Guide to the best semi automatic coffee machine Australia [2024]

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Published: // Updated: December 5, 2023
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Are you a bit of a coffee enthusiast and want to trade in that cheap Aldi capsule coffee maker for the best semi automatic coffee machine Australia has?  Or perhaps you are ready to upgrade your coffee machine to the next level. If this sounds like you, then you’re in luck because this guide is all about choosing the best semi automatic espresso machine for home use.

If you’ve never owned a semi automatic coffee machine before it can be pretty full on trying to figure out what’s the right machine to buy.  There are various features to consider, such as built in milk frothers, grinders, water tank sizes, cup warming trays – and it just goes on and on. 

And we haven’t even talked about how much you want to spend yet!  No wonder it is overwhelming to try and figure out which are the best semi automatic espresso machines.

So if you have no idea which is the best semi auto coffee machine for you, then you’re in the right place!  In this best semi automatic espresso machine guide – we take you through everything you need to know step by step.

>> Click here to see the best semi automatic espresso maker in Australia now!

In this best automatic coffee maker guide, first of all, we will talk you through the various factors you need to consider when buying a machine that is right for you. 

Once you have a better understanding of all the different features, we then review some of the very best espresso machine semi automatic options currently on the Aussie market – so hopefully you can narrow it down to one that is perfect for you.

Whether you’re after the best semi automatic coffee machine with grinder, best semi automatic espresso machine under $1000 or even just the best value semi automatic espresso machine – I’m confident you will find something just right in this guide.

Black semi automatic coffee machine with grinder

Best semi automatic coffee machine Australia 2024 comparison

Below is a handy comparison table showing all the coffee machines featured in our semi automatic coffee machine reviews. 

The table lists the features side by side to help you decide which is the perfect semi automatic espresso coffee machine for you.

My top pick of the best semi automatic espresso machines

If you don’t have time to read my entire semi automatic espresso machine reviews and just want to hear my recommendation, I love the Breville Dual Boiler Espresso Machine. 

Breville The Dynamic Duo Espresso Machine with Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel BEP920BSS

The reason I love this Breville semi automatic espresso machine is that it is jammed packed full of great features and comes paired with a good quality grinder.

With dual boilers for simultaneous extraction and steam, a powerful high quality steam wand and a range of customisable settings, it is a fantastic machine for the home barista.

Click here to buy the Breville Dual Boiler now or keep reading below for my full review.

extracting espresso shot into red coffee cups

What is a semi automatic espresso machine?

For those coffee lovers looking for a traditional style home espresso machine, a semi auto espresso machine tends to be the most popular choice. 

But if you’re not entirely sure if a semi automatic espresso machine is right for you, or what it really is, then it’s probably best we explain precisely what is a semi automatic espresso machine, first.

The essential features of a semi automatic machine are:

  • The boiler
  • Portafilter
  • Switch to activate/deactivate the pump to perform the extraction
  • Milk frother.  

This is relatively similar to a manual lever machine, except that with a semi automatic machine, an electric pump is used for the extraction process rather than a lever. 

In most cases, everything else needs to be manually done.  You’ll need to grind the coffee, load the portafilter, tamp, and start the shot with the press of a button.  This is the main reason why the machine is called “semi” automatic.

There can be a bit of a learning curve to master all the steps for this coffee brewing method.

But once you do, you’ll have complete control over the shot and milk texturing so you can make it exactly how you like it. 

So in these reviews we focus just on semi automatic coffee machines. For other types of coffee machines see our coffee machine reviews here.

Close up of portafilter extracting espresso into glasses

Pros and cons of a semi automatic espresso maker

Now you have a better understanding of exactly what is a semi automatic espresso machine, let’s get into a few pros and cons.

