Best Super Automatic Espresso Machine

TL;DR: The best super-automatic espresso machine is the Jura E8. Jura super automatics make the best-tasting coffee of all these types of machines and the E8 is the Jura machine that offers the best value for money.

This is my roundup of the best super-automatic espresso machines.

I have owned three super-automatic machines and spent two days researching people’s experiences with them online to put together this roundup.

As well as giving you my top picks, I’m also going to be casting a light on some of the sneaky ways that manufacturers “upgrade” their machines (and inflate their price) without significantly improving them to make sure that you do not waste your money by falling into one of these traps.

Let’s get started.

What are the Best Automatic Espresso Machines (Top Picks)

Best Overall: Jura E8

Cheapest Machine That Is Still Good: Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI with LatteCrema

Best for Lattes (and Other Milk-Based Drinks): Gaggia Babila

Best for Offices: Jura GIGA 6

Best if Money Were No Object: Jura Z10

To reiterate, the best super-automatic espresso machine is the Jura E8:

SpecificationJura E8Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SIGaggia BabilaJura GIGA 6Jura Z10
Use caseBest overallCheapest that is still goodBest for lattesBest for officesBest if money were no object
Price*$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
User interfaceLCD screen with buttonsButton operated with digital text display screenDigital display screen with buttonsLCD touch screenLCD touch screen
Available black coffee presetsEspresso
Filter coffee
Americano
Lungo Americano
Double espresso
Espresso
Filter coffee
Ristretto
Lungo
Over ice
Espresso
Filter coffee
Lungo
Ristretto
Double espresso
Espresso
Filter coffee
Americano
Lungo Americano
Double espresso
Pot of coffee
Espresso
Filter coffee
Americano
Lungo Americano
Double espresso

Cold brew espresso
Available milk coffee presetsMacchiato
Cappuccino
Cappuccino extra shot
Flat white
Flat white extra shot
Latte Macchiato
Plain milk foam
Cappuccino
Flat White
Latte
Latte Macchiato
Cappuccino with extra shot
Cappuccino Mix
Macchiato
Plain milk foam
Cappuccino
Flat white
Macchiato
Latte macchiato
Plain milk foam
Cappuccino
Flat white
Macchiato
Latte macchiato
Cortado
Latte
Plain milk foam
Cappuccino
Cold Brew Cappuccino
Flat White
Cold Brew Flat White
Macchiato
Cold Brew Macchiato
Cortado 
Cold Brew CortadoLatte
Cold Brew Latte
Portion of Milk Foam
(All drinks have a preset with an extra espresso shot)
Milk steaming systemAutomatic milk steamer.
Milk container is not attached directly to the machine
Automatic milk steamer.
Milk container is attached to  the machine.
Automatic milk steamer.
Milk container is attached to  the machine.
Also has manual steam wand
Automatic milk steamer.
Milk container is not attached directly to the machine
Automatic milk steamer.
Milk container is not attached directly to the machine.
Can make cold foam
CoffeeStrength settingsEight settingsFour settingsFive settingsTen settingsTen settings
Coffee temperature settingsTwo settingsFour settingsThree settingsThree settingsTen settings
Coffee serving size settingsAdjusted by milliliterCan be adjusted by eyeCan be adjusted by eyeAdjusted by millilitreAdjusted by milliliter
Milk serving size settingsAdjusted by second of dispensing timeThree settingsCan be adjusted by eyeAdjusted by second of dispensing timeAdjusted by second of dispensing time
Milk Temperature settingsNoneNoneNoneTen settingsTen settings
Grinder typeCeramic conical burr grinder
(five grind size settings)
Stainless steel conical burr grinder
(13 grind size settings)
Ceramic flat burr grinder 
(15 grind size settings)
2 ceramic conical burr grinders 
(infinite grind size settings)
“Product recognising” ceramic conical burr grinder
(grind size settings automatically adjust based on beans used)
Bypass doserYesYesYesYesYes
Water tank capacity64 oz (1.9 liters)61 oz (1.8 liters)53 oz (1.5 liters)88 oz (2.4 liters)84 oz (2.4 lites)
Water filter Yes – uses Claris filtersYes – uses Delonghi filtersYes – uses Aquaclean filtersYes – uses Claris filtersYes – uses Claris filters
Removable brewing unitNoYesYesNoNo
Dimensions (Width x Depth x Height)11.0” x12.8” x 17.6”9.1” x16.9”x 13.7”9.7” x16.5” x14.2” 
12.6” x18.9” x16.3”

