Time to upgrade from your cafetière or Moka pot? These days it's easier than ever to make delicious cafè-style coffee at home, with hundreds of different coffee-making machines on the market to suit every budget and lifestyle. From machines with grinders and milk frothers to perfect your latte art, pod capsules for convenience lovers and barista-inspired models for an authentic bean-to-cup espresso, we really are spoilt for choice!
In this article, we discuss how to decipher which machine is best for your kitchen needs, whether you want to spend under £100, under £200, or splurge on a high-end treat. Read on to check out our top 10 ranking of the top automatic coffee machines available online from Amazon, eBay and John Lewis, featuring all the big-hitting (yet affordable!) brands like Nespresso Dolce Gusto, Tassimo, Krups, De'Longhi and Lavazza.
Following a decade-long career as a designer/art director in the fashion and beauty industry, I found my new calling in a coffee shop in Japan, where I met my husband who is a barista. We now run a coffee shop together in the countryside. My knowledge and passion for speciality coffee continues to grow, and I enjoy trying new beans and methods every day!
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A versatile choice for both home and professional use, you can serve an espresso as is, or use it as the base for a variety of other drinks such as a cappuccino, latte or macchiato.
Espresso machines require a little bit more skill and effort to operate and maintain, so probably aren’t ideal if you’re looking for a quick and easy cup of coffee. Also, they only use ground coffee, so if you prefer whole coffee beans to pre-ground you’ll need a separate grinder.
When purchasing an espresso machine, you’ll want to keep in mind the maintenance involved. In order to keep the machine in good condition for a long time, it’s a good idea to check your water quality and balance (ex: hardness, scaling, etc). Certain minerals are damaging and can affect the life of the machine.
Bean-to-cup coffee machines come with an in-built grinder to deliver fresh coffee, literally from bean to cup! Many of these machines come fully automated, allowing you to achieve the perfect cup at the touch of a button.
They are usually pretty simple to operate and can often be used with pre-ground coffee if you fancy something different or run out of beans. However, bean-to-cup machines are some of the most expensive, so if you decide on this type be prepared to part with a fair bit of cash.
Since bean-to-cup machines are quite the investment, you’ll want to be sure your coffee beans are in their prime to really get the most bang for your buck. It can be said that the coffee beans’ freshness and quality is the most important factor in brewing a delicious cup of coffee, so you’ll want to slow their deterioration as much as possible.
Temperature and humidity are big culprits for damaging perfectly good beans, so be careful when storing them. Better yet, you can freeze your beans at their prime point in ageing (will vary by bean type) for optimum freshness!
Patience is key when it comes to filtering coffee machines as it can take some time for the cycle to complete. Many models do however offer a capacity of up to 12 cups at a time.
The filter coffee machine is a great and reasonable option for home use. Like any coffee machine, you lose the ability to control, fine-tune, and experiment. But a filter machine is the closest you’ll get to the nuance and complexity of pour-over coffee, without all of the efforts. We personally love the Moccamaster; although a bit expensive, you can enjoy consistently delicious coffee.
Designed to be quick and convenient, ground coffee comes in hermetically sealed pre-portioned pods that you load into the drawer compartment, press a button, and your coffee is ready in seconds! Just remember to check which particular pods are compatible with your chosen machine as not all machines are universal.
Whilst these machines can be relatively inexpensive, the cost of pods can really add up over time. Some may also be concerned with the kitchen waste they produce, although eco-friendly reusable pods are becoming more and more readily available.
Pod coffee machines are recommended for those who are busy and want a quick and easy–yet better than instant–cup of coffee or espresso. Consistency is definitely a merit, but a downside is that you can’t control the amount or temperature quite as freely as other types of machines or methods.
The type of coffee your machine requires will have an impact on its overall freshness, texture and taste. For example, freshly ground beans will produce the most flavourful cup, as once cracked, the longer the ground coffee is exposed to air, the duller the palette becomes.
Grinding your own beans requires extra effort and time, so if you're in a hurry you may prefer to use pre-ground beans instead. They may not be as rich in flavour, but the right grounds – when stored correctly – will still taste delicious.
Coffee pods are designed to be used with pod machines. They come in a wide variety of flavours, and due to their sealing methods, usually have a freshness level somewhere between beans and pre-ground.
Since coffee pods have a fixed amount, you can extract the appropriate coffee and espresso with the flip of a switch. Espresso machines especially require skill and training, so a coffee pod machine allows you to omit detailed techniques such as coffee powder tamping skills, milk steaming, etc. They really maximize your time and effort and are also easy to clean, making them a great choice for busy beginners!
Depending on the type and model, coffee machines can make anywhere from 1-12 cups of coffee at one time. Before making your final decision, check the maximum number of cups the machine can make per cycle.
Machines that are only capable of making one cup at a time are perfectly suitable for serving one or two people, while machines that can make multiple cups simultaneously can be advantageous when entertaining.
Take a look through some of our favourite reusable coffee cups while you're here!
One suggestion if you’re using speciality coffee beans; try brewing the amount of coffee you drink for one day with a coffee machine that can make multiple cups. The flavour of the coffee will change and evolve as it cools, a phenomenon unique to high-quality speciality coffee beans. It’s fun and rewarding to make discoveries like this; you can take notes about different coffee flavours and the methods used to extract them!
Foaming and frothing are techniques used to heat and texturise milk. Heat causes sugars and fats in the milk to break down, making it taste creamier and sweeter. One of the best ways to do this is by using a steamer wand, which channels a jet of pressurised steam into the jug, frothing up the milk to your desired consistency.
Some machines have an in-built milk frother, in the form of a jug or compartment which can be filled with the milk of your choice. Unlike a steamer wand, the milk frother does the hard work for you by perfectly foaming the milk automatically.
