If you are an avid coffee drinker and a huge fan of espressos then you need to invest in a good quality espresso machine. These espresso machines come in all shapes and sizes but choosing the best one can be demanding.
Don’t have enough time to prepare your morning kickstart coffee shot? Don’t want to visit your local cafe to enjoy the beverage? You should seriously consider buying an espresso machine to take your barista skills to the next level right in the comfort of your home.
Numerous types of espresso machines are available. Some of them are fully automatic, while others are semi-automatic. Some of them focus on size while others offer convenience. And not to forget about the ranging brewing capacity and all sorts of controls and gauges!
We are focusing on semi-automatics because they provide you with that perfect balance between your coffee-making know-how and fully automatic features.
So let’s get on with it, shall we!
Semi-automatic espresso machines are the ones that lead the rest by far. It is because they check all the boxes if you are looking for the right balance of taste and aromas in your cup.
You have access to a range of automatic features like grinding or frothing. Your machine can tell you when to clean and when to refill etc. And you can also control the coffee and water content in your shots with the manual temperature and pressure gauges.
Although a semi-auto machine controls different functions, it puts you in the driving seat when it comes to controlling the flavor of your coffee shot.
A fully automatic (super-automatic) machine doesn’t give you the freedom to control the pressure and temperature. Consequently, the shots that you’ll get will heavily rely on the taste and aroma that the machine can produce.
There is so much going on here. If you’re not interested in the flavor and aroma and just want a good cup of coffee that can get you going then a super-automatic machine will work.
But if you have experience in coffee making and want to show off your barista-side to your friends and family then consider a semi-automatic.
|Product’s name||Taste||Brewing||Materials||Cleaning||Frothing||Grinding||Learn more|
|Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso…||Well-balanced taste||8 cups||Steel and plastic accents||Easy descaling with indicator||Angled steam wand (swiveling)||Automatic & manual|
Best OverallSee on Amazon
|Well-balanced taste||10.5 cups||Steel and plastic accents||Easy descaling (no indicator)||Angled steam wand||No grinder|
|La Spaziale Mini Vivaldi II BLACK Espresso Machine||Well-balanced taste||5.5 cups||Steel and plastic accents||Slightly cumbersome to descale||Angled steel wand (swiveling)||No grinder|
DosageSee on Amazon
|Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Espresso Machine,…||More robust flavor||9 cups||Steel and plastic body||Easy but practice is required||Commercial-grade steel wand||No grinder|
Robust FlavorSee on Amazon
|Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Espresso Machine||Balanced taste||11 cups||Steel with plastic casing||Slightly cumbersome descaling||Angled steel wand||No grinder|
Best for FrothingSee on Amazon
|Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine in…||Balanced taste||5 cups||Steel with plastic accents||Requires some practice||Pannarello steam wand||Automatic & manual|
User-friendlySee on Amazon
|Slight metallic hint in the taste||16 cups||Steel and copper||Easy descaling (no indicator)||Angled steel wand||No grinder|
|Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame…||Balanced taste||14 cups||Steel and copper||Easy descaling (no indicator)||Angled steel wand (swiveling)||No grinder|
Easy to cleanSee on Amazon
|Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker | Café…||Overly strong for an espresso||7 cups||Plastic body inside metal casing||Easy but time-consuming||Automatic||No grinder|
Most affordableSee on Amazon
|De’Longhi EC680M Dedica 15-Bar Pump Espresso…||Strong and robust||4 cups||Steel and brass||Easy to descale (no indicator)||Straight steel wand (airier and less creamy)||No grinder|
Most portableSee on Amazon
|Breville BES840XL Infuser Espresso Machine,…||Balanced taste||7.5 cups||Steel and aluminum||Easy to backflush and descaling||Articulated steel wand||No grinder|
Best DesignSee on Amazon
|De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Machine with…||Rich and aromatic||8.5 cups||Steel and plastic||Easy descaling (with indicator)||Articulated steel wand||Burr grinder|
Coffee VersatilitySee on Amazon
Read our full Breville Barista Express Review here
If you are looking to buy a machine that allows you to show off your skills of a true barista then you shouldn’t look elsewhere. This espresso machine gives you full control over your cup with manual pressure and temperature gauges.
