Fully automatic espresso machines, also known in the UK as bean to cup machines
dispense espresso and a variety of espresso based beverages consistently and quickly
without the necessity of skilled barista staff.
Assuming that the machine has been set up correctly and commissioned by an
experienced engineer, the quality of espresso produced by the machine should be
comparable in quality to that produced on a more traditional espresso machine by a
Despite the fact that some of the 'theatre' of producing a good espresso is lost and
producing the drink is less personal the advantages of ease of use and consistency of
drink make the fully automatic espresso machine a popular choice for commercial
The espresso machines are designed to satisfy the classic espresso brewing process
which is as follows:
To produce a concentrated coffee liquor of between 1 and 1.5 fluid ounces, by forcing
hot water at a temperature of between 92 and 96 degrees Celsius at a pressure of 9 bar
through a compacted wad of fine ground dark roast coffee.
For a typical commercial bean to cup machine it takes about 25 seconds from pressing
the button to producing the finished beverage. Although this is longer than making an
espresso on a traditional barista operated espresso machine, this does include the time
to grind the coffee direct from the bean into the brewing chamber.
Fully automatic espresso machines vary from manufacturer to manufacturer but
generally they use more coffee and have a shorter extraction time than their traditional
Fully automatic bean to cup machines are considerably more complex than semi
automatics. All the processes for producing the various different coffee beverages
such as grinding, dosing, tamping, brewing, milk foaming and delivery are contained
within the machine and activated by the touch of a single button.
Cleaning and maintenance procedures are reduced or automated since the operator has
restricted access to the machine. However since most of the components of the
machine involve complex electronics these procedures are of considerable
The most notable feature of a bean to cup machine is the absence of an external
brewing group head, which is replaced by an internal brewing chamber that has a
piston and filter assembly located at each end.
Depending on the initial drink selection, espresso, hot water and steamed milk are
automatically and separately delivered from within the machine via flexible hoses to
the dispense head. The dispense head may be adjustable to receive different cup sizes.
Typically two or more demountable coffee bean hoppers are incorporated into the
design of the machine. Although the hoppers may be removed, the grinding
mechanism is normally encased within the machine. Some machines have a chute
facility that allows pre-ground decaffeinated or specialty coffee to by-pass the grinder
for added flexibility. This chute also plays an importance role in cleaning and
A properly commissioned and well maintained fully automatic espresso machine will
deliver cup after cup of delicious specialty coffee beverages and keep your customers
coming back for more.