semi automatic espresso machines 

 December 9, 2016

By  Dorian Bodnariuc

Breville 800ESXL with interesting lightingSemi-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),
  • pump,
  • a second boiler, or heat exchanger, for steaming the milk
  • drip tray
  • group head
  • steam wand and tip
  • pressure gauge
  • PID

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.

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About the author

My name is Dorian and I am a former barista. I consume coffee in any form, as a beverage, in savory recipes and desserts. My favorite caffeinated beverage is the espresso.

I love to share my coffee brewing knowledge and my geeky coffee research. This blog is one of the places I write about coffee. More about Dorian... If you want to learn more about this site and how I started it, check our About Me page, where I explain all about it.