There's no better way to start the day than with a piping hot cup of coffee. But when instant just won't cut it and you really don't fancy trekking to your local coffee house, a pod coffee machine can offer a delicious and convenient alternative that tastes positively professional, and is no doubt better value for money! Around an estimated 30% of Brits now own a pod machine, and it's not hard to see why.
They're smaller and faster than other home use machines, with almost unlimited options from an americano or cappuccino to a decaf flat white. In this article, we'll compare select models on Amazon, eBay and John Lewis from market leaders like Nespresso, Tassimo and Nescafé Dolce Gusto to bring you the best-rated machines. We've got options with milk steamers, budget buys under £50 and models compatible with reusable pods, so get browsing!
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The number of different pod coffee machines on the market has steadily increased over the last few years, which means there are more options than ever to choose from! In this guide, we go over the top things to look for when shopping for one online.
While pod machines are generally some of the smallest coffee makers on the market, they're not all the same size. Most are around 20 x 20 x 30 cm, but others can be a little bulkier.
You won't want to wait until you unbox it to discover your chosen model is a bit too tall or deep for your space, so always check the dimensions before buying to make sure it will fit comfortably, whether you envisage it on your countertop, side table, or elsewhere.
Pod coffee machines store water inside a refillable tank. Make sure your chosen pod machine has an adequately-sized tank to avoid constant refilling.
If you’re a daily, or multiple times per day, coffee drinker, a machine with a tank size of around 0.6 litres (unusually brands use this unit instead of millilitres!) should be sufficient for one to two people.
If you need a machine that can serve multiple cups daily, for instance in a big household or office, look for a larger tank size of 1 litre or above.
'Bar pressure' refers to the unit of force used to measure the amount of pressure the machine uses to pump water through the pod. Fact of the day: the word 'bar' in this case is an abbreviation of the Greek word baros, meaning weight.
It’s generally agreed that for the perfect espresso, a machine should have 9 bar of pressure. However, unlike professional machines, pod machines aren’t able to maintain the same pressure from pump to spout. To compensate for this, pod machines will have a higher bar pressure. As a rule of thumb, try to look for pod machines with a water pressure of around 15 or 19 bar to get the best results.
That being said, you don't need to write off all machines under 15 bar entirely. Some have water pressure as low as 3 bar and are still able to make fantastic coffee. While low water pressure machines may not be the best choice for espresso, they are perfectly suitable for an americano, tea or hot chocolate.
Pod coffee machines are rarely universal, and some models or brands will only be compatible with certain pods. Before making your final decision find out what pods your coffee machine takes.
If you like a lot of variation, look for machines that have a wide range of different pods available for you to try. Equally, if you are partial to specific beverages, check to make sure there are pods of your favourites that will work with your chosen machine.
It's not just the type of pods available that determine the style of drinks your machine can make! Many machines will let you adjust the temperature and size of your drink to get the proper amount of water for your espresso or americano.
If you like milky drinks, look for machines that come with a milk steamer or frother. For the ultimate in coffee convenience, go for an integrated tank or frothing head that automatically prepares the milk of your choice to deliver velvety foamed milk right into your cup!
They may be convenient, but the downside of using pods is that they end up producing a lot of packaging waste. If you are considering buying a pod coffee machine and this is an issue that concerns you, look for machines that are compatible with recyclable or reusable pods.
Reusable pods are usually made of plastic or metal, and can be cleaned out and refilled with your favourite ground coffee after each use. Be aware that you will need to clean and refill these pods yourself, and always make sure the ones you buy are compatible with your specific model of pod coffee machine.
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CitiZ & Milk Coffee Machine｜11317
A Top Choice for Barista-Style Pod Coffee at Home
A Modo Mio Desea Coffee Machine｜ 18000390
The Best Machine for Epic Drink Customisation
Tassimo Vivy Coffee Machine ｜ TAS1402GB
A Streamlined Machine for Effortless Brewing
Nescafé Dolce Gusto Genio S Plus｜EDG315.B
A Touch Operated Pod Coffee Machine With an Innovative Design
Essenza Mini Coffee Machine｜ 11366
A User-Friendly Mini Coffee Pod Machine
A Modo Mio Jolie Plus Coffee Machine
Perfect the Smoothest Espresso
Tassimo Happy Coffee Machine｜TAS1002GB
Instant Water Heating for Preparing Multiple Hot Drinks
Lattissima Touch Coffee Machine｜ EN560.W
Choose From 6 Coffee Recipes at the Touch of a Button
Tassimo Suny Coffee Machine ｜ TAS3202GB
Save Time With Easy Automatic Brewing and Descaling
Nescafé Dolce Gusto Jovia
Bargain Hunters Should Look at This Machine
The Nespresso CitiZ & Milk is the upgraded older sibling of the Essenza Mini. One of the best fully automated machines for barista-style pod coffee at home, the integrated Aeroccino milk frother lets users create the perfect macchiato or cappuccino at the touch of a button.
Best of all, when you purchase this machine from Amazon or John Lewis Nespresso generously include a sample pack of 14 pods to get you started, including their signature roast, decaf and vanilla-flavour roast. And it's compatible with reusable pods. What more could you want?
