As coffee lovers, many of us aspire to achieve at-home barista status, where we can brew anything from an Americano to a latte from the comfort of our own homes.
If you’re ready to take this step, chances are you’re going to need an espresso machine. However, if you’re still a novice or you’re especially groggy in the morning, you probably won’t want to deal with a manual espresso machine.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Automatic Espresso Machines
That’s why we’re here to help you navigate the other side of the coin: choosing the best automatic espresso machine. These types of machines are easy to use on an everyday basis and can give you a good cup of coffee every time.
Quick Summary: The Best Automatic Espresso Machines
|Rocket Espresso Appartamento||Check Price →|
|MR. COFFEE CAFE BARISTA ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|BREVILLE BARISTA TOUCH BES880BSS ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|BREVILLE BES870XL BARISTA EXPRESS ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|RANCILIO SILVIA ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|Breville BES840XL||Check on Amazon →|
|GAGGIA RI9380/46 CLASSIC PRO ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|DE’ LONGHI EC155||Check on Amazon →|
|GAGGIA RI8762 ANIMA PRESTIGE AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|DE’ LONGHI ESAM3300 MAGNIFICA SUPER-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|JURA WE8||Check on Amazon →|
HOW AUTO CAN YOU GO?
So, when it comes to automatic espresso machines, you have a lot of options. The main thing that differentiates them is how physically involved you are in the brewing process.
Basically, an automatic coffee machine allows you to start it, but it pulls the espresso shot for a preset amount of time. Some machines let you change that time while others do not.
For the most part, very few machines are marketed as simply automatic. This is because a lot of automatic machines look and feel like semi-automatics and have redundant features that make them nearly identical. But some automatic machines have little extras that put them nearly in the super-automatic category.
Semi vs Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
Before we dive into our top picks of automatic espresso machines, let’s look at the difference between semi-automatic and super-automatic espresso machines.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
Semi-automatic machines are basically one step more involved than the “baseline” automatic. These allow you to control the grind setting as well as the pull time, giving you more direct influence over your final result.
Like automatic espresso machines, these require you to grind and tamp your own ground coffee, which can be a blessing for people who want to experiment with their brew. However, it can be a little confusing if you’ve never done it before.
These machines are our personal favorites because they balance practicality and ease of use with customization and personal touch. So, even though they aren’t fully automatic, we’ll include some of our top semi-automatic picks.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
Super-automatic machines are just fully automatic machines with more bells and whistles. They often come with their own built-in grinders and milk frothers, which is what really sets them apart.
You also usually don’t have to do your own tamping with a super-automatic espresso machine, meaning you can just sit and relax while your at-home barista does it all for you.
With a super-automatic espresso machine, you’re pretty much asking the appliance to take the reigns. With some machines, you’ll get highly specific customization options, which is nice if you’re a bit of a control freak. However, not all machines are that customizable, so you might just have to accept that machine’s way of doing things.
Best Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
To start our list off, let’s look at some of the best semi-automatic espresso machine options on the market.
Rocket Espresso Appartamento: Best High-End Espresso Machine
Rocket Espresso Appartamento
The Rocket Espresso Appartamento provides café-grade drinks and uses commercial-grade components in a compact 304 stainless steel design, making it ideal for creating a perfect espresso at home.
We figured we’d start off with the fanciest machine first, so it’s important to note that the Rocket Appartamento is the most expensive of the semi-automatic options we have listed.
This espresso machine is hand-built in Italy and has a 304 stainless steel body, a high build quality of commercial-grade internal brass components, an E61 group head for temperature stability, and a
Not only that, but the Rocket Appartamento comes with single and dual portafilters, a blind basket and brush for cleaning, a cup warmer, a removable drip tray, a 2.25 refillable water tank, and an aluminum tamper.
While this is an extremely pricey machine, it’s honestly worth every penny considering it can produce delicious cafe-quality espresso drinks and lasts 15+ years as long as it’s properly cared for.
Besides the price point, the only other thing that might not make this machine perfect for everyone is that it takes a while to heat up, so coffee lovers in a hurry might want to look at the rest of our list.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista: Best Affordable Espresso Machine
If you’re looking for an easily affordable machine, Mr. Coffee’s Cafe Barista is the machine for you. It’s often labeled as semi-automatic, but it does feature automatic options and simply has semi-automatic redundancies built-in. So, no matter your experience level, it can adapt pretty easily.
The machine also features an automatic milk frother, a one-touch control panel, an adjustable cup tray, and removable reservoirs. In sum, these features make the Café Barista simple to operate, easy to clean, and delightfully user-friendly. We recommend this for people who are just getting started with at-home espresso brewing.
The main complaints we have about this product are the cheaper parts and weaker espresso. The lower-end parts mean this isn’t going to last you forever, and because this is an entry-level machine, the espresso you brew won’t really stand up to really high-end machines.
Breville Barista Touch BES880BSS: Best Customizable Espresso Machine
If you have a bigger budget, the Breville Barista Touch is hands-down the best espresso machine to get. If you’re spending five dollars or more per day on coffee, it’ll pay for itself in less than a year. And it has everything you could want in an automatic espresso machine.
With the Barista Touch, you’re getting the best of both worlds: automatic capabilities with semi-automatic flexibility. It’s nearly identical to the more expensive Oracle model; it’s just smaller and doesn’t have automatic tamping.
But with easy-to-follow prompts on the LCD and consistent, delicious brews, the learning curve is easy to manage. So if you can handle the price, this is a great machine to buy.
Breville Barista Express BES870XL: Best Accessible Espresso Machine
The Breville Barista Express is an all-around great pick. This machine is semi-automatic, and it’s reasonably accessible whether you’re a beginner or a professional.
It’s similar to Breville’s automatic Barista Touch, but with fewer bells and whistles. It has some automatic features but emphasizes the semi-automatic ones more.
It includes a built-in stainless steel conical burr grinder, a light to indicate it needs to be cleaned, a half-pound sealed bean hopper, a 54-millimeter tamper, a steaming wand, and a milk carafe for frothing.
Pretty much anywhere you look, this machine comes highly recommended. The main drawback is the price, but it’s still cheaper than most super-automatic espresso machines.
Rancilio Silvia: Best Budget Espresso Machine
The Rancilio Silvia is a durable, high-performing semi-automatic machine. It’s ever touted as being able to produce the “perfect espresso.” If you’re serious about drinking quality espresso, this is the machine for you.
This model isn’t as expensive as some of the previous options, but it will give you much better quality than the lower-end, cheaper options. When paired with a high-quality burr grinder and freshly roasted beans, the Silvia will give you excellent espresso. Also, the group head is commercial grade and the portafilter handle is well-designed.
Our only complaint is that you do need to purchase accessories (like a grinder), which is a little inconvenient at a higher price point.
Breville BES840XL, “The Infuser”: Best Controlled Espresso Machine
Durable, stylish, and professional, the Breville BES840XL is truly a marvelous machine. If you’re looking for complete control over your brew and high-quality results, this might be the one for you.
This Breville features two boilers, two pumps, and plenty of programmable features. There isn’t much wanting with this model, as it also has an over-pressure valve, pre-infusion function, and programmable volumetric control to guarantee the perfect pull.
This semi-automatic espresso machine has an auto-start function, a backlit LCD, audio alerts, an integrated tamper, stainless steel frothing jug, and cleaning supplies. And, if you’re into making milk-based coffee drinks, the steaming wand swivels 360 degrees.
Our only reservations are that it’s relatively new to the scene, and while it seems durable and reliable, it has yet to really prove that in practice.
Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro: Best Commercial-Style Espresso Machine
Made of solid stainless steel, the Gaggia RI9380 Classic Pro Espresso Machine is a commercial-style espresso machine that’s designed to suit the comfort of your own home. If you enjoy waking up to a nice, robust espresso in the morning, you shouldn’t look past the Classic Pro.
