Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machine 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

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If you are really enthusiastic about making a cup of espresso, your little dream may be to own a powerful semi-automatic espresso machine. With lots of control over the machine and combining with modern technology, it is like your mind and hand are dancing with the espresso while you are experimenting with your coffee equipment.

Or you are not that into playing with the apparatus but want to taste a cup of espresso with quality at home with your family or friends? Then a semi-automatic espresso machine will help you to the next level.

There a lot of semi-automatic espresso machines in the market. It is hard for one to find the best one, therefore we have made a guide for you to refer with.

Now let’s dive in.

Quick Overview of Our Favorites

ModelPriceEditor RatingWarranty
Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Maker
Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Maker

Check Price4.90/51 Year
Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870XL
Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870XL

Check Price4.80/51 years
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso Machine
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso Machine

Check Price4.60/51 year
Mr. Coffee Café Steam Automatic Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Mr. Coffee Café Steam Automatic Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Check Price4.20/51 year
AICOOK 219 Coffee Maker
AICOOK 219 Coffee Maker
Check Price4.30/51 year
Gaggia RI8525/01 Carezza De LUXE Espresso Machine
Gaggia RI8525/01 Carezza De LUXE Espresso Machine
Check Price4.60/51 year
De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Check Price4.30/51 year

Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines Reviews

Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Maker

Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Maker

The BES99oBSS Barista Touch model is the most advanced espresso maker in Breville’s top line. Breville is famous for its high-end coffee machine. This machine is nearly perfect for almost all aspects. Designed with attention to detail, this machine is really beyond one’s imagination. First of all, it has a profile system that you could store your brewing and milk steam profile in. Save you lots of time to remember your preference. Secondly, hands-off for your milk-making process. Super easy for novice and both professional to make a cup of latte or cappuccino. Third, you will be impressed by its design. Looks great when placed in any corner of your kitchen. The touchscreen makes it look perfectly intelligent.

To make the brewing perfect, this machine embraces several features that enhance the extraction process. The PID temperature control allows this machine to delivers water at a precise temperature. The low pressure(perfect 9 bar) and pre-infusion allow the solubles in the coffee cell to diffuse and dissolve easily. You will miss the feeling of the taste after you try it.

However, this machine is expensive. But if you are passionate about coffee, it will be best for you.

Pros
  • Precise PID temperature control
  • Low-pressure pre-infusion and 9 bar extraction pressure
  • Automatically steaming milk to a silky micro-foam texture
  • Touch screen
  • Personalized Coffee Settings
  • Hands-Free Operation
  • High Quality
  • Easy to clean
  • Large reservoir, 67 oz.
Cons
  • No automated tamping
  • One boiler, can’t brew and steam at the same time

Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870XL

Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870XL

The Barista Express model is the light model of the Barista Touch. It lacks the touch screen and the personal profile setting. If you are not that into the touch screen and the personal profile setting, then this one is more than enough for you. It also has the PID temperature control, low-pressure pre-infusion and hands-off features.

I would say this one is the best value you can have as it almost has all the professional features that the Barista Touch could have.

Pros
  • Precise PID temperature control
  • Low-pressure pre-infusion and 9 bar extraction pressure
  • Automatically steaming milk to a silky micro-foam texture
  • Hands-Free Operation
  • High Quality
  • Easy to clean
  • Large reservoir, 67 oz.
Cons
  • No automated tamping
  • One boiler, can’t brew and steam at the same time
  • No touch screen
  • No personal profile setting

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso Machine

Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso Machine

The Oscar II Espresso Machine is an Italian made espresso machine with all the necessary components to create the perfect brewing environment for espresso. It has a brew group that could offer the best heat conducting and avoid corrosion. The heat exchanger and boiler are specially designed that it could heat up at any time so that you can brew the cup at any moment. Besides, the boiler will protect itself from overheated via the Auto-Refill technology from Nuova. It can also dry the espresso puck and keep it from dripping.

But the main problem with this machine is that it lacks some advanced features. The first is the integrated grinder. You will need to buy yourself a grinder. The second one is that it has no hands-off feature for steaming, you will need to watch out for the steaming process. The third one, which is the most important, it lacks the ability to adjust the brew setting. If you like to experiment with the extraction process, then this one is not for you. Despite these defects, this machine is still a good machine that could drive you a cup of good coffee.

However, the machine is made from ABS plastic which may make it look cheap and not durable. But indeed it is durable.

Pros
  • High-quality
  • Great design
  • Compatible with attached water line
  • Cup storage on the top of the machine, and a warming feature
  • Great ability to adjust steaming
Cons
  • No integrated Grinder
  • No hands-off feature, need to watch out for the steaming
  • No way to adjust the brew setting

Mr. Coffee Café Steam Automatic Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

Mr. Coffee Café Steam Automatic Espresso and Cappuccino Machine

If you are looking for a cheap machine to make a cup of espresso. Then this one if for you. It is under $100 most of the time. It is affordable for everyone. First of all, at the price, it managed to give you a 15 bar pressure pump, which is a plus. And follow by this, it also gives you a milk frother to make your latte and Cappucino possible. It is also easy to clean since it has removable parts like the water tank and etc. You can’t expect anymore form it with this price.