12.6” x14.9” x17.7”
Buy on AmazonCheck latest priceCheck latest priceCheck latest priceCheck latest priceCheck latest price

Price Key*

$ = $501 – $1000

$$ = $1001 – $1500

$$$ = $1501 – $2000

$$$$ = $2001 – $3000

$$$$$ = $3000 – $4001

$$$$$$ = $4000+

The table represents the machine’s typical price. Prices may vary online.

Best Overall – Jura E8

The Jura E8 is the best super automatic espresso machine as it makes drinks at least as well as any machine on the market and does not have its price tag inflated by unnecessary features. For more information on this machine please see my Jura E8 Review.

Quality of Espresso

Jura machines, of which the Jura E8 is obviously one, make the best espresso of all available super-automatic machines.

This was confirmed by barista James Hoffmann, in his comparison of super-automatic espresso machines.

Jura machines outperform other super automatics on espresso quality because of their use of a “pulse extraction process” when brewing.

Since super-automatic machines cannot tamp your espresso puck and remove the small spaces between the grinds, water will inevitably find its way into these gaps and therefore not extract the coffee sufficiently.

Jura machines pump hot water through the coffee bed in very small amounts at a time. This means that the pucks are less “crowded” with water, so less water will diffuse into the small gaps between grinds. 

This creates a much better extraction and therefore a more flavorful and better-bodied espresso.

The consequence of this is that:

  • Jura super-automatic espresso machines make the best espresso of all super-automatic espresso machines.
  • All Jura machines make very similar quality espresso, regardless of their price.

So to reiterate, the Jura E8 (along with all Jura machines) makes excellent espresso by super-automatic machine standards.

Quality of Espresso Rating: 9/10

Quality of Milk Frother

The Jura E8’s has one of the best milk frothers of all super-automatic espresso machines.

This, again, was confirmed by James Hoffmann in his comparison of super-automatic espresso machines.

I have owned this machine and also own a machine with a high-quality milk wand (the Breville Barista Pro – for more information on this machine please see my Breville Barista Pro review), and have concluded that I can make better-steamed milk with a manual milk wand than with the Jura E8’s automatic frother.

That being said, I have a lot of practice with the steam wand, and the Barista Pro is specifically known for the quality of its steam wand.

You can most likely make better-frothed milk with the Jura E8 than you can as a novice with a manual steam wand.

Like I said, the Jura E8’s milk system is about as good as an automatic milk frother gets. 

It does lose out to other Jura machines as it does not give you as much control over milk temperature as say, the Jura Z10 or Jura GIGA 6.
The Jura E8 has an automatic frother that attaches to a separate milk container via a plastic tube.

While the tube comes with the machine, milk containers are sold separately.

Since you need a container to steam and froth with this machine at all, I’m docking one point for their skimping on this.

Quality of Milk Frother: 8/10

Coffee Making Options

The E8 makes all the coffee types that you’d expect minus one glaring omission – the latte.

You can essentially “force” the machine to make a latte by adding plain milk foam (which is an option on the machine) to espresso and then stirring everything together.

It is still a strange omission that the most popular type of coffee drink is missing from the machine’s menu.

The E8 also omits the non-espresso coffees that other Jura machines have such as the filter coffee and the cold brew.

I think that this is an excellent example of the Jura E8 “staying in its lane”. 

Super-automatic machines will never be able to make a true filter coffee or cold brew due to their brewing too fast for these types of coffees.

Therefore I don’t think that machines that are charging you extra to be able to make these types of coffee are giving you the best possible value for money.

The Jura E8 makes it easy to customize coffee strength, the volume of coffee and milk used in each drink, and your brewing temperature.

This level of functionality allows you to mimic many of the preset coffee recipes on more expensive machines just by customizing existing menu items.

For example, if you select a cappuccino and increase the volume of milk in the drink, you have a latte.