Coffee pros, latte-lovers, aspiring baristas and those looking to learn the art of milk foaming may want to seek out coffee machines that come with milk foaming options for variety and convenience.
Check out our milk frothers article too!
Milk-steaming skills are required for professional-looking lattes, cappuccinos, etc. Well-steamed milk has a silky, glittering texture and moderate sweetness. Of course, it’s possible to master on your own by trial and error, but participating in local seminars or workshops is a great way to improve your latte game quickly. If your machine doesn’t have a built-in steamer, there are plenty of affordable options for high-performance frothers available on the market!
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All-in-One Coffee House
3-In-1 Filter Coffee, Espresso and Pod Machine
Arabica Digital Bean to Cup Coffee Machine｜EA811K40
Freshly Brewed Espresso and Latte at Home for Under 8p per Cup
Dinamica Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine｜ECAM350.75.S
Fully Automated Bean-To-Cup Machine With Programmable Recipes
Express Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine｜BES875UK
A Professional Bean-To-Cup Machine for Espresso at Home
Retro Pump Espresso Coffee Machine｜SK22110CN
A Retro-Style Espresso Machine With Steamer Wand
Espresso Coffee Machine
Beginner-Friendly Espresso Machine for an Affordable Price
Tassimo Vivy Coffee Machine｜TAS1402GB
Compact Pod Machine for Busy People
A Modo Mio Desea Coffee Machine
Customisable Pod Machine With 5 Milk Frothing Options
Accents Pour Over Filter Coffee Maker
Large Volume Filter Machine for Parties and Entertaining
EPOS Coffee Machine
If you can't decide between espresso, filter and pod, why not have all three? The Breville All-in-One Coffee House lets you switch between functions for the perfect brew in any situation or timeframe.
Fancy a barista-style espresso? Simply add your favourite grounds to the double-spout portafilter. Need a steaming pot of coffee to conclude your dinner party? The carafe can hold up to 10 cups of filter coffee to delight your guests. In a hurry? This machine is even compatible with Dolce Gusto espresso pods. We couldn't recommend it more!
If you've made a resolution to save some money this year, the Arabica Digital Bean to Cup coffee machine by Krups can help. Coming in at approximately 8p a cup thanks the use of beans, you can cut down on expensive coffee shop visits without sacrificing your favourites.
Not only is this machine incredibly stylish and compact, but it also comes with a range of easy-to-use features. You can choose the size and intensity of your drink, and select various milk foaming options too. Perfected your latte recipe? Save your favourites for instant access next time!
Want a satisfying, fresh coffee made just the way you like it from your local coffee shop? The De'Longhi Dinamica is a high-tech, fully automated bean-to-cup machine capable of serving up your favourite recipes at the touch of a button!
Prepare up to 13 different classic coffee recipes, or program in your own custom beverages using the intuitive LCD display. Pour fresh beans into the integrated grinder, select your drink of choice, sit back and enjoy.
The Sage Barista Express Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine takes you from bean to cup in under a minute! One for bean enthusiasts, the conical burr grinder has 15 different grind settings for the ideal coarseness whatever the roast.
Although it is on the more expensive end, it's a fantastic option for an at home espresso machine for serious coffee lovers. It's a complete machine that allows for both manual and automatic operation, whilst remaining small enough to fit most kitchens comfortably.
Many of the espresso machines on the market are fairly utilitarian in design, but for those who prefer something with a bit more flair, we recommend the Swan Retro Pump Espresso Coffee Machine. There's even a milk steamer wand included too.
Making a humble 2 cups of coffee per cycle, this machine is great for those living alone or with a partner. It comes in a range of seven different colours to match any home décor, and providing a similar aesthetic quality as a certain other well-known retro-esque kitchen brand at a fraction of the price.
This beginner-friendly espresso machine from Cookworks takes the hard work out of preparing fresh coffee at home. No prior experience is needed, the three-button control panel simplifies the coffee-making process making it accessible to all levels of expertise.
This machine certainly provides value for money, which is somewhat reflected in the build, resulting in it feeling a little lighter and less substantial than other machines. Nevertheless, it's a great compact coffee companion for smaller spaces.
If you’re looking for a simple to use, space-saving pod coffee machine at an affordable price, we highly recommend the Bosch Tassimo Vivy.
The Vivy utilises INTELLIBREW one-touch operation to automatically select the best settings for your drink of choice – simply insert the pod and press start to guarantee the perfect cup every time. When it’s time to clean, insert the included Tassimo service T Disc for self-cleaning and descaling!
If you’d like the drink customisation options of an espresso machine, but would prefer the convenience of coffee pods, the The Lavazza A Modo Mio Desea may well be your match!
This sleek machine has four different pre-programmed coffee recipes, including a free dose setting, temperature controls and five milk frothing options for you to choose from. Better yet, everything comes self-contained in a compact model, leaving behind virtually no mess.
We’ve chosen the Morphy Richards Accents Pour Over Filter Coffee Maker as our top pick for a filter coffee machine. This machine combines coffee making expertise with smart features, for maximum flavour in each cup.
The pour over shower head and reusable cupcake filter are designed to encourage even water coverage, preventing under-extraction of oils and flavours from the coffee grounds. You can even tailor the coffee to your taste using the strength selection feature. Don’t have time to wait around in the morning? Set the smart timer to wake up to the delicious smell of hot coffee!
No. 1: Breville ｜All-in-One Coffee House
No. 2: Krups ｜Arabica Digital Bean to Cup Coffee Machine｜EA811K40
No. 3: De'Longhi ｜Dinamica Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine｜ECAM350.75.S
No. 4: Sage Barista ｜Express Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine｜BES875UK
No. 5: Swan ｜Retro Pump Espresso Coffee Machine｜SK22110CN
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