Best Coffee Machine 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Coffee machines are one of the most confusing small appliances to shop for. There are so many different varieties to choose from – each one taking a different form of coffee and producing various flavorful results.

Before you take the plunge and purchase a machine for yourself, think about what kind of drinks you like to drink and how often you plan on using the machine.

Do you like a strong black espresso every morning, or the occasional latte? Do you like to spend some time crafting the perfect brew, or do you want something that’s ready to go in an instant?

Whether you opt for a fancy pod machine, a built-in grinder or a simple no-fuss filter coffee maker, here’s our guide to finding the right option for you.

The Best Coffee Machines – Our Top Picks

Best Bean-To-Cup Coffee Machine: Jura E6
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Jura E6 Bean to Cup Coffee Machine
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  • Capacity: 1.9L
  • Power: 1450 Watt
  • Dimensions: H34 x W29 x D35
  • Variable sizes for your cup
  • Warranty: 2 years
Bed Coffee Pod Machine: NESPRESSO by Krups
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NESPRESSO by Krups Vertuo XN901840 Coffee Machine
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  • Capacity: 1.2L removable tank
  • Power: 1600W
  • Control: button
  • Dimensions: H30 x W21 x D30 cm
  • Weight: 4.92kg
  • Pump Pressure: 19 bar
Best Espresso Machine: Smeg ECF01CRUK
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Smeg ECF01CRUK Espresso Coffee Machine
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  • Capacity: 1L removable tank
  • Power: 1350W
  • Control: Button, Lever
  • Dimensions: H30 x W15 x D33 cm
  • Weight: 4.7kg
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar

Best Bean-To-Cup Coffee Machines

De’Longhi Caffe Corso ESAM2600 Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

With the Caffe Corso ESAM2600, you can bring barista style coffee into your home without stepping outside the front door.

The Compact Reliable Fresh™ technology and integrated burr grinder retain your coffee beans’ aromatic flavour by using less heat when preparing. A handy cup warming feature means your beverage is served at optimum temperature, and the machine can brew two cups at a time.

The self-clean mode and removable brewing unit take the effort out of maintaining even those hard to reach places.

There are 3 pre-programmed coffee settings including a Long Coffee mode so you can modify the placement of the drip tray to adapt to even your tallest mugs and glasses.

If you like your milk extra frothy for your cappuccinos, then this appliance is ideal, and you can choose your exact strength by selecting the amount of water to use. As you use coffee beans, there is no waste produced or plastic pods, so it is an environmentally friendly method of brewing up (and you’ll save a fortune in coffee shop bills).

We like

  • Great professional-tasting coffee
  • Easy cleaning
  • Fast for the quality

We disike

  • Noisy
  • Complicated at first use

Final Verdict

Bean to cup coffee machines bring your favourite professional brew to your kitchen, and this De’Longhi model is the one we feel is best for the job

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.8L removable tank
  • Power: 1350W
  • Control: Button
  • Dimensions: H36 x W28.5 x D37.5cm
  • Weight: 10kg
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar

+ Downloads

De'Longhi Caffe Corso ESAM2600 user manual

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Jura E6 Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

Waking up and smelling the coffee should be something that we enjoy and that’s something that is possible with this easy-to-use Jura coffee machine, not only can you make your favourite coffee but also a cappuccino or Latte Macchiato too.

One thing that strikes buyers is the price, there’s no beating around the bush, this isn’t a cheap and cheerful addition, neither is it supposed to be. This is a new indispensable purchase for the kitchen with its stylish design and high-tech features. If you want the taste of a barista drink from home then this will do more than the trick, it boasts a 15 bar pressure and has an impressive 1450-watt power system.

One nice little touch that we enjoyed is that it has a memory function allowing the personal coffee maker to remember your favourite beverage. This is a cooperative machine that not only knows what you are likely to want but it can vary the size upon your adjustment.

It’s also important to add that it has a removable water tank and an auto clean function ensuring that no residue is left over.

