Automatic Espresso Machine
The automatic espresso machine (sometimes also called fully automatic) is very similar to its semi-automatic cousin. There is only one difference between the two. With the semi-automatic machines you turn off the pump once the espresso is extracted. With the automatics, the machine does this step for you.
With the automatic machine you press a button to make the espresso shot. Water then flows to the portafilter through a flowmeter. Once the required amount of water has flown through, the machine automatically turns off the pump and releases the pressure.
So, the only advantage of the automatic machine over the semi-automatic is that you don't have to stand around for 20 - 25 seconds to turn off the pump. You are free to do other things once you start the pump - quite handy on a busy morning.
Obviously you also lose some control over the espresso shot. However - and this is the good bit - most automatic machines can be used also in the semi-automatic mode. So you get the best of both worlds.
Further ReadingEspresso Machine Types
Manual Espresso Machines
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
Super Automatic Espresso Machines