Automatic Espresso Machine
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Espresso machines that have pumps, sensors, valves, and grinders to automate the brewing process are generally referred to as automatic. Semi-automatic use a pump rather than manual force to deliver water. The remaining brew pressure in the basket is released via a three-way valve. Automatic machines also automate the brewed volume (hence indirectly brew time). They do this by adding an in-line flowmeter to the grouphead: when the programmed amount of water has passed through the meter, the pump turns off. Grinding and tamping are still manual. Super-automatic machines automatically grind the coffee, tamp it, and extract the espresso shot. The operator only has to fill the bean hopper and, if the machine is not connected to a water line, add water to a reservoir. Some models contain an automated milk frothing and dispensing device. Super-automatic machines take away the ability to manually tamp and grind the coffee, which may affect the quality of the espresso. [source:wikipedia -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Espresso_machine]