10 Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines [2019 Complete Guide]

Best Semi Automatic Espresso Machine

There is no doubt that an espresso machine will be very handy to have at home for all espresso lovers. But, the problem is usually choosing the best type from the various options available.

However, many coffee lovers will agree that you cannot go wrong with a semi-automatic espresso machine. While it still does most of the job for you, these machines still give you control over various aspects of the brewing process which allows you to customize your beverages to suit your preferences.

But, finding the best semi-automatic espresso machine can be a tall order given the many models from different brands out there.

However, things should be easier with the right information. Here we explain the factors to watch out for when shopping for these machines and also review 10 top-rated semi-automatic espresso machines for recommendations.

10 Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines – Reviews

IMAGE

​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Breville BES870XL

1. Breville BES870XL (Best Overall)

  • 15-bar pump
  • Precise espresso extraction
  • Single and double espresso shot settings
  • Manual steam wand
Breville BES840BSXL

2. Breville BES840BSXL (Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine under $500)

  • 15-bar pump
  • Espresso pressure gauge
  • Dedicated hot water outlet
  • Auto purge function
Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000-RB

3. Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000-RB (Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine under $200)

  • 15-bar pump
  • One-touch controls
  • Automatic milk frother
  • Removable reservoirs
DeLonghi EN85R

4. DeLonghi EN85R (Space-Saving but Efficient Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker)

  • 19-bar pump
  • One-touch controls
  • 30 seconds heat up
  • Programmable cup sizes
Mr. Coffee BVMC-EM6701SS

5. Mr. Coffee BVMC-EM6701SS (A Perfect Choice for the Cappuccino and Latte Lovers)

  • 19-bar pump
  • Automatic milk frother
  • Thermocouple heating system
  • Adjustable cup tray
KitchenAid KES0504FP

6. KitchenAid KES0504FP (Durable, High-Performing and Elegant Espresso Machine)

  • 19-bar pump
  • 30-second heat-up
  • Brew strength selector
  • Simple capsule loading system
DeLonghi ECP3120

7. DeLonghi ECP3120 (More Budget-Friendly but Still Efficient Enough)

  • 15-bar pump
  • Manual milk frother
  • Advanced cappuccino system
  • Compact design and sleek profile
Gaggia RI8525/01

8. Gaggia RI8525/01 (Home Espresso Making Simplified)

  • 15-bar pump
  • Panarello wand
  • Front-loading reservoir
  • Automatic power down
Nuova Simonelli MOP1400104

9. Nuova Simonelli MOP1400104 (Premium Quality Espresso Machine for the Budding Barista)

  • 3-way solenoid valve
  • Large capacity water tank
  • Durable construction
  • Flipping drip tray 
Hamilton Beach 40725

10. Hamilton Beach 40725 (Great Value for Cash)

  • 19-bar pump
  • Removable water reservoir
  • Wider capsule compatibility
  • Adjustable cups sizes

PRODUCT

1. Breville BES870XL

(Best Overall)

Breville BES870XL
  • 15-bar pump
  • Precise espresso extraction
  • Single and double espresso shot settings
  • Manual steam wand

2. Breville BES840BSXL

(Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine under $500)

Breville BES840BSXL
  • 15-bar pump
  • Espresso pressure gauge
  • Dedicated hot water outlet
  • Auto purge function

3. Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000-RB

(Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine under $200)

Mr.Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000-RB Barista Espresso and Latte Machine
  • 15-bar pump
  • One-touch controls
  • Automatic milk frother
  • Removable reservoirs

4. DeLonghi EN85R

(Space-Saving but Efficient Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker)

DeLonghi EN85R
  • 19-bar pump
  • One-touch controls
  • 30 seconds heat up
  • Programmable cup sizes

5. Mr. Coffee BVMC-EM6701SS

(A Perfect Choice for the Cappuccino and Latte Lovers)

Mr. Coffee BVMC-EM6701SS
  • 19-bar pump
  • Automatic milk frother
  • Thermocouple heating system
  • Adjustable cup tray

6. KitchenAid KES0504FP

(Durable, High-Performing and Elegant Espresso Machine)

KitchenAid KES0504FP
  • 19-bar pump
  • 30-second heat-up
  • Brew strength selector
  • Simple capsule loading system

7. DeLonghi ECP3120

(More Budget-Friendly but Still Efficient Enough)

DeLonghi ECP3120
  • 15-bar pump
  • Manual milk frother
  • Advanced cappuccino system
  • Compact design and sleek profile

8. Gaggia RI8525/01

(Home Espresso Making Simplified)

Gaggia RI8525/01
  • 15-bar pump
  • Panarello wand
  • Front-loading reservoir
  • Automatic power down

9. Nuova Simonelli MOP1400104

(Premium Quality Espresso Machine for the Budding Barista)

Nuova Simonelli MOP1400104
  • 3-way solenoid valve
  • Large capacity water tank
  • Durable construction
  • Flipping drip tray 

10. Hamilton Beach 40725

(Great Value for Cash)

Hamilton Beach 40725
  • 19-bar pump
  • Removable water reservoir
  • Wider capsule compatibility
  • Adjustable cups sizes

1. Breville BES870XL – Best Overall

Breville BES870XL
  • Bar Pressure: 15 bar
  • Capacity: 2.0L/67oz                                 
  • Body Material: Brushed stainless steel
  • Weight: 23 pounds

Breville is famous for its well-built, feature-rich and high-performing coffee makers that you can always rely on to make some amazing brews, and their model BES870XL is a perfect example of this.

Being a product from a highly reputable brand one can rightfully expect to get top quality brews, and it does not disappoint as it uses digital temperature control to ensure optimal extraction for highly flavorful espressos.

This machine also has precise dose control grinding that delivers just the right dose of coffee grounds for extraction. And with its powerful pump, you will always get the 9 bars needed for optimal extractions.

Also, for the milk-based beverage lovers, it will be perfect as it comes with a manual steam wand that makes excellent milk froth. And you can be sure of easy and convenient use as it has some simple controls and a larger 67-ounce water reservoir that minimizes refills.

This semi-automatic machine is the second priciest item on our list, but given its overall quality and the brew quality, it is worth it. And although it has a steeper learning curve than many others in its class, you should be able to figure it out after just a few uses.

Pros:

  • Efficient and precise extraction
  • Larger reservoir capacity
  • Provides a choice between manual and automatic operation
  • Higher dosage for more flavorful espressos

Cons:

  • Relatively pricier
  • Steeper learning curve

2. Breville BES840BSXL – Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine under $500

Breville BES840BSXL
  • Bar Pressure: 15 bar
  • Capacity: 1.8L/61oz                                 
  • Body Material: Brushed stainless steel    
  • Weight: 17 pounds

Breville BES840BSXL is another top brand product that is guaranteed to not disappoint regardless of the kind of coffee drinker you are as it makes some amazing brews.

With its commercial style portafilter, it will accommodate more coffee grounds to ensure your espressos are made with enough for a richer taste and fuller body.

This semi-automatic espresso machine uses digital temperature control and low-pressure pre-infusion to ensure optimal extraction. And it also has an auto-purge function that will adjust the temperature to suit the application whether it is steaming milk of extracting espresso.

Maintenance is also more straightforward thanks to the handy maintenance indicators and the dry puck feature that allows for mess-free puck disposal.

Because the drip tray is partitioned into dry and wet sections, it will be relatively smaller, but it should still work well enough given that it is easy to remove and empty. Also, the slower frothing is typical of most 15 bar machines and should hence not be a turn-off.

Pros:

  • Larger, commercial-style portafilter
  • Automatic water temperature adjustment according to use
  • Easy and mess-free coffee puck disposal
  • Handy maintenance indicators
  • Convenient volumetric control

Cons:

  • Smaller drip tray
  • Slower frothing

3. Mr. Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000-RB – Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine under $200

Mr.Coffee BVMC-ECMP1000-RB Barista Espresso and Latte Machine
  • Bar Pressure: 15 bar
  • Capacity: 1.2L/40oz                                 
  • Body Material: Stainless steel and ABS  
  • Weight: 10.37 pounds

Budget is always a big concern when shopping for an espresso machine, and if you are shopping for a reliable semi-automatic model under $200, this one by Mr. Coffee will be perfect.

