Here’s one that’s probably a little out in left field.
I’m looking to buy a superautomatic espresso machine. I have owned a cheap Capresso machine for a year and a half. While grinding the beans and setting up the machine aren’t that time consuming, it is a royal pain in the ass to have to babysit the damned thing so that it doesn’t overextract the espresso. Because of the way it works, if I try to make successive espressos, I get around 25% less on the second one, because the heating element heats back up too quickly and will burn the espresso if I let it keep going. Plus, It doesn’t really make ristretto.
I used to work at a place that had a Saeco Magic Deluxe, which I thought was decent. We never used espresso beans in it, so I have no idea how good the espresso actually was. I’ve been looking at the Saeco Incanto Sirius, but I really can’t find any source of reliable reviews on the higher-end machines. Saeco’s site doesn’t help, since they refuse to just lay the products out in a tiered way, instead preferring to use an awkward features list that really doesn’t tell me what I need to know. I’m not married to the idea of getting a Saeco product, I’m just more familiar with the brand.
So here’s what I’m looking for: It must grind beans (are ceramic grinders really that great, btw?), have a water resevoir (filtered or unfiltered), dispose of its own waste into a collector bin, and have either a foaming wand or a capuccinatore. It must be reliable, considering how much these damned things cost. Finally, I am looking for the best tasting espresso possible. I have read that well-made espresso tastes like molten bitter-sweet chocolate; most American versions just taste bitter.
I’m hoping there are some experts here who will set me straight.
And yes, I know a hand-pump system would probably be better, but it’s a pain in the ass. I want to wake up in the morning, hit a button, and have my coffee goddamnit!