Coffee-Making Options: 8/10

User Interface

The Jura E8 uses a button-operated LCD screen to control the machine. You can find an image of this below:

Arrows point to the buttons

Aside from the buttons feeling a bit cheap and plasticky, one major downside of the machine’s UI is that its menu is designated by images of drinks without any names

This means that to understand the machine’s menu you have to know what each image represents. This is not as obvious as it may first sound:

Can you say what each of these is?

This problem aside, the workflow of the machine is very intuitive. 

I specifically like the fact that you can customize the strength and serving sizes on the fly rather than having to hard code it into the menu (this hard-coding is the route that many super automatics go).

User Interface: 7/10

Value For Money

As I said earlier, the E8 does an excellent job of making its most important features as good as possible and forgoing the non-essential features that increase the cost of the machine without significantly improving it.

Therefore it offers the best value for money of all the super-automatic machines, despite not being the cheapest one available.

To put the E8’s price into perspective, the Jura S8 is the exact same machine with a touchscreen. 

The addition of this touchscreen increases its price by the best part of $1000.

This just goes to show how extraneous features inflate a machine’s price. The E8 cleverly ditches these unnecessary features so you only pay for the things you really need. This makes it the best Jura coffee machine, as far as value for money is concerned.

Value for Money: 10/10

Pros
  • Makes the joint best coffee of all super automatic espresso machines
  • It is really easy to customize your drinks
  • It has one of the best milk frothers around
  • Good value for money
Cons
  • You need a separate milk container with the machine

Cheapest Machine That Is Still Good – Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI with Automatic Milk Frother

The Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI is reliable and makes good coffee and good enough steamed milk. It is excellent value for the price and if you go for a machine cheaper than this then things go downhill rapidly.

Quality of Coffee

The Delonghi Dinamica makes one of the better coffees out of all the available super-automatic espresso machines.

James Hoffmann rated Dinamica’s coffee as second only to Jura in his tasting comparison of super-automatic machines.

My experience with the Delonghi ESAM 3300, a machine which uses the same brewing mechanism, is that its coffee is good, especially if you make its serving size as large as possible.

The machine struggles with smaller serving sizes of espresso as it does not have the time to extract fully.

You can find out more about the quality of espresso from the Dinamica in my Delonghi Dinamica review.

Quality of Coffee Rating: 8/10

Quality of Milk Frother

The Dinamica uses Delonghi’s patented “LatteCrema” system.

Users of the machine report that it tends to produce larger bubbled milk foam, which while isn’t ideal, is still better than many other super automatic machines (or than what most novices can do with a steam wand).

I like the fact that the Dinamica is that it steams milk to a higher temperature than most super-automatic machines.

Many people complain that lattes are lukewarm rather than hot. You will not have this problem with the Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI.

Quality of Milk Frother: 6/10

Coffee Making Options

The Dinamica has all the common coffee-making options minus the Americano. 

Personally, I don’t think that lacking the Americano is a huge miss because I prefer to have fresh water from a kettle in my Americano rather than older water that has been sitting in the machine.

The machine has two more unusual options on its menu: cappuccino mix and over ice.

The cappuccino mix is essentially a latte with less milk. You can probably make the exact same drink by selecting a latte and turning the milk volume setting to lowest.

The over ice on the other hand brews your coffee for longer and at a cooler temperature than normal. 

I am a bit sceptical of this as a certain temperature is necessary to brew the coffee properly, but users of the machine on Reddit seem to unanimously like it so…yeah… I guess it’s good then.

The machine gives you the option to make two servings of every selection on its menu which is nice as it means you can make a proper double espresso with two pucks of coffee. 

Many more affordable machines make a “double” espresso with just one puck of coffee. I like how the Dinamica does not do this and instead makes a proper double espresso.

The machine lets you customize the default coffee volume in your drinks, however, you have to put the machine in “customize mode” and hard code this rather than do it on the fly when you make each drink. 

This does make customizing your coffee far more cumbersome than with Jura machines.

The machine offers you three serving sizes of milk which cannot be customized.

Coffee-Making Options Rating: 8/10

User Interface

The Dinamica uses a button-operated text display screen. You can see an example of this below:

While the machine is no harder to use than a machine that uses text and images on its display screen, it does feel a little cheap. 

It kind of reminds me of a check-out till at a grocery store. 