We like

  • It is a powerful machine with complete durability
  • Contains a memory function
  • Removable water tank
  • Nice tasting, aromatic coffee
  • Sleek design

We disike

  • Not priced for small budgets

Final Verdict

The best bean to cup option for serious coffee lovers.

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.9L
  • Power: 1450 Watt
  • Dimensions: H34 x W29 x D35
  • Variable sizes for your cup
  • Warranty: 2 years

+ Downloads

Jura E6 user manual

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Best Coffee Pod Machines

NESPRESSO by Krups Vertuo XN901840 Coffee Machine

Nespresso is a mammoth name in this industry, and their range of products is rated highly by fans of at-home coffee machines.

This Krups Vertuo model uses dedicated Nespresso Vertuoline pods to make Alto (414ml), Mug (230ml), Lungo (150ml) and Espresso (40ml) sized coffee and features automatic capsule blend recognition. Put simply; it applies barcode technology to detect which capsule you are using and blend your coffee seamlessly without you having to do any programming.

The unique Centrifusion™ technology brings together the ground coffee in the pod with hot water at a speed of 7000 rotations per minute, resulting in the perfect layer of foam to complement your chosen coffee type.

Operating the machine is simple; just pick one of the 20+ different pods available and close the lever. The appliance only takes 20-25 seconds to heat up. All used capsules get emptied into a 13-capacity container at the back too, so there is no need to worry about dripping boiling water all over your kitchen floor. They’re also fully recyclable.

The drip tray and reservoir are removable and dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, and there are descaling and cleaning programmes built into the machine. There is also a handy auto switch off feature after 9 minutes, and you can effortlessly check the remaining water levels.

It is heavy for its size compared to other models, so can’t be relocated or stored as easily.

We like

  • Wide choice of capsules
  • Easy cleaning
  • Centrifusion technology

We disike

  • Pods on the expensive side

Final Verdict

A great product for either the introduction of pod coffee, or if it is your preferred method - pretty unbeatable

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.2L removable tank
  • Power: 1600W
  • Control: button
  • Dimensions: H30 x W21 x D30 cm
  • Weight: 4.92kg
  • Pump Pressure: 19 bar

+ Downloads

NESPRESSO by Krups Vertuo XN901840 user manual

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KitchenAid Nespresso Artisan

Pod machines are the dream solution for people who want the luxury of great tasting drinks without making a mess. The process is simple – one vacuum sealed pod per cup. In it goes, out it comes. Job done. Find pods to make all kinds of delicious drinks: not just espresso but cappuccino, hot chocolate, chai latte and many others.

This artisan Nespresso model from KitchenAid is a weighty countertop model that really feels like a quality purchase. It’s quick, easy to load, comes with a tonne of useful features such as emptying and descaling modes, and has a high-shine finish that would complement any kitchen. However you like your coffee – strong as an ox or weak as kitten – you can use one of 6 settings to ensure that it comes out just right. This is convenient, tasty, hot coffee every time you make it, with no hassle. Sounds good to us.

We like

  • Removable reservoir
  • Pods are great quality
  • Great tasting coffee
  • Fantastic aesthetics

We disike

  • No milk functionality – you have to add your own

Final Verdict

Pod Machine For Delicious No-Hassle Coffee-Making

+ Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 1.4 Litres
  • Type: Pod
  • Auto Shutoff: Yes
  • Guarantee: 2 years

+ Downloads

KitchenAid Nespresso Artisan user manual

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Tassimo Vivy II Coffee Machine by Bosch

Their most compact coffee machine to date, the Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2 model uses INTELLIBREW™ technology to identify your chosen capsule and automatically adjusts the amount of water, brewing time and temperature accordingly, ensuring a faultless beverage.

A built-in LED user interface keeps you updated on the status of your appliance, letting you know when the water needs refilling, whether it is in Standby/Automatic/Manual mode or if it needs cleaning and descaling. There is an automatic programme available for the latter two problems.

