Hello coffee lovers!
One of the biggest decisions on purchasing a home coffee machine is whether to buy an automatic or manual machine. While both machine types operate in different ways, they both share mutual components such as: Group heads, boilers, & elements. Both can give you excellent quality coffee at home, but there are some key differences between the two.
We’ve heard you and answered the questions we get asked frequently below!
- Coffee Puck Size
- Control, functions, & cleaning.
- Heat up Time
- Which one is right for me?
Coffee Puck Size
Firstly, let’s start with one of the most important parts of making espresso – grinding & tamping the correct puck size of coffee.
Manual: Using a manual coffee machine gives you the ability to vary your pick size (in grams). The coffee recipe for a double shot can be anywhere between 18 grams all the way up to 25 grams. This gives you the freedom to trial and error the strength of espresso, extraction, and overall taste!
Automatic: When using an automatic machine, you are limited to the machines in-built grind settings. This means that your coffee will consistently have the same flavour, strength, and extraction every time it pours a shot! Automatic machines include its own coffee grinder built into the machine to adjust the strength of the coffee that is as simple to use as turning a knob!
Manual machines give you control to get the most out of your shots & variables to adjust to your preferences. While automatic machines give you the same coffee consistently every time you press the brew button, whilst costing less with its in-built grinder.
Functions & cleaning
Next, lets discuss how the machines compare with each other regarding functions, settings, control, and cleaning.
Manual: A large portion of machines on the market, and in our product range have volumetrics control. This allows you to control how much water is travels though your puck of coffee & how much espresso ends up in your cup post-shot – this is called the yield (the grams/milliliters that come out) which affects the strength of espresso & extraction levels. Other manual machines that include an E61 group head (read more about an E61 group head here).
These group heads are completely manual and give you the choice of brewing a shot for as long or as short as you prefer!
Manual machines give its user the freedom to alter to their preference.
Do you like your milk extra hot? Or possibly lukewarm? Manual machines have all the tools that your local barista has all at the palm of your hands!
To ensure that your machine retains consistency of pouring great tasting espresso, these machines require a manual backflush cycle. This ensures that the brew water lines don’t become blocked and will clear them of coffee that builds up over time. To do this requires a portafilter handle, a blind portafilter filter, and backflush powder. Cleaning is as simple as running brew cycles with backflush powder in group head, then backflushing it with an empty portafilter (containing the blind filter).
Automatic: Our automatic products are user friendly that function so simple that if you would like a cappuccino, all that is required is pressing the ‘cappuccino’ button, and in seconds you will have a perfectly brewed, and textured cappuccino at a temperature that’s just right.
Early morning starts? Getting the kids to school? Automatic machines have become so advanced in the modern day of technology that some machines now have in-built Bluetooth connections. (Yes you are reading correctly, this means that you can start making your coffee while you’re in bed!)
Unlike the manual machines, these machines have self-cleaning cycle where all that is required by its user is loading the machine with descaler and milk frother cleaner and at the press of a button the cleaning cycle starts!
Heat up Time
Lastly, let’s compare the time it takes from when you turn your machine on all until it is ready to pour your first shot of the day!
Manual: Our manual coffee machines use commercial grade parts including copper/stainless steel boilers, heat exchangers, elements, and multiple valves & solenoids. This means that they use the exact same parts as your local café’s coffee machine, only on a smaller scale! As they are using commercial grade parts, they require the boiler to reach boiling point, the heat exchange & group head to reach 92 degrees, & boiler steam pressure to rise anywhere between 1.2-1.4 bar of pressure. This can take anywhere between 5-10 minutes before you can start brewing an awesome cup of coffee!
Automatic: Similar to our manual machine products, automatic range machines are built with commercial grade parts – only on a much smaller, more compact size. This means that these automatic machines can reach temperature much faster than its manual counterpart, ready to brew in minutes!
Which one is right for you?
Manual: Purchasing a manual machine is a good investment if you are looking for complete control over your brewing process – while leaving you with a personal satisfaction once mastering the art of brewing the perfect espresso! Manual coffee machines also have a clean, classic aesthetic look that won’t fail to add a wow factor to your home!
Automatic: Automatic machines are designed to be simple and very user friendly, that requires less user effort with cleaning, brewing & maintenance – but leaves you with consistency and convenience! Automatic machines also come with an in-built grinder which means less accessories & equipment to obtain, while you have more room to play!
· Freedom and complete control to design your own coffee recipes & make coffee to your preferences.
· Commercial grade, barista quality machine accessible in your home.
· Gorgeous aesthetic looks that won’t fail to “wow” guests in your home!
· Steam wand, hot water tap & volumetric settings.
· Will take time, trial and error, and practice to perfect barista skills.
· More user maintenance required.
· External grinder.
· Longer heat up times.
· Consistent coffee flavour, strength & extraction.
· Very simple & user friendly for coffee adjustment, cleaning cycles, & coffee making (press a button and walk away!)
· In-built grinder.
· Shorter heat up time.
· Technologically advanced Bluetooth & USB functions
· Limited to machines capability.
· No control over shot timing
· Cannot experiment with coffee recipes
· Milk frother automated, not much room for variation/milk temperature control.
Check out our MANUAL COFFEE MACHINES
Check out our AUTOMATIC COFFEE MACHINES