This feels out of place on a super-automatic since it is supposed to be high-tech by its very nature. 

Still, its substance over style and gets the job done.

User Interface Rating: 6/10

Value For Money

As I said earlier, the Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI is the cheapest super-automatic machine that I still feel comfortable recommending.

It, therefore, offers good value for money, but I would personally rather spend a bit more and get the Jura E8 as there is a big jump in quality between these two machines.

Value for Money Rating: 8/10

Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI Pros
  • Over ice mode makes it good for iced coffees
  • Relatively small footprint for a super automatic espresso machines
  • Relatively inexpensive for a good quality super automatic espresso machine
  • It makes hot lattes rather than the lukewarm ones from many other machines
Delonghi Dinamica ECAM35075SI Cons
  • Its milk frother is decent but not amazing
  • You cannot customize each drink as you are making it

Best for Milk-Based Drink – Gaggia Biblia

The Gaggia Babila is the best super-automatic espresso machine for lattes and other milk-based drinks because it is one of the few machines that allow you to use a manual steam wand and automatic milk frother. 

It has a good quality manual steam wand that will produce better milk foam than the automatic frother of any other super-automatic machine.

Quality of Coffee

James Hoffmann said that Gaggia machines made marginally poorer espresso than both Jura and Delonghi machines. It still made better espresso than two of the five machines that he tested in his video.

The Babila offers you more control over your espresso brewing than any other super-automatic machine listed here. 

You can hardcode preinfusion length (the length of time that the coffee ground is soaked in water before brewing) prior to brewing, and control brewing pressure on the fly by twisting a knob just above the machine’s spout. No other machine allows you to do this.

You can see a clip of someone controlling the preinfusion length brewing pressure here.

This ability to control brewing pressure manually makes the Gaggia Babila the best super-automatic machine for filtering coffee

This type of coffee should be brewed under normal atmospheric pressure, and the Biblia is the only of the machines listed that allows you to do this.

Quality of Coffee Rating: 7/10

Quality of Milk Frother

The Gaggia Babila has two milk frothers – an automatic milk frother not dissimilar in design to the Delonghi’s LatteCrema and a manual steam wand.

The automatic milk frother makes good larger foamed milk but, unlike Jura machines, it cannot be set to make finer milk foam.

For finer milk foam you will want to use the machine’s manual steam wand. This can make better quality fine milk foam than the automatic milk frother on any super-automatic machine.

Quality of Milk Frother Rating: 9/10

Coffee Making Options

The Gaggia Babila has all the common espresso drinks on its menu except for a latte.

I think the idea here is if you want a latte you will just make an espresso and then steam your milk manually using the steam wand. You do this by selecting the “steam” option on its menu.

The machine allows you to make filter coffee as well as espresso and because of its ability to control brewing pressure manually, it makes better filter coffee than most super-automatic machines. It still won’t be as good as drip or French Press filter coffee, however.

The machine lets you customize your drink in the following ways:

  • Strength (5 settings)
  • Volume of liquid coffee (10 settings)
  • Volume of milk (adjusted by eye)
  • Brewing temperature (3 settings)
  • Preinfusion time (3 settings)

Unfortunately, these are hardcoded prior to brewing, rather than you being able to adjust it on the fly while making each coffee individually.

Coffee-Making Options: 8/10

User Interface

The Gaggia Babila uses a text-based digital display screen control panel controlled by buttons with symbols:

The machine’s metal finish means its buttons are better looking and nicer to use than the Jura E8’s plastic ones. 

Its menu is really intuitive, even if it doesn’t have the luxurious feel of a touchscreen.

User Interface Rating: 8/10

Value For Money 

The Gaggia Babili#a offers you very good value for money.

It is similar in price to the Jura E8 and performs almost as well, having slightly better milk-frothing capabilities but not making quite as good an espresso.

It’s a high-functioning machine at a mid-range price point for a super-automatic machine.

For more information on Gaggia machines please see my roundup of the best Gaggia espresso machines.

Value for Money Rating: 8/10

Gaggia Babila Pros
  • Makes the best steamed milk of all super automatic machines due to its high quality manual steam wand
  • Its metal finish gives it a luxurious feel
  • Its pressure control allows to to make a better filter coffee than most super automatic machines
  • It is one of the few machines that allows you to adjust preinfusion time giving you even more control over your espresso’s flavor
Gaggia Babila Cons
  • You cannot customize your drinks as they are being made
  • It does not make as good an espresso as Jura or Delonghi machines.