What makes it one of the best semi-automatic espresso machines for home use is the fact that it is more straightforward to use even for beginners thanks to its easy to understand one-touch controls.

This coffee maker uses a 15-bar pump to deliver some delightful espressos, and it will also be perfect for cappuccino and latte lovers thanks to its automatic milk frother. It will also give you an easy time when it comes to refills as both the milk and water reservoir are removable.

Overall both the brewing unit and frother are easy to clean as you only need to run an automatic clean cycle and clean the removable parts in the sink.

Although this coffee machine is quite noisy, this is typical of most semi-automatic espresso machines within its price range, and you will hardly get anything quieter without spending more money.

Pros:

  • Easy to use controls
  • Removable and easy refill milk/water reservoirs
  • Trouble-free milk frothing
  • Easy to clean up
  • Free recipe book

Cons:

  • Quite loud

4. DeLonghi EN85R – Space-Saving but Efficient Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker

DeLonghi EN85R
  • Bar Pressure: 19 bar                                                   
  • Capacity: 0.6L/20.3oz                              
  • Body Material: Plastic                             
  • Weight: 5.1 pounds

If you are more into the capsule-based coffee maker type, the semi-automatic DeLonghi EN85R is a perfect choice for you. This compact and lightweight coffee machine takes up little space in your kitchen and will also help to spice up your space with its sleek, modern look.

Despite its smaller size, this is still a highly powerful espresso machine that uses a 19-bar pump for fast and optimal espresso extraction, and its 30-second heat-up time should also be fast enough for most users.

This espresso machine also has a programmable cup size that will allow you to choose between espresso and lungo for increased versatility, and you can do this with some easy to use and intuitive controls. The coffee maker is also energy-efficient as it shuts down after 9 minutes of idling to conserve energy.

The plastic used on the housing seems to be a thinner gauge, but it is still tough and durable, and it helps keep the coffee maker's weight down. Also, the 20-ounce water reservoir might be one of the smallest on our list, but it is still enough for several espressos.

Pros:

  • Higher pump pressure
  • Faster heat up
  • Adjustable cup size for versatility
  • Simple one-touch operation
  • Compact and lightweight

Cons:

  • Thinner gauge plastic material
  • Relatively smaller water reservoir

5. Mr. Coffee BVMC-EM6701SS – A Perfect Choice for the Cappuccino and Latte Lovers

Mr. Coffee BVMC-EM6701SS
  • Bar Pressure: 19 bar                                                   
  • Capacity: N/A                                                
  • Body Material: Stainless steel and ABS  
  • Weight: 14.15 pounds

While Mr. Coffee BVMC-EM6701SS is still not the cheapest option on our semi-automatic espresso machine reviews, it is still quite fairly priced for such an amazing coffee maker.

It is a 19-bar coffee machine that is built to deliver some top-notch quality espresso. And this high pump pressure works with an efficient thermocouple heating system to ensure you get some amazing brews.

There is also a high capacity and removable milk reservoir that makes refills and cleaning easy and also allows you to store any leftover milk in the fridge. This larger milk reservoir and the reliable automatic milk frother combine to make this machine a perfect choice for cappuccino and latte fanatics.

Better yet, it has an adjustable cup tray that will allow it to accommodate both short and tall coffee mugs to allow you to brew into your favorite mug or cup.

Noise is the most significant shortcoming with this machine as it can be quite loud, but the good news is that it makes coffee fast and you will not have to bear the noise for long. Also, instructions do not seem very helpful, but you should still be able to hack it.

Pros:

  • High-pressure pump
  • Efficient heating system
  • Removable, easy-fill milk reservoir
  • Fast and reliable milk frother
  • Accommodates both short and tall mugs

Cons:

  • Can be very loud
  • Wanting instructions

6. KitchenAid KES0504FP – Durable, High-Performing and Elegant Espresso Machine

KitchenAid KES0504FP
  • Bar Pressure: 19 bar
  • Capacity: 1.3L/44oz                                 
  • Body Material: Die-cast
  • Weight: 19.4 pounds

The elegance of this KitchenAid espresso machine is its first attraction, and if looks matter a lot to you, it will be impossible to go past this coffee maker.