Advantages

  • One of the biggest advantages of owning the best semi auto espresso machine is you have complete control of the brewing process, so you can really experiment and make your coffee exactly how you like it.
  • Another awesome advantage is, of course, all the money you’ll be saving by no longer buying coffee every day! If you haven’t done the calculation, just one cup of coffee a day from a café for one year costs around $1500!
  • With the best home semi automatic espresso machine, you can have great quality coffee from the minute you roll out of bed. No need to wait until you’ve arrived at the café, you can enjoy it with your breakfast.

Disadvantages

  • Although one of the advantages of having a semi manual espresso machine is that you have complete control over the coffee making process – this can also be a disadvantage for some people.  There is a learning curve when it comes to working out how to use a semi automatic coffee machine. 
  • One of the biggest disadvantages of the best semi automatic espresso is the initial cost – these machines are generally not cheap.  But it does not take long to recoup this cost with the savings you make on café coffees.
  • Some semi automatic coffee maker options can be quite large and take up a lot of kitchen bench space.  Do your homework first and check how much space you have.  You don’t want to get the machine home and then realise it doesn’t fit.
Milk frother jug frothing milk

Automatic vs semi automatic espresso machine

Now you may be wondering what the difference is between an automatic vs semi automatic espresso machine.

The key difference is that with a fully automatic machine, you don’t need to grind or tamp the coffee or froth the milk. With the press of a button the machine does all these things for you.

This sounds good in theory, but you are entirely reliant on the machine and how it is programmed to brew your coffee.

A semi automatic coffee machine gives you much more control over the grinding, brewing and frothing processes.

And this is why many home baristas prefer a semi auto machine.

Outlined below are a few key differences between an automatic espresso machine and a semi automatic espresso machine.

Grinding the beans

Most fully automatic espresso machines have an integrated grinder. Most semi automatics don’t come with a built in grinder, but there are a few that do and we list them below. 

To ensure you maximise the flavour from your machine, you’ll want to get a grinder to use with your semi automatic machine.  You can use pre-ground coffee beans, but you will achieve a better brew with freshly ground beans.

Many coffee connoisseurs say the grinder is more important than the coffee machine itself, so it’s well worth investing in a good grinder. We review the best grinders here.

Tamping and loading the portafilter

Unlike an automatic machine, in a semi auto coffee machine you will need to tamp the coffee in the filter basket and insert the portafilter into the machine manually. 

Achieving the perfect tamp pressure can take a little time to master. But in the end using a manual portafilter is worth the effort as you can achieve a really great shot of espresso.

Some premium semi automatic coffee machines now include assisted tamping and we include the best options in our machine reviews below.

Milk frothing

Semi automatic machines usually come with a traditional steam wand which you use in conjunction with a milk pitcher to froth milk, which again requires a bit of effort to get the hang of. 

However, once you’ve mastered the skill, most home baristas prefer a traditional steam wand as it provides more control over how the milk is textured. 

Some top semi automatic espresso machines, however, do come with automatic milk wands with adjustable temperature control, which makes the milk frothing process easier.

If you want to know more about fully automatic coffee machines, see our automatic coffee machine reviews here.

Next we are going to take a look at the features to consider when comparing semi automatic espresso machines.

Know what features you need? Click here to skip straight to the reviews.

Things to consider when buying the best semi automatic espresso machine for home use

When it comes to the best semi automatic coffee machine, there are some great options on the market. But at the end of the day, it really comes down to your individual preferences and circumstances. 

To purchase a machine that is perfect for you, consider the following factors.

Material

If you want your machine to last more than a few years, you’ll want one which is constructed with quality materials. 

Most machines are made with a combination of metal and plastic components. But the more features that use metal, in particular stainless steel, the more robust your coffee machine will be.

Boiler type

The boiler in your coffee machine is used to both brew your coffee as well as steam the milk.  Most machines just feature the one boiler.

This means you’ll not only need to wait until your espresso shot is finished before you can froth the milk. You’ll also need to wait until it reaches the ideal temperature as well. 

Some machines have a dual boiler or a heat exchanger, and that means you can simultaneously brew and steam.

