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There are five types of espresso machines from which you can choose below.
Manual / Lever - The large manual lever is pull down and then lifted to extract the espresso. Typically, these have no electric pump. Although they require the most work and skill, they typically produce the desired flavor profiles of quality espresso blends. These machines are old school, require training, designed for specialty coffee shops who want to market themselves as an artisan coffeehouse!
Semi-Automatic - These have an electric pump and the user depresses a switch to activate and deactivate the pump to extract the espresso. This category also includes machines with an E61 grouphead that has a little lever on the side and which depresses a switch on the front panel. These machines are preferred by most baristas for ease and speed of use while maintaining control over the beverage.
Fully-Automatic - The same function as a Semi-Automatic, except with the additional feature that there are 2-4 buttons to program the dosage of water through the coffee grinds. These can be operated as a semi-automatic, but with the use of a button on the touchpad. These machines are used in newer coffee shops or ones with high employee turnover. These are always used in food service establishments, such as restaurants, cafeterieas, etc. where the calier of espresso training is very low.
Super-Automatic - These models typically have a built-in grinder, measure the amount of grinds, doses it into the brewing chamber, extract a programmed amount of espresso, and discard the spent grinds into the dumpbox - all at the touch of a button. Higher end models froth milk in one step as well. These espresso machines work well in high volume facilities, such as self-serve cafeterias, airport locations and train stations. These machines require the most maintenance and service calls for adjustments. Therefore, daily volume should exceed 300 or more cups per day in sales to warrant the expense.
Single Serve - These machines typically utilize Easy Serving Espresso (E.S.E.) pods, cartridges, or capsules. The benefits are portion control, ease of use, and cleanliness. The downsides are typically higher cost per serving and lower perception of quality by customers who may pay a premium for the beverage.

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