Commercial Coffee Equipment


Quote Request


New Technology Old Time Service

HGZ Rex Royal
Fullys, super automatics, automatics ... the coming of age of 'supers' is happening quickly enough that we don't have a standard term for them. It was evident at EXPO in Milan last November, the largest coffee show in the world, that supersaturates are taking over the world. Supers were the featured category in the equipment pavilion, with manufacturers proudly featuring their latest iterations of automatic espresso technology.

In speaking with the leading manufacturers, their vision is on providing the fastest production of the elixir we all love. Make it good, fast and reliable and they will come. They are coming by scores in Europe.

There has been a long evolution of the super automatic machine. Out of 27,000 restaurant/hospitality sites in Switzerland, there are 24,500 super automatic espresso machines.

Stop and think about that for a minute.

That is almost every restaurant in the country. That large base of business has spawned an industry to support it.

Rex Royal, Cafina, Schaerer, Franke, Egro and Thermoplan are the major Swiss manufacturers.

The current attention in the U.S. for superautos is towards auto grind and brew,functions with manual steaming. The machines typically have one group head and one steam wand. These machines are being deployed into delis, bakeries, restaurants, drive thru espresso units, and now, even espresso bars.

"if you're building a company of any size,it's the way to produce the best shot in the most consistent manner. That's what the customer is looking for- a drink that is the same from location to location, barista to barista."

What are the distinctions and differences between super automatics? The range of features below are found in machines in the $ 10,000 to $18,000 range, machines capable and proven in supporting an espresso business.

Let's explore what the various features are:

  • Number of grinders, type of grinders
  • Some supers have just one grinder, but most have two-typically used for caf and decaf, although the second hopper could be used for a different blend of caffeinated.
  • The higher capacity machines have more powerful grinder motors and larger burrs, grinding for a shorter period of time.
  • The advantage of the superauto's grinder is that because it grinds for each shot made, it can be very fresh. Also, because the grinder is working for shorter periods of time, less heat is produced, resulting in longer burr life and less heat transfer to the coffee.

Type and size of brew group, preheat features

  • Different machines have different diameters of brewgroups.
  • There will always be some compromise, because a single shot is being made in the same diameter chamber as a double.
  • Generally smaller diameters are better for lesser volumes of coffee, and larger ones are good for larger doses, especially where doubles and triples are standard.
  • Ultimately, the best way to judge the quality featuresof the machine is to take your coffee to the machine, have it dialed in by the machine expert and let your palette be your guide.
  • Some distinctions of the machine that will play into that are the materials used for the brew group and preheat features.
  • What are the features that maintain constant temperature in the brew cycle and is pre infusion an available feature?

Steam power and duration (and other milk features).

  • How long does it take to steam your typical pitcher of milk?
  • After steaming a gallon or so of milk, can you steam as well on this as your conventional machine?
  • One of the best features for super automatic is the 'smart' steam wand that automatically shuts the steam wand off at the desired temperature.
  • The slick thing about this feature is that after the right amount of foam is developed, the pitcher can be left under the watch of the smart wand and the labor can attend to another task.
  • In busy locations, this amounts to gigantic labor savings.
  • This feature is found on Rex Royal machines.
  • If the smart wand feature is available, make sure that the probe is bullet proof when it is jammed to the bottom of a steaming pitcher.
  • How reliable is the thermostat on the 'smart wand'?

Cleaning process

  • What is involved with the daily cleaning process?
  • It's great if it's short, but does it really get to all the parts needed to clean?
  • Can a manager go into the program mode to see when the last cleaning was performed?

Ease of repair

  • I would encourage you to ask the technician what the 3 most common problems are and how they're fixed (confirm this with your 5 field users that you've interviewed).
  • Go through a dry run with the technician of what it takes to fix them.
  • How much of the machine has to come apart?
  • After the warranty period, how costly are the parts?
  • Does each technician always travel with those parts? Part of the unseen differences in machine vendors
  • is their commitment to their user base in parts inventory.
  • It represents significant difference
  • in the investment that a shop has in keeping your business running and one that rarely shows up in a buyer's decision.
  • Ask to see the parts inventory.

In choosing a super, I suggest starting with the service support side of the equation.

  • Who is servicing, how long have they done it for, can I see and talk to 5 other customers using this machine and see how their service has been?
  • There are many more moving parts on a super than a conventional machine.

It's clear from every angle and perspective, like it or not, that super automatic espresso machines are going to have a dominant profile on the espresso landscape.