The 1600W motor of this machine is capable of maintaining temperatures. It also allows you to manually control the pressure in your shots according to your preferences. The machine also comes with an inbuilt grinder so you are the boss of your cup right from the word “go”.
The machine can pour 8 cups and it is a good choice to serve a small group of coffee aficionados, either at home or in the office. Automatic indicators allow you to check whether the machine requires a refill or descaling. The descaling process itself is not a big deal at all but you need to get acquainted with it.
All-in-all, to get custom taste and aroma in your cup, Breville BES870XL Barista is the right choice.
Read our full La Marzocco Linea Mini Review here
Linea Mini by La Marzocco is another great option if you want that well-balanced taste in your cup. You will get the manual control over the temperature gauge. It means that the machine can produce a great tasting coffee with a more focus on “you”.
This machine comes with a brewing capacity of 10 and a half cups. The knobs and controls are straightforward to use. The construction of this machine is top-notch and this is what makes the machine stand out of the crowd.
Despite being mini the machine takes some inspiration from its standard version (The Linea) and provides you with a well-built design.
The machine is effortless to descale and cleaning and maintenance are not that much of an issue, just follow the instructions carefully for the first time, and then you won’t even require any guidance at all.
You won’t get an inbuilt grinder here. But a separate grinder will provide you with an option to have more control over the grounds for your coffee. This way you will get more out of your cup by altering the taste and aroma.
Read our full La Spaziale Vivaldi II Mini Review here
If you are looking for an espresso machine that can provide you with volumetric dosage features then your search is over. The Vivaldi II Mini is the best when it comes to altering the pressure, temperature, and water content in your shots.
As you get to control almost every aspect of your cup therefore, the taste that this machine can produce is above average. It is one of the best in terms of taste and aroma if you compare it with the other machines on this list.
But that’s not all that it has to offer! The controls that you’ll find on this machine are very easy to understand. You won’t have to do much to learn them. It comes with a brewing capacity of five and a half cups so it is ideally suited for your home or small office space.
It has a compact footprint so it won’t take much storage space either. And the body of this machine is made of steel with a few plastic accents. So it will give your kitchen a cafe-look.
However, cleaning and maintenance of this machine are a bit cumbersome because it has a tendency to clog very frequently and you have to clean it up now and then. The process itself requires some practice so you’ll surely be on a learning curve while doing so.
Read our full Gaggia Classic Pro Review here
By using Gaggia Classic Pro you can add more robustness to your cup. For strong coffee lovers, the Gaggia Classic Pro will serve well because it doesn’t provide you much aroma.
While some of you might feel down about that, not everyone out there is a fan of mid tasting aromatic coffees. The machine provides you with a good brewing capacity of 9 cups so it is a perfect choice for office setup.
The knobs and gauges are user-friendly. You don’t need any experience with a coffee machine to understand these controls. But you do need to get used to the cleaning process of this machine as it requires some time and dedication.
We suggest that you go through the instructions manual to get the job done for the first time. After that, you will become familiar with the process.
Moving forward, it allows you to use two different types of filters. One is pressurized and the other one is non-pressurized. With both these types of filters, you can make different flavored coffees in terms of robustness.
Pressurized filters give you a more intense flavor while non-pressurized filters are a bit milder. The machine also has dual heating elements. One is to make the cup while the other is to keep it warm. So you can comfortably drink your cup and also share it with others without a rush.
Read our full Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Review here
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II also comes with a large brewing capacity and comes ready to serve small groups of coffee lovers. For a more balanced taste that doesn’t feature any burnt coffee, this semi-automatic espresso machine is a good choice.
The operating mechanism is user-friendly, all the buttons and knobs are there to provide you with control over your cup. The body of this machine is made of high-quality stainless steel.
For milk frothing, Nuova has equipped the Simonelli Oscar II with a steel wand. This wand is easy to use and you can make some latte art with it if you want to.
You might not get an inbuilt grinder with his espresso machine but it does come with automatic shut-off as well as automatic refill features.
