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Automatic Home Coffee Machine Buyer's Guide

Choosing the right coffee machine for your home can be a very tricky endeavor. With the plethora of information on the market, it is rather easy to become inundated with facts, specs, projections and the ever changing jargon that infiltrates the the coffee industry.

To start, we must think about several important variables:
  1. Style
  2. Functionality
  3. Output Capacity
  4. Water Source
  5. Coffee Type
  6. Machine Lifespan
  7. Space Available
  8. Ease of Use


While looking at style, one needs to consider the prioritization of style and how it corresponds to the rest of the needs of a new coffee machine. If style does not play a role at all, then one can focus more on the durability of components, and the versatility of the machine's abilities. Keep in mind that just because it may not seem of much importance right now, this is one appliance that is seen on a daily basis and perhaps aesthetics may hinder the deep love that you two share in the future. There are many styles of machines out there; some machines are made of extremely durable alloys with an industrial strength and look about them. One example of this look is Astra's DBS. If a unique look that is more of a conversation started is what fits the bill on your kitchen counter, take a look at the Francis Francis. When speaking on the pour over machine world of coffee machines, a Mr. Coffee original machine may be enough to boost caffeine levels with more of a utilitarian approach. On the same note, the Behmor may be a more appealing alternative for your coffee machine space. You can also look into the significant differences of the different models under the same manufacturer, e.g. Jura E8 vs. Jura Z6. If you are looking into the built-in models, please consider that an unanticipated move to a new home may be in the future, and may not be compatible with your new kitchen.


The functionality is a very important aspect that should not be over looked. Think about your morning routine. Do you have time to grind the coffee beans, calibrate the grinder, set the group temperature, assess the humidity, and time your perfect extraction? Would pouring the beans into the machine directly and pressing a button for your individualized specialty drink accommodate your morning schedule better? If so, then look no further than the Jura coffee machines that we recommend. If a perfectly extracted shot is the best way for you to start your day, then a grinder and traditional machine such as the Astra's Semi-Auto Gourmet may be one to consider. Remember to keep the size of your usable counter space in mind when considering adding another piece of machinery, such as a grinder. A grinder's footprint is generally 6"x8" and this is not the largest one by any means.

Output Capacity

How many cups are made daily? Do you have a four member family that drinks three cups daily? Does one shot and one cappuccino sound more like the morning coffee output? Is this a second home machine that will not be used for six months out of the year? This is very important to understand, as every manufacturer sets about an output capacity to maintain the machine's integrity based upon how they determine the machine should be used. This will also drastically affect the life span of the machine, as the machine cannot facilitate double the output capacity for the original estimated life span.

Water Source

There are machines that can be plumbed-in, i.e. connected to a water line. This would need to be installed into the kitchen water line. It is possible to convert a pour over machine into a plumbed-in unit, however, takes much planning, as even the pump system should be changed. The pour over units provide more versatility regarding juxtaposition within the kitchen, along with an easier time getting started with the new coffee machine. The water tank may becoming an annoying necessity, as the tank may seem to empty faster than anticipated. The average water tank for super automatic coffee machines can vary between 32oz-64oz. Repairing a machine with a plumbed-in line is generally more expensive, as the machine is easier to repair on-site, which generally calls for a more pricey service charge. A pour over machine can be simply carried to the repair shop for maintenance.

Type Of Coffee

If members of your family tend to gravitate to different types of coffee than others, there are several routes that one may take. If a super automatic machine is the preferred type of coffee machine, then one type of bean can be purchased whole bean (to be poured into the bean hopper) while the other can be ground (to be poured into the pre-ground chute). If the super-automatic is the machine for you, then please consider the fact that oily beans are never recommended for these machines, as they substantially increase the maintenance cost and reduce the life span as well. Regarding traditional machines, portafilter machines, the bean options are similar. Either one can buy separate grinders for the separate coffee bean preferences, or ground coffee can be purchased to facilitate the different tastes, however this coffee may not be of the freshest quality. The traditional machines can handle the more oily beans, as the adjustments to the mechanics are far easier than the technological adjustments that would need to be made to the super-automatic machines.

Life Expectancy

Every coffee machine has a life span to it, based upon the anticipated output capacity, water type, bean type, type of use, maintenance routine, and many other variables. One must consider that the machines that hold a higher price tag are not always good long term investments. Extensive knowledge about the components and the configurations of different models is typically the only way to determine the anticipated life span of specific coffee machines. One can look into the configurations and the composite of the parts through parts diagrams and research. We highly encourage asking questions prior to purchasing machines, as this will determine the amount of cups you will get out of your newest investment. Some machines are built to last one year while others are built to last twenty.


Prior to window shopping, it is recommended to determine the amount of space you are willing to give up for this very important piece of machinery. One must also think about the ease of movement if more counter space is needed. Is the machine light enough to be moved in a pinch or are family members capable of moving the machine if need be? Remember that traditional machine users tend to enjoy the fresh coffee extraction that comes from owning a grinder as well, and this is an additional footprint being taken up.

Ease of Use

This is a commonly overlooked component of the coffee machine shopping process. Consider your household appliance users. Mistakes such as pouring water into a grinder of a super-automatic coffee machine can lead to a very pricey repair or even having to replace the machine. Does your family get intimidated by the idea of technology or numerous buttons? Are you willing to be the honorary barista during very event, because everyone else is intimidated? We recommend that you access the user manual prior to committing to the machine to properly assess the amount of training that the family must undergo prior to trusted use of your new family member.

There are many more components that are very important in the coffee machine determination realm, and we recommend that you simply send us an email if there are any specific inquiries that you may have.