There is a huge difference between super automatic and semi-automatic espresso machines.
Fully automated machines with programmable functions are also called super automatic.
Semi-automatic machines, on the other hand, might have automated features (but limited) for more convenience.
With semi-automatic machines, you need to do a bit of research about espresso and coffee grinding/brewing.
In addition, you still need to tamp the coffee ground, attached the portafilter, start the shot, froth milk when necessary. It’s fun and a very good way to practice your barista skills.
You decide the brewing time, the number of coffee grounds, and the water to add — a good way, to really turn yourself into a professional barista soon enough.
So, if you’re looking to buy one, check out this roundup review on the best semi-automatic espresso machines.
The best semi-automatic espresso machines
- Breville Barista Express
- Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Essenza Miniby De’Longhi
- Breville BES840BSXL The Infuser
- Breville-Nespresso CitiZ
- Breville BES870BSXL The Barista Express
- EspressoWorks Barista Bundle
- Klarstein Passionata Rossa 20
- Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De’Longhi
- KitchenAid KES0504ER Nespresso Bundle
Breville Barista Express
A cafe-quality coffee can be made at home with the Breville BES870XL Barista Express. It’s designed to make an espresso in less than a minute. And, since it’s designed with the customer in mind, anyone at any age can operate this coffee machine.
It has a conical burr grinder made of stainless steel that extracts the natural flavor of your coffee grounds. With the grind size and amount selector, you’ll be able to set the grinding to fine or coarse and simply add/adjust the beans in the basket. You can also use either a single- or double-wall filter and the machine dispenses the right amount of coffee according to your selection.
It has a 54mm tamping control and hand-free grinding cradle for a more convenient grinding. With a 67oz removable water tank and a replaceable water filter, you’ll be able to get a few more coffee servings. For effortless milk frothing, a 360-degree swivel action steam wand will surely do what it does best.
- Very easy to use and makes delicious lattes
- “Clean Me” light is a great maintenance reminder
- The milk steaming wand is fantastic but needs time to familiarize
- Grinder of the machines is inconsistent, as well as the espresso it made
- Problem with the pressure gauge — it never rises
- Water tank needs to be refilled often
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Mr. Coffee is one of the trusted brands when it comes to brewing coffee since 1970. Hence, its new model Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker is also something you can rely on when it comes to freshly brewed coffee.
This machine is a 3-in-1 espresso, cappuccino, and latte maker that helps you achieve coffeehouse-quality coffee drinks. The 15-bar pump allows you to extract bold, rich and classic brewed coffee as if you’ve visited a local cafe. With the one-touch control panel, you can access different settings easily.
It comes with an automatic milk frother that helps you explore the art of the final touches for your latte. Both water and milk tanks are removable, making refill easy and quick. The cleaning cycle can be programmed to automatically remove all the mess and make it ready for the next brewing.
- This is a great espresso maker, all parts are of high quality
- Easy to use and easy to clean up, its cleaning cycle only takes 30 seconds
- The one-touch operation which is very convenient
- Milk frother gives you a few ounces of milk, not enough for lattes
- Takes more time to heat up
Essenza Mini by De’Longhi
You want a more compact and portable espresso machine, well, Nespresso by De’Longhi is giving you the smallest ever Nespresso
You can choose whether to have an espresso (1.35oz) or a lungo (5 oz.) as the cup size of this machine is adjustable to these two cup sizes. For a perfect finish of your single-serve coffee, the Aeroccino 3 milk frother will do its magic.
A small, yet very functional espresso maker beats all those more expensive machines. With just a single touch water temperature quickly reaches the ideal level in less than 30 seconds. Furthermore, its 19-bar of pressure gives each cup of coffee the richness, boldness, and freshness it’s been brewed by coffee experts.
- Most portable and space-saving coffee machine
- Can use any type of capsules, even refillable capsules
- Faster and reliable coffee maker — makes coffee in one minute
- Just getting hot milk, milk froth stops working after a few uses
- Since it’s small, you need to refill water and empty capsules more often for more servings
Technology has made the coffee extraction process more efficient and optimal, giving each cup of coffee a unique taste and natural flavor. In Breville BES840BSXL The Infuser, it has an even extraction process giving you a perfectly balanced espresso flavor.
