Does anyone else out there struggle with the choice between semi or fully automatic espresso machines? I feel like I have more control over the shot with a semi-automatic.
What do you all think?

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Manual.
second ... all in favor?
Aye.

Chris/Dale said:
second ... all in favor?
The only reason to go fully automatic is that you can do higher volume using less labor. You will sacrifice quality if you go this route, and you will lose a small piece of your soul. That being said, if your customers don't care about quality go for it. Starbucks decided that quality was not as important as volume and for a while it worked. It appears though that this was not the right strategy for the long run. I say go semi-automatic, I love my GB5.
Manual all the way
Chris Randall said:
The only reason to go fully automatic is that you can do higher volume using less labor. You will sacrifice quality if you go this route, and you will lose a small piece of your soul. That being said, if your customers don't care about quality go for it. Starbucks decided that quality was not as important as volume and for a while it worked. It appears though that this was not the right strategy for the long run. I say go semi-automatic, I love my GB5.
I suspect your Charbucks reference was to switching to Super-Automatics, not Automatics. FWIW the GB5 comes as an Automatic (AV) or Semi-Automatic (EE). Super-automatics grind and brew for your at the push of buttom while Automatic is specifically only automatic shot volume control, with the ability to run semi-automatic manually stopping the shot if desired.

OTOH sometimes hear manual when referring to semi-automatic machine. Manual usually means manual pump, as in lever no electric pump not manually stopping the pump on a semi-automatic machine.
Thanks for the correction Mike. I have been working on an automatic GB5 for a little while now and loving it after finally leaving Charbucks. Does anyone know of a resource that gives clear definitions of the various levels of automation, this discussion has aroused my curiosity on the matter.

miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:
Chris Randall said:
The only reason to go fully automatic is that you can do higher volume using less labor. You will sacrifice quality if you go this route, and you will lose a small piece of your soul. That being said, if your customers don't care about quality go for it. Starbucks decided that quality was not as important as volume and for a while it worked. It appears though that this was not the right strategy for the long run. I say go semi-automatic, I love my GB5.
I suspect your Charbucks reference was to switching to Super-Automatics, not Automatics. FWIW the GB5 comes as an Automatic (AV) or Semi-Automatic (EE). Super-automatics grind and brew for your at the push of buttom while Automatic is specifically only automatic shot volume control, with the ability to run semi-automatic manually stopping the shot if desired.

OTOH sometimes hear manual when referring to semi-automatic machine. Manual usually means manual pump, as in lever no electric pump not manually stopping the pump on a semi-automatic machine.
Chris Randall said:
Thanks for the correction Mike. I have been working on an automatic GB5 for a little while now and loving it after finally leaving Charbucks. Does anyone know of a resource that gives clear definitions of the various levels of automation, this discussion has aroused my curiosity on the matter.
Here is one site on the 'net found with a bit of Googling with good machine type descriptions. However it didn't break down the manual (piston driven) into it's two sub-types, full manual lever with the barista applying the shot pressure and spring assisted lever with the spring applying the shot pressure.
Nothing wrong with an automatic (not superauto) machine... they all have manual-dispense switches, no? Buy an auto and don't program the pad. Plus if you want to sell it in 2 years to buy something better you have a bigger resale market.

I'd say if its commercial go auto (not superauto), if its for home, go semi-auto or lever!
I guess for clarification I should say that I was not referring to lever as a semi-automatic. A lever machine seems very organic but I am not sure how realistic one would be in a commercial setting. I guess you can only have so much control over the shot...
Manual dispense switches seem to be the best way to go.

Lever machines like this two group are used by some in commercial settings. An experienced lever barista can pull exquisite shots it's very difficult to match with an electric pump machine. During a shootout it took me 4 tries to come close.

Joe said:
I guess for clarification I should say that I was not referring to lever as a semi-automatic. A lever machine seems very organic but I am not sure how realistic one would be in a commercial setting. I guess you can only have so much control over the shot...
Manual dispense switches seem to be the best way to go.
SWEET machine though!

miKe mcKoffee aka Mike McGinness said:

Lever machines like this two group are used by some in commercial settings. An experienced lever barista can pull exquisite shots it's very difficult to match with an electric pump machine. During a shootout it took me 4 tries to come close.

Joe said:
I guess for clarification I should say that I was not referring to lever as a semi-automatic. A lever machine seems very organic but I am not sure how realistic one would be in a commercial setting. I guess you can only have so much control over the shot...
Manual dispense switches seem to be the best way to go.

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