Best for Office Use – Jura GIGA 6

The Jura GIGA 6’s incredible number of drink options and sheer joy of use make it the perfect coffee machine for an office.

Quality of Coffee

As I’ve said several times in this article now, Jura’s patented “pulse extraction process” means that Jura machines make the best coffee of all super-automatic espresso machines.

Although some retailers and reviews may argue that the GIGA 6’s “infinite grind settings” means that it makes better coffee than other Jura machines, I personally think that this is a bit of a marketing ploy and that its ability to improve coffee is vastly overstated.

Super-automatic machines cannot work with fine grinds because they cannot tamp your puck properly.

Therefore there is only a small window of grind size that you can work with when you use these machines (medium fine basically).

Being able to grind incredibly fine on a super-automatic espresso machine is pointless.

Still, the GIGA 6 makes the joint-best coffee of all super-automatic machines (along with the rest of the Jura range).

Quality of Coffee Rating: 9/10

Quality of Milk Frother

Like other Jura machines, the Giga 6’s automatic milk frother is the best milk frother of all super-automatic espresso machines.

The Giga 6 is one of few Jura machines (along with the “Z series” – including the Z10) that gives you control over the milk temperature.

This allows you to overcome the “this latte isn’t hot enough problem” and allows you to make cold foam for iced coffee (the foam is genuinely at room temperature on its lowest setting).

The Giga 6 has its milk container separate from the machine. 

You do not get a milk container with the machine as standard which considering its price tag is, quite honestly, scandalous.

Quality of Milk Frother Rating: 9/10

Coffee Making Options

The GIGA 6 has by far the largest number of coffee options of any super-automatic espresso machine.

It has every type of coffee drink you could conceivably want, including its own version of cold brew coffee.

Their version of cold brew is nothing like a true cold brew which should be brewed for around 12 hours. Ignore Jura who regularly refers to the drink as a “true cold brew”

The machine also has two grinders that you can interchange between at the touch of a button. This effectively doubles the coffee options that you have if you use markedly different beans in each grinder.

The breadth of these options is why I specifically recommend this machine for offices. Everyone in an office can get exactly what they want.

Quality of Coffee Options: 10/10

User Interface

The GIGA 6 is controlled with a touchscreen. Its touchscreen’s sensitivity is programmed really well making it quick and easy to use.

Unlike the Jura E8, the GIGA 6’s menu is signposted with words as well as images.

Its ease and pleasantness to use is another reason why I recommend this machine for offices. 

No one no matter how inexperienced they are with coffee-making or touchscreen-operated devices will struggle to use the GIGA 6.

User Interface Rating: 10/10

Value For Money

The GIGA 6 is over twice the price of any other Jura machine (already the most expensive brand of super-automatic machines).

While it is a ridiculously good machine, it has all the available bells and whistles and does not represent the best value for money.

You are paying for an expanded menu and an extra grinder. I am not sure if these are really worth paying extra for (for the majority of use cases anyway).

Value For Money Rating: 5/10

Jura GIGA 6 Pros
  • It has the largest number of drink options of any super automatic espresso machine.
  • Two grinders means that you can switch between the beans that you use at the touch of a button (this is the only super automatic espresso machine that has these features).
  • Can make coffee and steam milk at the same time.
  • It has the best user interface of any super automatic espresso machine (along with the Jura Z10).
Jura GIGA 6 Cons
  • The machine is very expensive and does not offer the best value for money.
  • It is so large that it will dominate most kitchen countertops.

Best if Money Were No Object – Jura Z10

The Jura Z10 is the best super-automatic machine that money can buy. It combines excellent coffee-making capabilities with an extraordinary amount of coffee-making functionalities and the compactness required to be practical in a home kitchen.

Quality of Coffee

The Jura Z10 uses Jura’s patented pulse extraction process meaning that it makes better coffee than any other super-automatic machine.

The Z10 was the Jura machine featured in James Hoffmann’s comparison of Jura machines. He was particularly forthright with praise for the machine’s espresso, saying that it was by quite some distance the best made by a super-automatic machine.

