Coffee, sweet elixir of life...
November 18, 2014 7:46 AM   Subscribe

My most indulgent purchase to date has been a Delonghi Magnifica superautomatic espresso maker. I push a button, it grinds beans, makes me an americano with beautiful crema, and chucks a little puck of used grounds into the receptacle. Magical! Sadly, it's on its last legs.

I bought this machine almost 5 years ago and it's starting to show its age (some buttons don't work anymore, false startups are the norm and require turning off, cleaning again, then turning on again)... can you recommend a replacement machine? Smaller is gooder, good coffee is better. No machines requiring pods, please. I don't much care about a steam wand, just the grind and brew espresso feature.

We've had this machine serviced once and it was in the shop for almost two months. Not ideal. Please recommend superautomatic coffee makers that you've had personal experience with. I really don't want to be futzing with a separate grinder and tamping/pulling my own shots of espresso. I do recognize that this makes me a heathen. I'm willing to own that.
posted by lizifer to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
You want a Saeco Odea. My first Saeco lasted eleven years, my second (Talea Giro) has needed nothing but regular (home) maintenance for five years. Try to avoid LCD touchscreens on coffee equipment. If the machine is built to last it will have lighted annunciators - on cheap ones, or vacuum fluorescent displays for the really good ones.
posted by jet_silver at 8:31 AM on November 18, 2014

My office has a jura j5 that we use daily and maintain poorly. Its still going strong after about 5 years.
posted by captaincrouton at 9:01 AM on November 18, 2014

I have a Spidem Trevi Digital Plus. It's probably 7 years old and has never needed service, just cleaning.

If they still make them, I plan to buy another if this one dies. Great crema.
posted by jbenben at 10:17 AM on November 18, 2014

The Odea looks very similar to my Gaggia Platinum Vision. I downgraded from a Rancilio Silvia+PID/Rocky semi-auto setup for space reasons.

Once I dialed in the grind and flow, the shots are great. However, it's the neediest machine I've ever had. The small size means you'll be refilling the water or (more likely 'and') emptying the drip and dregs tray each day you use it. That IS the tradeoff, however, it does work well in a small space since it swivels for access to both.

If you can live with that tradeoff it's not a bad machine, and it goes on refurbished sale all the time.
posted by kcm at 11:39 AM on November 18, 2014

Hie thee to the Seattle Coffee Gear website and nose around.
We bought a re-furbed Saeco Syntia and absolutely love it - we do have to steam our own milk, and it did need a part after about 5.5 months (but inside the 6 mo. warrantee window, so it didn't cost anything!).
Their service department is awesome - and even if you don't live in the Seattle area, I'd consider a purchase since they handle shipping when returning a repair.
posted by dbmcd at 1:13 PM on November 18, 2014

Data point - we have a Jura Impressa E8 at the office. It's around 10 years old; after about 4 years and ~5000 cups, it needed to go back for a flat $200 maintenance and it came back fixed and also they replaced some small scratched cosmetic parts. That has happened once more since, but this is under very heavy use (~20 cups a day).

The Impressa E8 doesn't seem to be available anymore but I'm definitely happy with them as a company.
posted by ftm at 2:18 PM on November 18, 2014

Have you considered taking your current machine back to the shop a second time?
posted by oceanjesse at 6:54 PM on November 18, 2014

Response by poster: I have considered that, but it is out of warranty and I suspect it will be another 6 week long process... this time with a couple hundred dollar price tag.
posted by lizifer at 11:17 AM on November 19, 2014

This is an old thread, but I thought I'd chime in in case anyone else happens upon it. I own an espresso machine repair shop, and at 5 years old a Magnifica still has plenty of life in it. Yes it will need a couple hundred dollars of work, but that should buy you another 4+ years. They're just about the best super-automatic on the market today in terms of engineering quality, life expectancy and repairability. Jura also makes a good machine but you'll have to ship it to them if you have any trouble, they don't have a network of service centers like most other brands and they don't make spare parts available either. Seaco/Gaggia/Spidem are all the same machines, for the most part, and some of their models are better than others. Speaking of which, you do NOT want a Saeco Odea or Talea. Hands-down the worst machines they ever produced.

I'm happy to answer any other questions via PM.
posted by bizwank at 12:14 AM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

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