While a dual boiler or a heat exchanger is the most convenient, this does add quite a bit to the price tag of the coffee machine.  As such a single boiler does tend to be the most common. 

Although if you’re purchasing the coffee machine for a household full of coffee drinkers or a busy office, then buying a coffee machine with a dual boiler will absolutely be worth the investment.

The other thing to consider with single and dual boilers, is a dual boiler tends to have a larger footprint than a single boiler coffee machine. You will need to have a bigger space to house it in your kitchen.

Selected focus on the ground coffee in portafilter

Programmable and display settings

Depending on the type of espresso machine you purchase, your machine may come with very few programmable settings to way more than you’ll know what to do with!

Most semi auto coffee machines don’t tend to have too many programmable options, especially compared to automatic machines.

But some of the best home semi automatic espresso machines do now have adjustable temperature steam wands, digital displays, programmable coffee drinks and temperature controls to give you even more control over your brew.

Built in grinder

Grind size, consistency and bean freshness is super important when it comes to making great tasting coffee.   So ideally you will have a grinder to use at home with your semi automatic coffee machine. 

You can opt to have a grinder that is separate to your coffee machine or purchase a semi automatic espresso machine with built in grinder.

If you decide to buy a semi automatic espresso machine with grinder, you’ll also want to give some consideration to the grinder settings. 

Some machines will have many different settings for built in grinders as well as options for using pre ground coffee.

Milk frother

If you like to drink lattes, flat whites, magics and cappuccinos, then you’re going to want a machine with a high quality milk frother or steam wand.

Most semi-automatic machines come with an in built milk frother and will texture your milk perfectly. Machines with higher wattage will steam the milk more quickly than less powerful espresso makers.

Size

Before you buy anything, you need to think about how much bench space you have at home.  Some semi automatic espresso machines are huge! 

So before you buy a machine, measure out the space you have available and check the dimensions of the machine before purchasing it to ensure it will appropriately fit. 

The area must have enough surface area and top clearance to use the machine properly as well as be located near a power outlet.

Plus you may want to allow space close by for a coffee grinder, coffee knock box, tamper, tamp mat and scale!

various espresso coffee drinks from above

Best semi automatic coffee machine reviews Australia 2024

1. Barista Express Impress Breville Semi Automatic Espresso Machine Review

Best semi automatic coffee machine with built in grinder

Breville the Barista Express Impress Black Truffle (BES876BTR4IAN1)

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 33 x 38 x 41cm
  • Power: 1850 watts
  • Boiler: Single thermocoil
  • Water Tank: 2L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Manual
  • Integrated Grinder: Yes
  • Portafilter: 54mm

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The Breville Barista Express Impress is the latest release from Breville building on their ever popular Barista Espress coffee machine.

It is a great all round espresso machine, reasonably compact and features a built in grinder, assisted tamping and a range of customisable features to ensure you make great tasting coffee.

From the simple control panel, you have the option to dose, extract and steam your milk.  The pre-infusion function ensures an even extraction.

It also comes with a manual steam wand so you can create the perfect microfoam for your milk drinks. You can monitor the espresso pressure with the centre gauge and personalise your espresso shot volumes all at the touch of a button.

The 1600W thermacoil single boiler is fast to heat up and provides high pressure steam for perfect milk texturing. The electronic PID temperature control regulates the temperature for extraction and milk steaming and the auto purge function speeds up the time to achieve the right temperature.

The newest feature on this Breville semi automatic coffee machine is the built in high quality conical burr grinder with includes 25 adjustable grind settings and Impress puck system.

The assisted tamping system will grind and auto tamp your grinds with the ideal tamp pressure. The intelligent system can auto adjust your next dose to achieve the perfect setting.

You have a choice of three colours including brushed stainless steel, black and sea salt.

Pros

Automatic dose and assisted tamp

Powerful steam wand

Integrated conical burr grinder

Cons

Single boiler

Limited customisations

So if you’re looking for a top quality semi automatic espresso machine, which is jammed packed with all the features you could ever possibly need, the Breville Barista Express Impress is well worth considering.

