Gaggia Syncrony Compact Super-Automatic Espresso Maker Review
August 21, 2005
Along 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:
- 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.
- 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.