I wonder about the expensive machines where you pour whole beans and water in the top and out of the bottom you get espresso, filtered coffee, or even a latte just by pushing a button. You would need to clean the bean chute, grinding area, milk frothing, and all the pathways connecting these parts.

Do you find it more inconvenient or time-consuming than just having separate grinder, espresso maker, and frothing wand?

1 Answer 1


The clear answer: It depends.

First, not all fully automatic models are constructed in the same way. Which also means the required effort varies between brands and models. Some are pretty self-cleaning, others less so. Checking consumer reviews on the usual shopping websites should give you a first idea.

Second, regular cleanup is non-negotiable. If you skip daily cleaning, your machine will become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. If you doubt that, simply open the machine in an average office where everyone pulls a shot, but nobody bothers to do more than dump out the used grounds every now and then. Especially the brewing part and various pipes can turn you into a tea drinker at a glance.

Of course a two- or three-part setup of grinder, espresso machine and maybe frother must also be cleaned, but apart from the parts touching the milk, you deep-clean far less often (e.g. dismantling the grinder) or a quick rinse or wipe will suffice.

So you have to find your personal threshold for the covenience vs. effort question. The answer will depend on the machine model, but also on the kind of use the machine gets. For our household where we pull between (usually) two and (rarely) eight shots a day and only occasionally steam milk, we purposely picked separate items, but that was also based on counter space and kitchen layout and the charm and flexibility of “handmade” coffee1. My parents decided that for about the same parameters an all-in-one machine was the best choice.


1 We used to quite happily work with a Mokka before buying an espresso machine.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.