Articles From Whole Latte Love

The GroupHead Files Part III: Will a super automatic make “regular” coffee?

Posted: 10/20/05

Dear GroupHead: cartoon

My wife is really into the fancy coffee drinks she gets from a local coffeehouse, so now she wants to buy one of these super automatic machines - the S9 Avantgarde. It seems like a whole lot of money for one coffee maker, so I want to make sure that it will make the coffee I like to drink too. Will a super automatic make regular coffee? And will it make all of her cappuccino latte things too, or should we be looking at something else?

Regular Joe

From the GroupHead:

Regular Joe,

For you, Joe, I have a lot of good news and just a wee little bit of not-really-that-bad news. We’ll start with the quote unquote bad news: no, you can’t make "regular" coffee with the S9 Avantgarde, or any super automatic espresso machine for that matter. Now, let me backtrack here and clarify that I’m assuming you mean drip coffee when you say "regular" coffee and, as strange as this may sound, you do need a drip coffee maker to make drip coffee. But all is not lost, Joe! You can make a couple things with your super auto that are, by gosh, pretty darn similar to drip coffee: café americano and café crema.

Of the two, a café americano is the closest thing in flavor to drip coffee and with a super automatic, it’s actually even easier to make. Traditionally, an americano is made with a double shot of espresso with 6 to 8oz of hot water added to it after brewing. I know, I know - it sounds like coffee flavored water. But thanks to the concentrated flavor of espresso, this delectable drink is not only the opposite of watery, but is more full-flavored to boot because of the pressure brewing process that creates espresso. Going back to that whole "easier to make" concept, with the S9 Avantgarde, all you’ll really need to do to create an americano is press two buttons: one to grind, tamp, and brew your espresso, and another to dispense hot water. And as an extra added bonus, if you’ve got a wide-mouthed mug (like the WholeLatteLove Latte Mug, for instance) you won’t even need to move your cup - the Avantgarde’s hot water dispenser is located within centimeters of its coffee dispensing spouts.

Café crema, on the other hand, is a bit different in flavor and in the way that you produce it. This tasty alternative is created by pressure brewing (the method used to produce espresso) 6 to 8oz of water through grounds that are coarser than you would use to brew espresso. The coarser grounds make it possible for you to avoid a bitter, overextracted brew, and hear me when I tell you, Joe, that most die-hard "regular" coffee drinkers drop the drip forever once they taste this unbelievably rich and flavorful concoction. Café crema is also pretty easy to make - especially with a machine like the S9 Avantgarde, which has programmable brewing buttons. All you’ll have to do is adjust the built-in grinder to a coarser setting than you use to brew espresso and press the button you’ve programmed to dispense the 6 to 8oz of water you need.

As for your concern about your wife’s fancy coffee drinks, the S9 Avantgarde - like every other super automatic - will be your one-stop shop for cappuccinos, lattes, and any variations thereof. The base for all of these drinks is espresso, and given that super automatics are by definition espresso machines, you’ve got that base covered, but the other necessity to build these drinks is milk. Frothed, steamed, or a combination of both, milk makes an appearance in just about every one of those lip-smackin’ drinks your wife has a penchant for. And to appease the masses, every super automatic we carry has a wand that dispenses steam (intuitively enough, it’s called a steam wand) so that you can easily steam and froth your milk for the drink you crave. So to sum it all up, yes, the S9 Avantgarde will make anything and everything your wife desires.

To get the best from both the coffee and milk parts of your drinks, I would recommend taking a look at our Meet Our Beans article, which will give you a good idea of which beans will perform well in the drinks you’re looking to make, and I would also plan on purchasing a frothing pitcher and frothing thermometer to accompany your super auto. Why? Because burning milk is a really easy thing to do, and a stainless steel frothing pitcher will retain the colder temperature of the milk for a longer time than ceramics, etc, giving you more time to steam and froth your milk overall, while the thermometer helps you make sure you haven’t gotten to the boiling point just yet. And P.S. - if your wife likes flavored fancy coffees, our Monin Syrups are probably going to rank as necessities as well.

Now, I know you’re worried about the cost involved in this venture, and I’d like to calm your fears about that too. You can read all the details in our article titled How a Super Auto Equals Savings, but the long and short of it is that a machine like this pays for itself over time. Compared to the cost of buying specialty coffee drinks from you local coffeehouse every day, having a super automatic in your home actually saves you money over the course of a year. I’m not giving you some Crazy Eddie sales pitch here - take a look at the article and see the cost breakouts for yourself. I think you’ll be surprised.


To learn more about superautomatic espresso machines like the Capresso S9 Avantgarde, Gaggia Titanium, and more, simply follow the links below:

Impressa S9 Avantgarde Product Spotlight

Gaggia Titanium SS Product Spotlight
What is a Super Automatic?
Entertaining With Espresso Machines