Many people make buying an espresso machine a huge deal. Often times, they talk about how difficult it may be and all of the different challenges they come across. The truth is, it is not that hard and buying your semi-automatic espresso machine will be easy. When you are unaware of the best machines in the market and in your budget, it will be a bit challenging. With so many different brands and machines, people often tend to buy the machines that “look pretty” but often don’t “sound pretty” nor “taste pretty”. So, before you make an impulse purchase on a semi-automatic espresso machine, let’s break it down and discover the truth behind the top-rated machines in the industry, shall we?
What are semi-automatic espresso machines?
People who look at semi-automatic espresso machines are confused by how they look. They are a tad different than super-automatic machines and extremely different than manual espresso machines. A semi-automatic espresso machine includes the basics such as a boiler, a portafilter and a switch for extraction purposes. With these machines, the user still has some responsibility and control for the perfect cup of espresso. You will be required to tamp your espresso and grind the beans. Now, it’s important to note that because it is a semi-automatic espresso machine, you are going to want to partner your purchase with a high caliber grinder. If you don’t have a grinder just yet – it’s a worthwhile investment for your taste buds.
These machines are sort-of the middle ground of control, as many espresso lovers like to call it. Manual machines are perfect for the user who wants to control and handle everything. Super automatic is the opposite end of the spectrum. Those machines do all of the work and the user has no responsibility besides the touch of a finger and bare minimum cleaning. Semi-automatic is the perfect sweet-spot where the user still can have fun brewing the cup of espresso and, at the same time, all the machine to do all the grunt work.
Now that you have a good basis for what these machines are about, let’s take a look at the top rated semi-automatic espresso machines of 2017!
Breville BES900XL Dual Boiler Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine
There is not a better brand that screams semi-automatic espresso machines than Breville. This brand is known across the industry as one of the greatest makers of espresso machines. Built straight from stainless steel, this beast was built to last and create some of the best tasting shots of espresso of your life time. With a list of impressive features and a quite hefty price tag, this is a purchase you will not regret. Let’s take look at the impressive list of features.
- The Breville comes built with dual stainless steel boilers and dual Italian pumps so that the user can simultaneously extract and steam espresso and milk. This is one of the most unique features in the market. Many times, user often waste time having to extract and then manually froth. Here, the user can do it all at once. Picture this feature as the one-stop-shop for all things espresso built into one machine.
- With an OPV, or over-pressure valve, there is control factor to how much pressure will be exerted during the extraction process. This is the perfect feature to provide for the absolutely most delicious shots of espresso.
- You will never have to guess what the temperature is of your espresso machine when you are operating at Breville BES900XL. Why? This machine comes with an electronic PID temperature system where you can gauge the water temperature at all times.
- Another impressive feature that many people love is the backlit LCD display system.
Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine
Another great machine that is topping the charts of semi-automatic espresso machines is the Gaggia Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker. This machine, while relatively cheap in comparison to the competitors on this list, is a beautiful matted machine that is compact and before for every kitchen counter top. With its simplistic tones and nature, any espresso lover would love this machine. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the features that are causing this machine to sell like crazy.
- Many people are often afraid to buy espresso machines because of the rumored learning curves. With this machine, there are no learning curves. It is not only easy to learn it is totally easy to use.
- Frothing has never become so easy in the espresso machine world because Gaggia created a machine with the infamous Pannarello Frothing Wand. The trick is, it doubles as a hot water dispenser so that the user can also make americanos and tea.
- Another impressive feature that many users adore is the easy accessible 72-ounce water tank. The tank is extremely easy to remove, fill and clean. As I said before, this machine changed the game and made life much simpler for you.
- This machine comes built with a 58 mm commercial sized portafilter made from chrome-plated brass. In other words, this machine is built from the highest quality materials and designed for the perfect cups of espresso.
Rancilio HSD-Silvia Espresso Machine
The brand Rancilio is quite infamous around the world. Not only do coffee shops and restaurants utilize this brand, but today, home owners are beginning to bring this beast into their home. This is one of the most powerful espresso machines on this list and the industry. It is quite compact and is the perfect accent to any kitchen countertop. Built from iron and stainless steel, it is the perfect stylish machine for the espresso lover. The truth is, this is all just the beginning of the magic of this machine.
- When you purchase the Rancilio HSD-Silvia, you are investing your money in one of the greatest groupheads in the industry, the commercial-grade Rancilio’s Grouphead. The company designed this feature to guarantee the user with the optimal temperature and the perfect shot of espresso.
