around them with a hole in them. This mumps extra air into your milk to help you froth the milk without you having to maneuver the wand in the milk too much.
Pin-holed steam wand: These steam wands just push steam out of holes at the end of their nozzle. No extra air is pumped into the milk. To steam milk, you need to first place the tip of the nozzle on the surface of the milk and then submerge the wand in the milk to bring it up to temperature.
The table below shows the differences between a panarello and pin holed steam wand
|Steam wand type||Appearance||Functionality||Learning curve|
|Panarello||Perfectly cylindrical||Can only create thick foam||Hardly any learning curve|
|Pin Holed||Flares at the tip||Can create many textures of milk||Small learning curve|
I would always opt for a machine with a pin-holed steam wand over a panarello steam wand.
Pin-holed steam wands vastly increase the variety of textured milk you can make with your machine. Although they have a small learning curve, they are not as hard to use as you might think
After about five attempts at steaming milk, you will likely be able to make better-steamed milk with a pin-holed steam wand than you can with a panarello.
Pin-holed steam wands vary in the number of holes they have, ranging from one to four holes.
More holes are better as it distributes steam throughout your milk more evenly resulting in a more uniform milk texture.
|Type of steam wand||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|Pin holed steam wand with more than one hole||Ideal|
|Pin holed steam wand with one hole||Acceptable|
|Panarello steam wand||Undesirable|
The table below shows the type of steam wands that the two automatic machines featured in this article have:
|Machine name||Type of steam wand|
|Breville Barista Pro||Pin-holed steam wand with four holes|
|Calphalon Temp IQ With Grinder||Pin holed steam wand with one hole|
You want your espresso machine to have some sort of warning system that tells you when it needs to be descaled (this is usually some sort of flashing light or error message).
You want to be warned of this for two reasons:
- Using a machine that needs to be descaled can cause permanent and irreversible damage to your machines pump and heating system
- The regularity that you need to descale depends on a host of complex factors including how hard your water is and the quality of your machine’s water filtration system. It’s therefore hard to apply a “one rule fits all” approach to descaling.
It’s also useful for your machine to have a dedicated descale mode to guide you through the descaling process.
In fairness, most automatic machines have this.
|Descaling system||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|Descale warning system and dedicated descale mode||Ideal|
|Descale warning system only||Acceptable|
|No descale warning system or descale mode||Undesirable|
The table below shows the what descaling systems the two machines featured in this article have:
|Machine name||Descaling system|
|Breville Barista Pro||Descale warning system and dedicated descale mode|
|Calphalon Temp IQ With Grinder||Descale warning system and dedicated descale mode|
Automatic espresso machines can have one of four heating systems. They are:
Espresso machines can have one of four systems to heat up the water and the milk that you make your coffee with. They are:
- Single boiler
- Double boiler
The table below breaks down how each of these heating systems works, as well as what their pros and cons are:
|Heating system||How it works||Advantages||Disadvantages|
|Thermoblock||The machine heats the internal pipe that your brewing water or steam runs through.||Cheap, meaning that machines that use it will be relatively cheap.||Your water loses heat before it hits your coffee as the final part of the pipe is not heated.|
|Thermocoil||The machine heats the internal pipe that your brewing water or steam runs through, but only at the tip where it meets your coffee.||Your water is at the desired temperature when it hits your coffee.||You need to wait a relatively long time between pulling coffee shots as the thermocoil cools down easily.|
|Single boiler||The machine heats up large quantities of water within the entire machine.||You can pull several espresso shots quickly without waiting.|
Water is always at your desired temperature.
|You cannot pull espresso shots and steam milk at the same time.|
More expensive than thermoblock and thermocoil systems.
|Double boiler||Same as a single boiler, but separate heating systems are used for the espresso brewer and the steam wand.||You can pull espresso shots and steam milk at the same time.|
Water and steam are always at the desired temperature.
|This significantly adds to the cost of your machine.|
I would recommend a beginner get a machine with a thermocoil or single boiler system.
These two types of heating systems allow you to make significantly better drinks than those with a thermoblock system.
Double boiler heating systems are amazing, and the best quality heating system available, but machines with this type of heating system are invariably very expensive.
