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Have you ever wondered how Starbucks is so consistent at creating espresso drinks and why your local barista is sometimes hit-or-miss? The answer undoubtedly lies with their espresso machine. Large-scale coffee shops and franchises often have fully automatic espresso machines, while smaller-scale operations often pride themselves on manual espresso machines. But what if you want barista-quality espresso at home, without the automatic espresso machine pricing or the expertise needed to operate a manual machine?

You need a semi-automatic espresso machine. How do you choose the best semi-automatic espresso machine for your skill level and budget? Revoupon has compiled a list of the best semi-automatic espresso machines so you can get your favorite coffee shop’s drinks from the comfort of your own home.

The Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines:

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The Competitors for Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

1. breville-logo

REV SCORE 9.8/10

Breville The Barista Express Espresso Machine

Breville is world-renowned for its coffee products and espresso machines. They make excellent products and are a household name for coffee drinkers. The Barista Express gives coffee drinkers the functionality to go from beans to brew in less than a minute. With a built-in grinder, the Barista Express guarantees full-flavor profiles and the temperature control allows for optimal extraction. Get café results quickly with the microfoam milk texturizer, all for under $700.

Barista Express Features:

  • Adjustable PID digital temperature control
  • Half pound capacity bean hopper and hands-free grinding
  • Espresso pressure gauge
  • 360º swivel-action steam wand
  • Sleep and Auto-Off Modes
  • 1-year manufacturer’s warranty

What Makes it Great:

  • The most popular brand on the market

  • Highly customizable (adjustable dose, temperature control, short controls, steaming preferences)

  • Pressure gauge allow users to adjust/customize the intensity of the espresso shot

breville-logo
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2. calphalon-logo

REV SCORE 9.7/10

Calphalon Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Grinder

Calphalon is household name, but better known for pots & pans. However, Calphalon builds an exquisite semi-automatic espresso machine in the Temp iQ.

Temp iQ Features:

  • Thermoblock heating technology and PID temperature control
  • Integrated conical burr mill Grinder with 30 adjustable grind settings
  • Warming tray for espresso-ready cups
  • Pre-programmed settings for single and double shots
  • Removable 2.8L water reservoir
  • Includes Stainless steel milk jug, tamper, cleaning disc, cleaning brush, and cleaning pin

What Makes it Great:

  • Near perfect microfoam – a long steam wand helps steam the milk at the bottom of the pitcher

  • 58mm Portafilter for Better Flavor Extraction

  • Quick boiling with thermoblock heating technology, PID temperature control, and pre-infusion

calphalon-logo
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3. delonghi-logo

REV SCORE 9.6/10

De’Longhi La Specialista Dual Heating Espresso Machine

Although De’Longhi does make other kitchen appliances, they are best known for the coffee and espresso machines. The La Specialista Dual Heating Semi-automatic Espresso Machine is the closest machine to being fully-automatic with semi-automatic espresso machine pricing. This machine provides allows for café quality lattes, cappuccinos, and other espresso drinks. Inspired by professional automatic espresso machines, it takes the complexity of manual machines out of the equation.

La Specialista Features:

  • Exclusive segsing technology  provides consistent grinding and the optimal dose
  • One thermoblock for extracting coffee and an independent heating system for steaming milk or frothing
  • Micro-foam frothing for Latte Art or rich froth for cappuccino
  • 1 second quick start
  •  2.0L water reservoir
  • Separate hot water spout to brew an authentic Americano

What Makes it Great:

  • Closest to a fully-automatic espresso machine with semi-automatic espresso machine pricing

  • Smart tamping station for easier and more consistent tamping

  • Hands free “smart” milk steaming function

delonghi-logo
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4. bezzera-logo

REV SCORE 9.4/10

Bezzera New Hobby Espresso Machine

Bezzera has been making espresso machines for more than 110 years, debuting their first in 1906 in Milan. With roots deep in Italian coffee history, rest assured this semi-automatic espresso machine is one of the best on the market. Many of the parts found on the Bezzera Hobby 01 are the same as what’s found on their professional models, including the group head and the 3-way solenoid valve.