- What is better than the Rancilio Grouphead? How about the 58 mm ergonomic portafilter? This is unique feature that others on this list do not have. This is to help the user through the extraction process and for the richest shot of espresso.
- If you are an entertainer and need to pop out a couple shots of espresso, one of the best machines to do that is the HSD Silvia. Why is this? This machine is built for entertainment purposes. It’s impressive fast recovery times will not only impress your guests but their taste buds will explode with joy from the rich and dark espresso shots.
- Another important aspect of espresso is the froth and the steamed milk. This machine comes provided with a articulating stainless steel steamer. With barista-worthy steaming knobs, every shot of espresso will be filled with the best and ceramist froth or steamed milk.
Nuova Simonelli Oscar Pour Over Espresso Coffee Machine
When it comes to finessing the beauty of espresso machines, there is no other brand that can do that like Nuova Simonelli. If you allow the brand to roll of your tongue, you will feel more luxurious by the second. There is something unique about this brand and users are not sure if it’s the unique build, the name or the impressive list of features that follows the name.
- When it comes to heat distribution, Nuova completely redefined the game and replaced dual boilers with heat exchangers. While dual boilers are a favorite among espresso machine brands, Nuova created a machine with a heating system just as effective but a tad cheaper.
- Simplicity was at the core of this machine. There are only two buttons and a knob. For users who often get confused with all different buttons and features on the interface – Nuova was listening to you. It is extremely easy to use and learn.
- Nuova made sure to install and build a machine with a professional durable portafilter. Their intention was to build one of the highest-grades of espresso machines at an affordable rate for espresso lovers.
- Unlike many other semi-automatic espresso machines, well all espresso machines for that matter, this machine can be directly connected into your water supply. What this means is you will no longer need to track the water levels of the machine.
- If you don’t like that avenue, the machine does come with an extremely large 2.3 liter water tank, which is the largest on this list.
- Another notable feature is the cup warmer on top of the machine. If you know you are having company over, you can begin warming up to 9 cups so that each shot of espresso is perfect from the inside out. This is another favorite feature about reviewers.
- From the moment you get your hands on this machine, you can tell that this machine was built to last. It is not only study but it is considered commercial-grade. That means even coffee shops could use this machine!
- Don’t worry about large messes, this machine has a removable tray that is an easy way to clean up messes during the extraction process.
Nespresso D60 Pixie Espresso Maker, Chrome with Steel Dot
If you have not taken the time to look at our other article all about Nespresso Machines, please do so. Nespresso is easily one of the greatest espresso making machines in the industry. Now, the thing with these machines is that they are different and unique. Their compact structure and design is meant to compliment the simplicity of the machine. The D60 Pixie is a beautiful machine that utilizes pods or capsules to generate the best cups of espresso. Let’s take a peek at the list of features that have caused this machine to nearly sell-out.
- The Pixie comes built with thermoblock heating technology. This system is the feature that allows for the user to extract a rapid shot of espresso. The magic begins the second the user turns the machine on. After that, within 20-25 seconds, the machine is ready to go. In this time frame, the user can pick out their favorite pod and flavor, their mug and then it’s time to brew!
- As mentioned in the description, one of the biggest selling factors of this machine is how compact it is. The D60 Pixie is known as the perfect tiny espresso machine that brews the strongest cups of espresso. With a beautiful design this machine will fit into the smallest corners of a countertop and sparkle.
- The machine comes with two programmable features: lungo and espresso. With that, the user has control over the types of espresso shots.
- Another impressive feature about this machine is its rapid shot ability. Often time, capsule and pod machines have a time-delay in-between shots to balance the heat, clean the systems and adjust the water levels. This machine does all of the work simultaneously. If you are planning on hosting coffee nights, this machine is perfect!
What should you do?
When it comes to the semi-automatic espresso maker industry, there is a type of machine for everyone. In order to properly help you, take a look at the following questions and reflect. If you can answer these questions, then you will know exactly what machine to buy yourself or family.
- What is your budget for an espresso machine? Semi-automatic espresso machines can get quite costly, are you willing to spend more than $1000?
- Do you care about espresso grounds or pods/capsules? This could be a major price difference for the user. If you prefer pods, please take into consideration the price difference.
- What features are essential to you? Are you okay with small machines or do you need a machine built to entertain?
The best thing you can do is head to your local stores or to Amazon. There are plenty of videos of each of these machines. The honest truth is, if you are to pick any of the machines of this list, you will be happy! Don’t forget to cheers on your first homemade espresso shot!