manual vs automatic espresso machines

Manual Vs Automatic Espresso Machines: Which Are The Best?

As a home barista, it can be difficult to choose a good espresso machine from the plethora of options available on the market. So we look at two of the most popular coffee makers and compare the manual vs automatic espresso machines to help you make the right choice for your favorite coffee makers.

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a machine is the level of automation desired. Do you want a classic French press? Or a more modern automatic machine? Or maybe something in between?

We’re here to help you determine which type of machine is right for you. Read on to find out what is out there in the espresso machine world.

What Is An Espresso Machine?

All espresso machines share similar components, which allows them to make the best espresso. These include a lever or an apple, a filter holder, and one or more boilers.

Making espresso requires a few basic steps starting with a boiler that creates steam, which collects in the pump. Then, a mechanism (which varies depending on the machine) pressurizes the steam into the water, which is then forced through an espresso “puck” into a portafilter.

The perfect parameters assumed for brewing coffee are a water temperature of 96 ° C with 10 bars of pressure. While this is the same regardless of the machine, the way the process is performed varies widely.

Manual Machines

De'Longhi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine

French press

Favored by traditionalists, French presses (also known as French presses) are the original way to prepare espresso coffee. They are piston-driven and require the user to push a lever in order to generate the pressure necessary to pull.

Operating one of these machines requires precision and concentration on the brewer’s part, but it can be very rewarding to successfully brew your own coffee. However, they are no longer very common, even in cafes.

These lost their popularity in the 1940s, as new technology made the brewing process easier and more energy-efficient. However, some people still carry on the tradition for several reasons:

  • Proponents of the manual machine claim that once full, this machine will give you the best espresso because you control every step of the mixing process. You crush the beans, refine the grind, pull the lever, and much more, giving you undeniable and complete control. You grind the beans, refine the grind, pull the lever, and more, giving you undeniable and complete control.
  • Many fans also point out that these machines have a more unique and classic appearance, which makes them aesthetically attractive.
  • Opponents find the method cumbersome and exhausting, complaining that manual labor does not produce enough results to be worth it.

Espresso machines

It is important to note that while manual machines are not particularly popular, other manual brewing methods are.

There are a lot of coffee lovers out there, including us, who love their manual brewing tools, which are capable of making espresso-like brews. So if the thought of being physically involved in the coffee brewing process tickles you, you can also try an Aeropress coffee maker, Moka coffee maker, or French press.

Automatic Machines

Philips Automatic Espresso Machine

Fully automatic

With a fully automatic standard machine, you just have to press a button and the machine will brew espresso for you. You will probably still need to grind and tamp your beans, but the machine will take care of the entire coffee brewing process once you start it.


Super-automatic machines are the next level to fully automatic machines. These can usually grind and tamp your beans for you, as well as brewing the coffee. They often have a lot of programmable options that give you flexible control over the brew, but not as much as a manual or semi-automatic machine.

What We Offer You

Our favorite machines are semi-automatic. With a high-quality semi-automatic machine, you can combine the personalized flexibility of a manual machine with the comfort and convenience of an automatic machine. So, with this perfect match, you can get the best espresso.

Check out our comprehensive shopping guide for the best automatic espresso machines.

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