Semi-automatic espresso machines are a step towards smart home appliances. While it won’t be able to make your favorite cup of espresso brew whenever the craving hits, these coffee machine types give just enough control to allow for invaluable human input from its user.
That being said, the best semi-automatic espresso machines can fulfill your dream of being your very own barista! Choose how you want your espresso, with a variety of options at your disposal. Have an exact amount of water for specific coffee grounds? The manual control pump is there. Tamp and grind your espresso or insert the espresso pod; begin extraction and finally, choose how you want your froth done.
Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines Reviews
10KitchenAid Nespresso Bundle KES0504FP
The KitchenAid KES0504FP has an all-metal design that you won’t likely forget, plus forward-thinking technology in a semi automatic espresso machine. It could be the best espresso machine for first-time espresso consumers, and the last coffee maker unit you’ll ever need. The product comes in with a milk frother to ensure your favorite espresso shot will stay as your favorite.
The housing is a solid, die cast, all-metal shell; you get a 1.3L water reservoir. An easy loading system makes coffeemaking an easy affair in the mornings. Each Nespresso Bundle unit comes with 1 set of delicious Nespresso capsules for breaking in.
– Extremely durable all-metal die-cast construction
– Milk frother performs with excellence
– Consistent flavorful results regardless of the pods you use
– Setup is fairly easy and straightforward
– Coffee capsules are effortless to load
– Includes 16 Nespresso capsules in different flavors
– The unit is quite heavy at 24 pounds
– Nespresso pods can be expensive
9De’Longhi EC155 15 Bar Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Because you can use pods and ground coffee with this product, it is one of the more versatile semi-automatic espresso machines. The signature Delonghi quality is evident here even though this is one of their more affordable models.
This means there are more plastic parts but what is most important is that it has the power to make a perfect espresso with rich crema every time. At 15 bar pumps, other brands give you more pressure but the jet frother swivels easily and can be used to make different types of froth.
It is easy to clean and the drip tank is one of the more forgiving. Also, it helps to save space on the countertop and has a self-priming start-up to get you your coffee faster.
– Swivel jet frother.
– Can be used for pods and ground coffee.
– Good value.
– Easy to use.
– Plastic parts.
8EspressoWorks 7 Pc All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino
Ready to go in just 45 seconds, this is good value and one of the best semi-automatic Espresso machines for new users. The 1.25l water tank is easily removed although frequent users might find they have to refill it more often than some other brands.
The 15-bar pump pressure is adequate although some might like a little more. Still, it comes with everything you need including a steamer and a grinder.
It is easy to wipe clean thanks and has neat extras like a measuring spoon and a milk frother cup. In just 4 steps it allows the user to make their espresso so you can use fresh beans to unlock that rich aroma every morning.
– Good value.
– Heats in 45 seconds.
– Lots of accessories.
– Easy to use.
– Not as durable as other options.
7Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pour-Over Espresso Machine
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar has top-notch construction ensures your coffee making machine will last for a good number of years. You can choose between a plumbed or a tank model; if you’re operating a small coffee shop, then the direct connect variant will help you in the longer run.
All the features that make a great semiautomatic espresso unit is in here. The Nuova Simonelli Pour Over Machine contains a capable water tank, heat exchangers, a professional porta-filter, steam pressure options, a cup warmer and a removable tray, all controlled by a simple interface. Anyone who can operate simple appliances will find no trouble with the Oscar.
– Produces quality shots like the more expensive machines
– Affordable heat exchanger espresso machine
– Boiler lends piping hot heat to your espresso shots
– Great steaming/frothing experience with the best-in-class steam wand
– Excellent overall ergonomic design
– Easy, user-friendly operation
– Plastic body makes it less elegant
– Lacks water level indicator
6Breville Dual Boiler BES920XL Espresso Machine
A top of the line product that makes use of programmable pressure and duration, and a low pressure infusion, at a consumer-friendly price? It’s true! The Breville Dual Boiler semi automatic espresso machine has a stainless steel heat exchanger which delivers pre-heated water directly to the steam boiler to deliver a great cup of espresso. Thermal stability is optimized as the machine brews your coffee, which means you get a deliciously hot cup each and every time.
Water pressure is gradually extended to expand the grounds and ensure quite the even extraction. The LCD display does a lot of things such as show brew temperature, shot clock and/or time, and is a nice touch to an already stellar product.
– Gold Standard dual boiler
– Easy to fill the tank
– Capable of performing a single or double brew
– The unit indicates the pressure’s sweet spot for a nice brew
– 2 year limited product warranty
– Foaming wand does not froth really well
– The portafilter requires a bit more effort to lock in place.
5Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
For an affordable semi-automatic espresso machine, then this is worth considering. It is a 3-in-1 machine in that it makes espresso, latter, and cappuccino with minimal fuss. The 15 bar pump isn’t as powerful as some brands but it has more than enough to make a strong brew and great tasting espresso.
The control panel is easy to use and in one touch you can brew the different types within seconds. The milk and water reservoirs are easily removed and there is even a recipe book included to help you get started on your journey to being an amateur barista.
– Reasonable price.
– Easy to use control panel.
– 3-in-1 coffee maker.
– Automatic milk frother.
– 15 bar not as powerful as other brands.
4De’Longhi EN750MB Espresso Machine with Milk Frother
One of the easiest semi-automatic espresso machines to use, this product shows that great things can come in small packages. With a convenient footprint, it isn’t going to overtake a kitchen top. Still, it has enough power in the 19 bars of pressure to make an aromatic espresso every time.
It has a Nespresso capsule system to make life even easier and makes long-lasting foam with no effort on the users part. It extracts milk at the perfect time so your lattes and cappuccinos are barista quality.
We like it because the intuitive touchscreen is one of the easiest to navigate and at a reasonable price, it is hard to better. The intuitive descaling function makes the cleanup process a lot easier and it even saves energy by turning off after 9 minutes of inactivity.
– Good value.
– 19 bar pressure.
– Intuitive milk foamer.
– Touchscreen easy to use.
– Not as customizable as other products.
3Breville The Infuser Espresso Machine BES840XL
The Infuser Espresso Machine by Breville come with advanced features such as temperature settings and volumetric controls, but what makes it shine are the extra functions like the pre-infusion tech, an excellent thermocoil system and the PID temp control solution. The unit even has the smarts to sleep if you haven’t touched it for an hour, and shut off if unused for 3 hours.
Control the temperature accurately with the 1600W thermocoil system. The pre-infusion process puts the grinds into a low-pressure state, which works to extract the full flavor of your espresso. Purchasing the Breville Infuser Espresso Machine also gets you free bonuses such as a stainless steel jug, cleaning tablets and discs, a water filter, a coffee scoop and single or dual wall filters.
– Elegant design
– Consistently yields great-tasting coffee
– Compact yet powerful
– Built-in PID guarantees stable temperature
– Low pressure pre-infusion brings out the most flavor
– Easy to use and clean
– Steep learning curve
– You need a good burr grinder
2Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine
This handsome machine comes in a convenient compact size and the reputable Gaggia brand behind it. The stainless steel housing is easy to wipe clean and looks good for ages and its 2.1-liter water tank means the user isn’t going to have to refill it after a couple of cups.
You can rotate the steam wand to get the ideal angle and there are only a few controls so it is one of the easiest to use. It makes cafe-quality espresso every time and it can be used to make a single or double shot with plenty of crema.
You can even use it for ESE pods because of the pressurized basket. Whatever you use it for, it is only going to take 30 seconds to heat. Customize the power, brewing, and steaming and enjoy the benefits of one of the best semi-automatic espresso machines available.
– Looks great.
– Makes perfect espresso every time.
– Different baskets to choose from.
– Only takes 30 seconds to heat.
– A few plastic parts.
1Breville BES870XL Express Barista Espresso Machine
A durable, stylish and great addition to any kitchen. The drip tray can be detached and the whole unit can easily be cleaned. There’s also a hideaway storage that you can use to keep things neat. The conical burr grinder maximizes the surface area for a full-flavored bean extraction in every brew. You’ll like the fact that the half-pound bean hopper features a lock system that makes storing, removing and transferring beans an easy task.
Volumetric controls, a capable 67 fl oz removable reservoir, grind size and amount dials, a filter size button and a hands-free grinding cradle round out the functions. The Breville Express Barista will easily become your go-to espresso machine for a hot brew each morning!
– Elegant stainless steel finish
– A good conical burr grinder is a great value in itself
– Adjustable in almost every aspect
– Integrated removable tamper is of high quality
– Includes a steamer and hot water dispenser
– Easy to store with its compact size
– Pressure gauge gives instant feedback on each shot
– Quiet operation
– Storage compartment to keep cleaning tools
– Single boiler only
– Tends to accumulate sludges
– Not fast enough for commercial use
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Anyone serious about brewing their coffee at home is going to want to make sure that they not only purchase the best semi-automatic espresso machine but to use that machine effectively. Although a good semi-automatic machine takes the burden off of the average home barista, they’re still going to have to spend some time learning their machine to get the most out of it. After all, no one ever said that making the perfect espresso was going to be as easy as making ordinary drip coffee.