I think that double-boiler espresso machines are only worth the money if they are being used in a commercial setting where you can really benefit from the convenience of being able to make espresso and steam milk simultaneously.
|Heating System||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|Double boiler||Acceptable (ideal if you are happy to spend a lot of money|
The table below shows what heating systems the two automatic espresso machines featured in this article use:
|Machine name||Heating system|
|Breville Barista Pro||Thermocoil|
|Calphalon Temp IQ With Grinder||Thermoblock|
You want an espresso machine to be heavy enough that it does not move around when you attach and detach its portafilter.
Generally, the weight required to do this is around 25 pounds (11.5 kg).
You want your machine to weigh over 25 pounds unless you are specifically looking for a portable machine or one with as small a footprint as possible.
|Weight||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|Over 25 lbs (11.5 kgs)||Ideal|
|Under 25 lbs (11.5 kgs)||Acceptable|
The table below shows how much the two automatic espresso machines featured in this article weigh:
|Breville Barista Pro||20 lbs (9 kg)|
|Calphalon Temp IQ With Grinder||21.7 lbs (9.8 kg)|
Automatic espresso machines with grinders tend to cost from $300 to in excess of $1,500
While this may seem steep, you should bear in mind that a burr grinder alone usually costs over $100.
The value sweet spot for an automatic espresso machine with a grinder is $300 – $900.
Any less than that and the machines become unreliable, any more than that and you are likely paying for features that aren’t central to the main functions of the machine.
Pump (Less Important Than You Think)
Almost every machine will be marketed as having a “15 bar pump capable of producing 9 bars of pressure”.
This is almost a meaningless statement at this point. Most of the time, with a domestic machine, you brew espresso at far lower than 9 bars of pressure (closer to 6 or 7).
While the pump is an essential part of an espresso machine, the pump’s durability and longevity is far more important than its maximum pressure.
It’s hard to say whether a pump is durable just by its specs.
The only way you can sleuth out whether an espresso machine’s pump is durable is by looking at reviews of the machine online and seeing if there are repeated claims of the machine losing pressure.
Fortunately, I have done this for you.
Neither of the machines featured in this article has people online repeatedly claiming that their pumps lose pressure over time.
What to Look Out For When Buying a Super Automatic Espresso Machine
Below is a list of features that you should look out for when buying a super-automatic espresso machine. For a deeper dive into these types of machines, please see my roundup of the best super-automatic espresso machines.
Super-automatic espresso machines vary wildly in price, ranging from about $350 on the low end to well in excess of $4000 on the expensive end.
The value sweet spot for super automatics is between around $600 and $2,000.
Super-automatic espresso machines under $600 tend to be unreliable and often become more hassle to use than automatic machines. This defeats the purpose of buying a super-automatic in the first place.
Paying more than $2,000 for a super-automatic espresso machine usually means that you are paying for features that are not central to the machine’s core functioning (a huge number of menu items for example).
You should therefore only pay more than $2000 for a super-automatic machine if it is the only machine with a specific feature that you want.
|Cost||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|$600 – $2,000||Ideal|
Superautomatic machines almost always have one of three user interface designs. They are:
- Button-only control panel
- Button control panel with LCD screen display
- Touch screen
I’d recommend buying a super-automatic that has a button control panel with an LCD screen.
Button-only machines tend to be really unintuitive, and often have their buttons signposted with rather cryptic symbols.
You need to spend ages pouring over manuals and hunting around online just to work out how to operate and troubleshoot the machine.
Machines with LCD screens guide you through using the machine, making it easy to use, and allowing someone who is unfamiliar with the machine to use it easily for the first time.
Touchscreen-operated machines are also easy to use but tend to be far more expensive than button-operated machines.
An example of this is a comparison between the Jura E8 and Jura S8. The Jura S8 is essentially the Jura E8 with the addition of a touch screen.
The S8 costs almost $1000 more than the E8 just for this touchscreen.
|User interface||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|Button-only control panel||Undesirable|
|Button-operated control panel with LCD screen||Ideal|
|Touch screen||Acceptable (not good value for money)|
The table below shows the user interface of the two super-automatic espresso machines featured in this article:
|Machine name||User interface|
|Jura E8||Button-operated control panel with LCD screen|
|Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI||Button-operated control panel with LCD screen|
Milk Steaming System
Super-automatic espresso machines can vary in their milk system in three ways:
- Their design
- Their variety of milk texture
- Their variety of milk temperature
Some machines have their milk container physically attached to the machine, whereas others have their milk container separate from the machine which is then connected to by a rubber tube.
One design is not necessarily better than the other, just be aware that machines with separate milk containers will require a lot more countertop space (particularly width space) than ones with milk containers attached to the machine itself.
