There’s no denying that coffee lovers are split into two camps: #MokaLovers and #EspressoLovers. If you fall into the second category and it would make your dreams come true to simply press a button and get espresso at home like the stuff you find in coffee shops, a super-automatic coffee machine could be just the thing for you.
But what is a super-automatic coffee machine? Below is a short explanation for those who don’t know about them yet.
“Super-automatic” or “bean-to-cup” coffee machines are compact “all-in-one” pieces of equipment that grind coffee beans and extract espresso for you. All that you need to do is press a button.
There are now many different kinds of these machines on the market, from simple ones with just a few settings that make a fairly standard espresso, to incredibly high-tech machines that come with a whole host of options and can be controlled with an app.
The quality is high and there’s no question that the coffee is fresh, but there’s always something new that you can learn about these things. With that in mind, we put a few questions to Mauro de Giusti, who is the owner of his family business: Manuel Caffè.
Let’s start with what you think of “bean to cup” machines. Can they really make espresso that’s the same as the stuff served in coffee shops?
“No, and I’ll tell you why. There’s still nothing that can quite compare to an espresso from a coffee shop, because the pressure and temperature in a professional espresso machine are different. Nonetheless, I personally believe that you can make something very similar to our beloved espresso if you have a decent super-automatic machine that lets you adjust the settings for things like temperature and weight, as well as superior coffee beans of course. One huge benefit of these machines that should not be overlooked is that they’re eco-friendly because they make a great alternative to capsules, with the use of fresh coffee.”
“There’s definitely no comparison whatsoever between using coffee beans that have just been ground and using a ready-made blend, because we know that as a rule coffee loses more than 60% of its aromas in the 15 minutes after it is ground. So my advice is: use coffee beans, grind them immediately before use and – most importantly – use the right amount!”
“Coffee beans are simpler to store than ground coffee because they do not deteriorate so easily and they oxidize more slowly. I’d recommend putting them in an airtight glass jar in the fridge. The cold temperature will slow down the degassing process (when carbon dioxide is released from the cells of the coffee beans), so the deterioration of the sensory properties will take longer. After coffee beans have been roasted, the cells in them are full of gas and aromas. The more gas you manage to keep inside the beans, the more sensory properties the coffee will have when you grind the beans. It’s a fascinating subject all of its own and we look into it in detail during the Barista Skills courses at the @saperecoffeeacademy.”
Which type of Manuel coffee would you recommend?
“In my opinion, there’s no such thing as the ideal coffee blend for super-automatic machines, moka pots or espresso in terms of the sensory properties. However, a crucial role is played by the roasting process for the beans. You need different characteristics for each brewing method. After carrying out painstaking market research into trends in the tastes and preferences of consumers who use super-automatic machines at home, at Manuel Caffè we’ve created two blends that are ideal for them: Nobile and Puro, which have different percentages of roasted Arabica and Robusta beans with outstanding aromatic qualities. Nobile is a full-bodied coffee featuring a rich aroma with notes of cocoa and dried fruit, as well as an aftertaste that’s smooth on the palate. Puro has a more forthright flavour and appeals to lovers of stronger taste sensations, with scents of caramel, cocoa and spices.”
Can we expect to see a Manuel Caffè super-automatic coffee machine in the future?
“In our family we love to keep moving forwards and traditions have always formed the foundations of everything we’ve built. You could say that ‘innovation is a family tradition’! So what can I say? We’re working on it. We’re already at an advanced stage and we’re confident that it’ll take concrete form soon.”
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