Are you dreaming of being your very own barista? Well, getting the best semi-automatic espresso machine will fulfill your dream. This machine is certainly a smart step towards home appliances. Whether you want comfort or excitement this machine offers maximum. As it can do almost everything with little human intervention along with unlimited ability to adjust and improve.
Espresso machines are available from super-simple to the one that is rich with features. So, finding the best machine for yourself is a bit tough and a stagnant job. Also, you need to do proper research before going to the market because only then you can ensure the selection of the best products. Anyway, you should not worry about all this dismay because we have done the research for you and are here with the 6 best semi-automatic espresso machines you can purchase in 2020. These machines have a stylish design, comes with unique and special features, and is durable. To know more about them go through our brief and detailed reviews.
Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines 2020
|De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso||6.68 lbs|
|Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine||30.8 lbs|
|Bezzera BZ10 Espresso Machine||42 lbs|
|Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso||20 lbs|
|Bezzera BZ07 Espresso Machine||42 lbs|
|Pasquini Livia 90 Semiautomatic Commercial Espresso||36 lbs|
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Different Levels of Automation
Automatic machines are very convenient and they come with a lot of options. The different levels of automation are differentiated on the basis of the physical involvement of humans. Actually, in the case of automatic espresso machines, you have to just start it and the rest of the job is done by the machine itself for a preset amount of time. Here, some machines allow you to change that time while others don’t. In reality, very few machines are marketed as automatic while the rests are semi-automatic.
On the other hand, some automatic machines offer a little extra due to which they fall into the category of super-automatic. So, let’s discuss the difference between semi-automatic and super-automatic espresso machines.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
Semi-automatic machines are one step ahead of the baseline automation. It lets you control the grind setting along with the pull time, hence giving you more control over the final result. Just like automatic machines, it demands you to grind your own coffee which will be certainly appreciated by users who love experimentation. Although it is a bit confusing job if you are doing for the first time but if you go through our guide of how to grind coffee beans, it will become very easy for you.
The main selling point of these machines is that they balance practicality and ease of use with customization. Along with this, these machines are affordable compared to super-automatic. Plus, all the espresso machines that you will find on this page are semi-automatic, so you will know them better a bit later.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
Super-automatic machines come with additional features like a built-in grinder and milk frothers which is their main selling point. You don’t even need to do your own tamping because the machine does everything for you. With the super-automatic machine, you are giving it the full charge and you will have less control. Although some machines offer highly specific customization options but not all of them. So, all you have to do is to just sit, relax and accept the machine’s way of doing things. In addition, they are very expensive and you can get them only by burning a big hole in your pocket. Anyway, if you are interested in them, go through our list of best super-automatic espresso machines.
Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine (Reviews 2020)
1. De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso
CONS: Lacks Temperature Control
De’Longhi EC155 is the best home semi-automatic espresso machine and cappuccino maker that you can get in very affordable price. The unit can brew the richest, thickest and long lasting foams in home espresso machine, meaning it brings in action your inner barista. Plus, it has the ability of serving one and two shots, also you can pitch in the espresso pod thus giving you multiple options. In addition, the budget friendly machine comes with 3-in-1 filter holder allowing you to brew whatever you desire.
While making espresso, the 15 bar appliance offers enough power to pump out shots rapidly and without inconvenience. You may know that a bar pump is very necessary for extracting full flavor espresso and it is very rare to find in budget appliances like De’Longhi EC155. This machine has a stainless steel boiler containing dual thermostats, so the brew temperature for your espresso and cappuccino will be perfect every time. You can also make lattes because the 1100W of power trigger the Jet Frother.
De’Longhi EC155 has 35 ounces of water capacity and comes with a removable drip tray. Furthermore, you don’t need to go through any pre-brew preparation. Just get your espresso when you want and how you want, as this machine has a self-priming preparation function. So, in just a few seconds everything will be set and ready to brew with no work on your side. Thus, if you want the best semi-automatic espresso machine in 2020 which costs less than $100, go for De’Longhi EC155.
2. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine
CONS: Drip Tray could Stand to be Bigger
Silvia by Rancilio could be a game-changer for you if you don’t have an espresso machine in your home. It is a quality, semi-automatic machine which can last for a longer period of time. The world-class durability is due to the copper and stainless steel build material. With this machine you can pull up to 8 shots a day which is admirable. Plus, this practice can go on for years without any problem. As Rancilio is an Italian company whose each new model do better than the last one.
Going towards the main components, the boiler is internally heated, brass, and has a 12 oz capacity. The heating element is made up of steel which is great for steaming milk-based beverages and more immune to burning out. Underneath the drip tray, is a 3-way solenoid valve which removes excess pressure and moisture after you put your shot. Also, it reduces stress on other mechanical part and you can easily get the dry coffee puck out of the portafilter. Along with this, the steam wand can articulate in all directions which is amazing.