>> Click here to check the price and read Amazon reviews

2. The Dynamic Duo BEP920BSS Breville Semi Automatic Coffee Machine With Grinder Review

Best semi automatic espresso machine Australia

Breville The Dynamic Duo Espresso Machine with Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel BEP920BSS

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 41 x 37.5 x 37.5 cm
  • Power: 2200 watts
  • Boiler: Dual stainless steel boilers
  • Water Tank: 2.5L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Manual
  • Integrated Grinder: No
  • Portafilter: 58mm

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If you’re looking for a semi automatic coffee machine for a busy household full of coffee drinkers or even the best commercial semi automatic espresso machine for your office, then check out the Breville Dynamic Duo. 

Featuring a dual boiler, this machine will keep the coffee coming fast. I own this machine and love it!

The Dynamic Duo comes packed full of features to make cafe style coffee.  Its most notable feature is, of course, the stainless steel dual boilers which allows you to brew your coffee while milk texturing at the same time.  This is perfect when you’re in a hurry or when you have multiple coffees to make.

The espresso boiler is PID temperature controlled for better thermal stability and the 58mm commercial group head is heated for enhanced espresso flavour. The pre-infusion functions ensures more flavourful extraction.

You can purchase the Dual Boiler machine separately, but this Dynamic Duo combo comes with Breville’s conical burr Smart Grinder Pro. 

While not a built in grinder, the Smart Grinder Pro gives you complete flexibility in terms of grind settings and dose control with 60 custom settings.

The tinted hopper has a large 450 gram capacity. This takes all the guesswork out of the process and ensures a consistent and balanced coffee every time.

Powered by 2200 watts the steam wand allows you to create perfectly textured micro foam milk much faster than other machines.  In fact, this machine will instantly deliver the correct pressure to create micro foam texture just like you’d expect from those machines you see in the coffee shops.

To help with the learning curve of mastering the semi automatic machine, it comes with a shot clock and pressure gauge.  It also has an easy to read LCD which allows for easy programming, a range of great adjustable features and a huge 2.5 water tank capacity.

The machine does take a little more time than others to heat up, but the Auto Start function allows you to program the machine to automatically switch on in the morning ready for you to make your coffee.

Coming in a choice of colours including either brushed stainless steel or black, this is a great looking coffee machine which would be a great investment for any busy household or small office.

Pros

Stainless steel dual boilers

Auto start function

Programmable extraction time and milk temperature

Cons

Premium price point

Larger machine needs more space

Limited customisations

As with all Breville machines it comes with a range of accessories including stainless steel milk jug, tamper and filters. It is a big investment, but by far one of the very best semi automatic machines for home on the market.

>> Click here to check the price and read Amazon reviews

3. Breville Bambino Plus BES500BSS Espresso Machine Review

Best compact semi automatic coffee machine

Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine - Brushed Stainless Steel, BES500BSS

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 19.5 x 32 x 31cm
  • Power: 1600 watts
  • Boiler: Single ThermoJet
  • Water Tank: 1.9L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Automatic
  • Integrated Grinder: No
  • Portafilter: 54mm

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Yet another Breville coffee machine, this time we have the Bambino Plus Espresso Machine.  This is a great priced machine for those looking for a compact machine or middle of the range espresso maker.

Thanks to the Thermo Jet heating system, the Breville Bambino reaches the optimal temperature for extraction in just 3 seconds.  So you’ll have your cuppa in next to no time.

Making textured milk for your cappuccino or flat white is easy thanks to the automatic steam wand. This is a feature not seen on many semi automatic machines.

Simply add milk to your jug, position under the wand and choose your preferred milk settings. The machine will steam your milk and stop automatically when the temperature is reached.

It also allows you to adjust the temperature and texture depending on how you like it.  If you’re a little overwhelmed by how to froth milk well, this is the perfect machine for you. If you are a milk frothing guru, simply switch to the manual controls.