But, besides the appearance, this is also a well-built appliance that features an all-metal die-cast construction meant to ensure it offers many years of great service.

The capsule-based coffee maker uses a 19-bar pump that assures quick and optimal extraction, and it will also heat up in just 30 seconds to ensure you have your coffee ready within a short time.

Also, it provides an easy capsule loading system to give users an easy time, and it will come in a more space-saving design to ensure it takes up little of your counter space.

The included frother seems to be the only let down with this espresso machine, but the good thing is that it still gets the job done as it makes some nice milk froth within a short time.

Pros:

  • Convenient brew strength selector
  • Faster heat up
  • Durable all-metal construction
  • Easy capsule loading and ejection
  • Small, space-saving design

Cons:

  • Included milk frother not the best

7. DeLonghi ECP3120 – More Budget-Friendly but Still Efficient Enough

DeLonghi ECP3120
  • Bar Pressure: 15 bar                                                               
  • Capacity: 1.8L/60oz                                 
  • Body Material: Stainless steel and plastic     
  • Weight: 10.9 pounds

With a more budget-friendly semi-automatic espresso machine like DeLonghi ECP3120, you get to make some amazing coffee without having to spend much.

Besides its smaller price tag, this espresso machine also uses an efficient 15-bar pump to ensure optimal extraction, and with its advanced cappuccino system that maintains optimal brewing temperature, you get zero waiting between cups.

Some easily adjustable controls allow you to modify your espresso, and you can brew directly into your favorite mug as the adjustable tray allows this machine to accommodate taller mugs.

With the included manual frother, you can also make your milk froths just how you like them for your cappuccinos and lattes and it is also quite easy to use.

The warming plate seems to get a little too hot, but it is still usable. Furthermore, this is not something that affects the functioning of the machine and should hence not be a big deal. Also, the portafilter is on the smaller side, but it still accommodates enough coffee to make strong espressos.

Pros:

  • Easily adjustable controls
  • Zero waiting between cups
  • Adjustable tray to accommodate taller cups
  • Sleek and more space-saving design
  • More affordable

Cons:

  • Warming plate gets a little too hot
  • Relatively smaller portafilter capacity

8. Gaggia RI8525/01 – Home Espresso Making Simplified

Gaggia RI8525/01
  • Bar Pressure: 15 bar                                 
  • Capacity: 1.4L/47oz                                 
  • Body Material: Stainless steel and ABS  
  • Weight: 13.2 pounds

Gaggia RI8525/01 is all about simplifying home espresso-making, and it achieves this with a combination of different features starting with its efficient 15-bar pressure pump.

This coffee machine also uses a pressurized portafilter that will work with both grounds and pods, and it has a pre-infusion technology that helps to ensure more even brewing and rich espressos.

With this espresso machine, you will also get a Panarello wand that makes frothing milk more effortless and makes some nice creamy milk froths.

The front-loaded reservoir provides a visible water level to help ensure you know when you are running out of water. And this is also a more energy-efficient appliance thanks to the 9-minute automatic power-down function.

While this semi-automatic machine takes up to one minute to heat up which is longer than most others on our list, for most users, it is still fast enough, and this is more so given that with other machines you can wait up to 5 minutes.

Pros:

  • Easy to use and efficient milk frother
  • Brews with both pods and ground coffee
  • Energy-saving power down function
  • Visible water level for easy monitoring

Cons:

  • Heat up could be faster

9. Nuova Simonelli MOP1400104 – Premium Quality Espresso Machine for the Budding Barista

Nuova Simonelli MOP1400104
  • Bar Pressure: N/A                                                      
  • Capacity: 2.3L/77.8oz                              
  • Body Material: Steel and ABS plastic     
  • Weight: 31 pounds

Nuova Simonelli MOP1400104 is our best semi-automatic espresso machine for commercial use as it has everything that both experienced and budding baristas want from these machines.

The premium-quality espresso machine has a 2.3-liter water reservoir which is the largest on our list, and to make it even better, it can be hooked directly to a water line to ensure it never runs out of water. Better yet, it has a highly efficient automatic water refill system.