Apart from that, you won’t have the full barista-like control over your cup, but the machine is capable of making good tasting cups. You just need to use a good quality grinder and always use freshly ground coffee to make your cups. Freshly ground coffee tastes better as it preserves all the flavors from the beans.
Read our full Gaggia Brera Review here
There is nothing better than having full control over how you make your cup and get it done right at your home. Gaggia Brera is one of such machines that put you in the driver’s seat for some of the most intricate details regarding your cup.
You can control the temperature and pressure of your cup and can also use an inbuilt grinder to make things even more tantalizing.
Gaggia Brera has very simple to use controls and its descaling process is a breeze. However, you do need to put in some effort when cleaning it. The process itself is not that complicated but due to the involvement of several small components, you need to be sure that you get everything done perfectly.
It is so important to get through the process with devotion or your coffee will start tasting funny.
Read our full Rocket Appartamento Review here
Interested in buying a machine with the largest brewing capacity? Rocket Appartamento is the right choice. This machine has a cool-to-touch system and the feature is very useful if you have kids or pets at your home.
This machine belongs to the E61 group. It means that this machine provides you full control over how much water content should be added to your shots. This feature is very close to the volumetric dosage feature and only differs because it comes with levers.
The machine doesn’t have a grinder. However, buying a separate grinder will allow you to use different course levels according to your requirements.
The all-metal construction of this machine makes it very durable. But it is also very heavy to lift. Therefore, you don’t want to move it around a lot.
Read our full Rancilio Silvia Review here
The Rancilio Silvia is the best choice for all those who are looking for an easy to clean machine. Its descaling and backflushing process are simple.
Furthermore, it comes with an articulated steam wand. It means that this machine is a good choice for latte art too. Handling milk frothing with the wand of this machine is a breeze.
It creates a very creamy flavor with enough air for you to experiment with your moves. And the wand moves in all directions.
It can brew and boil at the same time and you get to save a lot of time by having this feature. There is no gender in it therefore; you need to use a separate unit for that. But with the lack of this feature, you will have a smaller space and size to deal with.
The machine also features a 3-way solenoid valve that allows the coffee to dry out completely. The coffee won’t drip and you can comfortably knock the puck out using the knock box within the portafilter.
Read our full Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Review here
Cafe Barista by Mr. Coffee is the favorite choice for all those who are looking for a budget-friendly espresso machine. Milk frothing and latte art are not a major requirement for such a group. But of course, with not much milk frothing the cup you are going to drink will have a lot stronger coffee.
At times it is too strong that you can take it out of the espresso category. But there are coffee- lovers who prefer stronger shots. The operation of this machine is very simple and you don’t have to do much.
The machine has a plastic body inside a metal casing so it is a good lightweight option. It does manage milk frothing but the feature is automatic and you can’t control it manually. Therefore, you have to rely a lot on your machine to do everything for you.
The machine comes with three different preset functions and each of these functions has 2 different operations. It also comes with an automatic shut-off feature that prevents the machine from overheating.
The machine has a pretty decent brewing capacity and you won’t have to go with too many refills until you start drinking heavily.
Descaling the machine won’t be an issue if you properly extract coffee in front of the grounds. The grounds will come out as a solid puck from the portafilter.
Most of the parts of this machine on the inside are dishwasher safe so cleaning isn’t much of a problem. But for first-time users, you need to go through the instructions to get everything done properly.
Read our full Delonghi Dedica Review here
There are not many portable espresso machines available that are semi-automatic and have enough features to produce a quality tasting cup. And if portability and strong tasting cups are your top priorities then the Delonghi EC860M Dedica is the espresso machine for you. This machine features a passive cup warmer and an automatic shut-off feature.
This machine features a 15-bar pressure control and you can adjust it according to your requirements. You can also forth your milk manually for some good quality barista-like latte art. This machine can accommodate taller cups if you are used to drinking.
But the machine is better suited for small households with less than average coffee demand due to its low brewing capacity. It can only make 4 cups with its capacity so you can’t be a coffee crowd entertainer.
