Home » What’s the Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine on the Market? Reviews

What’s the Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine on the Market? Reviews

by ShaRhanda Bynum
Best Semi Automatic Espresso Machine Reviews
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If you’re an espresso lover, you probably prefer a semi-automatic machine. Automatic machines take away too much control while manual machines are too much work to brew with.

Semi-automatic espresso machines hit the sweet spot, giving you enough control over the brewing process without you having to control every aspect of it. However, it’s not always easy finding out which the best semi-automatic espresso machines are – and that’s where we’ll come in.

Before we continue, we’d like to differentiate between automatic and semi-automatic machines – just so you know exactly which one is the best for you.

Automatic machines control every step of the brewing process, but the metric we’ll look at today is the water flow per shot. Automatics will end the water flow according to its programming, but a semi-automatic espresso machine will allow you to decide when you want the water flow to stop.

This way, if your espresso is pouring slowly but looking extremely good, you can keep it flowing and have the perfect espresso shot.

Below are some of the best semi-automatic espresso machines currently in the market – we hope you find one you’ll like!

Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine Reviews

Breville BES920BSXL Dual Boiler Espresso Machine

The Breville dual boiler espresso machine is a cutting edge semi-automatic espresso machine that will help you create the best espresso imaginable.

It has dual boilers and pumps to allow simultaneous espresso extraction and heating. The boilers are built of stainless steel for durability, and the pumps are Italian in design to ensure you get the perfect cup of espresso when you need it.

An Over-Pressure Valve limits the machine’s extraction pressure, ensuring it doesn’t go to high and hurt your espresso or, worse, your machine. Extremely high extraction pressure tends to increase espresso’s bitterness, so the valve will only help you make your espresso better.

And electronic temperature control allows you to precisely control the temperature at which your espresso is brewed, enabling you to experience espresso exactly how you like it.

You can control every component of the brewing process using the backlit LCD screens, including the brew temperature, shot time, or shot size.

Breville recommends you use cold and filtered water for the brewing process. Water with a low mineral count is not recommended, so don’t go out and get a bottle of distilled water because you think it will be better for the machine.

You get a strip to test water hardness, a descaling alert, and descale procedure assistance with the machine. This allows you to remove buildup from your espresso machine, ensuring that any remnants from your water don’t interfere with the machine’s operation.

Features at a Glance

  • Dual boilers and pumps
  • Over-pressure valve
  • ​Electronic temperature control
  • ​Backlit LCD control
  • Descaling equipment included
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

The BES670XL Barista Express is an award-winning espresso machine that is hands-down one of the best semi-automatic espresso machines in the world.

It’s integrated burr grinder allows you to grind coffee beans right when you need them – giving them no time to lose their freshness. The inbuilt grinder lets you convert fresh coffee beans into a steaming cup of espresso in less than five minutes.

The grinder connects directly to the brewing system, meaning you don’t have to manually transport powder from the grinder to the brewer.

While the Barista Express is a semi-automatic machine, it can also be used by complete beginners. Espresso novices can use the dual-wall filters that help optimize espresso extraction. More experienced brewers can use the two single-wall filters that allow more customization and experimentation.

The 15-bar Italian pump and a thermocoil heating system regulate water accurately to ensure you always get an incredible cup of espresso. You can use the pre-brew function to ensure that flavor is optimally spread throughout the espresso puck.

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine 2

The Barista Express has a cup warmer on the machine and a drainage system that removes excess water from your machine’s filter basket, allowing you to clean it much easier.

The inbuilt steam wand swivels 360 degrees and allows you to froth milk, ensuring you always get exceptional quality when you’re making milk-based brews.

The machine’s cleaning indicator lights up when the machine requires cleaning, which is relatively easy to do. Breville makes things as easy as possible for you, including a cleaning kit with the machine so you don’t have to go out and get your own.

Features at a Glance

  • Integrated burr grinder
  • Single-wall and dual-wall filters
  • ​15-bar Italian pump
  • ​Thermocoil heating system
  • ​Swivel wand
  • ​Cleaning indicator light
  • Included cleaning kit
EspressoWorks All In One EspressoCappuccino Machine Bundle Set

EspressoWorks 7pc semi-automatic machine is a bundle of espresso-making equipment that will allow you to make a range of espressos that you'll come to know and love.

The EspressoWorks also has a grinder, allowing you to go from beans to brew in less than 5 minutes. The grinder needs to be plugged in separately and is made of high-quality materials to ensure durability.