Because we’re interested in making sure that all of our readers have the best information available to them, we’ve decided to write a simple guide on the subject. In this guide, our readers will not only not find out what they should be looking for when purchasing a new semi-automatic machine, but also some general information that will help them operate it properly—or, at least jump into operating it more quickly.
How To Buy The Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
As promised, we’re going to jump right into this guide by talking about what our readers should look for when purchasing a new semi-automatic machine. Our goal with this section of the guide isn’t to tell our readers precisely what they need, but to tell them some of the options they may want to consider to make sure they’re getting the right machine for their budget.
Step One: Keep The Budget In Mind
Probably the first thing that the consumer is going to want to consider when buying a new semi-automatic espresso machine is how much they have to spend. Some of these machines can be very pricey, so before even beginning the process of purchasing a new semi-automatic espresso machine, you’re probably going to want to keep your budget in mind. Although prices tend to fluctuate up and down over time, we do think we can give a basic overview of what the consumer can expect to pay according to their budget.
Around $500 Or Less
In the $500 or under price range, the consumer can probably expect to be able to buy a capsule or pod espresso brewing system, something like the Kitchen Aid Nespresso Maker or the De’Longhi NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Genio. These espresso makers don’t make the highest quality espressos, but they’re quick and easy to use. And best of all, they’re inexpensive.
In The $500 To $1000 Range
This price range gives the consumer a little bit more flexibility when choosing a semi-automatic espresso maker. Machines in this range are usually a step up from the pod and capsule espresso systems but aren’t prohibitively expensive. Usually, machines in this price range are equipped with steam wands and built-in coffee bean grinders for added convenience.
Above The $1000 Range
This is the price range where many fully-automatic espresso machines and high-end semi-automatic espresso makers exist. The machines in this price range usually have larger boilers, precise temperature controls, and a ton of customizable settings.
Step Two: Consider Needed Options
Okay, before we head on to how to properly operate a semi-automatic espresso maker, the consumer should probably consider the following things.
Options To Consider:
- Dose-Control Coffee Grinder
- Coffee Bean Hopper Size
- Water Tank Capacity
- Micro-Foam Texturing
- Digital Temperature Controls (PID)
- Grind-Size Dial
- Built-In Water Filter
How To Use A Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
Okay, this next section is dedicated to helping our readers begin using their semi-automatic machines a lot quicker. Although we can’t cover specific instructions for operating an espresso machine for our readers because of the wide variety of different models, we can give some general tips for getting started using one. As usual, the consumer should always be sure to read and follow all directions that come with their machine first and foremost.
Step One: Fill The Reservoir
The first step to using a semi-automatic machine is to fill it up with quality water up to the lines indicated on the machine or according to the machine’s instructions. If the machine is equipped with a built-in water filter, then tap water can be added, but if the machine doesn’t have a filter, be sure to use filtered water in it.
Step Two: Start The Machine
Some machines require the consumer to warm up the boiler before they can pull a shot, so this is usually where the consumer has to turn the machine on. However, it should be noted that some machines require the coffee to be added before turning the machine on, so if that’s the case make sure to do step three before this step.
Step Three: Insert & Fill The Shot Basket
The next step is to add either the single or double shot basket to the portable filter and then add the correct amount of freshly ground coffee to it. Some machines have a built-in grinder that makes it easy to grind beans for making espresso, but if the machine doesn’t, then the consumer is going to have to use a quality burr-grinder for grinding their coffee.
Step Four: Tamp Down The Grinds
The next step is to use a tamper to push down the coffee grounds so that they’re compressed. This eliminates air between the grounds and prevents an uneven extraction of the espresso. Some machines come with a coffee tamper, but if it doesn’t, the consumer is going to have to buy one separately.
Step Five: Lock The Filter & Position The Cup
Lock the filter into the espresso machine’s head. This is usually done by giving the filter a slight twist into it clicks into place, but as we’ve said previously, every machine is different, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. When the filter is properly locked in, place a cup under the spout to capture all of the espresso goodness when the machine is turned on.
Step Six: Turn The Machine On
Assuming that all of the machine’s settings have been properly set, it’s now time to turn the machine on. From this point on, the machine will brew the espresso and deposit it right into the cup. Now the consumer can feel free to enjoy their freshly brewed single or double shot of espresso.