The Lavazza A Modo Mio Desea is the pod machine for those who love to customise their drinks. It comes with optional heat settings, three different pre-programmed coffee doses and a free dose setting that lets you take control of the strength and temperature of your drink.
In the mood for a latte? This machine has five different milk recipes to choose from! To save on space, there is no separate milk frothing jug. Instead, just swap out the spout with the milk frother head and pour milk to the level indicated on the glass mug that comes included.
The Bosch Tassimo Vivy combines some of the best features of the Suny and the Happy to bring you a fantastic coffee pod machine to complement any space. It offers one button operation, a generous 0.7 litre water tank and automatic cleaning, all inside a streamlined case.
While this one won’t be particularly suited to those who like to customise their drinks, it's nonetheless another good option for those seeking a machine that’s simple to use without any overly complicated features.
One of the most innovative designs out there, the Nescafé Dolce Gusto Genio S Plus looks less like a coffee machine and more like a work of art. If you’re looking for a pod machine to complement modern home décor, this may be the one for you.
Looks aside, the digital touch screen and discrete pod mechanism make this machine almost deceptively straightforward to use. Surprisingly, it can also hold just under 1 litre of water for minimal refilling with moderate use, and eco-friendly reusable pods can be used.
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is a great choice for those looking for a small and simple to use coffee pod machine. Almost as easy to operate as a kettle, the Essenza Mini heats water to the optimal temperature each time and automatically ejects pods once the cycle is finished.
Despite the lack of user options, this machine is by no means limited. It’s compatible with the full range of Nespresso pods and gives users the option of two cup sizes for more than enough variation.
Craving an Italian roast, but don’t want the hassle of a traditional espresso machine? The Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus is our top pick for espresso and espresso-based drinks. This machine is not only quiet and elegant in appearance, but uses just the right water temperature and pressure for an exquisite espresso, every time.
While we wouldn’t recommend this one for other hot beverages such as tea or hot chocolate, it does come with an integrated milk frother for making milky coffees like cappuccino and macchiato.
One of the downsides of using a coffee pod machine is waiting between cycles for the water tank to heat up. With the Tassimo Happy, there's no delay between each cup – once a cycle has completed, it’s instantly ready to go again. Which is ideal when preparing hot beverages for multiple people!
This machine utilises one-touch operation, so you won’t have to configure different settings to get the perfect drink. However, to adjust for different cup sizes, you will need to move the drip tray platform up and down manually.
The Nespresso Lattissima Touch comes with six pre-programmed one-touch recipes for effortless coffee making. The intuitive user interface means you simply need to press a button to brew up espresso, lungo, cappuccino, latte, macchiato or hot milk in an instant.
If you like your milk a particular way, you can manually regulate the milk frother to vary the texture and taste. Once you’re done, make sure to detach the milk container and store in the fridge to keep it fresh for your next cup. A splurge, but a worthy one for the features!
The Bosch Tassimo Suny is one of the easiest pod coffee machines to use. Simply pop a Tassimo T-disc in the drawer, press your cup against the SmartStart button between the drip tray and the spout, and enjoy instant brewing in seconds!
This machine is not just a breeze to use, but easy to clean, too. With each purchase of the Tassimo Suny, you will receive a service T-disc pod. Just insert it in the same way as you would a drink pod to activate the automatic descaling process, ensuring crisp and clear-tasting drinks.
While prices do vary, you’ll often be able to find a good deal for the Nescafé Dolce Gusto Jovia online. Despite the size, it’s pretty powerful with 15 bar pump pressure, so you’re sure to get the perfect espresso every time.
We'd say it's a good option for small kitchens and those with limited space, particularly as its unusual elongated alien-egg shape means it's able to hold up to 0.8 litres of water without being too deep or wide.
Pod (or capsule) coffee machines are a type of automatic coffee maker. They are designed to be very quick and simple to use, providing users with top-quality hot coffee within minutes.
So how do they work? First, hermetically-sealed pods containing ground coffee are placed inside the machine, then hot water is passed through the pod to create your fresh coffee of choice. Once the cycle is complete, the used pod can be discarded as you would a teabag.
While there is something romantic about the idea of having an espresso machine in the kitchen, many of us simply don't have time to spend grinding beans and fiddling with a tamper! Pod coffee machines save you time and don't require extra accessories and equipment, keeping them compact and virtually mess-free!
You're in luck! Not only do we have an expert guide to help you find the best coffee pods for your machine, but we've also rustled a couple of ideas for what to nibble with your cup o' Joe, and what to carry it in!
No. 1: Nespresso ｜CitiZ & Milk Coffee Machine｜11317
No. 2: Lavazza ｜A Modo Mio Desea Coffee Machine｜ 18000390
No. 3: Bosch｜Tassimo Vivy Coffee Machine ｜ TAS1402GB
No. 4: De'Longhi｜Nescafé Dolce Gusto Genio S Plus｜EDG315.B
No. 5: Nespresso ｜Essenza Mini Coffee Machine｜ 11366
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