The Bambino comes with a 54mm portafilter with 18 grams and both single and dual wall filters. This is the ideal size for a great full flavoured coffee. 

It also features a 1.9l water tank and a range of adjustable settings including digital temperature and shot control, adjustable milk temperate and texture level. It also comes with stainless steel milk jug, tamper and cleaning accessories.

Pros

Automatic steam wand

Rapid 3 second heatup time

Compact and lightweight

Cons

No separate hot water outlet

Limited customisations

Lightweight machine – can move when tightening portafilter

While this machine doesn’t feature a grinder, it is a fantastic compact and good machine, capable of making great tasting coffee.

>> Click here to check the Breville Bambino price on Amazon

4. Sunbeam Mini Barista EM4300K Coffee Machine Review

Best budget semi automatic espresso machine

Sunbeam Mini Barista Coffee Machine, Espresso, Latte and Cappuccino Coffee Maker, 2L Water Tank, Milk Frother, 15 Bar Italian Pump, Black

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 33 x 29.5 x 25 cm
  • Power: 1350 watts
  • Boiler: Single Thermoblock
  • Water Tank: 2L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Manual
  • Integrated Grinder: No
  • Portafilter: 58mm

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Another good choice for a semi automatic coffee machine is the Sunbeam Mini Barista.  This coffee maker comes with all the great features you need to be your very own barista at home at a great price.

With the combination thermoblock technology and the 15 bar Italian Pump, this machine has the key features to create the perfect environment to extract the maximum flavours from the grounds for rich tasting coffee.

The single PID controlled thermoblock regulates the temperature for espresso and milk steam.  It also has auto shot volumetric control with one and two shots preset, so you get the perfect pour size every time from the commercial 58mm portafilter.

To create silky textured milk, it also comes with a powerful steam wand which is perfect for making lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites. 

Other features include a 2l water tank, hot water outlet, dual wall filter baskets, cup warming tray, cleaning and descaling program, 350 ml stainless steel milk jug and a coffee tamper.

Pros

Value price point

Choice recommended product

Automatic shot volume control

Cons

Only comes with dual wall filter baskets

Plastic components and exterior

The Sunbeam Barista Espresso Machine is a highly rated machine heavily featured in many Aussie homes and is certainly one to consider for those after an affordable semi automatic coffee machine.

>> Click here to check the Sunbeam machine price on Amazon

5. Rancilio Silvia V6 Espresso Machine Review

Best Italian semi automatic espresso machine

Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 29 x 23.5 x 34 cm
  • Power: 1100 watts
  • Boiler: Single brass boiler
  • Water Tank: 2L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Manual
  • Integrated Grinder: No
  • Portafilter: 58mm

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Known for making great quality commercial espresso machines, Rancilio hasn’t forgotten about the home user with the Silvia Espresso Machine V6. 

In fact, with the V6, the home barista will benefit from Rancilio’s experience with making commercial espresso machines as this machine includes some of the same features.

Considered to be one of the best single boiler coffee machines on the market, with its stainless steel frame, the Silvia is a durable machine featuring three thermostats to manage espresso, steam and boiler temperatures. 

It also features the same tried and true 58mm portafilter that is used in the Rancilio commercial machines.  This means you’re guaranteed consistent shots every time.  It also comes with an 8g and 16g basket so you can choose between a single or double shot.

This machine features a powerful stainless steel swivel steam wand which is capable of heating 200ml of milk to the ideal temperature in under 35 seconds. 

Other features include a removable 2L water tank, hot water option, quality tamper, removable stainless steel drip tray and grate and a stainless steel cup stacking surface onto which is passively heated.

Pros

Sturdy stainless steel exterior

Powerful steam wand

Compact size

Cons

Slower to heat up than others

Manual shot volume control

Small drip tray

The Rancilio Silvia espresso machine has a brass single boiler which, despite its relatively compact build makes great tasting coffee.

