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Best Affordable Super Automatic Espresso Machine

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If you’re thinking about spending less than $1,000 without significantly compromising quality, this review is for you.

If you are in a hurry and just want to find out which is the Best Affordable Super Automatic Espresso Machine, I’d recommend the De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 3300 as the best one.

Pulling a great espresso shot with a Super Automatic Espresso Machine only requires you to press a button. So, if you’re passionate about espresso drinks, but don’t care too much about being a skilled home barista, then a Super Automatic might be the best fit for you. Basically, it’s an Espresso Machine with a built-in grinder.

If you’re thinking about spending less than $1,000 without significantly compromising quality, this review is for you. In the next section, I will explain the most important features I used to pick my favorite options among the Best Affordable Super Automatic Espresso Machines.

We’ll review the following Super Automatic Espresso Machines:

If you aren’t sure if Super Automatics are for you, I wrote this article for you.

The Key Features Of the Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines

I am risking to state the most obvious truth here: a great coffee cup is essential for living and enjoying a good life. And how do you obtain a great cup of coffee? Well, you can read this beautiful guide about it. But, in short, a great cup comes from the adequate ratio between filtered -or mineral- water and professionally roasted, freshly ground coffee beans and ends with a well-performed extraction. When it comes to espresso, the machine quality is as decisive as the barista’s skills, unless you pick a Super Automatic.

Handling an espresso machine can be intimidating, unless you choose a Super Automatic Espresso Machine.

The Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines offer the smoothest bean-to-cup brewing experience possible so far. They have a built-in grinder, so they can use the right amount of coffee beans and water to pull your espresso, with an adequate amount of pressure. It’s an outstanding feature because coffee loses most of its properties very quickly after the grinding. Thanks to the built-in grinder, you will never have to worry about that.

Additionally, a good Espresso Machine with a grinder usually includes a milk frother too. I love this feature because it adds a lot of versatility to your home coffee bar so that you can serve a Cappuccino or a Latte, anytime. Moreover, this adds to your machine’s social value, as you can offer a broader range of Espresso drinks for your guests.

The control panel is another key feature, as it directly impacts the usability, versatility, and durability of your Fully Automatic Espresso Machine. Control panels can be as simple as a few rotary and push-buttons or as advanced as a touch display.

Finally, one of the most essential features, in the long run, is the cleaning and maintenance process. Not even the most expensive Fully Automatic Espresso Machine can save you from the pain of cleaning it. Yet, the best ones are the easiest to clean and maintain so that they won’t steal hours from your precious time every week. Furthermore, the Best Espresso Machines always have a superior Technical Service. In other words, you won’t suffer from spare parts scarcity, or that you’ll have to struggle to find technicians to repair your machine.

In other words, the Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines should offer:

  1. Built-in Grinder
  2. Milk Frother
  3. Easy-To-Use and Durable Control Panel
  4. Convenient Cleaning and Maintenance Process
  5. Reliable and Accessible Technical Service

Like many things in life, price and quality are reasonably related in the Super Automatic category, but it’s not as straightforward as it seems. So, picking the right Super Automatic can be a headache. One of the most complicated things about the Super Automatics is that some affordable ones can offer more versatility, better usability, and durability than some of the priciest ones.

In this article, I focused on a set of the five most important features that define a Top-Quality Super Automatic Espresso Machine. As previously discussed above, these features are directly related to the cup quality and consistency that the Espresso Machine can produce and the brewing, cleaning, and maintenance convenience.

What About Coffee Capsule Machines?

If you feel inclined by the convenience of a Super Automatic Espresso Machine, you might have been thinking about a Coffee Capsule Machine as well. However, the cup quality of freshly ground coffee is hard -if not impossible- to beat with pre-ground coffee, even if it’s inside a capsule.

The superiority of freshly ground coffee over pre-ground coffee has been consistently demonstrated through scientific research. The aroma and taste of coffee stale after 30 minutes of being grounded and the aromatic profile has changed considerably between the first and the second weeks of storage. Coffee capsules vary widely in quality, but in general, they won’t be able to offer the richness that freshly ground coffee can deliver. Moreover, coffee capsules are a lot more expensive than whole coffee beans when compared, pound-by-pound. Furthermore, they generate an immense amount of waste, derived from aluminum or-even worse- single-use plastic.

On the other hand, Coffee Capsule Machines are unbeatable when it comes to convenience. For coffee capsules fans, I need to say this: please choose aluminum or compostable capsules instead of plastic, and do your best to recycle them.

Coffee capsules are convenient, but plastic ones are completely unsustainable.