Quality of Coffee Rating: 9/10

Quality of Milk Frother

Like other Jura machines, the Z10’s automatic steaming system is the best milk frother available on any super-automatic espresso machine.

The Z10’s milk-steaming system is an upgrade on many Jura machines because of its ability to control the temperature of milk foam.

This allows the machine to make cold foam which is ideal if you plan on making iced coffees with your machine.

Again, like all Jura machines, the milk system has the milk container separate from the machine. 

This means that you need to budget more space than the dimensions of the machine suggest (at least 6 inches more width and depth to use it comfortably).

Quality of Milk Frother Rating: 9/10

Coffee Making Options

The Z10 offers you all the types of coffee that you can think of.

It is one of the few machines, along with the Giga 6 that offers you a cold brew

While this is not a true cold brew (a true cold brew has to be brewed for 12 hours) it is still a very good option when making an iced coffee. 

This is particularly good when combined with the Jura Z10 cold foam created by steaming milk on the machine’s lowest temperature setting.

Coffee-Making Options: 9/10

User Interface

The Z10 is operated by a high-quality touchscreen and has a very intuitive workflow.

Jura has corrected the E8’s issue of not having text for its coffee options. The Z10’s menu has its menu signposted in both images and text.

The touchscreen can control every element of the machine’s operation including maintenance as well as the day-to-day making of drinks

I can find no fault with the Z10’s user interface.

User Interface Rating: 10/10

Value For Money

The Z10 offers good value for money.

It has a few more extraneous features than the E8 so you don’t get quite the value as you do with that machine, but when you are buying a machine as high quality as the Z10 you can pay a lot and still get a good deal.

Value For Money Rating: 7/10

What Do All Super Automatic Espresso Machines Have in Common?

I’m just going to quickly run through all the features that super-automatic espresso machines have in common to make sure that you are not sold on a specific feature marketed as unique but which in actual fact all machines have.

The ability to make a coffee at the touch of a button: You don’t need to do all the grinding, tamping and (most importantly) clean up that a machine with a portafilter requires when you use any super-automatic espresso machine.

Preset coffee recipes: All super-automatic espresso machines will have at least some preset coffee recipes meaning that you do not need to dose out coffee and water yourself.

Self-Cleaning: All super-automatic espresso machines will clean out their brew unit and internal pipes after making a coffee meaning that you do not need to clean them every day. The machines will vary in how often they need a manual deeper cleaning.

What Are the Key Differences Between Super Automatic Espresso Machine Models?

Here are the main ways that different espresso machines differ:

Cost

Super-automatic espresso machines range in price from about $300 to $5,000+.

You get the best value for money from purchasing a super-automatic espresso machine in the $800 – $2,000 price bracket.

Anything under $800 and the machines start to get really unreliable, becoming more effort to operate than a machine with a portafilter.

Once you get over the $2,000 mark you are mainly paying for more peripheral features that do not contribute to the machine’s drink quality and reliability (its two most important features, in my opinion).

I’m always amazed by how much fairly inconsequential features such as a slightly improved control panel or a couple of extra menu options can inflate a machine’s price. 

Always ask yourself “am I actually going to use these additional features” when choosing a machine.

User Interface

Super-automatic espresso machines vary a lot in how intuitive their control panels are to operate.

Cheaper machines are often controlled by buttons alone. These buttons are often signposted with symbols that sort of telling you what they mean (once you have looked them up in the instruction manual.

You can see an example of what I mean below:

Indication lights on the Delonghi Magnifica ESAM 4200- what exactly do they mean?

More expensive machines have display screens that walk you through how to use the machine in plain English (rather than through cryptic symbols), making the machine far easier to use.

These can either be button operated (as is usually the case on mid-priced machines) or touchscreen (as is the case on higher-end machines).

Generally, I think that button-operated screen control panels offer the best value for money. 

They might not have the “luxury feel” of a touch screen, but they make the machine significantly easier to use than machines that are operated by buttons alone.

Quality of Drinks

The quality of drinks that super-automatic espresso machines make varies much more by the manufacturer than by models within a manufacturer.

In other words, there is not that much difference between the quality of drinks made by different models from the same manufacturer.