This isn’t a cheap machine, but with the price tag, you get a reliable machine built to last.  It also comes in the choice of two colours, either full stainless steel or one with an upper matte black portion.

>> Click here to check the price on ebay

6. De’Longhi La Specialista Arte Espresso Machine Review

De'Longhi La Specialista Arte, Perfetto Manual Espresso Coffee Machine, Compact Design, Barista Tools,Manual Milk Texturing, EC9155.MB, Metal

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 27.5 x 36.5 x 40 cm
  • Power: 1550 watts
  • Boiler: Single thermoblock
  • Water Tank: 1.5L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Manual
  • Integrated Grinder: Yes
  • Portafilter: 51mm

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The De’Longhi La Specialista Arte espresso machine is a newish addition to the Delonghi range and an excellent alternative to the Breville Barista Express or Sunbeam Barista Max.

For the price, you get a lot of good quality features with this espresso machine.  It features a 1550 watt active temperature controlled single thermoblock, integrated grinder, infusion temperature control and 30 second warm up time.

The Delonghi La Specialista Arte comes with the standard Delonghi 51mm sized group head and portafilter and 3 preset coffee recipes. You can customise the infusion temperature depending on your coffee beans and the MyLatteArt steam wand gives you full manual control over your milk texturing.

The integrated coffee grinder has 8 settings to choose from to dial in your brew and there are three colours to choose from including black, green and metal.

If you are comparing the La Specialista Prestigo vs La Specialista Arte, this machine doesn’t have the automatic tamping or dual thermoblocks seen on the Prestigio. But apart from those differences the design is very similar (and a lot cheaper).

The water tank is smaller than on other similar machines, but still sufficient at 1.5L.  Other features include programmable auto shut off, pressurised filter baskets, tamping station and milk jug.

Pros

Integrated grinder

3 Active temperature controls

Preset coffee recipes

Cons

Less powerful machine than others

Small number of grinder settings

If you are looking for a mid-range espresso machine with grinder, the De’Longhi La Specialista Arte espresso machine is a good option.  For what you get with this machine, it’s well priced and well designed for making great tasting coffee.

>> Click here to check the price and read Amazon reviews

7. La Specialista EC9335 Delonghi Semi Automatic Coffee Machine Review

De'Longhi La Specialista Prestigio, Perfetto Manual Espresso Coffee Machine, EC9355M, Metal, Control Grind, Dose and Temperature, Enjoy Barista Quality Coffee at Home

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 38 x 37 x 44.5 cm
  • Watts: 1450w
  • Boiler: Dual thermoblocks
  • Water Tank: 2L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Automatic
  • Integrated Grinder: Yes
  • Portafilter: 51mm

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If you’re after the top of the line, creme de la creme of coffee machines, then you’re going to want to have a look at the Delonghi La Specialista Prestigio. 

This is a top rated espresso machine which contains all the bells and whistles and is capable of turning any coffee lover into their very own barista.

To start with the La Specialista Prestigio comes with a built in grinder so you’ll have freshly ground coffee with every shot. 

The grinder has 8 settings and will adjust the dose based on the grind setting each time to ensure every cup comes with the right coffee dose.  The built in smart tamping station with lever also consistently tamps for the optimal pressure as well as keeping the kitchen clean.

This Delonghi semi automatic coffee machine also comes with an advanced latte system so that milk foam can be created easily and fast.  Choose between flat for hot milk or foam for milk froth. 

Plus with a dedicated heating system, you can heat your milk at the same time your coffee is brewing, but note it can only steam for up to 60 seconds at a time, so not suitable for large milk jugs.

This espresso machine comes with a range of adjustable settings, 3 preset drink options, customisable coffee recipes and programmable features. 

Other features of this Delonghi semi automatic espresso machine include a 2l water tank, hot water spout for long blacks, dishwasher safe double drip tray, filter holder rinsing program, cup warmer and cleaning program. It comes with a range of accessories including a milk jug and filters.