New Hobby 01 Features:

  • Commercial grade and efficient group head
  • 3-way solenoid valve like the professional Bezzera machines
  • 0.25L Boiler
  •  3.0L water reservoir

What Makes it Great:

  • Compact size makes it great for smaller kitchens with less counter space.

  • Quick milk steaming with a powerful steam wand

  • 3-way solenoid valve reduces pressure from the group head for longer machine life.

bezzera-logo
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5. lelit-logo

REV SCORE 9.2/10

Lelit Anna Espresso Machine

Lelit specializes in two things: espresso machine and clothing irons. At first those seem like a world apart, but what makes a good clothing iron also makes a great espresso machine – steam control. The Lelit Anna PL41TEM is designed for entry level home baristas just approaching the pro-consumer side of espresso making at home. A digital PID display helps set the boiler temperature with ease, while the analog manometer helps users attain the perfect extraction. Toggle switches are a simple feature that’s unique to this machine and gives it commercial feel.

Anna PL41TEM Features:

  • Manometer for precise coffee pressure
  • 3-way solenoid valve to dry the coffee puck
  • Cup warmer
  •  2.7L water reservoir
  • multi-directional steam wand with anti-burn handle

What Makes it Great:

  • PID display: adjust boiler temperature

  • Pressure gauge allow users to adjust/customize the intensity of the espresso shot

  • Powerful and longer multi-directional steam wand for better latte art control

lelit-logo
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6. rancilio-logo

REV SCORE 9.0/10

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

The brass heat exchange double broiler and brass group head in the Rancilio Silvia brings commercial components to kitchen countertops. Rancilio has been building the Silvia for over 20 years, where it’s only gotten better with age. Pulling from nearly a century of experience, Rancilio built the Silvia with commercial-grade parts and material found in espresso machine triple the price.

Silvia Features:

  • 0.3 L insulated brass heat exchange boiler
  • Stainless steel steaming wand
  • Commercial brass group head for excellent heat retention
  •  2.0L water reservoir
  • Ergonomic 58 mm portafilter

What Makes it Great:

  • Affordable, compared to many other semi-auto espresso machines

  • Simple and easy to use with 4 simple switches and indicator lights

  • Powerful stainless steel steam wand with ball joint

rancilio-logo
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7. gaggia-logo

REV SCORE 9.0/10

Gaggia Classic Pro Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine

Based in Milan, Italy, Gaggia builds exquisite espresso machines world-renowned for quality of construction and the caliber of coffee their machine create. The Gaggia Classic Pro has the look of a commercial automatic espresso machine, with proffesional build quality in a semi-automatic espresso machine. Eighty years of innovation make this one of the most durable espresso machine on our list. You can truly feel the difference in the weight and construction of the Classic Pro, especially when compared to cheaper models. It’s not a aesthetically pleasing as other semi-automatic espresso machine on this list and has no grinder, which is why it fell further down the rankings. However, when it comes to the finished product, The Classic Pro delivers at near professional level.

Silvia Features:

  • Commercial steam wand has 2 holes for perfect microfoam every time
  • 17 gauge commercial grade brushed stainless steel – NO plastic
  • 58mm – 1-pound portafilter feels durable in-hand
  • 72oz water reservoir
  • 3.5oz single-boiler capacity

What Makes it Great:

  • Durable construction give you a lifetime of high-quality espresso drinks

  • The snap of the rocker switches have a satisfying feel and don’t feel as flimsy as toggle switches or buttons

  • 6 colors and a commercial appearance would look great in an industrial or farmhouse style kitchen

gaggia-logo
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8. ecm-logo

REV SCORE 8.7/10

ECM Casa V Espresso Machine

ECM is a lesser-known brand in the world of espresso, but what they lack in brand recognition they make up in quality and performance. With the ECM Casa V you’ll get legendary German engineering and Italian heritage in a beautiful semi-automatic espresso machine. The Casa V blends industrial look with aesthetically pleasing polished stainless steel. The warm-up times are slow by comparison to other machines in the class, which makes it ideal for smaller households of one or two people.

