Which coffee beans to choose for an automatic machine?

Automatic espresso machines, such as the Miele Silence Super Automatic or the Miele MilkPerfection, provide a quality coffee with an all-in-one solution, but more importantly, peace of mind. At the touch of a button, a coffee is brewed in just a few minutes. It’s enough to make some owners of manual machines dream at times.

However, one very important step remains manual: the choice of beans and, more precisely, their roasting type.

What are the roasting profiles?

In general, the roast types are classified in this order, from less to more roasted, i.e. blond (light), brown, mid-black and black. Roughly speaking, the lighter the roast, the more acidic and fruity it will be, and the darker the roast, the more bitter it will be.

You can learn more about roasting right here.

What beans should I avoid with an automatic machine?

When it comes to coffee beans, there are no hard and fast rules about what to avoid using in an automatic coffeemaker, but there are some general guidelines that can help you get the best results. In general, it’s best to avoid using oily or dark-roasted beans in an automatic coffeemaker, as they can clog the machine and affect the quality of the coffee. These types of beans can also cause residue to build up in the machine over time, which can be difficult to clean and can affect the performance of the machine. Instead, it’s recommended to use medium or light roasted beans that are not oily, which will produce a smoother and more consistent cup of coffee. Ultimately, the best beans to use with your coffeemaker will depend on your personal preferences and the specific model of machine you’re using, so it’s always a good idea to experiment with different varieties and roasts to find the perfect match for your setup.

Why can’t I use dark roasted beans in an automatic machine?

Dark roasted coffee beans tend to be more oily and have a darker surface than medium or light roasted beans. This oiliness can cause problems when used in an automatic coffee maker. The oils can build up over time and clog the machine’s grinder, which can affect the taste and quality of your coffee and even cause damage to the machine. In addition, the oils can leave a residue on the inside of the machine that is difficult to clean and can lead to bacterial growth.

Also, dark roasted beans tend to have a stronger and more pronounced flavor profile, which can be overpowering when brewed in an automatic machine. Automatic coffeemakers work by passing hot water through ground coffee at a specific pressure and temperature to produce a consistent and uniform cup of coffee. However, the strong flavor and oily nature of dark roasted beans can make it difficult for the machine to extract the full flavor and aroma of the coffee, resulting in an unbalanced and bitter taste.

For these reasons, it’s generally recommended to use medium or lightly roasted beans in an automatic coffeemaker. These beans have a more balanced flavor profile and are less oily, making them easier to brew and resulting in a smoother, more enjoyable cup of coffee.

Why is dark roasted coffee the only type of bean that is “oily” or “fat”?

Dark roasted coffee beans tend to have more oil on their surface than lighter roasted beans because the roasting process causes the oils within the bean to migrate to the surface. During roasting, the heat causes chemical reactions that break down the complex carbohydrates and proteins in the beans into simpler compounds. As the roasting process continues and the temperature increases, the oils inside the beans are released and migrate to the surface of the bean. This process creates a shiny, oily appearance on the surface of the dark roasted beans.

However, it’s worth noting that not all dark roasted coffee beans are oily or fat. The degree of oiliness can vary depending on the origin of the beans, the roasting technique used, and the freshness of the beans. Additionally, some lighter roasted beans may also have a slight oiliness to them due to the unique characteristics of the beans themselves.

In general, the oiliness of coffee beans is not necessarily an indicator of quality or flavor, and it’s not uncommon for coffee connoisseurs to enjoy both oily and non-oily beans. The most important thing when choosing coffee beans is to look for high-quality, freshly roasted beans that have been stored properly to ensure the best flavor and aroma.

Which beans should I use with an automatic machine?

Non-oily coffee beans, which are blond to medium-dark, are the most recommended for an automatic espresso machine.

To determine if the beans are oily, simply take a look at them by grabbing a handful: if the beans are shiny to the eye, they should be avoided.

It is important to remember that your automatic machine, like a manual machine, needs to be washed and maintained, including a thorough cleaning on occasion.

If you ever use dark beans in an automatic machine

  • As deposits build up, your grinder could simply stop working if it gets too clogged with sticky coffee residue. You can still do frequent cleaning of the coffee tank, but that won’t fix the problem in the grinder. You can also send it for cleaning from time to time, but the oils will continue to clump in the grinders;
  • Your brewing unit could, in turn, stop working after producing many poorly extracted coffees. The oils stick to all the places including the pipes inside the machine: these can end up being blocked;
  • Dark beans are difficult to grind: they react more strongly to the grinder’s adjustments. This takes a lot of precision out of the grind, which ultimately has an impact on the quality of the espresso extracted by the machine.

What if I prefer to drink dark roasted coffees?

If you prefer the taste of dark roasted coffee, you still have options, even if you have an automatic coffeemaker. One option is to look for dark roasted beans that are specifically designed for use in automatic coffeemakers. These beans tend to be less oily than traditional dark roasted beans, which can help reduce the risk of clogging your machine.

Another option is to clean your machine regularly to prevent the buildup of oils or other residues that can affect the quality of your coffee. Most automatic coffeemakers come with cleaning instructions, which usually include running a cleaning solution through the machine about once a month. In addition, you can use a grinder cleaner to remove any oils that may be clogging your grinder.

Finally, you can experiment with different brewing methods to see if you can get the flavor you’re looking for without the potential clogging issues associated with dark roasted beans. For example, you can try using a French press or pour-over method to manually brew your coffee, which can give you more control over the brewing process and may result in a smoother, less bitter cup of coffee.

Ultimately, the key to enjoying dark roasted coffee is finding the right balance between taste and convenience. With a little experimentation and some extra care and maintenance, you can still enjoy a rich, flavorful cup of coffee from your coffeemaker, even with dark roasted beans.

Some tips to get the most out of your automatic espresso machine

  • Warm your cups: your coffees will stay hot longer. If your machine does not have a cup warmer, simply rinse your cups with hot water;
  • Brew one coffee at a time: even if your machine is very powerful, the unique extraction of your espresso will be improved, and your coffee will be tastier and creamier;
  • Use fresh water: your machine will do better if you use softened and filtered water, but always use fresh water to get the best product. Your tank doesn’t always have to be full: fill it up little by little;
  • Pay attention to your machine: if you neglect to do the maintenance your machine requires, you will considerably shorten the life of a relatively expensive appliance while threatening its proper functioning.