Although quite expensive than the rest on this list, you’re getting more than you paid for. This is a semi-automatic machine with temperature settings and other programmable features. It has a cup warmer and the ability to easily remove excess water after each coffee extraction.
It has a 61oz removable water tank for more servings. The espresso pressure gauge, it allows you to monitor the extraction pressure to be able to get a cup of perfect espresso. Lastly, with a volumetric control function, you’ll be able to set and program the shot volumes and have the machine remember your preferences.
- Comes with an outlet for hot water if you want a hot chocolate or Americano
- Steam wand for effortless milk froth swivel 360 degrees for various frother in jug sizes
- The removable drip tray has an “Empty Me” indicator when it’s full
- Programming not working sometimes
- The pressure gauge doesn’t work
- Have louder noise when using on the steaming of milk
Are you an espresso lover and a Nespresso user? Well, here is a Breville-Nespresso CitiZ that gives you more versatility in making your cup of coffee. It comes with Aeroccino 3 milk frother for a perfect finish and the 19-bar high-performance pump to achieve that premium and delicate coffee flavor.
Its design accommodates taller coffee cups by adjusting the folding cup tray. And, with just a single touch of the button, you can have a 1.35oz espresso shot or a 5oz lungo. For easy cleaning and access, the drip tray, Nespresso capsule container and water reservoir of 34oz are all removable.
In just 25 seconds, you’ll be able to achieve the ideal temperature for your coffee. It’ll then automatically turns off once the machine is idle for 9 minutes. This feature is perfect for a busy man who doesn’t want to wait and may sometimes forget to turn off things before rushing to work.
- Very space-efficient, don’t take up too much counter space
- Heats up very fast, less than 30 seconds
- Easy to operate and produce great coffee
- Can only use Nespresso coffee capsules
- Brew only 1oz at a time, can’t be set
- Operates very loud and need constant cleaning/resetting
Breville BES870BSXL The Barista Express
Are you craving to make the best tasting espresso ever? Then, you might want to try out Breville BES870BSXL The Barista Express. This espresso machine allows you to extract the best flavors of your coffee. It has purge function that automatically adjusts the water temperature level to make it ready for the next brewing cycle.
It has a stainless steel conical burr grinder that gives a good-tasting cup of coffee. A sealed bean hopper can accommodate up to ½ pound of coffee beans. With a removable 67oz water tank, you can prepare more servings, depending on the size of coffee cups you’ll use.
Just like other semi-automatic machines, this one comes with micro-foam milk frothing that enhances the flavor of your coffee. The thermocoil heating system gives a quick heat up and produces good-tasting coffee.
- It’s a good espresso maker
- It’s super easy to use and very intuitive
- There’s extremely loud buzzing noise when using the machine
- It’s not that easy to clean and maintain
- Grinder sometimes becomes erratic after using
EspressoWorks Barista Bundle
An all-in-one espresso machine, EspressoWorks Barista Bundle allows you to do anything you dreamed of doing in a coffee machine. In just 45 seconds, you’ll be able to start brewing your favorite coffee. Thanks to its advanced Thermoblock heating system that aids the heating process.
The water tank in the front has 1.2L capacity allows you to monitor water level for next refill. It’s removable along with the frothing device and the drip tray for hassle-free cleaning. The auto-off feature shuts down the machine when not used for 25 minutes — no need to plug or unplug the machine.
The 15-bar pump pressure lets you enjoy delicious Americano, Italian espresso, and specialty beverages. With the stainless milk frother, you can achieve the foamy lattes and cappuccinos. Whether you like one single shot or double shot espresso, this coffee machine can pull it out for you effortlessly.
