KitchenAid is a brand that’s had a place in every home kitchen I’ve ever had, even growing up. When I bought my own KitchenAid stand mixer for the first time after college, my apartment finally felt like a place where a grown-up lived. My affection for that stand mixer cannot be overstated, so naturally my ears perked up when KitchenAid announced it was revamping its espresso machine lineup.

There are three new fully automatic espresso machines: the KF8, KF7, and KF6. Then there’s the KitchenAid Semi Automatic Espresso Machine, plus a 2-in-1 with a built-in burr grinder. I love a good fully automatic espresso machine for its expedience and ease, but there’s a part of me that just craves the practiced ritual of brewing your own espresso at home. The first of these machines to make their way to my doorstep was the Semi Automatic, so here we are. Keep an eye out for my review of the automatics soon.

Considerate Counter Footprint

I’m a lifelong apartment-dweller, and one of the many lessons I’ve learned from a life spent apartment-hopping is the value of counter space. When I set the KitchenAid Semi Automatic Espresso Machine on my counter for the first time, I couldn’t help but smile.

This is a fully-featured espresso machine with a built-in burr grinder, and it fits in the area previously occupied by my rice cooker—a strip of counter too narrow for other practical uses. This machine is narrow, clocking in at about 13 inches wide and 15 inches tall. It fits comfortably, with room to spare, underneath my somewhat low-hanging kitchen cabinets.

Photograph: Jaina Grey

Because of the tight space in my kitchen, it’s sometimes hard to access the water tank on the back of espresso machines I test. Usually, I have to either wrestle to remove the tank and bring it to the faucet, or resign myself to filling it by carrying cup after cup from my sink to the machine. The KitchenAid Semi Automatic effortlessly navigates that little stumbling block by having wheels on the bottom. I can just pull the machine away from the wall, turn it sideways, and fully remove the water tank.

I initially worried the machine would be too slippery with wheels, making it hard to tighten the portafilter into place without the whole thing sliding all the time. Thankfully, the wheels are smooth but they do require a little muscle to move—a good thing. To twist the portafilter in place, you still have to brace it with one hand, but you typically have to do that with small espresso machines anyway.

The wheels also make it so much easier to clean under and behind the machine. I’m currently testing another espresso machine on my other countertop, and it’s so heavy that moving it to clean up any spilled grounds or ultrafine coffee dust that’s accumulated behind the machine is a huge pain. A literal pain, given my chronic back issues.

Whisper Quiet

This KitchenAid machine features a certification from Quiet Mark, meaning it’s been tested to ensure it’s as quiet as possible (there’s a cute little Q sticker on the front of the machine). I was skeptical because even quiet grinders can get pretty loud. I was wrong. This Semi Automatic just might be the quietest espresso machine I’ve ever tested.

Grinding the beans produces only a little mechanical whirr sound. It’s quiet enough that you can continue to have a conversation while it grinds—a test every other grinder that’s come through my kitchen has failed, even the quiet ones. The grinder is also remarkably consistent. It produces grounds fine enough for espresso and coarse enough for other brewing methods. I think it can fully replace a countertop coffee grinder, no matter what kind of other coffee you like brewing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *