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? 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.
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 2021 guide – we take you through everything you need to know step by step.
In this best automatic coffee maker 2021 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.
Best semi automatic coffee machine Australia 2021 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.
|Name||Image||Water tank size||Grinder||Our Rating||Price|
|Breville Barista Express BES870BSS Espresso Machine||2.0L||Yes||4.8||Check|
|Breville The Dynamic Duo BEP920BSS Espresso Machine with Grinder||2.5L||Yes||5.0||Check|
|Breville Bambino Plus BES500BSS Espresso Machine||1.9L||No||4.6||Check|
|Sunbeam Mini Barista EM4300K Coffee Machine||2.0L||No||4.2||Check|
|Rancilio Silvia V6 Espresso Machine||2.0L||No||4.6||Check|
|Sunbeam Cafe Series EM7100 with Capsule Handle||3.0L||Yes||4.7||Check|
|De'Longhi La Specialista EC9335M Coffee Machine||2.0L||Yes||4.4||Check|
|Breville The Infuser BES840BSS Espresso Machine||1.8L||No||4.4||Check|
|Sunbeam Barista Max EM5300K Coffee Machine||2.8L||Yes||4.2||Check|
|Delonghi Dedica EC685BK Pump Espresso Machine||1.1L||No||4.0||Check|
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 and a switch to activate/deactivate the pump to perform the extraction.
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 these steps. 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.
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.
- Probably one of the biggest advantages of owning the best semi auto espresso machine is that 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.
- 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 things are 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.
Automatic vs semi automatic espresso machine
Now when it comes to automatic vs semi automatic espresso machine, the 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.
Tamping and loading the portafilter
Unlike an automatic 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.
Semi automatic machines usually come with a traditional steam wand 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.
My top pick of the best semi automatic espresso machines 2021
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 Barista Express Espresso Machine.
The reason I love this Breville semi automatic espresso machine is that it’s a relatively compact machine and yet it is jammed packed full of great features.
With a built in grinder, high quality steam wand and a range of customisable settings, it is a great machine at a great price for the home barista.
Click here to buy the Breville Barista Express now or keep reading below for my full review.
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.
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.
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. Whereas with the dual boiler or a heat exchanger, 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.
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, 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.
If you like to drink lattes 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.
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.
The best semi automatic coffee machine 2021
Below is a summary of the semi automatic espresso coffee machine reviews we cover in order below.
- Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine, BES870BSS, brushed stainless steel
- The Dynamic Duo Breville Espresso Machine with Grinder, BEP920BSS, brushed stainless steel
- Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine, BES500BSS, brushed stainless steel
- Sunbeam Mini Barista Coffee Machine, EM4300K, black
- Rancilio Silvia Coffee Espresso Machine, V6, stainless steel
- Sunbeam Cafe Series with Capsule Handle, EM700, silver
- De’Longhi La Specialista Espresso Coffee Machine, EC9335M, silver and black
- Breville The Infuser Espresso Machine, BES840BSS, brushed stainless steel
- Sunbeam Barista Max Coffee Machine, E5300K, black
- Delonghi Dedica Pump Espresso, EC68kBK, black
Keep reading below for reviews on some of the best semi automatic coffee machines currently on the Australian market.
Best semi automatic coffee machine reviews Australia 2021
Best semi automatic coffee machine with built in grinder
The Breville Barista Express is a great all round espresso machine. This is a reasonably compact machine, featuring a built in grinder and a range of customisable features to ensure you have great tasting coffee.
From the simple control panel, you have the option to adjust the dose, temperature and steam settings. 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 1700W 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.
This Breville semi automatic coffee machine comes with a built in high quality conical burr grinder and includes 18 adjustable grind settings. The grind amount is also adjustable. This gives you greater flexibility to achieve a precise and consistent grind.
The grinder can hold up to 250gms of beans which can make up to around 25 cups of coffee. The integrated tamper is removable if required to get a better tamp pressure..
