Manual vs. Automatic Espresso Machines: Which Type is Best for You

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Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, with more than 450 million cups consumed every year. Thanks to the coffee culture, more and more people from all over the world are considering between manual and automatic espresso machine for their home, office or business.

A lot of coffee lovers are looking to buy an espresso machine for their home so they can enjoy a nice cup of macchiato, latte, cappuccino and espresso anytime they want. After all, there is no point paying  someone else to prepare your coffee if you can easily make one in the comfort of your home.  Entrepreneurs looking to break into the shot-pulling business are also out there looking for the perfect machine that would help them whip up the best quality coffee that customers would be willing to pay money for.

With so many different types of manual and automatic espresso machines to choose from, finding the right one can be a tricky process. To make an informed decision as to the type of equipment you need, it is important that you understand the different types of coffee makers and how they work.

If you are serious about producing quality espresso at home or for commercial purposes, then we urge you to read on. In this blog post, we’ll focus on the two main types of espresso machines – automatic and manual. Hopefully, this guide will give you a head start in the selection process.

Manual espresso machine


Manual espresso machines are also referred to as lever-driven espresso machines. It features a steam pressure gauge, a boiler, a portafilter and manual lever that will be used for espresso extraction. This equipment requires you to pull the lever to produce the shot; hence the term pulling the shot.

Manual coffee machines don’t have coffee grinding capabilities. This means you will still have to invest in a good quality grinder to grind the beans. You also have to steam the milk, tamp and then pull the lever to force the water into and through the grounds. This will take a while to make that perfect cup.

Manual machines are recommended if you want to gain a few barista skills for your own pleasure. As a coffee lover, there is nothing more satisfying than preparing your cappuccino, espresso or latte. Since you’ve exerted a lot of effort to produce a fresh cup of coffee, you’ll be able to appreciate it even more.

Making coffee with a manual espresso machine may seem like a lot of work. But since they offer more control over every aspect of the espresso experience, it allows you to produce a much more satisfying cup of coffee. Once you master the art of making an espresso, we can guarantee that the quality of your beverage will be light years ahead as compared to those produced using automatic machines. You can show off to your friends by preparing an espresso that tastes similar to the ones you get at your neighborhood coffee shop.

If you are considering opening a coffee shop, this would be a great investment. Provided that you have a professional barista who is knowledgeable in operating the machine, then you’ll be able to serve your customers with high-grade espresso. Also, manual machines are also more affordable as compared to automatic machines.

Automatic espresso machine 


Machines that have grinders, valves, sensors and pumps are referred to as automatic. They are the ultimate all-in-one coffee makers as they are designed with convenience in mind. These machines are easy to use and will do everything for you, including grinding the beans, dispensing milk and even automate the brewed volume. It automates the brewing process so it will yield a fresh cup of coffee with just a couple button presses. If you want things to be done fast and without hassle, then this is the one is for you. This is especially beneficial for commercial purposes and for people who are constantly on the move.

With an automatic espresso machine, all you need to do is pour the amount of water, powdered or condensed milk, sugar and coffee powder and let it do its thing. If you estimate the amounts of those ingredients correctly, it will be able to continuously provide you with a fresh cup of coffee from a few days to a week.

While a manual machine will require you to master the art of making espresso to create high quality coffee, automatic espresso makers can be programmed to operate at pre-set levels. These machines come with electronic controls; hence, allowing you to pull a great shot even if you’re not a skilled barista.

Unlike conventional coffee makers, the automatic includes a grinder. That means you can grind coffee beans and enjoy your cappuccino, espresso or cafe latte whenever you want to.

While the automatic espresso machines offer speed and convenience, they are not cheap. Depending on the functions and capabilities of the machine, it can cost you anywhere between $2,000 and $3,000. Also, cleaning and backflushing is required at the end of the day.

Final thoughts

Manual vs. automatic espresso machine has their own share of advantages and disadvantages. When choosing between the two, we highly recommend that you weigh your options and decide what it is you want to get out of your machine.

If you are looking to whip up the best-tasting coffee for your family, friends, guests or customers, then the manual espresso machine would be a great option for you. But if you prefer the convenience and would like to prepare your coffee with as little effort as possible, then opt for an automatic machine instead.

Whether you choose manual or automatic espresso machine, it is sure to be a welcome addition to your kitchen counter.

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