The Best Affordable Super Automatic Espresso Machines

This section will describe the pros and cons of the Best Affordable Super Automatic Espresso Machines. You will notice that I included two closely related brands, as they are part of the same group of companies: Phillips, the Dutch giant that owns Gaggia, a smaller but more specialized Italian brand. In this regard, Gaggia accounts for one of the most traditional brands among the Espresso Machine market, with a solid reputation among baristas, café owners, and espresso lovers. Phillips, on the other hand, is a home appliances powerhouse that cannot be ignored.

I decided to keep both of them as I concluded that they deserved to be among the Best Five.  To make this decision, I assessed the five critical features explained above, considering the price range. The latter is essential to decide affordability. Similar machines, with comparable characteristics, are outside of this list because their price is not consistently below $1,000. However, all prices are quite variable, and you may find a surprising offer.

De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 3300

The De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is a humble legend. It has decades competing in the Super Automatics market, with a good reputation among its users. Although it is far from perfection, it offers features that some pricier machines don’t.

In the picture: we found the DE'Longhi Magnifica ESAM 3300 still is the best affordable super automatic espresso machine
The DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 is one of the most succesful and affordable automatic espresso machines.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-clean: most users like the detachable containers and removable brewing group. This feature eases the cleaning process, which is not my favorite part of owning an Espresso Machine. I like this feature  because users claim the regular cleaning takes them a few minutes per week. Regarding the cleaning frequency, it’s crucial to use filtered water to prevent descaling. Some users complain about the annoying it can be to descale so frequently, but this is most likely to happen when using tap water.
  • Durability: the Magnifica ESAM 3300 has demonstrated its place among the most durable machines inside the category. Several users had this machine working for more than seven years, and many claim that they have used it for more than four years without any significant issue.
  • Technical support: De’Longhi has strong technical support and customer service process. After checking the comments and experiences of users of dozens of models and brands, I concluded that the De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM 3300 has excellent technical support. This feature puts the Magnifica ESAM 3300 at the top of this list, as a Super Automatic is not meant to be a short-lived appliance.

Cons:

  • Learning curve: even the hardcore fans of the Magnifica ESAM 3300 accept this. It requires patience and experimentation to pull a good espresso from this machine during the first week. I believe that this can be an issue for anybody interested in a Super Automatic. If you have the budget to have higher aspirations, you should try to check the top tier of the Super Automatics. However, if you want to stay within this price range, it’s a manageable obstacle. Most users claim that they learned to pull a decent espresso in a couple of weeks or less.

**Check the price on Amazon**

Phillips Carina 3200

The Phillips Carina 3200 shows a sound balance of features, adding Saeco and Gaggia technologies to its repertoire. Although I think it is a good option, its lack of durability and support can make anyone think twice before buying it.

The Philips Carina 3200 is a great alternative for home espresso.

Pros:

  • Water filter: the Carina 3200 works with the Saeco AquaClean filters, which are very good and affordable. I love this because tap water comes with many impurities, and bottled water isn’t sustainable and not affordable either. In short, the AquaClean proprietary system considerably reduces the frequency of descaling and contributes to a better cup of coffee. According to the manufacturer, you will only need to descale your machine every 5000 cups. In comparison with the monthly descaling of close competitors, this is a huge advantage. According to users, you’ll have to pay and replace filters every 500 to 600 cups. I think this isn’t a severe inconvenience, but it isn’t negligible either.
  • Easy-to-clean: it doesn’t matter if your Espresso Machine belongs to the affordable category. It still demands attention and care. Yet, the Carina 3200 is easy to clean and maintain. I already mentioned the AquaClean filter, which adds to this point. Additionally, the Carina 3200 has a removable brew group, which is pretty convenient for cleaning and maintenance. Moreover, you can use the Saeco cleaning products for descaling and removing coffee oils from the brewing system. I like this because Saeco is an outstanding brand, and users report an excellent experience with its cleaning products. Overall, the cleaning experience is smooth. Although it is important to clean it frequently, the Carina 3200 is one of the least annoying machines to maintain in the category and the whole Super Automatics market.
  • Aroma seal: whole coffee beans are the secret for a more complex and rich cup of coffee. Yet, if your beans are exposed, they’ll stale very quickly. So, although the Aroma Seal doesn’t replace a good coffee beans container, it works well enough for its 10 oz capacity.

Cons:

  • Touch screen display: several users complain about it, as they claim that it’s fragile and unreliable. I think that this isn’t a small thing, since it can become an annoyance and ruin the whole coffee brewing experience.
  • Learning curve: most users raised a red flag about this. Although a Super Automatic should be extremely intuitive, this isn’t the point for most Affordable ones. Specifically, the Carina 3200 worsened this issue as its instructions manual isn’t friendly, and users couldn’t find any decent tutorial online. In some cases, users reported that Customer Service representatives weren’t trained to answer the most basic questions about using the machine.

