Top 3 Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines of 2021
It’s time once again to bring you our top 3 semi-automatic espresso machines for 2021! This year we’re featuring 3 wonderful machines for different budgets and skill levels. Whether you’re starting out or a seasoned veteran, these machines should absolutely be on your list for your holiday shopping. Let’s get started!
The Solis Perfetta is an excellent machine for anyone just getting started with espresso, or someone who picked up a cheap machine and wants something a little bit higher quality. With an attractive price point and features that allow you to develop your understanding of espresso, the Perfetta is the perfect first step on your espresso journey.
It starts with the simple programming and operation of this machine. You’ll be able to program shot times for single and double shots, allowing you to recall your shots once you have them dialed in. You’ll also get fast warm up time from the Perfetta’s thermoblock heating element, getting you brewing in a hurry.
But why do we say this machine is perfect for those developing their espresso chops? Well, for starters, there’s the pressurized or unpressurized portafilter basket options. When you’re starting out you can use the machine’s more forgiving pressurized portafilter basket. Once you’re ready for a challenge you can switch to the more challenging unpressurized baskets which give you better control over your shots. Combine all this with a manual steam wand that offers great milk frothing performance and you have an easy choice for our Top 3s list.
Breville Dynamic Duo
The Breville Dynamic Duo is our name for a fantastic bundling of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and Dual Boiler. This all in one package is a really great option for anyone looking to get into more “prosumer” espresso machines, and we’re thrilled to include it on our list of Top 3s.
First, there’s the Smart Grinder Pro. This grinder may not be the last one you ever buy, but it offers precise, consistent performance for users across the coffee spectrum. This is the rare grinder that can go fine enough for unpressurized espresso, and coarse enough for drip, pour over, and press. It’s got an easy to use stepped adjust, is simple to clean, and can be programmed for different grind times to help you with dialing in your whole shot process.
Next, there’s the Dual Boiler. This is one of Breville’s best espresso machines in terms of performance. With two stainless boilers you’ll be able to brew and steam simultaneously. You also get PID controlled temperatures that are adjustable, and a hot water spout for americanos or tea. Of course, you can also use pressurized or unpressurized baskets, and they fit into the Dual Boiler’s 58mm commercial style portafilter. Overall, this machine is a great option by itself, but when bundled with the Smart Grinder Pro at this price it’s definitely one of our Top 3 favorite espresso machines to recommend.
Rocket Espresso R58 Cinquantotto
This machine is our one “luxury” entry on this list, and may seem a bit like cheating since we do have a whole luxury espresso machine category. However, we’re including it here because it really is one of our overall favorites, and a great option for anyone stepping up into that very high end of home espresso use.
One look at the Cinquantotto and you’ll get a feel for why we love the design so much. The gorgeous Italian styling and stainless steel casing is just stunning on just about any countertop. You can also see just how tactile and hands on using this machine really is. You might be fooled into thinking it’s simple, but hidden behind that classic look is a strikingly modern machine.
The Cinquantotto is powered by two PID controlled boilers that mean you’ll be brewing and steaming at the same time all the time. It’s very difficult to outrun these boilers, making this a great machine for serving multiple drinks to friends and family. The Cinquantotto’s heated E61 group head means you’ll get rock solid temperature stability throughout the brewing process as well. Pushing the water through the group is a commercial style rotary pump, which is very similar in design and quality to Rocket Espresso’s commercial pumps, and gives you the ability to plumb the machine into a water line directly.
The Touchscreen PID controller is detachable and allows you to program the boiler temps, see diagnostic info, and set things like auto-on scheduling. Additionally, a stealthy shot timer gives you a great read on how your shots are pulling that blends into the case when not in use.
Finally, these machines are built by hand, ensuring they’ll work for years and years to come. It’s very possible that the R58 Cinquantotto will be the last espresso machine you buy, so we couldn’t miss it on this list of our Top 3 Favorite Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines.
Stay tuned for more of our Top 3s all month long!