There is also a 3-way solenoid valve on this machine that is very useful for both relieving pressure and preventing espresso puck from dripping.

With its durable steel frame capped by an ABS plastic housing, this espresso machine is built to last a long time and can withstand the abuse that comes with commercial use. Brewing is also made more convenient by the drip tray's flipping design that allows it to accommodate both short and tall mugs.

This Nuova Simonelli product is the priciest item on our semi-automatic espresso machine reviews, but the premium quality makes it worth it. Also, its larger size and heavier weight should not be a big concern as it is meant for use from one spot.

Pros:

  • Sturdy and highly durable construction
  • Large water reservoir capacity
  • Several boiler protection features
  • Time-saving auto-refill system
  • Accommodates both short and tall mugs

Cons:

  • Pricier espresso machine
  • Larger and heavier

10. Hamilton Beach 40725 – Great Value for Cash

Hamilton Beach 40725
  • Bar Pressure: 19 bar                                 
  • Capacity: 0.7L/22oz                                 
  • Body Material: Plastic                             
  • Weight: 8.75 pounds

The Hamilton Beach 40725 is another small, space-saving semi-automatic espresso machine that still has a lot to offer and will be a perfect buy for anyone looking for a more portable option.

The 19-bar semi-automatic espresso machine is the cheapest option on our list which also makes it perfect for the budget shoppers. And to make it more convenient, it will work with both Nespresso capsules and those from other brands.

Its design makes it super easy to use as you only need to lift the bar and insert the capsule to make coffee. Also, it heats up relatively faster, and you get to choose between lungo and espresso cup sizes and can even customize your cup size.

When compared to other models on our list, this one has a relatively smaller reservoir, but for a machine that uses capsules, the 22-ounce tank is more than enough. Also, you can still brew into larger mugs with a little inventiveness despite the cup tray not being adjustable.

Pros:

  • High pump pressure
  • Highly affordable
  • Works with Nespresso and various other capsule brands
  • Easy to use design
  • Lightweight and more portable

Cons:

  • Smaller water reservoir
  • Cup tray is not adjustable

Semi-Automatic vs. Super-Automatic Espresso Machines

Semi-Automatic vs. Super-Automatic Espresso Machines

Even the highly experienced espresso lovers sometimes get confused when it comes to telling apart the semi and super-automatic espresso machines as they look quite similar at a glance. However, the truth is that these are quite different machines that will differ in everything from how they work to their price tags.

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

Semi-automatic espresso machines have been around since the 1940s, and they are one of the most popular types for both home coffee making and professional baristas.

These are the kinds of machines that will require you to grind and tamp the coffee beans separately, but some models now have built-in grinders. And once you put the portafilter in place, the machine does the rest.

With a semi-automatic machine, you get more control over different variables in the process such as the shot extraction time. This makes it possible to customize your brew and also allows you to learn more and sharpen your barista skills.

However, while these machines will give you an easier time than the manual espresso machines, they still come with a learning curve, and they are also not always as consistent as the super-automatic types.

Pros:

  • More control over the brewing process
  • Allows you to grow and refine your barista skills
  • Relatively more affordable

Cons:

  • Not always very consistent
  • Comes with a learning curve

Super-Automatic Espresso Machine

Super-automatic espresso machines are a more recent innovation, and they have been developed to ensure that espresso lovers can get their favorite brews without having to do much.

These coffee machines will do everything from grinding and tamping the coffee to timing the shot extraction which ensures that when using one, you will always get highly consistent results.

If you plan to do other things when making coffee, these will be the best machines for you as they will free up your hands and this should explain why they are becoming increasingly popular in coffee shops. Some will also include automatic milk frothers for espresso-based beverages.

But the consistent and super-fast brewing comes at a cost as these are some of the most expensive espresso machines, and they also often require high maintenance given the more complex electronics.

Pros:

  • Easy and convenient to use
  • Fast brewing
  • Extremely consistent shots

Cons:

  • Often more expensive
  • High maintenance

Buying Advice: If you are looking for a more affordable machine that gives you some control over the brewing process, go for a semi-automatic espresso machine. However, if you do not mind spending more cash to get a super easy to use and a convenient machine that does everything for you and delivers highly consistent espresso shots, a super-automatic espresso machine is more ideal for you.