**Check the price on Amazon**

Gaggia Brera

Gaggia is the proud creator of the first Espresso Machine capable of pulling an Espresso with crema on its top. The Gaggia Brera honors the history and tradition behind its brand, with the cup quality and consistency expected of higher-end machines. Yet, the Customer and Technical Service can become a major downside, depending on your location.

The Gaggia Brera has a classic brand backing it, with some customer service pain points.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use: the Gaggia Brera offers nice features to personalize your brewing, like programming the amount of liquid and your espresso’s strength. I love this because it simplifies the brewing process. That’s the point about buying a Super-Automatic, in our opinion.
  • Easy-to-clean: emptying the puck container and a daily wash of its drip tray is most of the regular cleaning your Gaggia Brera needs. The automatic descaling works pretty well, according to most users. If you use a water filter, descaling is going to be considerably less frequent.

Cons:

  • Technical and Customer Service: several users complain about an expensive and painful process to get specialized service. This isn’t a small issue. If you don’t have a Service Center in your city, think twice about buying a Gaggia. To check this info, you could contact them here.

**Check the price on Amazon**

Jura D6

The Jura D6 is consistently the priciest machine belonging to our selection. Yet, most of the time its price is below the $1,000 price tag. As Jura is one of the most recognized brands of the Super Automatic category, we couldn’t deny a spot to the Jura D6.

The Jura D6 is stunning, both in looks and price.

This machine has one of the smoothest and most elegant designs we’ve found. However, it’s hard to be objective regarding appearance, so we didn’t include it as a rating factor.

Pros:

  • Customization: it doesn’t surprise us that the Jura D6 offers the highest customization of our selection. Some would say that it doesn’t justify a couple hundred dollars over the rest. However, it’s not a little thing to have control over the coffee strength, the water level and temperature. The Phillips Carina 3200 it’s the only one that could offer control over coffee strength, but can’t match the Jura D6 customization features for water.
  • Control panel: this machine has one of the simplest control panels, despite having a wider range of custom options. Additionally, it’s one of the sturdiest and durable.
  • Water filtering system: it offers the same advantages that other machines with water filters with a bonus. A smart system that warns you when to change the water filter. 

Cons:

  • Price: although the market is constantly changing, the Jura D6 is barely inside the affordable category. Most users would prefer to start with a more affordable alternative, like the Magnifica ESAM 3300 or the Phillips Carina 3200.

**Check the price on Amazon**

Krups EA8250

Krups is among the most prevalent brands of coffee makers in the world. If you’ve been researching Espresso Machines, you’ve likely found it out already. Krups is a German company with a sound reputation and quality. Yet, one of its most impressive feats is the wide range of Espresso Machines it offers, from the lowest to the highest prices possible.

The KRUPS EA8250 has many inconsistent opinions about it.

Sadly, the Krups EA8250 has many different reviews, with the same proportion of outraged users and delighted ones. For us, that’s a red flag, and we would pick some of our top three before the Krups EA8250.

Pros:

  • Cup-Quality: the fans of this machine love the quality of its Espresso. Most positive comments describe its Espresso as having excellent flavor, aroma, and a nice crema on top.
  • Water-filtering system: like the Phillips Carina 3200, the Krups EA8250 has a decent water filtering system. Following the same logic, it means that descaling will be less frequent, and the cup quality will be more consistent.

Cons:

  • Unreliable: we would instead choose a nicer word. However, it’s difficult to describe kindly a machine with the same proportion of positive and negative comments.
  • Technical and Customer Service: although there are many positive comments and reviews about the technical and customer service, we can’t ignore that Krups received many negative commentaries. Slow responses and unreliable service are some of the most common and worrying complaints.

**Check the price on Amazon**

Conclusion

Hopefully, this information on the Best Super Automatic Espresso Machines gave you a good idea of the most relevant features to pick yours and some options that could be a good fit for you.

I consider that the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300 offers the best value for its price because it complies with all the decisive factors and has the most competitive price.

However, as I said before if you are ready to spend a bit more and hate to deal with a two-week-long learning curve, the Phillips Carina 3200 could be a better option for you.

Our top two are clear winners for the long run, as they have the most consistent technical and customer service, a critical factor when buying a pricey appliance, like a Super Automatic Espresso Machine.

So, taking into consideration our ranking factors, we’re sure that I would be happy with the DeLonghi Magnifica ESAM 3300, as it complies with all the of the most important features, with a very competitive price.

Decisive Factors:
  1. Built-in Grinder
  2. Milk Frother
  3. Easy-To-Use and Durable Control Panel
  4. Convenient Cleaning and Maintenance Process
  5. Reliable and Accessible Technical Service
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