Pros

Dual thermoblocks

Personalised menu settings

Integrated tamper

Cons

Learning curve to dial in and customise the settings

Steam wand can be fiddly to use

If you’re ready to learn how to be your own barista, then the Delonghi La Specialista coffee machine is a great choice. 

With its programmable settings, it’s the perfect combination of manual interaction and automation, which gives you time to master the skill of brewing the perfect cuppa.

>> Click here to check the price for the Prestigio on Amazon

8. Gaggia Classic Pro Espresso Machine Review

Gaggia Classic Pro Colour Vibes Manual Coffee Machine (Blue)

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 23 x 24 x 28 cm
  • Power: 1425 watts
  • Boiler: Single boiler
  • Water Tank: 2.1L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Manual
  • Integrated Grinder: No
  • Portafilter: 58mm

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

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The Gaggia Classic Pro is designed and manufactured in Italy and is one of the most well known semi automatic espresso machines. While it may not have the bells and whistles on many other machines, there is no doubt this machine can brew the perfect espresso.

The three simple rocker switches give you full control over the single boiler, espresso and steam.

The single and dual portafilter baskets determine your espresso grind volume and then it’s entirely up to you how you pull your shot and steam your milk. 

The single boiler controls water and steam temperature and can achieve 15 bar of pump pressure. Note it lacks the PID temperature control seen in most other semi auto machines in this list so it is a little slower to adjust between the steam and espresso ideal temperature.

Also the cup height is quite small, but you can remove the drip tray to fit a larger cup under the portafilter.

The machine comes in a range of colours including stainless steel, red, white, black and grey.

Other features include a large 2.1l water tank, cup warmer and removable drip tray.

Pros

Solid and compact metal body

Brass group head

Simple control panel

Cons

Slower to heat up

Manual volume control

Small cup height

The Gaggia Classic Pro might not have all the bells and whistles seen on more expensive Breville and De’Longhi espresso machines. But if you are looking for a durable, good all round espresso machine that won’t blow the budget, the Gaggia Classic Pro espresso machine is a great choice.

>> Click here to check the price and read Amazon reviews

9. Sunbeam Barista Max EM5300K Coffee Machine Review

Best value semi automatic espresso machine

Sunbeam Barista Max Coffee Machine | Automatic Espresso, Latte & Cappuccino Coffee Maker with Integrated Bean Grinder & Steam Milk Frother | 15 Bar Italian Pump | Black

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 35 x 32 x 41 cm
  • Power: 1550 watts
  • Boiler: Single thermoblock
  • Water Tank: 2.8L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Manual
  • Integrated Grinder: Yes
  • Portafilter: 58mm

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

For busy households or small offices looking for a budget espresso machine, the Sunbeam Barista Max is one to consider.  It has a large 2.8l water tank, comes with all the essentials required for making great coffee.

For the price, this is a super impressive all in one espresso machine. The single thermoblock machine comes with built in conical burr grinder which has 30 adjustable settings and a capacity of 250 grams. 

With the integrated grinder, you’ll achieve a consistent grind and fresher tasting coffee every time, but note there is no auto dosing, so manual dosing into the filter baskets is required.

For those still learning there is the option of the pre programmed one or two shots of espresso, or for those barista wannabe’s you can take complete control with the manual shot button.  Volume and temperature are customisable.

The 58mm commercial sized group head, pre-infusion control and PID controller help manage thermal stability and improve coffee flavour. Plus with the powerful built in steam wand, you can create perfectly textured microfoam for lattes, flat whites and cappuccinos.

The machine comes with a 460ml milk jug, 1 and 2 cup filter baskets and cleaning accessories. It comes in a choice of colours, including matte black or stainless steel silver.

Pros

Rapid heat up time

High quality integrated grinder

Customisable shot control

Cons

Grinder can be a little messy

No pressure gauge

If you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to compromise on features, you really can’t go wrong with the Sunbeam Barista Max.  It has a built in grinder, large water tank and will serve any household or office well. 