Innovative heat up technology means there is virtually no waiting time until your machine is ready to go. With over 40 different Tassimo T-Discs available on the market there is something for all the family, including cappuccino, latte macchiato, tea and hot chocolate.

The automatic milk frother will do all the muscle work for you – all you need to do is keep it topped up. The compact size means it will fit almost anywhere in your kitchen and is perfect for those short on space.

This is a great modest machine if you need an introduction into the world of capsule coffee makers. It is somewhat noisy but takes so little time to make the hot drinks that this is hardly a problem. The water tank is on the small side compared to other brands so will need refilling regularly.

We like

  • Compact size
  • Fantastic wide choice of pods
  • All-in-one hot drink maker

We disike

  • Instruction manual could have been clearer
  • Small water tank

Final Verdict

More than just a coffee machine, the Vivy II will make all your favourite hot beverages at the press of a button - saving space in your cupboards

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 0.7L removable tank
  • Power: 1300W
  • Control: Button
  • Dimensions: H24.9 x W16.9 x D29.8cm
  • Weight: 2.4kg
  • Pump Pressure: 3.3 bar

+ Downloads

Tassimo Vivy II Coffee Machine by Bosch user manual

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DOLCE GUSTO by De’Longhi Jovia EDG250.B

This Dolce Gusto model allows you to personalise your hot drinks according to your individual preferences with its semi-automatic Play & Select function.

Just insert your pod, tailor the amount of water according to preferred length, select the hot or cold joystick position and press the power button. The pod lids feature a recommended water amount for guidance and the machine will automatically stop when done. Energy saving, it will switch off after 5 minutes of being left idle.

The Thermoblock heating system ensures your appliance is ready in moments, and beverages made in seconds. Used coffee grinds remain in the capsule for easy, mess-free removal.

The cup stand is adjustable to suit your required cup size and is dishwasher safe for easy maintenance. Different varieties of pods are available from Americano to Chai Tea Latte and they are widely available in supermarkets, meaning you don’t have to plan and order them too far in advance.

De’Longhi is a well-respected brand, and as expected this appliance is stylish, sleek and sturdy.

We like

  • Manual option to tailor your coffee
  • Great value
  • Available in Black, Red & White

We disike

  • No milk frother
  • Back is difficult to take off first few times

Final Verdict

Coffee making doesn't get much easier than this for a quick beverage in the morning

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 0.8L removable tank
  • Power: 1460W
  • Control: Semi-Automatic Play and Select
  • Dimensions: H16.1 x W30.5 x D24.1 cm
  • Weight: 2.5kg
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar

Best Espresso Machines

Smeg ECF01CRUK Espresso Coffee Machine

SMEG produces the ultimate 50’s retro-style appliances, and this espresso machine does not disappoint.

Its Thermoblock technology keeps the hot water at the optimum temperature to preserve flavour, and there’s an adjustable milk frother to give your drinks the perfect creamy finish. Some machines struggle to foam alternative milk varieties such as coconut, almond or soya due to their more dilute and thinner consistency, but the Smeg Espresso coffee machine handles it expertly.

It is compact despite its efficiency so will not look out of place or take up much room in any kitchen. It is also available in cream, black, pastel blue or red; just the thing if you want something colourful as opposed to the general stainless-steel/black designs.

All parts are easy to take apart and reassemble so cleaning is of insignificant effort. It also prompts you when you need to use the built-in descale setting for easy maintenance. With its Cappuccino System, steam, air and milk are whipped together to produce the perfect creamy froth for your cappuccinos.

The instructions included with the product are also the best out of all our selection, detailing how to make your first espresso to editing the settings and everything in-between. So, whether you are a seasoned coffee creator or want to make the jump from instant cup to a machine, using this machine is not dependent on skill levels. There’s a flow stop function so you can select your ideal coffee length, too.