As the best semi-automatic espresso machine for home has a single boiler so you have to do one thing at a time, that is either brewing or steaming. It does brewing and steaming around 200 and 280 degrees Fahrenheit respectively. Although being a single boiler, yet the machine can steam anything. In addition, the drip tray is metallic which has laser film on it. Anyway, you can peel it off if you want to reveal the stainless steel drip tray. Hence, if you want a perfect espresso machine for your home, Rancilio Silvia will be an excellent choice.
3. Bezzera BZ10 Espresso Machine
CONS: PID Control is Missing
Bezzera BZ10 is an outstanding espresso machine which is solid, robust and reliable. The appearance is industrial, build material is polished stainless steel and the overall design is traditional. Along with this, the size is acceptable measuring 9.8 x 14.7 x 16.7, hence it will easily fit in your kitchen. In addition, the capacity of water reservoir is 3-liter which is sufficient for large household. Plus, the two needles on the front face of the machine measure the pressure inside the boiler and the pump pressure respectively.
Let’s go towards the boiler where things get interesting. Despite being a single boiler, the best semi-automatic espresso machine uses heat exchange which allows for steam milk, brew espresso and distributes hot water simultaneously. It is heated electrically which is more stable and faster, meaning that less wait time. What will please you the most is that you can pull shots and milk-based drinks on this machine faster than any other single boiler unit. Remember that the boiler temperature is maintained at 266 degrees Fahrenheit which prevent overheating. On top of that, you will love the steam wand’s full articulation and hot water dispenser.
As the controls are old-school, so it is very easy to master even if you don’t have used semi-automatic machines. It is quite possible that the first 3-4 milk-based drinks won’t turn out the way you have desired, but if you stick you will be a barista in no time. What is more, Bezzera BZ10 comes with a cup warming tray which can keep coffee hot for you. Hence, we recommend this amazing espresso machine for coffee purists, power drinkers, and users with limited space.
4. Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine
CONS: Aluminum Boiler Vulnerable to Corrosion
Gaggia RI9380/46 is the modern version of Gaggia 14101. With Gaggia RI9380/46, you are not only getting the quality that the price would suggest but also the price which is much lower than the manufacturer should be asking. The classically designed, high-tech espresso machine is straight out of Italy and manufactured by a very trusted name in the world of espresso called Gaggia. Certainly, this will clear all your doubt, plus the machine uses an industrial standard 58mm filter which is similar to the coffee makers in coffee houses. So, you can brew a rich tasting professional espresso in your own home with this appliance.
Gaggia RI9380 comes with a 14 bar pump, unconventional expansion valve, and high-voltage boiler. So, it is offering all that one is expecting from the best semi-automatic espresso machine for home. In addition, the 3-way solenoid valve releases the pressure of the group head giving you immediate excess to the portafilter. In this way, you can be re-shot filling right away. However, if you are not happy with this you can also make two-shot of espresso at a time. Furthermore, the capacity of a water reservoir is 2.1 liters which is more than enough for all sorts of users.
The steam wand makes brewing the excellent steamy froth easy-peasy. Along with this, the super-conductive aluminum boiler is heated by two external elements on both sides which ensures equal heat dispensation. More, the brass filter keeps the temperature stable for even extraction. Also, the brewing groups lock the portafilter in a heat stabilized compartment for uniformity, efficiency, and control. Hence, if you want the highest quality espresso each and every time, Gaggia RI9380/46 espresso maker will not disappoint you.
5. Bezzera BZ07 Espresso Machine
CONS: Electronics is Somehow Complicated
Bezzera BZ07 is the best semi-automatic espresso machine in 2020 combining the traditional design with enough electronics to give you more precise control. On the front of the machine you will see knobs, lever, indicator lights, dual purpose gauge and switches. As a reservoir size is a big deal for us and you will be please to know that BZ07 has the capacity of 3-liter (101 ounces), isn’t it amazing. Plus, you can easily excess the reservoir through the top of the appliance.
Bezzera BZ07 has a singles copper boiler which is plated with nickel. The boiler features heat exchange technology which in turn allows you to steam milk and pull shot simultaneously. There is PID located on the front of the appliance which lets you control the steam and brew temperature. More, the machine comes with two portafilters, one for pulling a single shot and the other for a double shot. Along with this, you will have a plastic tamper and a backflushing disc.