Variety of Milk Texture
Some machines allow you to create different textures of milk, whereas others will just give you one milk texture (usually thick foam).
If you want to make a wide range of milk-based drinks, then you should look for a machine with multiple milk texture settings. These do tend to be on the more expensive side, however.
Variety of Milk Temperature
A handful of top-end machines allow you to adjust your milk’s temperature.
Personally, I think that this is a largely superfluous feature.
There is an established ideal temperature to steam milk at (155 – 165 Fahrenheit).
Steaming milk any hotter or colder than this window will either result in you scorching the milk and creating a weird eggy taste (too hot) or not breaking down the lactose in the milk and having bland-frothed milk (too cold).
The only time controlling the temperature of your steamed milk is useful is if you are making an iced coffee and want cold foam.
Only the Jura Z8, one of the most expensive super-automatic machines, can do this well.
The table below shows the milk-steaming functionalities of the two super-automatic machines featured in this article.
|Machine name||Milk system design||Texture settings||Temperature settings|
|Jura E8||Separate milk container||Two settings||One setting|
|Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI||Milk container is attached to the machine||One setting||One setting|
Coffee Brewing System (Why Jura Machines Are Worth the Money)
Each make of super-automatic espresso machine brews espresso in a slightly different way, meaning that they each produce a different quality of the espresso.
A super-automatic machine’s internal brewing systems are usually patented by a manufacturer.
This means that there is far more difference in espresso quality between different manufacturers than there is between different models made by the same manufacturer.
In his comparison of super-automatic machines, YouTube barista James Hoffmann said that Jura super automatics make, by quite a distance, the best espresso of all the machines he tested.
Here is his list in full (from best to worst espresso):
This is why Jura machines feature prominently in the best super automatic espresso machines.
Available Coffee Types
Super-automatics usually have a menu that you can select your coffee from.
Different machines have different-sized menus, with more basic machines offering the staples like espresso and cappuccino only with more expensive machines allowing you to create every espresso drink available (cortado, macchiato etc)
Additional menu items can significantly inflate a machine’s price tag
Manufacturers often “upgrade” a machine (and add 50% to its price) just by adding a few extra available coffee types.
Here are two tips for making sure you don’t overspend on a machine:
- Look closely at the menu and think about the drinks you actually want.
There is little point in paying over the odds if you will only drink a small portion of the available drinks.
- Be wary of machines that make coffees that aren’t based on espresso.
These include filter coffee and cold brew. Super-automatics just are not designed to make these types of coffee and therefore do a really bad job at them.
The table below shows the coffee types that the two super-automatic machines featured in this article have on their menu.
|Machine name||Available coffee types|
Plain hot milk
|Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SII||Espresso|
Plain hot milk
Can You Remove The Machine’s Brewing Unit?
Most super automatic machines allow you to easily open it up at the side (no unscrewing necessary) and remove its brewing unit.
There are two benefits that you get from being able to remove a super-automatic espresso machine’s brewing unit:
- It helps the machine maintain its quality of espresso as it does not get tainted by rancid coffee beans.
- A lot of technical issues are troubleshot by removing, cleaning and lubricating the machine’s brewing unit.
Jura is the only manufacturer that does not allow you to remove its machine’s brewing unit.
It instead has a “rinse” mode and comes with tablets that chemically clean the brewing unit.
I still think that this is inferior to being able to physically remove and clean the brewing unit, especially as you cannot lubricate the brewing unit if you clean it chemically.
The table below shows whether you can remove the two super-automatic machines featured in this article’s brewing units.
|Machine name||Removable brewing unit|
|Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI||Yes|
Grinder (Less Important Than You Think)
Many retailers point to a super-automatic espresso machine having a vast number of grinder settings as being a major selling point of that machine.
The truth is that because super automatics cannot tamp your coffee, they can only work with a very small range of coffee grind sizes (medium fine, basically)
Therefore paying over the odds for a machine with 50+ grind settings is a bit of a waste of money.
|Number of grind settings||Ideal / Acceptable / Undesirable|
|Ten to Thirty||Ideal|
|Over Thirty||Undesirable (waste of money)|
The best espresso machine with a grinder is the Breville Barista Pro.
If you have your heart set on a super-automatic machine, then the best one of these is the Jura E8.
For more information on super automatics, please see my roundup of the best super-automatic espresso machines.