Manufacturers tend to use the same brewing and milk steaming system in all their machines, meaning that the quality of their drinks is similar.

In his video comparing different super-automatic machines, barista James Hoffmann rated the machines in the following order for coffee and steamed milk quality.

Coffee Quality – Best to Worst

  • Jura
  • Delonghi
  • Gaggia
  • Melitta
  • Siemens
  • Miele

Steamed Milk Quality – Best to Worst

  • Jura
  • Siemens
  • Gaggia
  • Melitta
  • Delonghi
  • Miele

I should note that in his video Hoffmann used a Gaggia machine without a manual steam wand.

I have listed the Gaggia Babila as the best machine for lattes because its manual steam wand creates better-steamed milk than any of these machines’ automatic milk frothers.

Available Drink Presets

Machines can vary a lot on the number of preset drink types that they have on their menu.

As a general rule, more expensive machines will have a larger range of drinks. 

Often manufacturers will bring out new models with the only upgrade being additional drink presets.

Personally, I would not want to spend extra on a machine purely for its number of drink options.

The presets on these machines often have little difference between them in reality.

Combine this with the fact that many machines offer you the ability to customize drinks, adding more coffee, more milk, a thicker texture of milk etc and you can more or less make any type of coffee that you want regardless of whether machine has a preset for it.

I’d be particularly wary of machines whose unique selling point is offering non-espresso drinks like cold brew and pots of filter coffee.

Super-automatic machines are not designed to make these types of coffee so tend not to make them well.

Ability to Customize Your Coffee

Super-automatic espresso machines can let you adjust some of the following brewing variables:

  • Strength (amount of ground coffee used in your drink)
  • Volume of liquid coffee
  • Volume of milk
  • Temperature of coffee
  • Temperature of milk

Machines also vary in whether you can make these changes on the fly while your drink is brewing, or whether you need to preset these customisations before you make your drink.

You’d rather have a machine that allows you to customize your drink on the fly as this means that everyone using the machine can make exactly the drink they want without having to hard code the machine over and over again.

As I mentioned earlier, I value the ability to customize your coffee higher than having a large number of coffee recipe presets.

A preset recipe can be reduced down to certain customisation settings, so as long as you can customize your coffee you can make any preset recipe.

Design of the Milk Steaming System

Aside from the quality of milk froth that they produce, super-automatic espresso machines vary in how their milk-steaming system is put together.

More specifically, some machines have systems where the milk container is attached to the machine, whereas others have systems where the milk container stands separately from the machine.

Machines with attached milk containers take up less space than those which need a separate milk container. 

However, machines with separate containers tend to have better-quality milk frothers.

Can You Remove The Brewing Unit?

Most super-automatic espresso machines allow you to remove their brewing unit with the notable exception of Jura machines. This is a disadvantage that Jura machines have against other super-automatic machines.

The image below shows you what it looks like when you remove a super-automatic machine’s brewing unit:

The brewing unit slides out of the machine to be easily cleaned and lubricated

Being able to remove the brewing unit from a super-automatic espresso machine offers you three key benefits:

  • You can manually clean the brewing unit which helps maintain the machine’s espresso quality as it is not tainted by rancid coffee beans
  • Being able to lubricate a machine’s brewing unit can extend its lifespan
  • There are several technical issues that a machine can have whose troubleshooting involves removing its brewing unit.

While Jura machines do have specific modes that internally clean their brewing unit, I don’t think that this gives you as thorough a clean as doing it manually.

Number of Grinder Settings (Are Less Important Than You Probably Think)

If a super-automatic espresso machine is being sold on the fact that it has more grind settings than any other, then beware.

Unlike with more manual espresso machines, where grind fineness is really important, super-automatic machines cannot handle really fine grinds due to their inability to tamp your ground coffee.

You can only use medium-fine coffee grinds with a super-automatic machine. 

Therefore, having a machine with a grinder that can go incredibly fine is pointless.

Any decent super-automatic espresso machine (ie all the ones listed in this article) has grinders that grind sufficiently fine.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that a grinder with dozens upon dozens of grind settings will make considerably better coffee than one that only has 5-10 settings. 

This simply just isn’t the case.

Final Verdict

The best super-automatic espresso machine is the Jura E8.