There are several features on this Gaggia that we’re fans of. For starters, it has 58-millimeter chrome-plated brass portability and brew group, a three-way solenoid valve, and a water tank that can hold an impressive amount of water. The water reservoir is extremely accessible, as the lid is located right on top of the espresso machine.
In addition to the easily accessible water tank, the rocker switches and knob on the machine are very straightforward and simple to operate. The commercial-style steam wand can rotate, allowing for some flexibility to steam and texturize your milk to perfection, resulting in velvety microfoam.
The Classic Pro also offers pre-ground coffee or Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pod brewing with its pressurized basket and also features an updated design with updated pump mounts to allow for quieter brewing.
De’Longhi EC155: Best Personal Espresso Machine
The De’Longhi EC155 is our pick for both the best value and personal espresso machine. It comes at a much lower price point but doesn’t sacrifice too much in terms of quality.
This De’Longhi has a durable, stainless steel boiler and allows you to use both coffee pods and your own grounds. The water and steam pressure can be altered so that you can get your perfect cup of espresso after a bit of practice.
The main complaint we have is that you have to purchase your own grinder and milk pitcher separately. But it’s still pretty user-friendly and makes for a great starter machine.
Best Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
Now that you’ve seen some of our top picks for semi-automatic espresso machines, let’s look at our favorite super-automatic espresso machines.
Gaggia RI8762 Anima Prestige: Best Compact Espresso Machine
If you’re looking for a high-end compact machine, Gaggia’s Anima Prestige is the way to go. Featuring everything from Rapid Steam technology and one-touch auto frothing to a sleek LCD and ceramic burr grinder, this machine gives you great espresso and is a dream to use.
The Anima Prestige has a lot of other notable features including pre-infusion, a removable brew group, a programmable descaling cycle, energy-saving auto-off, a compact design, and stainless steel paneling. With this machine, you can expect reliable, impressive results, as well as a decent amount of customization.
It has a 5-grind setting burr grinder and an adjustable coffee dispenser (in case you have an odd size cup). It also includes 3 temperature settings and programmable brewing options to guarantee the best cup of coffee no matter what.
Though twiddling your thumbs while a machine does all the work isn’t ideal for some coffee fans, this machine is great for those who don’t mind relinquishing a good bit of control for convenience.
De’ Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica: Best Espresso Machine with a Grinder
The De’ Longhi ESAM3300 is a great mid-range option from a reputable espresso machine company. De’Longhi is known for making affordable, high-quality small kitchen appliances, and this product is no exception, which is exactly why it earned our ranking as one of the best super-automatic espresso machines on the market.
The built-in burr grinder guarantees freshness each time you brew. It also includes a double boiler, a specialized cappuccino system, an auto-off feature, and a 60-ounce water tank. These features give you the luxury of a super-automatic espresso machine, but the manual steam wand and customization options give you a good amount of flexibility.
The only shortcomings we’ve found with this machine are that the grinder can be a little loud, and it doesn’t work as well with dark (oily) roasts as it does with medium roasts.
Jura WE8: Best Office Espresso Machine
An espresso machine intended for use in an office setting needs to meet certain requirements. It should be able to brew a variety of coffee drinks wide enough to satisfy every employee, easy to clean, and relatively compact.
The Jura WE8 super-automatic espresso machine checks every box. However, it’s also important to note that it is the most expensive of our super-automatic machine options. But, of course, the outcome of what the machine can give you makes up for the initial splurge.
The Swiss brand’s espresso makers are designed to brew coffee shop-quality drinks at a lower cost, and the WE8 is no exception. It’s equipped with a built-in grinder, a 101-ounce water reservoir, a 17.6-ounce bean hopper, and 12 specialty drink options, including espresso, cappuccino, and coffee.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Automatic Espresso Machine
Before you jump right into the excitement of purchasing one of these automatic espresso machines, it’s important to consider a few things that might help make your decision easier.
Ease of Use
One of the most important things to ask yourself before buying an automatic espresso machine is whether or not it’s easy to use. Whether you opt for a semi or super-automatic espresso machine, you’ll need to be able to operate it easily.