Bezzera BZ07 uses a steam wand for milk frothing. With this not only you can heat the milk quickly but the quality of foam is also outstanding. A precise pump is located on the front face which takes around 9 bar. This pressure is sufficient for pulling a great shot of espresso and removing all the guesswork. Plus, you can set the pressure high or low allowing you to experiment with different extraction techniques. Last but not least, there is a cup warming tray which can keep the coffee warm for you. Hence, large households, busy office environment, and power drinkers will love the Bezzera BZ07 espresso machine.
6. Pasquini Livia 90 Semiautomatic Commercial Espresso
CONS: Slightly Dated Technology
We have included Pasquini Livia 90 in our list because of its outstanding design, strong construction and mix of both old and modern features. Overall weight of the unit is 36 pounds and measures 12 x 11.5 x 15 inches which is acceptable and won’t occupy much space on your countertop. The front face contain two indicator lights, flipping the switch will give you green light which means that the power is on. In addition, the orange light tells you that the boiler is heating.
Speaking of the boiler, it has heat exchange technology thus allows for simultaneous steaming and brewing. The chrome-plated brass steam wand on the left side of the machine brings steam down to the tip and provides great steamed milk for any number of espresso and cappuccino. Furthermore, the powerful pump provides steady pressure to produce full flavor extraction and rich espresso. Plus, the 3-way solenoid valve releases the extra pressure as well as the portafilter is rugged and can be easily handled with the plastic molded grip.
The water tank is large, removable, and makes volume espresso production convenient. Along with this, you will see a steel cup warming tray at the top and a plastic drip tray at the bottom for collecting spills and drops. Both these trays are removable and thus you can clean them easily. On top of that, the best semi-automatic espresso machine does not require special plumbing and electrical outlet. All you have to do is to just plug it in and the machine is ready to go. Hence, if you want a convenient appliance for home or office, Pasquini Livia 90 should be on your shopping list.
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Choosing The Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine in 2020
When you are in the market for buying the espresso machine, keep in mind that what really matters is the finished product. As we all are looking for the perfect shot in the morning but nothing is more pleasing if you can craft the espresso shot at your home. But for this, you will need a high-end espresso machine especially the one which has some automatic capability as well. So, consider the following factors in order to buy the best semi-automatic espresso machine in 2020.
The first thing that you need to keep in mind in the espresso machine is the steam wand which indicates the overall quality of the machine. Make sure that it is manually controlled, although automatic is more convenient but manuals give better results. More, there should be 2-4 steam holes along with swiveling and an acceptable range of motion for a better angle.
Role of Portafilter
Whether you go for a manual, semi-automatic or super-automatic, all espresso machines have portafilter. As low-end portafilters are small compared to the standard which will affect the overall quality of your espresso. So, if you want a barista grade espresso, make sure that the group head of your portafilter can accommodate 16 to 22 grams of ground coffee.
Steam or Pump-powered, Which One is Better?
As pressure is vital for creating good espresso so it is an important internal mechanism to look for. Some machines use steam while others pump powered to generate pressure. Although steam is a chip and classic option but such machines suffer from inconsistent pressure which leads to inconsistent results. On the other hand, pump powered machines give you more control over the pressure of the brewing process. Though such machines are expensive but to be honest they are worthy enough to spend on.
The ideal brew conditions for espresso are 195 degrees Fahrenheit with 15 bar of pressure. The espresso machines either come with a single or a double boiler. As both these boilers have its own advantages and disadvantage, so keeping that in mind choose the machine with a right boiler.
Single boilers are slower at getting to sweet spot but they are cheap. So, if you are not always in a hurry and have a limited budget go for it. While double boilers are fast at getting to the sweet spot but they are very expensive. Thus, if budget is not an issue for you and you are on a constant time crunch go for a machine that has a double boiler.
The best semi-automatic espresso machine comes with a larger water reservoir so you don’t have to refill it constantly. Also, some of the machines let you connect it directly with a water line. However, if you don’t drink a great deal of espresso on a daily basis, you can save some bucks by choosing a machine with a smaller reservoir.
The last and important thing that you take into account before making a final decision is the easy maintenance of the machine. Although removable parts favor easy cleaning, yet you have to deep clean the machine usually if you want the functionality at full capacity. Along with this, consider the build material which also plays an important role. Though plastic declines faster compared to stainless steel but your maintenance efforts can keep alive even low-quality machines for a longer period.
Worth a Read: Best Espresso Machine Under 200
All the necessary information about the best semi-automatic espresso machine is available on this page. We hope that you will find it helpful and guide you in the right direction to choose an espresso machine that will suit you the most. Plus, keep visiting as we shall be updating our list so that you don’t miss the latest appliances. In addition, if you have any questions in mind, you can ask in the comment section below and we will answer your question as soon as possible.