How to pick the right coffee machine for you
Coffee's been making mornings more palatable since the 15th century, and in the intervening 500 years the humble coffee bean has spawned forth a huge range of different coffee-based drinks. But whether you're a fan of cappuccino or macchiato, espresso or flat white, there's a coffee machine out there that'll make you the coffee you want every time – and here you'll find nothing but the best coffee machines Expert Reviews have ever tested.
The first question you need to ask yourself is: do you want a manual espresso machine for coffee-shop style creations, or, do you want a filter machine that provides a hot coffee that's always on the go? Here you’ll find a variety of the best coffee machines available to buy in the UK right now. All have been split into categories, to suit all needs and all budgets. Want more out of your coffee? Check out my best coffee accessories.
If you're not quite sure what you're after, read this full and in-depth coffee machine buying guide. It will take you through everything that you need to know about buying the perfect coffee machine that suits your needs.
How to choose the best coffee machine for you
- For full flexibility to create the types of drink that you like, then the best option is a manual espresso machine, which is similar to the ones used in coffee shops.
- If that all sounds like a bit too much work, but you still like the idea of using coffee beans, then a bean-to-cup machine is the right choice, as it grinds and pours coffee automatically.
- Looking for proper coffee but still want convenience? Opt for a capsule machine: they cost more per coffee, but are really easy to use and create virtually no mess.
- Finally, if you just want plain and simple coffee to fill a mug, a filter coffee machine will do the job for you.
Best coffee machines: Manual espresso machines
1. Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Dual Boiler: The best manual espresso machine
The Dual Boiler from Sage by Heston Blumenthal is a serious machine aimed at people who want the full coffee shop experience at home. It's exceptionally well made, has industrial-quality components and dual-boilers so you can steam milk and pour espresso at the same time. More importantly it delivers absolutely amazing coffee. It's expensive, but for the real enthusiast it is the best.
2. De'Longhi Scultura Coffee Machine
If you want great coffee from a machine that looks brilliant, the shiny metal De'Longhi Scultura is the machine for you. Simple operation coupled with perfect water flow make it easy to produce a great shot of espresso at the right temperature. With a tap to control steam, milk drinks are simple, too.
3. Philips Saeco Poemia
If you want espresso on a budget, the brightly-coloured Philips Saeco Poemia is the machine for you. It's neat and compact, and produces a decent, if not a little frothy, shot of espresso. With a long wand for steaming milk, this is a great choice for anyone on a tight budget. If you want to spend a little more, the Gaggia Gran Prestige is the same machine, but made of metal.
Best coffee machine: Bean-to-cup
1. Melitta Caffeo Barista TS: The best bean-to-cup machine
If you want the best bean-to-cup machine, the Melitta Caffeo Barista TS comes highly recommended. I've always been a firm believer that manual machines give you more control and the best quality coffee, but I'm happy to say that this machine has beaten all of my expectations and produces exceptional coffee that's every bit as good (if not better) than from a manual machine. As well as regular espresso and long drinks, the Caffeo Barista can automatically steam and pour milk for perfect cappucinos and lattes: all available from the touch of a button. With two bean hoppers, so you can have a variety of coffee on the go, user profiles that members of your house can tweak to get coffee the way they want it and incredibly simple maintenance, this really is the kind of automatic machines.
2. Krups EA850B
If you want an espresso machine that can do absolutely everything brilliantly, look no further than the Krups EA850B. It might be one of the most expensive bean-to-cup machines, but it can pour you an espresso, cappuccino and latte automatically. Excellent results for all types of drinks makes this a triumph of quality and convenience.
3. Melitta Caffeo Varianza CSP
The little brother of the Caffeo Barista TS (see above), this fully automatic bean-to-cup might not quite have the same range of features or flexibility, but it does produce the most important thing: excellent coffee. From excellent espresso that's the equal to the best manual machines, to longer drinks with fluffy textured milk poured automatically, the Varianza CSP does everything exceptionally well. It's neat and compact, excellent value and easy to maintain. Simply put, at this price, nothing else comes close for quality.
4. Gaggia Brera
Finished in metal, the Gaggia Brera looks fantastic and every bit the high-end beans-to-cup machine. It definitely has a classy air to it, which means it will look great wherever you put it. It pours near-perfect shots of espresso automatically, although you have to manually steam milk for drinks. Fortunately, this dual-boiler machine is always ready for coffee and milk.
5. Gaggia Naviglio
Gaggia has come back with a bang, with this top bean-to-cup machine. Although it's comparatively cheap, it produces excellent espresso and I only needed to adjust it slightly to get the best taste. With a manual steam wand, you can froth milk in a jug and make excellent milk-based drinks, such as a latte or cappucino. At this price, it's hard to beat and you have to spend a chunk more money before you start getting truly better results.
Best coffee machine: Capsule machines
1. De'Longhi Lattissima Pro: The best Nespresso machine
There's no simpler way to put it, the De'Longhi Lattissima Pro is the best counter-top Nespresso machine that we have ever tested. It's also one of the most versatile, capable of making simple Espresso and milk-based drinks automatically. It looks fantastic, produces great-tasting coffee - what more could you want?
2. Krups Inissia
The Krups Inissia is the new entry-level Nespresso machine. To keep the price down, it's made from plastic, but you shouldn't let this put you off. It looks gorgeous and comes in a range of bright colours to suit any room. The one thing it doesn't do is steam milk automatically, although you can buy an Aeroccino 3 frother separately. At this price, this is a great introduction to real coffee.
Best coffee machine: Filter coffee machines
1. Melitta Aroma Elegance Therm Deluxe
If you want the best quality filter coffee, the Melitta Aroma Elegance Therm Deluxe is the machine for you. It's extremely easy to use, has a removable water reservoir for easy filling and, most importantly, it produces excellent coffee with no hassle. Thanks to its use of paper filters, you get the best quality and the opportunity to tweak flavour by changing papers.
This machine dispenses coffee into a thermal jug, which keeps your coffee hot without constantly heating it and ruining the taste.
Finally, with a clock and timer controls on the front, you can quickly set your coffee to start brewing at a time that suits you.
2. Melitta Look Timer
High-quality coffee doesn't have to be expensive, as the Melitta Look Timer shows. Despite its reasonable price, this is one of the best filter machines that you can buy.
It takes paper filters, which ensures fresh-tasting coffee, while giving you the opportunity to adjust taste by using different types of filter. Next, it's solidly built, delivering excellent tasting coffee: there's even a dial to adjust the strength and flavour of your coffee.
A glass jug takes the coffee, while a hotplate keeps it warm if you can't drink it all in one go: don't keep the coffee on here for too long, as the flavour starts to change.