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.
The most basic semi-automatic espresso machine includes a boiler, a portafilter, and a switch to perform the extraction. The barista needs to grind and tamp the coffee and control the extraction time.
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.