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Top 3 Under $1,500 Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines of 2022

Sep 30, 2022 · best of · coffee · espresso · reviews · semi-automatic · top 3
Top 3 Under $1,500 Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines of 2022

Are you looking for the best espresso machine to add to your counter in 2022? At Seattle Coffee Gear, we take the time each year to determine what semi-automatic espresso machines are going to bring the best value to our customers. These picks for top espresso machines of 2022 are broken down into three categories, plus an honorary mention. The categories should help you determine what the best option will be for your family to bring to your kitchen this year.

Crowd Pleaser Pick

Our crowd pleaser pick for best semiauto espresso machine for 2022 (under $1,500) is the Solis Barista Perfetta. But what does “crowd pleaser” even mean? Our crowd pleaser picks combine affordability, approachability, and features to offer what we feel is the best pick for a wide range of new and upgrading readers. We select our crowd pleasers to ensure that there’s an option on our best of 2022 lists that will fit your budget while still helping you make coffee you love. In the case of the Solis Barista Perfetta, this is a machine that offers a lot of bang for your buck! This machine offers solid entry level features like a quick heat up time, adjustable temperature, and programmable shot time. The impressive part? The Barista Perfetta actually comes with unpressurized portafilter baskets, as well as ESE compatible baskets. Unpressurized baskets require a precise grind and a lot of practice to master. With that said, they also give you a lot of control over your espresso. With these basket options the Barista Perfetta gives you a platform that you can use from an entry level all the way into more hands on, hobbyist espresso brewing. What’s more, it does it all with an attractive price tag and a small footprint. This machine is perfect for any new home espresso user, or if you’re upgrading from a cheap machine without the basket options. This is why it’s our crowd pleaser pick for best semi-automatic espresso machines under $1,500 of 2022!

Top Features

Our top features category sits squarely between our crowd pleaser and our ultimate pick. For this category, we’re picking machines that are heavy on features without pushing the limits of our pricing levels. For 2022, our top features pick for best semi-automatic espresso machine is the Breville Barista Pro All-In-One Espresso Machine. If you’re shopping for a new espresso machine chances are you’ve heard of the Breville Barista Express, or Barista Pro. We’ll have more to say about the Barista Express in our honorable mention, but both of these machines are attractive because of the way they combine machine and grinder into a single unit. The grinder part of the Barista Pro and Express is tuned perfectly to work with the brewer half of the machine. This is great news for new users, because it means less hunting for an espresso grinder to go with that new machine. There are, of course, a few features that separate the Barista Express and the Barista Pro. First, there’s the interface. The digital readout offers feedback on programming and grinder settings so that you can understand what’s going on with your shots. Then there’s the faster heat times coming from the Barista Pro’s upgraded thermojet heating, which is almost instantaneous. Then there is of course the standard features in the line like multiple basket options, volumetric programming, and a dedicated hot water dispenser. We’ll talk more about the Barista Express shortly, but the Pro is absolutely an easy include for our best espresso machines of 2022 in the top features category. The all-in-one nature of this machine makes it perfect for new users, or those looking for an upgrade from a more entry level machine.

Ultimate Pick

Our ultimate pick category for best semi-automatic espresso machine under $1,500 for 2022 is the Diletta Mio. This category represents the machine we’d recommend if you’ve got the full budget of $1,500, and if you’re looking for the machine in that price range that’s going to give you the best drinks. The Mio fits this category for us because of its high performance and impressive control options, so let’s get into those now. The core thing that excites us about the Diletta Mio is how little it puts between you and your espresso. With PID controlled temperatures you can count on rock solid temp stability as you brew. The machine also gives you a shot timer to ensure your shots are perfectly extracted. With the Mio’s analog pressure gauge you can also more easily diagnose issues with your shots. What this machine lacks in programming, it makes up for with its reliability, performance, and feedback in spades. The Mio provides energy efficiency along with that control. With its optional steam circuit you can cut down on power when just brewing espresso with the flip of a switch. Another more advanced feature is the Mio’s adjustable OPV valve. This valve helps regulate pressure during brewing, and by adjusting it you can further fine-tune your shots. Many machines hide this adjustment inside of the machine and intend for you to leave it alone. The Mio makes it accessible, but unobtrusive. It’s there when you’re ready to experiment, but not in the way of your learning process on the machine as it ships. All of this makes the Mio our very favorite semi-automatic espresso machine currently available under $1,500, and that makes it an easy inclusion in our best espresso machines of 2022.

Honorable Mention

For each of these lists we make sure to include an honorable mention. This is a machine that might actually be a great fit for you, but also might have some niche reasons why we’re putting it here instead of one of the above categories. For semi-automatic espresso machines under $1,500 we’re selecting the Breville Barista Express. This might seem like an odd inclusion given that we selected the Barista Pro for top features, but there’s a method to our madness. The Barista Express is similar to the Pro as an all-in-one espresso machine, but it offers a slightly different featureset. The Pro’s increased price tag comes mostly from its thermojet heating and digital display. By contrast the barista express IS a little more analog, but some users might prefer this. In fact, it does feature an analog pressure gauge, something that isn’t available on the Barista Pro. While the slower heating system is the real thing that justifies the price difference to us, this might not be a concern for you. If it isn’t the Express still offers a lot of value to new users and anyone looking for an all-in-one unit, and it’s why it nabbed an honorable mention for this category.

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