How to Buy the Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

How to Buy the Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

If you want to get good service from a semi-automatic espresso machine, you will first need to choose the best one from the many options out there. But, like with any other espresso maker type, this is always easy if you know what to look for. And to help you out with this, here are some important factors to consider when shopping for a semi-automatic espresso machine.

1. Pressure

Pressure is crucial for the extraction of espresso, and so when shopping for a semi-automatic espresso machine, one of the first factors to consider is the amount of pressure that it can generate.

The sweet spot for espresso extraction is 9 bars, and so any machine with at least a 9-bar pump pressure should be good enough.

However, most of these machines will come with higher pump pressure than this with the 15 and 19-bar models being the most common. But you do not necessarily need to go for the highest pump pressure because the most important thing is to ensure the machine you buy can produce the 9 bars required.

2. Capacity

The capacity of the water reservoir also matters when it comes to choosing the best semi-automatic espresso makers as you do not want to keep refilling the tank every few shots.

For the capacity, the number of espressos you make or take should help you decide the tank size you will need. Here, the more the espressos you take, the larger the tank you will need.

A water reservoir capacity of at least 20-ounces is often good enough for most users, but there are still many other larger models that have water tanks three times larger than this and will be perfect for the heavy drinkers.

3. Material

The material used to make the espresso machine will determine both its appearance and durability, and so it is also an important factor to consider when shopping.

Typically, most models will have housings made from plastic materials like ABS and with steel or stainless steel frame. But, it is important to make sure that these materials are heavy-gauge enough for maximum durability.

Also, check the material used to make other things like the portafilter and drip tray as they are often more prone to damages, and here those made from stainless steel will be the best.

4. Steam Wand

If you love lattes, cappuccinos, and other milk-based espresso beverages, you need something to steam and froth the milk required. Hence a semi-automatic espresso machine that comes with a steam wand will be more useful for you.

But, the kind of steam wand that comes with the machine also matters. You need to make sure that it is a good size and it is also made from durable materials like stainless steel.

Also, a 360-degrees swiveling wand will be more useful as it can work on differently-sized frothing jugs. And make sure it is easy to clean as steam wands require thorough clean up.

5. Portafilter

Portafilters hold the coffee for extraction which means they play a crucial role in the espresso-making process and are hence an important element you need to consider.

A good semi-automatic espresso machine should come with a durable stainless steel portafilter that also comes in a good size such as the 54mm types.

Also, the portafilter should come with a tamper as this will ensure you have everything you need and eliminates the need to incur extra cost to buy a tamper.

6. Boiler: Single or Double

As you choose a semi-automatic espresso machine, you will also need to decide whether to buy a model with a single or double boiler.

Overall, double boiler machines will produce the best results, and they also heat up faster than the single boilers. However, espresso makers with double boilers also tend to be the more expensive of the two.

Single boiler machines, on the other hand, are more economical, but they will heat up relatively slower and less efficiently. If money is a big constraint for you, a single boiler can work, but if it is not, go for the models with double boilers.

7. Ease of Use and Cleaning

Espresso machines should also be easy to use and clean to ensure they give you an easy time. And while semi-automatic machines take more effort to use than the super-automatic ones, the ease of use still varies from one model to the other.

An easy to use model is one that has a straightforward interface with some simple controls or buttons that should be clearly labeled.

When it comes to the ease of cleaning, models that come with dishwasher-safe removable parts will give you an easier time. Also, those that have an automatic cleanup cycle will be perfect.

Conclusion

Semi-automatic espresso machines are the kinds that will give you a hassle-free brewing experience while also allowing for significant control over various brewing variables.

To get the best semi-automatic espresso machine, you will only need to watch out for factors like pressure, capacity, materials and the ease of use and cleaning. The good news is that there are almost countless models of these machines to choose from, and so you can almost be certain of finding something that will suit your needs.

And with our 10 reviews of some of the best models in the market above, you now have a good point to start your hunt for a top-notch semi-automatic espresso machine.