Looking for the best semi-automatic espresso machine? Finding the right machine isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a budding barista. Don’t worry – we’ve done all the hard work for you and rounded up the top five semi-automatic machines based on price, performance and customer satisfaction.
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1. De’Longhi EC155 Review
If you’re looking for an affordable, high quality semi-automatic espresso machine, it doesn’t get much better than the De’Longhi EC155. Offering flexibility in the type of coffee use and a swivel a jet frother, the EC155 allows you to enjoy shots of espresso or cappuccinos without breaking the bank.
The EC155 features two separate thermostats to ensure that your espresso is always the perfect temperature. This 15-bar pump pressure machine is also equipped with a stainless steel boiler. Plus, the self-priming operation eliminates start-up preparation.
The great thing about this machine is that it allows you to choose either ground coffee or coffee pods. The swivel jet frother creates rich, creamy froth for cappuccinos and lattes.
With a removable 35 ounce water tank, you won’t have to make frequent trips to the sink to refill the machine. The removable tank and drip tray also make cleanup a breeze.
If you’re worried about this machine taking up too much space in your kitchen, don’t be. Standing at 11 inches tall, this machine will fit comfortably in even the smallest of kitchens.
Backed by over 3,000 positive customer reviews, the EC155 is our top pick for the absolute best semi-automatic espresso machine.
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2. Breville BES870XL Review
The Breville BES870XL is a 15 bar type of espresso machine with a powerful 1600 W thermal coil heating system. We love this machine, but its high price puts it at number two on our list. This machine has everything – and we do mean everything – to brew the perfect shot of espresso every time.
First and foremost, the BES870XL comes equipped with a conical burr grinder made of stainless steel. It also features a 1/2 pound sealed bean hopper to keep your beans fresh.
As you know, the secret to the perfect shot of espresso is to use fresh beans – and that’s exactly what this machine provides.
The BES870XL was designed for both beginners and experienced baristas. The machine comes with two filters. For beginners, there are two pressurized filters with dual walls that optimize extraction and regulate pressure. For experienced baristas, two single-wall non-pressurized filters are included. These filters allow you to experiment with grind amounts, sizes and tamping pressure.
The removable water tank can hold an impressive 2L (67 ounces) and even features a handle for easy maneuverability.
Naturally, this machine also comes equipped with a frother, so you can create coffeehouse drinks in your kitchen, like lattes and cappuccinos.
Breville has managed to create a complete semi-automatic espresso machine that offers every feature you could ever need – including storage for your filters and cleaning kit.
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3. Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
The Nespresso Inissia is our favorite low to mid-range machine because it offers convenient brewing in a compact machine with a quick preheating time and programmable settings for espresso and lungo preparation.
Because this is a Nespresso machine, it’s only compatible with Nespresso capsules. This can be both a drawback and a benefit. Capsules are convenient and easy-to-use. That said, they do limit your coffee selection.
The Inissia offers s lightning fast preheating time of just 25 seconds. With a 19 bar high pressure pump, this machine brews an authentic shot of espresso every time. To customize your brew, there are two programmable buttons for lungo and espresso preparation.
We also love that this machine offers other convenient features, like a compact size and a removable 24 ounce water tank. The used capsule container also holds up to 11 capsules before it needs to be emptied. With a class A energy rating and an automatic power off feature after nine minutes, the Inissia won’t run up your electric bill.
With over 600 customer reviews, the Inissia is one of the best compact espresso machines on the market today.
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4. Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso Maker Review
Mr. Coffee is one of the most recognizable brands in the coffee industry. So, it’s not a surprise that the Café Barista machine found a place on our list. This mid-range machine comes with a host of convenient features and brews one mean shot of espresso.
Brewing couldn’t be easier with this machine, which features a one touch control panel for either double or single shots of espresso. It’s also capable of brewing cappuccinos and lattes. But unlike other machines, the Café Barista features an automatic frother that makes steaming milk effortless. A removable milk reservoir is easy to fill and clean, which makes it a breeze to brew your favorite coffeehouse drinks.
In addition, this machine has an adjustable cup tray that can accommodate traditional espresso cups or large travel mugs.
Clean-up is easy with a removable water reservoir and drip tray that can be washed with soap and water in the sink.
We love just about everything about this machine. The only drawback? It doesn’t grind fresh beans. But in this price range, you can’t ask for more.
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5. Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine Review
Gaggia is another well-respected brand in the coffee industry, and is known for their commercial machines. The 14101 is a compact espresso maker that’s simple in design, but offers a high quality performance.
With 17 1/2 bar pump pressure and a high-voltage boiler, the espresso brewed by this machine will rival the espresso found in Italian cafés. Housed in stainless steel, the machine’s brass grouphead and portafilters allow for temperature stability, so the espresso is never over- or under-extracted.
The swivel jet frother allows you to easily steam milk for cappuccinos, lattes and other coffeehouse drinks. And the machine comes with both a single- and double-shot filter basket made of stainless steel.
What we really love about this machine is its simple operation. Three basic buttons are used to control machine’s functions: a power button, brewing button and steam button.
The 14101 is truly a commercial grade machine available at a midrange price. Backed by the Gaggia name, we can’t help but recommend this machine to both new and experienced brewers.