We like

  • Easy to clean
  • Great instructions included
  • Two-cup function
  • Memory function

We disike

  • Doesn’t come with a metal jug for milk steaming
  • Smallest water tank of all non-pod machines

Final Verdict

It's not only pretty good function-wise, but if you're after the perfect retro, iconic classic look it ticks all the boxes here too. Best enjoyed when paired with the other Smeg appliances

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 1L removable tank
  • Power: 1350W
  • Control: Button, Lever
  • Dimensions: H30 x W15 x D33 cm
  • Weight: 4.7kg
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar

+ Downloads

Smeg ECF01CRUK user manual

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De’Longhi EC685

This pump espresso coffee machine from De’Longhi is sleek and minimalistic in appearance, however with an adjustable steam frother and an impressive heat up time of just 30 seconds, this appliance is perfect for those rushed mornings when waiting isn’t an option.

We love that this machine is suitable for both coffee pods and grounds, making it incredibly versatile and giving you the option to create your own special brews. However, our favourite feature of this machine is undoubtedly the cup warmer, which means your coffee is being made in a warm mug, and so it will stay hotter for longer.

We like

  • Fast heat up time
  • Use pods or grounds
  • Integrated manual milk frother
  • Cup warmer

We disike

  • Instructions a little unclear

Final Verdict

A good all-rounder perfect for even the most rushed kitchens

+ Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 1.1 L
  • Pressure: 15 bar
  • Type: Grounds or Pods
  • Guarantee: 2 Years

+ Downloads

De’Longhi EC685 user manual

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Lavazza A Modo Mio Magia LM6000 Espresso Maker

Espresso Maker For Strong Black Coffee

A dedicated espresso maker is a highly flexible purchase when it comes to coffee machines, allowing you to create very strong, barista-style drinks using a range of pods. This style of maker is a great purchase for somebody who really gets into the art of coffee making and achieving that perfect crema.

This highly rated Magia espresso-machine produces a truly amazing cup of espresso. If a strong black Americano is just what you need to get you raring to go in the morning, this could be your new best friend.

Made by Lavazza, an Italian brand (and they really know their coffee) it is small, compact and sophisticated. There is a wide variety of different capsules that you can choose from, ideal for espresso and Americano drinkers. The benefit of its Thermoblock technology is that your beverage will always be brewed at just the right temperature, so say goodbye to that burnt taste forever.

We like

  • Auto shutoff
  • Sleek design
  • Effecient design
  • Great tasting drinks

We disike

  • Cream coloured version is much more expensive than the black model

Final Verdict

This Lavazza A Modo Mio Magia espresso maker is well worth the money for the quality of the drinks it produces, with the added benefit of features like auto shutoff, customisable programs and an adjustable drip tray that can go in the dishwasher. This appliance comes highly recommended.

+ Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 1 Litre
  • Pressure: 15 Bar
  • Type: Pod
  • Temperature Settings: 2
  • Auto Shutoff: Yes
  • Guarantee: 2 Years

+ Downloads

Lavazza A Modo Mio Magia LM6000 user manual

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Best Filter Coffee Machines

NINJA CF060UK Coffee Bar

With 5 drink programmes (Classic, Rich, Over Ice, Café Forte and Con Latte), this NINJA model provides you with all of the varieties of coffee you will ever need.

Adjust the size and strength of your desired drink for a full tailor-made experience. Its Auto-IQ technology does all the hard work beyond this, drawing the exact amount of water for the size and brew selected.

Use the handy recipe book included to get the full use out of the 5 drinks programmes and provide inspiration, whether you want something intense and full-bodied or over ice once the weather gets hotter.

The delay timer will ensure the appliance starts operating when you need it to and the warming plate will let you wait for a while until you’re ready for a second cup. You can also decide on a setting to make either a mugful, full carafe, half carafe or travel mug amount of coffee, making it totally versatile for your needs.

There’s also a separate milk micro-frothing setting and mug included, which is terrific for the price. Cutting down on mess is effortless with the drip stop lever when you’re using the jug.