The use of this machine is very simple but if you are new to the art of coffee making then it is a steep learning curve for you due to different controls involved. As it has a compact design you can place it anywhere on your kitchen counter or even under it. It will fit in nicely inside one of your cabinets too.
You will be slightly disappointed with the milk frother because the frosting is not going to be very creamy. It will be a lot airier and if you are a huge fan of creamy froths and the machine will leave you begging for more.
The cleaning process does take a little time but you don’t require any technical knowledge to get through it.
Read our full Breville The Infuser review here
The Infuser by Breville is a lot more like the Barista in almost all the departments. The infuser also provides you with full manual control over its pressure and temperature gauges. As a result, you can produce a cup that is a lot closer to your expectations and demands. It also comes with almost the same amount of brewing capacity, with only a difference of half a cup.
However, there is a difference between the Infuser and the Breville Barista. The Infuser doesn’t feature a burr grinder, whereas, the Barista does come with an inbuilt burr grinder. That’s the only difference between the two.
Both the machines are exquisite when it comes to taste and they both put you in control of your coffee. But the lack of burr grinder in the Infuser can translate into a few advantages as well. For instance, the Infuser is a lot more compact in size as compared to the Barista. Plus you can also go for a separate rider and choose different levels of ground coarseness according to your preferences.
The Infuser is a lot lighter than the Barista too and you can easily move it around. Apart from that, the Barista is a much more delicate machine as compared to the Infuser. If you already own a grinder then you don’t need to go for the Barista and choose the Infuser instead.
Read our full Delonghi La Specialista Review here
Recently aromatic flavors have gained a mass following and more and more people are joining the bandwagon. There are various health benefits of aromatic and rich-tasting coffee as well. And if you are one of such people who prefer to tease all your senses with your cup then the La Specialista by Delonghi is the right espresso machine for you.
This machine comes with a capacity of 8 and a half cups and it can serve a few. You won’t need to refill it again and again. But you’ll have to if you start drinking a lot. Using this machine is not very difficult and it has all the user-friendly knobs and gauges that are very easy to access.
The machine itself is made of steel and ensures durability. The steam wand that you will find on this machine is articulated and you can conveniently move it around anywhere you like. But the top of the one feature of this machine is that it comes with an inbuilt grinder. So you can buy your favorite coffee beans and grind them using your Delonghi La Specialista.
This machine puts you in control of your aromatic coffee and it also features an advanced latte system to make the perfect latte for your cup. One thing you need to keep in mind that the machine does produce some metallic flavor in the first few rounds. Therefore, the best solution for this problem is to run a few water cycles before you start making your cups.
Taste is the single most important feature that you must consider before buying an espresso machine. It is vital because you can’t judge the taste that a machine can produce unless you use it. Different machines produce different flavors.
It is up to you to decide and go through the information available online and see what machine is suitable according to your requirements. For a well-balanced taste, our top choice is the Breville Barista BES870XL
Brewing capacity is crucial only if you are an avid coffee drinker and you are frequently accompanied by others. In such a case you should look for a large brewing capacity so you don’t have to refill the machine again and again.
Your best choice in such a scenario is the Rocket Appartamento. If you are the only one around or just a couple of friends then a machine with normal brewing capacity will work better for you. You can explore Delonghi Dedica EC860M for this.
Another important feature here is the user-friendliness of an espresso machine. There should be a range of different features that come with your machine. As most of the machines do come with these features, sometimes you find it difficult to know what is going on at the moment.
In such a case, you need to go for a machine that comes with a display screen to tell about the current status of the machine like the Gaggia Brera. It should also alert you about the water tank level and whether or not the machine requires descaling. These features just make things simple for you.
Durability is another critical feature that you must consider. If a machine is durable it will feature more metal in its construction and there will be less plastic. But all-metal construction can also be a bit of a downside as well because the machine becomes too bulky as in the case of Rocket Appartamento.
Such a machine would be a better choice if you are not going to move it around a lot. If you are going to move it around then you need to go for the Breville The Infuser BES840XL/A which is also all-metal but features aluminum instead of copper. So the durability is there but with a reduced weight factor!
