Semi-automatic espresso machines are devices that partially automate the espresso brewing process. Compared with super automatic machines, they require more work and know-how from the barista. They are the choice of coffee shops and espresso aficionados. They offer excellent reliability and control over the brewing process.
Semiautomatic Espresso Machine Components
The most basic semi-automatic espresso machine includes a heat exchanger or a boiler, a portafilter with filter baskets, and a switch to perform the extraction. The barista needs to grind and tamp the coffee and control the extraction time. More advanced semiautomatics, have more components to facilitate barista’s work and experience. Some of these components are:
- reservoir, (water tank),
- a second boiler, or heat exchanger, for steaming the milk
- drip tray
- group head
- steam wand and tip
- pressure gauge
The semi-automatic espresso machine is the choice of equipment for espresso traditionalists. The major selling point of semiautomatics is the control over the brewing process versus the super-automatics, and automation of sensitive operations such as water temperature and pressure during the shot pulling compared to manual espresso machines.
A semi-automatic machine is generally equipped with a pump, a heating element, an over-pressure regulator, a water boiler, group head, (or group), the group screen, portafilter and the basket, and a steam wand for steaming milk.
Semiautomatic espresso machines are more reliable than automatic ones because they have fewer components. The reliability comes at the expense of the convenience, since operating a semi-auto is a complex operation, and it takes the barista hours of training. The barista operating a semi-automatic espresso maker needs to measure the beans, grind them, tamp them in the portafilter, and then pull the shot for the optimum amount of time.