>> Click here to check the Sunbeam Barista max price and reviews on Amazon

10. Dedica Pump Espresso EC685 Delonghi Semi Automatic Espresso Machine Review

De'Longhi Dedica Arte, Traditional Barista Pump Espresso Machine, Manual Coffee Machine, Compact Design 15 cm wide, Fit Coffee Mug, Metal, (EC885.M)

Key Specifications

  • Dimensions: 33 x 30 x 14.9 cm
  • Power: 1350 watts
  • Boiler: Single thermoblock
  • Water Tank: 1L
  • Milk Frother: Yes, Manual
  • Integrated Grinder: No
  • Portafilter: 51mm

CHECK PRICE ON AMAZON

The Delonghi Dedica Arte Pump Espresso is one of the cheapest coffee machine options in these reviews, but is also among one of the top selling coffee machines in Australia! 

Not only is this a great looking machine coming in a range of funky colours. It is also capable of making barista style coffee in seconds and is perfect for those after the best semi automatic espresso machine under 500.

This machine heats up in just 40 seconds and thanks to the thermoblock technology, it is easy to reach the perfect temperature for your coffee.  With the flow stop function, you can also easily choose your preferred coffee length.

The machine is super versatile too as you can use ground coffee or even ese coffee pods.  Choose between 1 or 2 espresso shots.

The coffee machine also comes with a steam wand so you can make foam or hot milk for a range of milk based drinks such as Latte Macchiato, Caffelatte, Hot Milk, and Flat White, as well as Espresso, Lungo, Cappuccino and Tea.

Other features include an adjustable double drip tray, cup warmer on top, automatic shut off function, 1l water tank and the machine will alert you when it’s time for descaling.

Pros

Slim design for small spaces

Rapid heat up time

Simple control panel

Cons

Small cup clearance

No accessories included

Thermoblock temperature slow to adjust between functions

If you have a tiny kitchen with limited space, you’ll love how compact this machine is.  So compact in fact you could even take it to work with you or away on holidays.  It also comes in some really cute colours, including black, red, white or silver.

>> Click here to check the Dedica price and reviews on Amazon

Espresso machine terms

So after reading our best semi automatic espresso machine reviews if you found any of the descriptions confusing, here is a summary of some essential espresso machine terminology.

  • Portafilter: Has a handle and holds the filter basket and coffee beans before locking into the machine.
  • Filter basket: Where you place the ground beans. Most machines come with two filter baskets for a single and double shot of espresso.
  • Shot: The term used to describe a portion of espresso extracted from the machine. Typically there is a single shot or double shot, which use different size filter baskets.
  • Tamp: The term used to describe the process of evenly compressing the coffee grinds in the filter basket. You use a tool called a tamper to tamp the coffee.
  • Bar pressure: This refers to how much pressure is used to force water through the coffee grounds into your cup. The standard is 9 bars, but most good machines have 15 bars.
  • Boiler: The boiler heats the water in your machine and also produces the steam for your steam wand. Some machines have a single boiler which means you need to pull your espresso shot and then heat your milk. Dual boilers can do both processes at once.
  • Steam wand: Device used to froth your milk. If you love milk based coffee drinks you should look for a machine with a good quality steam wand.

Before You Go

I hope you found this guide to the best semi auto coffee machine helpful.

To get the most out of your machine we recommend you also purchase a coffee grinder. See our coffee grinder reviews for our top picks.

Due to the huge range of different espresso machines we have several different reviews based on the type of machine. So for more in depth reviews of the different types of coffee machines, see:

Or you can find all more coffee machine reviews here or our guides to the best coffee equipment and accessories here.

More Coffee Gear Reviews

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Rachel Rodda

Founder of Coffeewise, Rachel is a passionate coffee drinker, Specialty Coffee Association member and former barista who loves to research and share practical tips on brewing great coffee at home. Read more about me here.