Gaggia Syncrony Compact Super-Automatic Espresso Maker Review

August 21, 2005

Gaggia Syncrony CompactAlong with all of the thrashing about the last week or two getting a working coffee maker and backup into place, I also went nuts and bought a super automatic espresso machine.

If you’re not up on espresso maker terminology, a “Super Automatic” is a machine delivers a shot of espresso (or a double, or an americano (espresso+hot water — coffee, more or less)) at the touch of a button. It grinds the beans, makes the shot, dumps the grinds, etc. Of course, it also comes with a steam wand for frothing the milk.

In the online world of coffee snobbery (such as CoffeeGeek, one of my favorite coffee-related sites), there is a special place in home barista hell for those who buy super automatics.

The reason (and I’m sure that it’s plenty true) is that while they many of the super automatics can deliver a good espresso shot, they can’t deliver a great espresso shot, the kind that a ninja barista with a finely honed full-on manual machine and high end grinder can.

Fine and dandy. But you know, sometimes good is good enough.

Coffee nut that I am, the two things that have kept me from going the espresso route for quite some time have been:

  1. I’d not only need a good espresso maker, I’d probably need to upgrade my grinder significantly too — the quality of the espresso is dependent as much (or more) on the grind as it is on the espresso machine. It looks like the entry point for getting a good grinder and quality espresso maker with the features I’d want is about $800 for the pair.
  2. I often don’t have time for fiddling. I spend a lot of time with coffee as it is, roasting once or twice a week; I don’t necessarily want to have to spend the time warming up the machine to a stable temperature, grinding and tamping the shot, and cleaning up afterwords in order to get 2 oz of caffeinated liquid love. Sure, sometimes it’d be great (I’m a geek, remember); just not always.

On the espresso up-side, it’d be nice to be able to have an espresso shot every now and then, and even to be able to whip-up coffee confections such as lattes, cappucinos, etc. for guests and even myself. Americanos are a fine alternative to normal drip-brewed coffee, particularly if I can spike them with an extra shot or two when I want.

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4 Responses to “Gaggia Syncrony Compact Super-Automatic Espresso Maker Review”

  1. Christine on August 22nd, 2005 5:37 pm

    Thanks for all this great detail! I’m looking for a home machine right now, and this is helpful info. I like the new colors and header, btw. 🙂

  2. Chuck Lawson on August 22nd, 2005 8:50 pm

    Hi Christine;

    Thanks for the kind words! This site has been overdue for a makeover for awhile; I just had to get a couple of minutes free to get it done… 🙂

    Best of luck finding a new machine — be sure to let us know what you get!

  3. bob on August 26th, 2005 2:22 pm

    just wanted to share with you the latest in espresso machine design from Ascaso, a european company. Take a look and share your thoughts…

    link removed

  4. Chuck Lawson on August 26th, 2005 7:19 pm

    My thoughts are that since what little financing goes into this site (and feeds my coffee habit) comes from advertising, if you’d like to advertise on this site, you’re free to either enquire directly regarding rates (we’re quite reasonable), or use Google Adwords.

    I’m also quite willing to do reviews of submitted equipment, if you’d care to make arrangements to send a review unit. Several of them look quite interesting.

    Thanks for understanding.

    – Chuck

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