Semi Automatic Espresso Machines

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Most consumer-level machines fall into the semi automatic espresso machines category. They offer a great compromise between giving you control over each shot, while still doing much of the work for you.

This means that you have many choices if this is the type of machine you want to buy. However, all of these choices can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t purchased an espresso machine before.

I always say the Breville Barista Express with grinder is the best for home use, but let’s take a look at why, and also show you some other machines available at a reasonable price.

a semi automatic espresso machine

Fortunately, a few of these machines stand out from their competitors and have become fan favorites. If you’re an espresso connoisseur who wants to get the perfect cup every single time, look no further than one of the top-rated semi automatic espresso machines shown below.

How Semi Automatic Espresso Machines Work

delonghi ec702 frothing

Before you choose a semi automatic espresso machine, it’s important that you understand a bit about how they work, and how to distinguish them from the super automatic.

This will help you make sure that a semi-automatic is right for you, and will help you know exactly what you’re buying.

  • Basically, semi automatic espresso machines allow you to turn the pump on and off. Each machine has a switch, which allows you to determine the flow of water for each and every shot of espresso that you make. This gives you a lot of control because, after all, the amount and speed of water flow determines how each shot tastes.
  • Most semi automatic machines also require you to grind your own beans and add any milk or flavorings on your own (which some super automatics will do for you). This gives you even more control over every cup, because you can flavor it to taste.

Lets take a look at some of the bestselling Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines:

1. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine

Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-range espresso machine that offers super-fast specialty coffee, look no further than the Breville Express. It uses the ‘4 keys’ formula, which creates third-wave specialty coffee at home that’s rich and full-flavored with a silky, velvety texture.

It’s part of their barista series, so you can expect top-notch espresso from this machine, plus it has an integrated grinder that grinds your beans into espresso in under one minute.

The integrated precision conical burr grinder grinds on-demand to deliver the right amount of freshly ground coffee directly into the portafilter for your preferred taste with any roast of beans. You’ve also got a dial for adjusting the grind size, allowing you control no matter what type of bean you’re grinding.

The optimal water pressure control gradually increases pressure at the start of brewing and helps ensure all the flavors are drawn out evenly during the extraction for a perfectly balanced cup of espresso, while the digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at precisely the right temperature, extracting the optimal amount of espresso.

It also offers the versatility of a powerful steam wand that allows you to hand texture microfoam milk to enhance flavor and even try your hand at latte art.


  • Barista-standard espresso – full-flavored, balanced with a silky-smooth texture
  • Integrated precision burr grinder for dose-controlled grinding
  • Dial for easily adjusting the grind size
  • Optimal water pressure and digital temperature control
  • Powerful steam wand for cappuccino and latte


  • It’s on the large size, so may not be ideal for small spaces
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Brushed Stainless Steel
  • The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home using the 4 keys formula and is part of the Barista Series that offers all in one espresso machines with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute

Affiliate links / Our affiliate policy  /Last updated on 2021-09-10 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine (2009 model V3)

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch

This machine also comes in brushed stainless steel, so it will look sleep and chic in any kitchen.

This particular model was updated in 2009, so is the latest in the line of Rancilio Silvia Espresso machines. Many customers prefer the Silvia to other machines because it has a powerful brass boiler and a pump that doesn’t break down.

While you may pay more initially for this machine, you won’t have to replace or repair it like you might have to do with others.

This particular model has been upgraded in several ways.

The steam wand is of professional grade and articulates fully. It features a 1-hold tip, so your milk will be frothier than ever before. The steam wand also has an ergonomic grip, so it’s much simpler to open and close.

Similarly, the heavy-duty porta-filter also has a new ergonomic handle, so it’s easier to wield, too.

Many customers purchase this machine and fall in love with the brand, to the point that they choose new models of the Silvia whenever they want to buy a new espresso maker.

If nothing else, that proves that this is a good machine that produces coffee so good, even connoisseurs come back again and again… [Read Full Rancilio Review]

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch
  • Ergonomic porta filter handle same as the proven design of Rancilio commercial machines

Affiliate links / Our affiliate policy  /Last updated on 2021-09-10 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Gaggia 14101 Classic Espresso Machine

Gaggia 14101 Classic Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker. Pannarello Wand for Latte and Cappuccino Frothing. Brews for Both Single and Double Shots.

This machine has become a fan favorite, and not only for it’s brushed stainless steel color. It doesn’t only look good, but it makes good coffee, too.

In addition to the stainless steel housing, which resists moisture and other contaminants, it has brass portafilters and a brass grouphead, which helps keep the temperature stable.

Its 72-ounce water reservoir means you can make quite a bit of coffee without a refill, and the fact that it’s removable means it’s easy to refill and clean.

This machine comes with both a single- and double-shot stainless-steel filter basket, a tamper, and a measuring scoop, too, so you have all the accessories you need in the original box.

This machine is also relatively small, which means it can fit into most kitchens. At 14 1/4 x 8 x 9 1/2 inches, it won’t eat up your counter space like other machines might.

Finally, the machine has a high voltage boiler, a 17 1/2 bar pump, and it comes with a hot-water dispenser and a frothing wand, for all your coffee and hot beverage needs… [Read Full Gaggia Review]

Affiliate links / Our affiliate policy  /Last updated on 2021-09-11 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Krups XP3208 Pump Espresso Machine

KRUPS XP3208 15-BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Coffee Maker, 1.5-Liter, Black

This is a great machine for first-time espresso machine buyers. If you’re not sure you can handle one of these machines, rest assured that this one is nearly fool proof.

In addition, its pretty, with a black and stainless-steel exterior that will fit into any kitchen.

Especially easy to use is the transition selection dial, which allows you to move from brewing espresso to frothing milk without a hitch. It also has an automatic cappuccino system, to make sure your milk froths exactly as you want it.

When it comes to technical specs, this machine excels there, too. It has a 15-bar pump, to make quality espresso. It also features a thermo block heating element, which ensures that the water is at the best temperature/pressure for espresso extraction.

Finally, this is a practical machine, too. The 1.5-litre water tank is removable, so you can fill and clean it easily. It also has a drip tray that is removable, so you don’t have to worry about having espresso all over your counter.

KRUPS XP3208 15-BAR Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Coffee Maker, 1.5-Liter, Black
  • 15 BAR PUMP ESPRESSO for improved flavor extraction with no bitterness

Affiliate links / Our affiliate policy  /Last updated on 2021-09-11 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Brian Wills
Brian Wills
As a qualified Barista, I've used coffee machines and espresso makers for many years. I'm now using this website to share my love of coffee along with my opinion on the best machines. I'll be documenting my experience within the coffee industry, and sharing a great deal of information on how to make coffee and espresso drink recipes.
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