It does produce a lot of steam as a by-product, however, so is best placed quite openly and not under any kitchen units.

We like

  • Huge range of coffee beans
  • Microfrother for extra-frothy milk

We disike

  • Coffee becomes a lot cooler after half an hour of waiting

Final Verdict

The delay timer makes this product one of the best options for those who cannot risk running out of the door without their cup of coffee first thing

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.35L
  • Power: 1775W
  • Control: Dial & Push Button
  • Dimensions: H37.8 x W27.2 x D26.5 cm
  • Weight: 7kg

+ Downloads

NINJA CF060UK Coffee Bar user manual

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Melitta Optima Timer Filter-Coffee Machine

Filter-Coffee Machine For Easy Black Coffee That Keeps Warm

The appeal of filter-coffee machines is that they are delightfully easy to use and you can make a big pot of coffee all at once, which saves lots of time if you are making coffee for several people – great for work. You can get jugs in all different volumes to suit your need.

There is no need to pre-boil water, you simply pour it into the appliance and it slowly drips through the paper filter filled with grounds to create a big full jug of hot caffeinated loveliness. The jug sits on a hot plate, which is what keeps it warm.

The Melitta Optima Filter-Coffee Machine is one of the top filter options we have found. It’s a modern take on the classic filter-coffee machine design, including useful features such as a timer, water level display and detachable filter unit to make brewing your coffee even easier.

The joy of using a timer is that you can set the machine to start brewing for when you wake up, so the smell wafts deliciously through the house. All you need is water, grounds and the right size filter papers.

We like

  • Not restricted to one brand of coffee
  • Lovely design
  • Easy to use
  • Great functionality
  • Fantastic tasting coffee

We disike

  • Have to replace filters with every use

Final Verdict

While it is slightly more expensive than a bog standard filter-coffee machine, you get what you pay for – a sleek design that creates lovely hot coffee with no mess and no restriction to any one brand of coffee, as is the case with some of the pods. Bonus – grounds are great for the garden.

+ Specifications

  • Tank Capacity: 1.1 Litres
  • Pressure: N/A
  • Type: Ground
  • Features: Thermostatic Hotplate
  • Auto Shutoff: No
  • Manufacturer’s Guarantee: 2 Years

+ Downloads

Melitta Optima user manual

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MELITTA AromaFresh Filter Coffee Machine

Compatible with both beans and ground coffee, your perfect cup can be crafted with the AromaFresh by choosing one of three strength intensity settings. Whether you go for something with a bit of a kick or just want a relaxing warm drink, this machine uses an integrated grounder for a smooth texture.

As a bonus, choose which grinding level you prefer, from fine to coarse, ensuring in a perfect tailor-made cup of coffee. For those who find themselves to be a bit bleary-eyed in the morning, there is an adjustable timer setting – one less thing to worry about while you’re rushing to get ready. The keep-warm function (choose from 20, 40 or 60 minutes) will keep the thermal jug perfectly hot until you’re all set, too.

Either use your dishwasher to keep the glass carafe and filter clean or use the handy brush included for hand washing purposes. Thanks to the LED display, you can see when the machine needs descaling and there’s a convenient indicator of water hardness and calcification.

The transparent water tank and level indicator let you easily see when the water needs topping up and the bean dispenser holds up to 180g of product, which is plenty if you have a full house. It also looks incredibly professional, which is good if you’re conscious of the style of your appliances.

The stainless-steel and glass finish will fit perfectly into any kitchen. The only downside is that it will use all the water in the tank no matter the weight of coffee beans, so you have to bear this in mind when filling both and double-check the water indicator level.

There is no milk function, so you have to add your own after.

