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What is an Automatic Espresso Machine

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Updated August 29, 2022

If you’re shopping for the best coffee maker, you may wonder what is an automatic espresso machine. That’s a great question, especially if you want a strong coffee drink to start your day. That said, deciding what kind of auto espresso machine you want isn’t a simple task. Luckily, we’re here to help. This is our guide to automatic espresso makers and the espresso machine types you’ll probably see while shopping for the best brewing experience.


  • Automatic espresso machines use hot water and about 9 bars of pressure to brew a shot of espresso.
  • These automatic espresso brewers come in three different types: semi-automatic, fully automatic, and super-automatic.
  • Professionals tend to use semi-automatic machines, while consumers like super-automatic models for convenience.

Basics of an Automatic Espresso Maker

While coffee snobs may say that the perfect espresso shot is only attainable through manual espresso brewing, that isn’t the case. Since the invention of the semi-automatic machine in 1961, making a cup of espresso has never been easier. Automatic machines use an electric pump to attain the bars of pressure needed for brewing espresso.

Insider Tip

Your quality of espresso largely depends on the freshness of your coffee beans and the grind size you use.

Once your coffee beans are finely ground and tamped, the ground coffee is loaded into the machine. The automatic brewer forces hot water through the coffee grounds, producing a shot of espresso. That said, depending on the device you choose, either more or less of the process is automated.

If you want a machine that fills the water tank automatically, read up on what an auto-fill coffee maker is.

Types of Espresso Makers

While the complete control of manual brewing is a rewarding experience, most modern barista coffee recipes use automatic espresso coffee machines. That said, you can choose how much you want to automate your shots of espresso. For example, in addition to pressure control, some machines have a built-in coffee grinder for your choice of beans. Read on to see all your options.

If you want a more hassle-free morning brew, consider learning what an auto-drip coffee maker is.

Semi-Automatic Machines

Suppose you are shopping for a professional espresso coffee machine. In that case, the chances are that you’re looking at semi-automatic coffee machines. While semi-automatic models use a mechanical pump to build the pressure, the barista still determines the shot timing. In addition, you still need to grind and tamp the beans on your own.

Fully-Automatic Machines

A fully-automatic espresso machine automates everything a semi-automatic does, but they also control the brew time. The “flowmeter” inside your fully-automatic device measures the water passing through the coffee grounds, stopping when you have maximum flavor.

Super-Automatic Machines

Super-automatic machines are the easiest way to a strong cup of coffee. In addition to regulating the bar pressure and brew time, they have a built-in coffee grinder and control the water temperature. In addition, some have a steam wand, so you can still make latte art in your perfect shot.


The optimal temperature for espresso is 195F-205F, so be very careful not to burn yourself on the steam nozzle of your espresso maker.


Which type of espresso machine is best for me?

If you have pro-level barista skills, then you’ll likely opt for a manual machine. That said, for the rest of us, an automatic machine will still make excellent espresso. If you want the most beginner or user-friendly device, go with a super-automatic espresso machine.

How long will an espresso maker last?

The average espresso maker should last between 5 and 10 years. You need to clean the machine and perform descaling at least once a month for the most extended life possible. In addition, manual machines can last even longer if properly maintained.

What is a manual espresso maker?

The brewing process for a manual espresso machine requires a little elbow grease. First, the barista manually pulls the bar pump, increasing the pressure needed for a delicious espresso. While these machines have fallen out of favor with the general public, they are great for finessing the espresso-making process.

STAT: A recent survey from Gallup revealed that Americans under 35 drink an average of 1.8 cups of coffee per day. (source)

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