Easy descaling and backflushing is a useful feature because it makes cleaning and maintenance of your espresso machines a lot easier. You won’t have to spend a lot of time cleaning the machine and it will be ready on your command to provide you with some delicious tasting coffee.
Cleaning and maintenance are mandatory because too much clogging and not properly backflushed machines can damage the machine and the taste it can produce. The best option for you to consider for cleaning and maintenance is the Rancilio Silvia. The backflushing and descaling processes of this machine are extremely simple and they don’t take much time either.
Milk streaming is something without which espresso is incomplete for some. Therefore you should go for a machine that allows you to use this feature conveniently. And angled steam wand made of stainless steel is the right option for you and the froth that it can produce needs to be creamy and less airy for better taste.
La Marzocco Linea Mini, La Spaziale Vivaldi II Mini, Nuova Simonelli Oscar II, Rocket Appartamento, Rancilio Silvia and Breville The Infuser BES840XL/A can all produce great tasting forth. But the Breville Barista BES870XL and the Delonghi La Specialista are the two top performers here.
If you already own a grinder then you don’t need to buy an espresso machine within an inbuilt grinder. It’s just a waste of resources. Besides, coffee machines with inbuilt grinders are bigger and taller so you will need extra space to store them as well.
The best machine to buy with no grinder is the Breville The Infuser BES840XL/A. However, if you don’t have a grinder and space is not your concern either then you should choose a machine with an inbuilt grinder like the Breville Barista BES870XL.
This factor is highly subjective and different users rate different products in a range of different ways. Some prefer compactness and portability while others prefer durability. Some will focus on taste while others go for speed and convenience.
Whereas, some people prefer brewing capacity over the quality of the brew while others highly value user-friendliness. The idea here is to get the most out of your investment so you need to do some research and go for a machine that has all that you need.
Since 1932, Breville has been the top brand in the small kitchen appliances industry. It has been an award-winner for its innovation and has been a pioneer in making products that are affordable yet offer high quality. The brand provides a 1-year warranty on all its products so you have peace of mind while trying them out.
The brand patented its first coffee machine back in 1938 and since that time it has never looked back. The machine used a hot-water technique and this was the first machine to produce a crema layer. Gilda by Gaggia entered the market in 1952 and it was the first of its kind for home users.
These machines feature lever-action and they also coined the terms called “pulling a shot”. So the company has been setting the trends right from the word go.
Delonghi is the manufacturer of a wide variety of appliances for the kitchen. The company started its operations back in 1902 as a machine-component maker. In 1950, the brand diversified and started working on making appliances, in 2013, it acquired Braun.
In the year 1993, Delonghi introduced the BARS espresso maker, and then in 2004, it introduced the Magnifica which is the brand’s first super-automatic coffee maker. The brand is synonymous with quality and their products last a lifetime.
The best temperature to make your espresso ranges between 195F and 205F. Therefore, you have to be sure that your machine stays within this temperature range during the brewing princess for optimal extraction.
9 Bar is the ideal pressure that you need to achieve when making an espresso. But make sure that you choose a machine that is capable of achieving 15 Bars. It is because you have to consider the grind size and the coffee amount that you are using as well.
With a fine grind, more pressure (up to 11 Bars) is needed to push water through the grounds (puck). But there won’t be any difference in the quality of the shots that you are making.
Generally, the best espresso results from dark roast beans as they are rich in natural oils. These beans are least acidic too so they are great for espressos. These oils ensure that the machine can produce that golden crema that represents a proper espresso shot.
Descaling an espresso machine is not that complicated of a task once you get to know what you need to clean. Here is a brief list of steps that you need to execute to perform descaling.
All-in-all the best semi-automatic espresso machine that money can buy is the Breville Barista BES870XL. It has all the features that you need to make a perfect cup of coffee. Provided that you know what you are doing, this machine allows you to make a cup that will taste just like it has come from a professional barista.
You also get to show off your skills to your family and friends when it comes to latte art by using the commercial-grade stainless steel steam wand of this machine.
With manual temperature and pressure controls along with an inbuilt grinder, the possibilities of a great tasting espresso with your Breville Barista are endless.