Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
Are you looking for the best semi-automatic espresso machine you can get, so you can brew your own delicious drinks at home?
Do you want the best quality tasting espresso that has your signature stamp on each cup?
If so, then this free guide will help.
By the time you’re done reading this page, you’ll know exactly what you need to become a home espresso connoisseur.
So, let’s get started.
Below, you’ll find this free guide divided into three parts:
- Why a Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine is a Great Choice
- Choosing the Best Espresso Grinder for Your Device
- Reviews of the Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
Why a Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine is a Great Choice
In the world of pump-driven espresso machines, there are several different types, including: automatic, semi-automatic and super-automatic.
For many home baristas, the semi-automatic machine is the optimal choice. That’s because it gives you more personal control over the final output and flavor of an espresso drink.
Automatic machines don’t usually appeal to espresso connoisseurs because they don’t give you any control over the outcome of the drink and solely rely on easy-serving-espresso (ESE) pods or capsules.
On the other hand, while super-automatic machines are the most advanced devices in the market, they remove the home brewer from the intimate aspects of making espresso; grinding beans, tamping them, controlling steam pressure, etc. These machines are also a lot more expensive to own.
Semi-automatic espresso machines offer the best mix of automation and control for a home brewer. With this type of machine you can get the best-quality and taste out of your coffee beans without a whole lot of extra effort.
In fact, many people spend years perfecting their style and technique to brewing espresso. This means that every time you brew a cup, it’s another chance to hone in on your signature taste and play with the subtle nuances that go into your version of the perfect espresso, cappuccino or latte.
Now, keep in mind that semi-automatic espresso machines are just that – semi-automatic. You’ll find that some of the steps to making espresso are automated, but many are not. This is what allows you to put your personal stamp on the final product.
Below is a list of some of the features that make a semi-automatic espresso machine so desirable:
- The water pressure and temperature are automated so these always stay consistent
- You control the amount of steam and water flow for individual preference of taste
- You control the pump and its flow by deciding when to turn it on and off
- It doesn’t include a built-in bean grinder. You must grind the beans separately and tamp them into the portafilter yourself.
Now that you know why a semi-automatic is a great investment, we’ll go over how to choose the best grinder.
Choosing the Best Espresso Grinder for Your Device
When owning a semi-automatic espresso machine you have to grind your own coffee beans.
Crafting a perfectly balanced cup of espresso is a real science and it all starts with the beans.
In fact, as soon as you grind coffee beans, they lose 40% of their flavors within just a few minutes. That’s why it’s very important that you brew your coffee drinks right after grinding you beans. Not doing so will rob you of intense espresso flavor.
In another one of our free guides, we go over in detail How to Choose the Best Espresso Grinder. For simplicity sake, you have two options: a blade grinder or a burr grinder.
Blade grinders are cheapest because they use a stainless steel blade that spins around to chop up to beans. Grind size is inconsistent and impacts the final espresso flavor. We recommend the KRUPS FS203 Coffee Grinder that you can get for $19.
Burr grinders are the most ideal for making espresso because they actually grind the coffee beans. Grind size is consistent and ensures rich, full flavor espresso with every cup.
Our recommendation is the Capresso 560.01 Infinity Grinder for $99. There are some models that are priced up to the $400 range, but it’s not really not worth the extra cost. You’re better off investing that money into a higher end machine.
Now that you know which espresso grinder to pair with a semi-automatic machine, we can now move onto the reviews!
Reviews of the Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine
Customer Rating: 4 stars
Current Price: $369
By far, this is one of the best selling espresso machines on the market today. Year after year it continues to receive a consumer best buy rating.
By combining advanced technology and a classic design, this device is like a mini commercial system. It includes a 17 1/2-bar pump that delivers unbeatable rich, frothy crema and both a single- and double-shot stainless-steel filter basket.
Outfitted with brass portafilters and grouphead, temperature stability is rock solid. It also includes a frothing wand and a hot water dispenser, which allows you to use this machine to make drinks of all types, not just coffee, espresso, cappuccinos and lattes.
The design elements in this espresso maker are of commercial quality, but you don’t have to pay the full price of a commercial espresso machine.
Here are some other reasons why the Gaggia 14101 is a great buy:
- 17-1/2-bar pump with high-voltage boiler
- Stainless-steel housing for long lasting durability
- Brass portafilters and grouphead for temperature stability
- 3-way solenoid valve that instantly releases the pressure from the group head, giving you instant access to the portafilter for immediate re-shot filling
- Frothing wand and hot water dispenser
- 72-ounce removable water reservoir
- Accessories include: single- and double-shot stainless-steel filter basket, tamper and measuring scoop
Breville 800ESXL 15-Bar Triple-Priming Espresso Machine
Customer Rating: 4 stars
Current Price: $299
This is definitely a show piece machine. With gorgeous die-cast construction and a timeless design, you’ll never get tired of looking at this semi-automatic machine in your kitchen.
This product also comes with a stainless steel frothing pitcher, something many other espresso machines don’t include.
Another great feature of this device is the selector dial, which gives you the option to choose from espresso, steam or hot water setting.
Some other key features of the Breville 800ESXL include:
- 15-bar pump pressure
- Triple Prime Pump that releases 3 bursts of hot water to moisten the coffee grounds resulting in greater build-up to extract the fullest flavor
- ThermoBlock heating system for optimal water temperature
- Swivel steam wand and milk frother
- Die-cast construction
- Purge function which automatically adjusts water temperature after steam for optimal espresso extraction temperature
- 75-ounce removable water tank
- Accessories included: filters, tamping tool, cleaning tool, and stainless steel frothing pitcher
DeLonghi EC702 15-Bar-Pump Espresso Maker
Customer Rating: 4 stars
Current Price: $190
For under $200, this entry-level semi-automatic espresso machine is hard to beat.
You get the luxury of an all stainless steel device that looks great in any kitchen. And, with a 15-bar pump it produces rich espressos with frothy crema..
A stand out feature is the two separate thermostats. This allows you to control the water pressure and steam pressure separately in order to craft your signature taste.
Other great features of the De’Longhi EC702 include:
- 15-bar pump pressure
- Makes single or double shots of espresso
- Uses coffee grounds or ESE pods
- Steaming wand
- Two separate thermostats for control of both water pressure and temperature
- Built-in coffee tamper
- All stainless steel construction for durability
- Self-priming operation for a quick start-up
- Removable 44-ounce water tank
- Anti-drip design to prevent splatters
- Cup warming tray
We hope you enjoyed this guide outlining what is the best semi-automatic espresso machine. Fortunately, there’s a great option for any budget. The same thing goes for coffee bean grinders.