In last month's article, we took a look at a few standout semi-automatic machines for every price range. This time around, we're exploring super-automatic espresso for every budget. If you're in the market for a new machine, take a moment to check out our top picks below.
The Saeco Vienna Plus, available in silver and graphite, is one of our most popular starter machines. While the Vienna Plus may not have all the bells and whistles found on higher-end machines, it is a solid super automatic suitable for daily use. Ideal for the value-conscious espresso lover, this machine is easy to use and maintain.
Surprisingly accommodating, the Vienna Plus can be programmed to brew 1-8 ounces of espresso. This model also features Saeco's famous OptiDose system to let you adjust the amount of beans ground per cup to customize the flavor and strength of your beverage. For full-flavored drinks, the Saeco Vienna Plus comes with a pre-infusion cycle that saturates grounds prior to brewing.
Don't let its price tag fool you; this machine has been outfitted with quality parts and features. Beneath the hood is a stainless-steel lined Thermoblock boiler, capable of quick and efficient operation. To the right of the control panel, you'll find an integrated conical burr grinder with 18 grind settings. A Pannarello wand makes for easy steaming and frothing; it can also dispense hot water for tea or an Americano. When it's time to clean your machine, the brew group pops right out. Just rinse it under a faucet, put it back in place and you're good to go.
A step up from the Vienna Plus is the Jura-Capresso Impressa ENA5. In addition to letting you customize beverage strength and volume, the ENA5 lets you program drink temperatures. It is also equipped with Jura's Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System, a two-step pre-infusion cycle that ensures maximum flavor and crema extraction. There is a digital display that acts as an indicator, letting you know exactly what is going on with your machine. Maintenance alerts and programming features are clearly displayed for your convenience.
The mid-grade ENA5 offers the additional option of brewing with pre-ground coffee. If you're an occasional decaf or flavored coffee drinker, the bypass doser will let you prepare drinks from pre-ground coffee and prevent cross contamination with your regular beans. Like the Vienna Plus, the ENA5 has a conical burr grinder, but with this model there are six grind settings to choose from.
A stainless-steel lined Thermoblock boiler minimizes warm-up time and accommodates on-demand water usage. The Impressa ENA5 also eliminates minerals and scale from your tap water using an advanced Clearyl filtration system. The result is great tasting drinks and reduced scale buildup. A dedicated alert will even let you know when the filter needs to be replaced.
Its frothXpress system is another big advantage the ENA5 has over the Vienna Plus. This user-friendly system will automatically steam and froth your milk and dispense it directly into the cup. You can also manually steam and froth using the dual frother plus wand. If you're looking for a well-equipped super-automatic machine, the Jura-Capresso ENA5 may just be the one for you.
Want to go all out? The Gaggia Accademia is a super automatic machine that's built to impress. This machine has been designed on a one-touch platform so you'll be able to make your favorite drinks with the push of a button. There are seven programmable drink buttons for espresso, caffe, caffe lungo, cappuccino, latte macchiato, and more.
The Gaggia Accademia lets you adjust coffee strength, temperature, and volume. Even the milk options are programmable with the Accademia; you can choose from normal, minimal and no-froth settings. The Milk Management System can add perfected steamed and frothed milk to your cup but since it functions on an external circuit, there milk actually never enters the machine. In addition, this one-touch machine has a stainless steel steam wand to let you manually steam and froth for lattes and cappuccinos; it also doubles as a hot water dispenser.
Gaggia's top-of-the-line machine super automatic has a built-in ceramic burr grinder with seven grind settings. As with the ENA5, the Accademia has a bypass doser to accommodate pre-ground coffee. This model operates on two stainless steel boilers, a vast improvement over both the ENA5 and Vienna Plus. With to boilers, you'll be able to alternate between brewing and frothing without any down time.
Best of all, the Accademia is exceedingly easy to clean and maintain. The milk system has an auto rinse cycle that cleans the circuit after each use to keep it free of residue and contaminants. Also, the brew group is removable so, like the Vienna Plus, the group can be rinsed under tap water. Dedicated maintenance alerts will let you know when the machine needs to be cleaned or descaled. The Gaggia Accademia is an investment that will deliver a world class brewing experience.