If you’re here looking for the best semi-automatic espresso machine, my guess is that you already know a good deal about espresso making. Semi-autos are not for beginners but if you are, don’t fret because this guide will discuss the basics. Making espresso with semi-automatic machines require some skills as you have to tamp your own coffee pods, control the brewing process, as well as froth the milk. If you’re new to frothing, however, here are some barista techniques for frothing milk.
There are a ton of choices for espresso makers and we’ve listed down the best semiautomatics available that you can choose from, depending on your needs and budget. But if you’re just looking to make a good cup of regular coffee, here is a list of the best coffeemakers.
Our Pick: Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista
Our number one choice is the Mr. Coffee ECMP1000 Café Barista. This is one of the easiest to use semi-automatic espresso machines. You can create café quality drinks and all your favorite gourmet espresso based drinks in your own kitchen. It features a 15 bar pump which lets you brew rich tasting coffee.
And while it’s semi-automatic, it has a one-touch control panel where you can select from single or double shots, or choose from cappuccino and latte. This machine is great for beginners because it’s easy to operate yet still allow you to control a lot of the brewing. It includes an integrated automatic milk frother.
Runner Up: Breville BES870XL Barista Express
Running second is the Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine. It features a 15 bar Italian pump and a 1600W Thermocoil heating system. This means that you can ensure the accurate regulation of water temperature so you can make full flavored espresso every time. The pre-brew function along with the flat shower head lets the machine distribute the water optimally through the coffee puck.
It includes a 360-degree stainless steel swivel frothing wand for making foamy milk for your lattes and cappuccinos.
The Breville 800ESXL Espresso Machine is also a great option. This also has a 15 bar pump so you don’t need to worry about temperature control. The purge function allows you to adjust the water temperature after steaming so that the coffee extraction is optimal. It features a triple pump which effectively moistens the coffee grounds producing a good build up to extract full espresso flavor.
It has a selector dial in the middle that gives you a lot of control in the brewing process. The housing is a durable stainless steel that is easy to clean.
Another good alternative is the DeLonghi America EC680B Dedica. This is a smaller machine that still features a 15 bar pump. This is great for those who only have a small space on their kitchen counter because it’s quite compact. Its unique thermo block technology allows you to heat the ideal temperature in only 40 seconds.
You can choose between 1 or 2 shots of espresso. It features an easy to use control panel with lighted buttons. The good thing about this is you can also use espresso pods. It includes an integrated small frothing wand.
The Gaggia Classi Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker is also a nice option. This is great for both beginners and experts. It includes a chrome plated brass portafilter where you can tamp your coffee grounds for optimum espresso extraction. It includes three filter baskets for different types of coffee grounds. The brew group provides excellent heat stability so that your coffee comes out just right.
It has an integrated Pannarello steam wand that lets you create rich milk foam for specialty beverages. The controls are intuitive so it’s very easy to operate.
Winning the choice for the most affordable semi automatic espresso machine is the De’Longhi EC155 Espresso and Cappuccino Maker. This is also a more compact type of machine, making smaller cups of coffee. It brews authentic barista-quality espresso, featuring a 15 bar professional pressure pump. You can choose between one or two shots with the included filter baskets or you can use espresso pods.
This also includes a manual frothing wand so you can mix steam and milk to create rich and creamy froth for your drinks.
How to Choose the Best Semiautomatic Espresso Machine
Semiautomatic machines are great for those who want to have more control over their espresso. These types of machines don’t just let you push a button and do the job for you. You have to carefully tamp the coffee grounds on your filter and control the extraction. So how do you know which machine is right for you? There are several factors that will determine that.
Control Buttons and Indicators
You would rely on control buttons and indicators to see how the extraction process is going. It’s good if you choose a machine that has indicator lights so that you know how much extraction is going on. This is important because not all espresso machines feature good indicator lights. The control buttons must also be easy to read and intuitive to use.
If you notice the 15 bar pump feature in most of the selected machines, this plays a major role in the stability of the coffee temperature. It’s important that your coffee does not come out too hot because that will ruin the flavor. A good bar pump ensures just the optimal temperature in the extraction process.
Steam Button or Switch
You need to be able to easily switch from steaming and brewing. This lets you clean the shower head after each brew before doing another cup. It’s important that the button or switch is easy to control so that you can easily steam when needed in between each espresso shot.
A stainless steel housing is ideal for espresso machines. This makes them durable and easy to clean. Some plastic parts are okay, like in the drip tray but make sure that they are easily removable so that you can bring them to the sink for easy washing.
Almost all semiautomatics have integrated steaming or frothing wand. It’s best if the wand swivels so you can easily control how much froth you want in your drinks.
Espresso making is a lot of fun but can be stressful if you don’t know the essentials. Ultimately, choose one that has a good warranty because this will be an investment for your home.