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 is well worth considering.
Best dual boiler semi automatic espresso machine
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!
The Dynamic Duo comes packed full of features to make cafe style coffee. Its most notable feature is, of course, the stainless steel dual boiler which enables you to brew your coffee while milk texturing. 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.
It also 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.
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.
Best compact semi automatic coffee machine
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.
The Bambino comes with a 54mm portafilter with 19 grams. 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 control, adjustable milk temperate and texture level. It also comes with stainless steel milk jug, tamper and cleaning accessories.
While this machine doesn’t feature a grinder, it is a compact and good machine, capable of making great tasting coffee.
Best budget semi automatic espresso machine
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.
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, cup warming tray, cleaning and descaling program, 350 ml stainless steel milk jug and a coffee tamper.
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.
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. It also features the same tried and true 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 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, removable stainless steel drip tray and grate and a stainless steel cup stacking surface onto which is passively heated.
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 quality 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.
If you like the option of using capsules in your espresso machine, then the Sunbeam Cafe Series is the perfect solution. As well as using freshly ground beans, the Sunbeam Cafe Series is excellent for those that might want coffee at the push of a button from time to time.
For the price, you get a lot of bang for your buck with this espresso machine. It features 2400 watt twin PID controlled thermoblocks and dual pumps so you can brew your cuppa and steam milk at the same time.
The other advantage of the twin thermoblocks is that unlike boilers they only heat the required amount of water for your shot – so the heat up process is fast.
The Sunbeam Cafe Series comes with a brass group head, 58mm cafe sized group head with portafilter as well as a multi capsule group handle which is compatible with a range of different brands including Nespresso, Caffitaly and Lavazza A Modo Mio.
The powerful steam wand has a built in temperature sensor and its own gauge to make achieving the right temperature super easy.
At a 3l capacity, the machine has a huge water tank so great for a busy household or small offices. Other features include cleaning and descaling programs and single and dual floor filter baskets for 1 and 2 cups.
For households or small offices where you have wannabe baristas as well as those that want a coffee at the push of a button, the Sunbeam Cafe Series is the perfect compromise. For what you get with this machine, it’s well priced and capable of making great tasting coffee.
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. 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 comes with a built in grinder so you’ll have freshly ground coffee with every shot. The grinder has 6 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 tamper 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 a milk 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, pre set coffee recipes and programmable features. Other features of this Delonghi semi automatic espresso machine include a 2l water tank, 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.
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.
Although the Breville Infuser Espresso Machine is one of the cheaper espresso machines, it is one of the most popular in these reviews.
Every brew with the Infuser starts by pre infusing ground coffee with a steady water pressure. This allows the grinds to gently expand before the extraction process begins. The pre infusing is said to provide a more balanced coffee flavour.
You can easily choose from 1 or 2 shots or opt for manual control and then it’s entirely up to you how much espresso you have. The single thermocoil boiler controls water and steam temperature with the use of PID temperature control. For those that like milky drinks, the steamer allows you to easily create microfoam as well as experiment with latte art thanks to the powerful 1600 watt element.
Cleaning is easy, particularly given the machine will alert you when it’s time to do some routine maintenance. Other features include a 1.8l water tank, adjustable temperature gauge and volume control at the touch of a button.
The Infuser might not have all the bells and whistles seen on more expensive Breville espresso machines, but for those looking for a durable, good all round espresso machine which won’t blow the budget, the Breville Infuser espresso machine is a great choice.
Best value semi automatic espresso machine
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.
The 58mm commercial sized group head 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.
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 grinder, large water tank and will serve any household or office well.
The Delonghi Dedica Pump Espresso is the cheapest coffee machine 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 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, 1.1l water tank and the machine will alert you when it’s time for descaling.
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.
Espresso machine terms
So if you found any of the best automatic coffee espresso machine descriptions confusing, here is a summary of some 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.
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