Silvia Features:

  • Polished stainless steel gives it a refined, couture look with classic details and a modern look
  • 1Adjustable brewing pressure and a convenient gauge let’s you customize beverages to your taste.
  • 0.4L boiler volume
  • 2.8L water reservoir
  • Compact size fits well on any counter-space

What Makes it Great:

  • Pressure gauge allow users to adjust/customize the intensity of the espresso shot

  • Beautiful design can be the centerpiece of any kitchen design

  • Single broiler system with vibration pump

ecm-logo
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9. ascaso-logo

REV SCORE 8.5/10

Ascaso Dream Zero

For nearly 60 years Ascaso has crafting fine espresso machines in Spain after the founder got his start working at Gaggia. The Ascaso Dream Zero is a throwback with retro styling of old, while harnessing advancements in espresso technology. High-quality materials like aluminum, stainless steel, and brass adorn the machine, with minimal use of plastics.

Silvia Features:

  • Stainless steel-lined aluminum thermoblock boiler
  • 56mm portafilter
  •  Pressurized and Non-Pressurized portafilter available
  • 48oz water reservoir
  • 1-year warranty

What Makes it Great:

  • Programmable shot controls for different users preferences

  • The PID monitors heat well and keeps temps more stable than the previous model

  • Adjustable OPV: An externally-accessible screw allows users to set the max pressure the pump will push through the group head

ascaso-logo
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breville-logo

HONORABLE MENTION

Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus

Nespresso and Breville teamed up to make the Creatista Plus with the feel of an automatic espresso machine and the convenience of pre-portioned nespresso pods.

Creatista Plus Features:

  • 3 programmable cup sizes (0.84, 1.35, 3.72 oz)
  • 8 texture levels and 11 milk temperature settings
  • 3-second heat-up time
  • fully-automatic steam wand
  • 50oz Removable Tank
  • Includes a stainless steel milk jug
  • 2-year manufacturer’s warranty
breville-logo
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Grind, Pull, Drip, Drink: The Best Espresso Machine For You

The process is the same, but the finished product comes down to skill and equipment. Every Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine on this list is priced under $1000, but one might make more sense for your unique espresso needs.

A semi-automatic espresso machine takes some of the guesswork and finesses out of pulling an espresso shot. These machines may automate some processes like grinding, temperature control, brewing pressure, brew time, milk steaming, and pour amounts.

How difficult it is using a semi-automatic espresso machine will come down to what processes are automated and how familiar the coffee drinker is with the espresso making art. Overall, it is not difficult to operate a semi-automatic espresso machine.

Our research and experience led Revoupon to choose the Breville The Barista Express Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine as the best machine available for under $1000.

How often a coffee or espresso machine needs to be descaled is directly related to the hardness of the water used. Using filtered water will allow less frequent descaling. Some machines, like the Nespresso featured in our honorable mention have a timer that tracks how many ounces of water pass through the machine and let users know when to descale. Most Espresso machine will come with a process for descaling. It’s important to follow the directions exactly. Descaling requires running a descaler through the machine and then flushing a specific amount of fresh water through the machine to rinse the descaler out of the machine.

Starbucks uses fully-automatic Mastrena espresso machines designed specifically for Starbucks. Automatic espresso machines ensure the consistency of Starbucks drinks. With automatic espresso machines, there’s very little margin for error.

The Revoupon team set forth the criteria for judging before looking into the best semi-automatic espresso machine. Customization, the margin for error, simplicity, and ability to create a consistent pour were large factors in whether an espresso machine scored highly. Personal experience with brands and specific machines also were part of the ranking factor.

That’s a “latte” information

Coffee and espresso has become a staple of many people’s lives. Whether it’s the local Starbucks, an old fashioned coffee pot at the office, or an at-home semi-automatic espresso machine; coffee is a popular part of pop-culture. If pulling and pouring the best shot of espresso is important, but you don’t have the budget for an automatic espresso machine or the finesse of your favorite barista, then a semi-automatic espresso machine is what you need to start your day off right.