The problem with this machine is that the heating may not be stable, so the extraction quality will not be good as the pricey machine. And the steamer needs to be cool down after you make a cup of coffee. This will take up your time.

However, if I have a tight budget but want to make a cup of espresso at home, I will go for this one.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • 15 bar pressure
  • Milk frother
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Not stable quality of extraction and heating
  • Steamer right after brewing is not possible, need to wair for the cooldown

AICOOK 219 Coffee Maker

AICOOK 219 Coffee Maker

Here is another low price machine for you to choose from. The AICOOK offers the best price to performance machine at the price of around $100. The machine provides a 15 bar pressure pump, a milk tank, a milk frother, and a large water reservoir. These are almost the necessary parts of an espresso machine. It is basically an espresso machine with everything you need. You can use it to make a cup of latte or cappuccino with ease. Since it is hands-on, you will need to monitor the steam when it is done. However, you still need to find yourself a grinder for espresso.

However, same as the Mr.Coffee Café Steam Automatic Espresso and Cappuccino Machine, you will experience unstable heating due to its cheap boiler. And it may leak water after long time usage.

Pros
  • Brew up to four shots at a time
  • Simple controls
  • Elegant on a kitchen counter
  • Large Reservior
Cons
  • Not well suited for authentic espresso shots
  • Plastic
  • May leak

Gaggia RI8525/01 Carezza De LUXE Espresso Machine

Gaggia RI8525/01 Carezza De LUXE Espresso Machine

The Gaggia RI8525/01 Carezza De LUXE Espresso Machine is a machine that compatible with ground coffee and ESE pods. That means you have more options for brewing coffee. This machine features a creme operetta portafilter, it could brew the coffee at exactly 9 bar pressure to extract the most from the coffee cell. Having the pre-infusion process means you will have an even extraction and most of the ground coffee will not be over-extracted and gives you the bitter taste. Besides, it also has a double basket. Compared with the normal 12 grams basket, the 16 grams basket of it will give a richer and fuller flavor.

To make your coffee as warm as possible after it is brewed. You could place the cup on the machine to keep the cup warm.

The machine will also go into energy-saving mode after 1 minute. If you do care about the environment, this feature is a must-have.

This machine has a retro-style appearance if your kitchen looks modern, it will give you a fresh view of your kitchen. For someone bore with a modern view of the espresso machine, this will be a good choice.

Pros
  • Large reservoir, 47 oz.
  • Brita filter compatible
  • Pannarello steam wand, simple to use
  • Automatic pre-infusion feature
  • Retro appearance
  • ESE pods compatible
Cons
  • A much more hands-on approach

De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

De'Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

Want a low-price machine that is also compatible with the pods? Well, this De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker will be in your choices. It is compatible with pods and ground coffee. So it is easy for you the prepare for the brewing and try different options.

This model is for the home barista. It has a 35-ounce reservoir which is not large but sufficient for home-usage. At least you will not need to refill it every day. The steam wand is petite and can be a bit finicky. However, for this model, it is designed with two thermostats, one for the steam and one for the boiler, so you will not have the problem with the Dream Up V3’s temperature control.

This machine will just look fine when placing it in the kitchen counter.

Pros
  • Low-price but has all features
  • Simple to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Dual temperature control for steam and boiler
Cons
  • Small water reservoir
  • Almost hands-on
  • Plastic

Buying Guide

If you start to look for a semi-automatic machine, you will need to take into consideration some aspects of the machine to match your needs. If you don’t know any of these, you can read the guide below. We have already listed them for you.

Grinding

A separate coffee grinder will be more helpful to you if you are an advanced barista because you can adjust the time of grinding in more steps. To brew a cup of espresso you may need to experiment many times. But if you are not that like to tune with the grinding time for fineness, then a simple burr grinder or an integrated grinder will still meet your need.

You shall always use a burr grinder for your espresso. A blade grinder will result in uneven ground coffee which will ruin your coffee.

Heating

The rapid heating feature will allow you to brew a cup of coffee just in time without waiting for minutes. If you are always in a hurry in the morning, you shall consider the rapid heating feature. Another aspect of heating is if the heating is stable or not, some espresso machine has the PID temperature system which could precisely control the temperature. The water temperature will have a greate effect on the coffee brewing process.

Pressure

As said in our espresso guide, the pressure shall be high enough to extract the most crema out of the coffee cell. The typical perfect pressure shall be 9 bar. However, some machines may not provide enough pressure. You shall never buy any machine with low pressure.

Some machines may provide more than 9 bar of pressure, like 15 bar. That’s more than enough for coffee brewing. Before the coffee capsule, a 19 bar of pressure would be perfect. Unlike the ground coffee espresso.

Conclusion

If you are looking for the best semi-automatic machine, you shall really consider the Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Maker.

If you are looking for the best value semi-automatic machine, go for Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870XL.

If you have a tight budget, go for the best economic one: De’Longhi EC155 15 BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Maker.

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