Is a smart coffee machine worth it?

Coffee attracts many of us in the morning. Whether it’s the comforting heat, that puff of bitterness or, let’s be honest, the caffeine, coffee is the fuel that keeps our engines going every day. Coffee has evolved from its primitive origins as the berries we chewed, to simple mid-century automatic coffee makers, and now today to fully automatic machines that can do all the functions for us – and some even have a built-in Alexa voice assistance.

But do we really need all this technology in our morning cuppa?

How did we get to smart coffee machines?

Atomi Smart Coffee Maker

The story of the origin of coffee is well told: a young goat herder was tending his kids and noticed that they seemed to get very excited after nibbling the berries from a certain bush. Being the curious type, the shepherd tasted them himself and clung to the spiciness that these bitter little berries seemed to provide.

Eventually, humans began to cultivate these berries; we learned about roasting coffee and found better ways to crush roasted and dried beans. But, oh, all that work! The automatic pour-over coffee machine in the morning was a thing of the past, at least until the youth of the 21st century rediscovered the joys of analog coffee methods. Many of us, however, want to save time and start sipping faster and with less hassle. This is where new coffee technology comes in.

Super automatic espresso machines

Anyone who has ever extracted their own espresso using a manual machine knows that it truly is an art form. Grind precision, perfect tamping of the grounds, water pressure, water temperature, and even ambient humidity can all affect what ends up in your cup. This is why the super automatic espresso machine was developed.

A super automatic espresso machine handles all of these tasks for you. With the push of a button, it will grind your beans to your exact specifications, tamp them, and extract the espresso into your cup. Most super-automatic machines also have built-in heating and milk frothing. Your contribution to this technology is to pour your favorite beans into the hopper and press that button.

Is coffee technology worth it?

Philips 4300 super automatic espresso machine standing on a kitchen counter.

The efficiency, speed and quality of the super automatic espresso machine should not be underestimated, although they come at a substantial cost. Super automatic espresso machines can start at just under a thousand dollars, and paying 2 or even 3,000 for a brand name version is par for the course. But is it worth it?

I recently had the opportunity to try different super automatic espresso machines from Philips and Jura. There’s no denying the ease and convenience of these countertop behemoths. Yes, they tend to take up a large footprint (but truth be told not much larger than your automatic drip coffee maker and grinder combined). Waking up tired, with cloudy eyes and in the semi-darkness, it’s an absolute luxury not to have to rip the beans out, spill a few on the ground, grind them, spill a few on the ground, and then trying to press a quality espresso at 5:30 in the morning. Let’s not even start trying to froth the milk properly. There’s a reason why coffee is drunk in the morning: it helps us move from drowsy semi-consciousness to functional awakening.

These super-automatic machines also brew a variety of different drinks, meaning you’re not limited to espresso only; you can switch to a cappuccino or sip an afternoon latte with just the press of a button. No memorization of measurements, grind details or recipes. A super automatic espresso machine is definitely worth it, provided you drink at least one or two espresso drinks a day.

Can I add Alexa or Google to my coffee routine?

Many coffee machine manufacturers are now starting to build coffee makers with Alexa voice control in their machines. Some might ask…why?

It’s the next logical progression of smart coffee: why push that button? If you can ask your Alexa digital assistant in the bedroom to brew your coffee in the kitchen, by the time you get to the machine, your cup is ready. It’s magic there.

Philips 4300 super automatic espresso machine producing a double espresso.

Keurig was an early adopter of this technology with its pod machine. With the Keurig Alexa Skill, you can ask Alexa to turn the machine on or off, adjust brew strength settings, and more.

The problem with some of these machines is that you are left with a significant burden to configure your machine for success. With a Keurig, you have to remember to add the pod ahead of time. Some machines can only turn on or off using voice control, while others offer more automation.

The Hamilton Beach Alexa Coffee Maker lets you ask Alexa to start brewing a cup of coffee, change the brew strength, or simply turn the machine off. Because it keeps its time synced through the Alexa app, you can easily integrate the machine into your Alexa wake-up routines in the morning so you wake up smelling your favorite brew hot in the pot and waiting for you. pour it first. Chopped off.

There are also ways to hack this setup with an existing coffee maker and smart plug connected to Google or Alexa. These hacks tend to work best with machines that use a manual on-off switch, but it can be a more cost-effective way to add some smarts to your coffee maker.

Even so, if you’re thinking of an Alexa- or Google-enabled drip coffee maker, it might seem a little less logical. You still need to prepare everything, add the filter, sprinkle the soil and fill the water. Then you can ask Alexa to brew when you’re ready. Alexa is just taking that final incremental step, albeit one that actually results in hot coffee.

Is a smart coffee maker worth it?

It’s definitely a luxury to have barista-level beers made to order at home: kind of like a java butler.

So is all this technology really necessary? In short, of course not. Especially with the resurgence of analog coffee brewing methods, many people are finding enjoyment in their convenient coffee routines.

But as someone who’s had plenty of opportunities to review high-end automatic coffee and espresso machines, I can testify that a smart automated coffee maker can save time, deliver a smoother brew, and (especially with a super automatic machine) it can be extremely convenient. For these reasons, I can highly recommend the experience. It’s definitely a luxury to have barista-level beers made to order at home: kind of like a java butler.

The level of smart tech you want to add to your morning coffee routine comes down to personal preference, your morning routine, and how cool-headed you may or may not be before you’ve had that first cup.

Let’s be honest, we can all cope with a manual coffee existence. When I remember it before I go to bed, I’m a big fan of having my analog coffee maker and Nespresso machine set up the night before so I don’t have to find the dexterity (or my glasses) to not stumble. the kitchen, since this morning, in my half-awake state, I spilled an entire bag of coffee beans on the floor.

Fortunately, I was able to ask my robot vacuum cleaner to come and sweep it.

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About Jeffery L. Parker

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