Brewing a good cup of coffee in the morning shouldn’t be rocket science, so research a coffee maker before making a purchase and spend some time familiarizing yourself with its features before testing out your barista skills.
A steam wand is often a good indicator of the overall quality of the espresso machine. The main things to look for in a steam wand are:
- Manually controlled (automatic ones might be convenient, but manuals will give you better foam results once you get used to them)
- 2-4 steam holes
- Good range of motion and swiveling for optimal angles
Low-end portafilters are much smaller than the standards you’ll find in a commercial setting. So if you’re looking for an experience that is similar to your local coffee shop, make sure your group head accommodates a portafilter that can hold 16-22 grams of coffee grounds.
This mainly affects the size of the shot you can pull, rather than the overall quality of that shot, which is affected more by the coffee beans themselves.
Speaking of beans, let’s talk about grinding them. Of course, you could use pre-ground coffee, but why would you sacrifice freshness if you can find a machine with a built-in grinder?
Some higher-end machines have a bean-to-cup feature that grinds your coffee beans right when you start. These are generally more expensive, but if the machine doesn’t have it, you’ll need to get a separate grinder.
Steam or Pump-Powered
Another internal mechanism to look at is the power behind the pressure of the espresso machine. The pressure is vital to creating a good espresso.
While steam is the “classic” and cheaper option, these machines can often suffer from inconsistent pressure, meaning inconsistent results.
Pump-powered machines give you more control over the temperature and pressure of the brewing process and are generally worth the extra cost.
Single or Double Boiler
The espresso “sweet spot” is achieved at 195 degrees Fahrenheit with 10 bars of pressure.
Single boiler options are generally cheaper and slower on the heating uptake. On the other hand, while double boilers are faster at getting to the sweet spot, they’re much more expensive.
So if you aren’t on a constant time crunch and you’re looking to save some money, a single-boiler will probably work for you. However, if you’re brewing for multiple people or just impatient, you might want to spring for a double boiler.
If you don’t feel like constantly refilling a water reservoir, some espresso machines allow you to connect directly to a waterline in your kitchen. However, most people are fine with a larger water tank.
If you don’t drink much espresso every day or you don’t mind refilling the reservoir, you can save a bit of money by getting a machine with a smaller reservoir.
Also, if you like tea or an easy way to pre-warm your cup, some machines feature a secondary water spout. This option isn’t exactly necessary, but it is a nice touch.
Maintenance and Cleaning
One thing to consider with these machines is how easy they are to maintain, so ask yourself a few questions before shelling out any of your hard-earned money on an espresso machine. Is it self-cleaning? Does it have a drip tray? Are the parts removable?
Removable components tend to make things easier to clean, but you do usually have to deep clean your machine to keep it functioning at full capacity. This article will give you a step-by-step on how to keep up with your machine.
If you’re purchasing an automatic espresso machine for an office or some other setting where you know it’ll be used multiple times a day, a self-cleaning machine might be a worthy investment.
At some point though, you do have to consider the quality of the materials inside your machine. Plastic tends to deteriorate faster than things like stainless steel, so your maintenance efforts can only keep a lower-quality machine going for so long.
If you’re an espresso lover that’s particular about your espresso is brewed, you have two options. You can either get a good semi-automatic machine or a high-end super-automatic machine. Low-quality automatic machines aren’t going to give you the flexibility you require.
With a semi-automatic machine, you’ll have to put in more physical effort and practice to get the perfect brew. However, once you get used to it, you should be able to get exactly what you want.
On the other hand, high-end automatic machines should give you plenty of programmable options that will allow you to customize your brew with a few button presses.
So this category really comes down to price and convenience. Semi-automatic machines are cheaper but require more effort on your part. Super-automatic machines are significantly more expensive but are usually much easier to operate.
Overall, choosing an automatic espresso machine comes down to what you need to become an at-home barista. There are many options ranging in price, but getting everything you want in one will end up saving you tons of money on coffee shop trips.
Hopefully, the list of semi-automatic and super-automatic options we have here can help you to make an informed decision when selecting an espresso machine.