The 15-bar pressure system created incredible-tasting, creamy espresso. A Thermoblock heating system heats water rapidly, allowing you to brew espresso in less than 45 seconds.

The heating tray on the machine warms your cups as you wait for your espresso to pour and the LED indicators on the machine are easy to use and will tell you when it’s ready to brew or steam.

A frothing cup will allow you to prepare creamy lattes and cappuccinos easily. The cup is built from stainless steel to ensure reliability and durability.

EspressoWorks All In One Espresso Cappuccino Machine Bundle Set 2

The water tank is viewable through the machine, allowing you to monitor how much water you have remaining. Once you know the water level, you can quickly approximate when you'll next need to refill the tank, which is very easy to remove due to the built-in handle.

The device has checks that prevent overheating and over-pressure, allowing you to brew your espresso happily without worrying about safety concerns.

Features at a Glance

  • Electric plug-in grinder
  • 15-bar pressure system
  • ​Thermoblock heating technology
  • ​Heating tray
  • ​LED indicators
  • Frothing cup included
  • ​Viewable water tank
  • Overheating and over-pressure checks
Breville BES840XL The Infuser Espresso Machine

The third Breville machine on our list, the BES840XL is also called the Infuser, a suitable name for it. The Infuser is an incredible espresso machine which you’ll soon come to love.

It has a pre-infusion function which applies gentle water pressure to grinds before extraction, gently expanding them to allow for even extraction.

Water temperature is controlled by a 1600w thermocoil heating system which also helps keep your water warm so you don’t have to wait for very long for your espresso.

And auto-purge function adjusts water temperature automatically after steaming, keeping the water at the perfect temperature for espresso extraction. The 15-bar Italian pump offers volume control, allowing you to use preset volumes, re-programmable volumes, or a manual override you can use when you think you know best.

Breville BES840XL The Infuser Espresso Machine 2

Breville bundles a bunch of accessories with the Infuser. You get single-wall and dual-wall filter baskets, a espresso scoop, a frothing jug, cleaning tool, cleaning disc and cleaning tablets, a filter, and a water filter holder. You also get an allen key for those times when you want to open your machine up.

All parts that your water and espresso will come into contact with are certified as BPA-free and will not affect your health in any way.

Features at a Glance

  • Pre-infusion function
  • Thermocoil water temperature control
  • ​Auto-purge function
  • ​15-bar Italian pump
  • ​Full volume control
  • ​Extra accessories
  • BPA-free
Gaggia Classic Semi Automatic Espresso Maker 2

The Gaggia Classic is another semi-automatic espresso maker that has a bunch of features to make your life easier. It produces café quality espresso using commercial components based on a design that has been perfected by Gaggia over the years.

The three-way solenoid valve allows drip-free operation and ensures that the machine remains with a dry puck that only needs to be knocked out. No more worrying about cleaning up afterwards – a quick wipe should do the trick.

The Pannarello steam has an air intake hole which directs air straight into the milk, creating exquisite foam you can use for specialty beverages.

Gaggia Classic Semi Automatic Espresso Maker

Each Classic ships with three types of PortaFilter baskets, allowing you to choose the one best suited to your needs. You may end up never using them, but in our opinion, it’s always better to have the option. You also get a tamper and espresso scoop with the Gaggia.

The removable 72 oz. water reservoir can easily be removed to allow quick refilling and cleaning.

You get a one-year warranty with the Gaggia Classic, allowing you to use the machine for a year without having to worry about defects caused by the manufacturing process.

Features at a Glance

  • Drip-free operation
  • Pannarello steam wand
  • ​3 types of PortaFilter baskers
  • ​Tamer and espresso scoop included
  • ​Removable 72 oz. water reservoir
  • One-year warranty

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a espresso novice or an extreme espresso enthusiast, a semi-automatic machine will help you brew the perfect espresso with minimal hassle. And especially if you’re a espresso novice who wants to learn more about brewing espresso, a semi-automatic espresso machine is the way to go.

However, if you don’t really care about espresso-making techniques and just want a machine that will fulfill your espresso needs at the press of a button, you should probably be looking for the best automatic espresso machine instead of focusing on semi-automatics.

Now, it’s not always easy to select the best semi-automatic espresso machine for your needs, especially if you’re not entirely sure which features you require.

What we recommend is for you to create a list of features that you must have in your machine, then go through our semi-automatic espresso machine reviews until you find the device that ticks the most boxes.

Happy hunting!

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