We like

  • “Grind-Off” setting for pre-ground coffee
  • Timer and keep warm functions
  • Auto switch off

We disike

  • Uses all the water in the tank
  • No milk frothing option for the price tag

Final Verdict

A really good option if you are a filter coffee fanatic

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 1.25L
  • Power: 1000W
  • Control: Button
  • Dimensions: H44.2 x W25.8 x D23.4 cm
  • Weight: 4.21kg

+ Downloads

MELITTA AromaFresh Filter Coffee Machine user manual

Download

Best Handheld Coffee Machines

Aerobie Aeropress Coffee Maker

No true coffee lover can risk going without when travelling, camping or setting off on a picnic. This revolutionary portable item uses pre-prepared hot water and air pressure to make your perfect cup of coffee on-the-go, using a vacuum/syringe technique.

Simply add a heap of ground coffee, pour over the hot water, steep the coffee for 10-50 seconds depending on preferred intensity and then push down on the plunger to force the liquid through the filter and fill your cup.

It is super easy to clean by just rinsing under water but is also dishwasher safe if you’d like to give it a thorough clean when you get home.

Despite its primary function as a simple yet effective transportable appliance, the Aeropress makes quality coffee that rivals more technical piece of equipment. Ready in just 30 seconds, the coffee produced is fresh, smooth and rich.

It isn’t just loved by those who wish to carry it around; it’s commonly used by many at home or in the office as it is tastier and just as quick as making instant coffee. The use of air pressure results in an incredibly intense flavour without bitterness and acidity.

It is perhaps not ideal for those with weak wrists due to the method of production, but the taste of the coffee produced doesn’t seem to vary depending on the amount of compression which is a bonus.

We like

  • Transportable
  • Great tasting results

We disike

  • Can be very messy
  • Coffee is on the very strong side and hard to modify

Final Verdict

A brilliant invention for those who love to travel or go on holiday, but don't like having to go without their morning brew

+ Specifications

  • Capacity: 0.32L
  • Control: Plunger
  • Dimensions: H29.3 x D10.5 cm
  • Weight: 408g

+ Downloads

Aerobie Aeropress Coffee Maker user manual

Download

Coffee Machine Buying Guide

Size

Size is an important factor to consider when choosing your coffee-machine, if you plan on storing it away some of the time. Unless it’s going to be on the kitchen worktop – in which case it can be as large as you want (within reason) – make sure you opt for a coffee-machine that is small and light enough to fit in one of your kitchen cupboards.

Usability

Some people like their coffee ready quickly, with minimal effort. Others like to put time and effort into crafting the perfect cup. If convenience is your priority, consider opting for a pod machine that does a lot of the hard work for you while still offering a lot of variety.

Wattage

As a general rule: the higher the wattage, the faster your coffee will heat up. If you’re going to be making batches in large quantities, then a high wattage machine – perhaps a filter-coffee machine with a large jug – is going to be the right option for you. If it’s just you and a friend, you can afford to go lower with a machine that will just make the occasional espresso or latte.

Milk froth

Unless you only drink black coffee– espressos or americanos – then you may want to consider looking for a model that either has a steam arm or an integrated milk frothing function. This will give you the ability to make all kinds of drinks that use milk, such as cappuccinos and lattes.

Bar pressure

Bar pressure is what’s responsible for the flavour of your drink. If the bar pressure isn’t powerful enough, you won’t get as strong a flavour. To achieve a great-tasting coffee with a smooth cream on the surface, aim to buy a model with a bar pressure of between 9-15 bars.

Heating

The top models tend to use thermoblock heating systems. The reason is that they heat water only to 90° – the optimal temperature for great coffee – rather than boiling point as you would for a cup of tea. This helps to avoid the horrible burnt taste that results if you heat the water too much. When buying your coffee machine, look for one with a thermoblock heating system.

Auto shutoff

Unless you’re buying a filter model, auto shutoff is a good function to look out for. It shuts down your coffee machine automatically after use if you haven’t touched it for a certain amount of time, which both saves energy and prevents coffee burning. Auto shutoff can be found on most models but not all, so try and find one with this function if you can.