- Transparent and removable water tank for easy refill, monitor and access
- Machine heats up in less than 45 seconds
- Super easy to clean and everything you need is already there (except the beans)
- Just a strong coffee, but not an espresso
- After a few months of using, coffee no longer hot only mildly warm
Klarstein Passionata Rossa 20
The high-quality plastic construction and its stunning colors make the Klarstein Passionata Rossa 20 a thing of beauty whether for your kitchen or office. It’s practically very easy to maintain and clean with removable drip tray and water tank (1.3 qt). With this water capacity, you can prepare up to six cups of coffee.
This coffee machine allows you to ground coffee or use espresso pods. The 20-bar pressure pump allows you to have a great-tasting, well-prepared cup of coffee. With the milk frothing, you’ll be able to add milk and a great finish for your latte or cappuccino.
- Quick to heat and very quiet when brewing
- Accommodates large reservoir with its sleek design
- Pulls a good shot of espresso and other coffee drinks
- Pumps too much water at low temperature — barely warm coffee
- Plastic/rubber portafilter and group basket is not good
Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De’Longhi
If you are craving for an Italian espresso, you don’t need to go out of the house or of your office. With the Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De’Longhi, you can effortlessly prepare any coffee drinks.
With Nespresso capsules you’ll get the finest layered espresso, with foamy finish. It the 19-bars pressure and its patented espresso system allow the right water to flow to your coffee for a perfect, rich and flavorful coffee.
Thermoblock heating system speeds of the heating up, allowing you to brew faster. With one-touch feature, you’ll be able to select either espresso, bold cappuccino or creamy latte. Furthermore, you can also add just the right amount of milk during the extraction process with its adjustable integrated carafe milk dispenser.
- Easy to use, especially for lattes
- Has a lot of options and settings to customize your drinks
- No need to wait to heat up just set your preferences and it will process your coffee
- Milk frother is not that reliable, not produce hot milk only around 150 degrees
- Coffee produced is not hot enough
- Automatic coffee clearer works too many times in one use
KitchenAid KES0504ER Nespresso Bundle
KitchenAid KES0504ER Nespresso Bundle looks really reliable and durable. But, let’s check if it’s really worth every dime of your investment. It’s made with all metal, diecast construction making it look timeless and elegant.
It’s quick to heat up in just 30 seconds and you can easily load Nespresso pods in the system. You are free to choose brew strength — six pre-programmable settings — depending on your desired flavor. It has a removable water container capable of up to 1.3L and it’s transparent so you can monitor the water level.
It also features an adjustable cup shelf to accommodate small espresso cups and taller mugs. It includes a milk frother for more enhance coffee experience. This is a little expensive compared to other espresso machines on this list, but this deserves a peek too.
- Heats up very fast, good for busy coffee drinkers
- Made of metal, good quality and sturdy
- Produce delicious espresso (<30 seconds), cappuccino and other specialty drinks
- Coffee maker is great, but the milk frother is mediocre
- After a certain number of uses, capsules get jammed and hard to take out
It’s not difficult to find your first semi-automatic espresso machine.
However, choosing the right one for your purpose is not easy.
So, below are among the criteria that you need to look into in order to find the right machine for you:
Features and Functions: It’s important to check the features and functionality of the machine. You need to check the buttons and other controls — are they intuitive and easy to use? The coffee platform — can it accommodate your favorite coffee mug? If yes, you’re good to go.
Reliability: Ensure that the material used — the craftsmanship — is robust and rigid. Although, if you are on a budget, you cannot expect to have more reliable entry-level machines. At least look for something that isn’t poorly designed, like all-plastic construction. In addition, it’s important that it’s made of steel as it’s sturdier and may have less noise and vibrations.
Nespresso products are good, but sometimes consumers tend to back out. You’ve noticed that most of them only accept Nespresso coffee capsules.
Good news, Nespresso
However, for the best value-for-money pick, our choice would be the Breville Barista Express.
It’s a semi-automatic espresso machine from a reputable brand. Remember, buying something from a trusted brand should be one of your consideration when buying an espresso machine, aside from it’s features which are arguably better compared than other machines listed here.
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