Top 3 High-End Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines of 2020
We’ve already taken a look at our favorite semi-automatics when it comes to staying budget conscious. We also know that everyone loves a look at some of the biggest, highest performing options. Today we’re going to toss budget out the window and talk about our picks for the top 3 high-end semi-automatics. These aren’t necessarily the most beginner friendly machines on the market, but they offer incredible performance and deep, hobbyist features. Let’s get started!
Rocket Espresso R58 Cinquantotto
This year Rocket Espresso updated the classic R58 with the new Cinquantotto model. The previous R58 long represented the highest end of Rocket Espresso’s home line. The Cinquantotto absolutely lives up to its predecessor. It starts with the machine’s dual boilers, which allow for consistent steaming and brewing with nearly unbeatable recovery time in non-commercial machines. On top of that, the Cinquantotto features a hand built stainless steel case that dazzles and protects the internal components. Finally, the precise, tactile controls and gauges give you the feel of pulling shots and steaming milk in a Milan cafe.
But none of this is new, and what is really makes the Cinquantotto shine a little brighter. First, there’s the built in shot timer. Carefully built into the case to retain its classic look, this shot timer helps you dial in and stay dialed for all of your shots. Next, there’s the touchscreen PID controller, which gives you easy access to temp control, diagnostic info, and the new auto-on time programming. Even better, this control unit is detachable, allowing you to set it up and remove it to retain the machine’s looks. Finally, updated styling on the cup rail and legs give the machine a sleek new look that stay true to its classic roots.
Overall, the Cinquantotto is an incredible update, and we know you’ll love it as much as we do.
La Marzocco Linea Mini
The legendary La Marzocco Linea Mini is basically a commercial machine scrunched down to home size. It even carries and NSF rating, which technically makes it a machine you could use commercially. This really shows in the performance of the machine as well, with dual PID-controlled boilers, a La Marzocco saturated grouphead, precision brew paddle, and commercial style steam setup.
It’s sometimes hard to express what sets the Linea Mini apart, but that’s just because it is an extraordinary machine when it comes to reliability and performance. This isn’t a machine loaded with complex programming or features, it just does its job better than most espresso machines available.
Bonuses like pre-programmed pre-infusion, a lighted brewing area, and a large 3.5L water reservoir help improve the Linea Mini’s usability. When you put this together with its exceptional performance, it’s hard not to include this machine on a best of list when you remove budget consideration as a criteria. If you have the capital and want a forever machine, the Linea Mini is a great option!
Rocket Espresso R Nine One
The R Nine One gets its name from Rocket Espresso’s R9 line of commercial espresso machines. The one in this machine’s name comes from its single brew group, a distinction that matters when shopping for a commercial machine. With all that in mind, the R Nine One really is a home hobbyist machine, with many differences from the commercial line that make it a highly specialized machine.
Defining the term “prosumer,” the R Nine One really achieves more than most commercial machines. With a temp-stable saturated group and dual PID controlled boilers, you’ll get effortless steaming and brewing for drink after drink. You get all the expected bells and whistles as well like volumetric dosing, extremely high quality stainless steel casing and frame, and commercial style milk steaming. But where the R Nine One really shines is with its pressure profiling.
Pressure profiling allows you to manually build a pressure curve for your shots, mimicking virtually any machine in history. If you know the curve that another machine generates, you can program it here. You can also manually use the brew lever to dial in pressures, which the R Nine One’s computer reads and stores. From there, you can simply press a few buttons and load a profile for perfect shot recreation every time. This may sound like overkills, but for those who really want to dig into hyper specific elements of flavor and body, there’s nothing like brewing on an R Nine One.
This is the ultimate espresso machine, with a price to match, but it really is a powerhouse.
So there you have it! Our picks for the top 3 high end semi-automatic espresso machines available in 2020. We hope one of them is your dream machine!