Before we get into the technical aspects of the two types of espresso machines, here’s what you really need to know. Semi-automatic espresso machines are going to be perfect for the espresso connoisseur. If you’re the type that really wants to get the best-quality and taste out of your espresso machine and don’t mind taking a little more time and effort out of your schedule, the semi-automatic espresso maker is going to be for you. It’s a little bit more work, but the key here is that you ultimately have more control over every subtle nuance that goes into your version of the perfect shot of espresso with a semi-automatic.
The newest superautomatic available in the US by Swiss manufacturer Jura Capresso, the Impressa C5 is economical, straight forward and has more programming options available than models available from the Ena series -- although it's right around the same price. It also has side access for the water and coffee beans, plus a heated metal cup warmer up top.
Keep the machine clean. The F7 does a self-cleaning of the milk and coffee system every time you brew. But remember to stay on top of regular maintenance for the best quality. The machine makes that easy by telling you how and when to do the maintenance. It’s not hard, just drop a tablet of cleaner (from Amazon) in the water tank and you’re ready to go in 15 minutes.
The DeLonghi ECAM22110SB’s Rapid Cappuccino System allows you to make cappuccinos one after another quickly with no wait-time in between, making it excellent for hosting parties or large get-togethers. A rotary control system and simple user interface allow even beginners to create cafe-quality drinks at the touch of a button. Like many of DeLonghi’s most popular coffee systems, this machine is compact enough for use on smaller counter spaces.
When it comes to grinding the coffee beans, the ESAM3500.N has an integrated conical burr grinder which allows you to further adjust the fineness of your selected settings. Other excellent features you’re going to love about this model include the decalcification system which alerts you when you have to clean the machine, a hot water sport for hot chocolate and tea, 2 boilers (stainless steel) for greater durability and faster recovery, but also a 60 oz water reservoir (removable) and a seven oz bean container.
Maintenance and Cleaning: If you use steamed milk, I highly suggest changing the setting to display the "Rinse Milk System" prompt to appear right after using. The default is 10 minutes, and you cannot select this rinse from the Maintenance menu. The quicker you rinse out the milk residue, the less likely you are to get clogs. The manual also suggests to use the Jura Cappuccino Cleaner daily. I tend to rinse often and do a breakdown cleaning of the milk system and frother about every other day.