Best Coffee Machine Reviews

De'Longhi Magnifica Bean to Cup Coffee Machine ESAM4200

Coffee drinking and crafting continues to evolve (or perhaps devolve), with the hipster crowd favouring a more organic, hands-on coffee-making experience. We are seeing the rise in popularity of older, more traditional techniques such as Turkish coffee, pour over and vacuum style coffee makers. At the other end of the spectrum are the hi-tech gadgets that will do all the work for you at the touch of a button.

The internet is full of best coffee machine reviews, featuring dozens of different machines all claiming to do amazing things. It can be overwhelming trying to decipher all the information available. Not to worry: whether you are testing the waters as a newbie to the fine art of coffee making, or wanting to upgrade your existing machine, we have the definitive guide to the various types of coffee gadgets around, as well as the top selling machines currently on offer.

Best Coffee Maker Comparison Table

Different Types of Coffee Machines

There are as many different kinds as there are coffee beans. Coffee lovers today are spoilt for choice, and the sky is the limit when it comes to experimenting with different flavours, grinding techniques, appliances and techniques. The selection on offer can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to producing speciality coffee at home. However, don’t let that deter you. With the help of our demystifying guide, you will be enjoying exquisitely delicious brews at home at the push of a button – or if you prefer a more authentic experience, there are plenty more traditional options available.

Read on to find out what kind of coffee preparation device is best suited to you.

Drip/filter coffee pot

Probably the most well-known, the filter coffee pot is ideal for when you need good coffee on demand. The method of operation involves water slowly dripping through a container full of coffee grinds, then through a paper or permanent filter.

As the hot water flows through the granules, it absorbs their flavour and aroma, and carries that on through to drip down into your coffee pot. They typically yield between 2 and 6 cups of coffee (depending on jug size). And because it sits on a warming plate it’s ideal for busy households or offices, as there will be hot coffee available throughout the day. Drip coffee makers are very affordable and good value, the downside is that often they require more cleaning, brew rather slowly, and don’t provide much variation on the type of coffee you can create, with no room for experimentation.

Pod/capsule machines

These hugely popular single-serve brewers use disposable pods or capsules which have been packed with pre-blended, roasted and ground coffee. On placing the capsule inside the machine, the heated water is forced through the coffee grinds, producing a fully flavoured and aromatic blend (different depending on what capsule you have used). This is a very easy method, with minimal to no cleaning required. Be aware each machine is compatible only with the matching capsules/pods specifically designed for it. Little to no knowledge of the coffee making process is required to make a quality cup of coffee, and these machines offer speed, no fuss cleaning and simple operation. However, bear in mind that refills are more expensive in the long run than buying a bag of beans would be, and you won’t be able to experiment much to tailor the coffee to your own unique style.

French press

French Press Coffee Maker

A fancy name for a quite commonly seen device, a French press is also known as a cafetiere, coffee press, or coffee plunger. Usually made of stainless steel or glass, they are simple to use with no complicated instruction manual needed.

Freshly ground beans and hot water are placed together into the jug. After waiting about 2-4 minutes for the full absorption process to occur you depress the plunger, which acts to separate the coffee grounds from the drinkable coffee, and voila: delicious coffee ready to enjoy.

French presses generally only make between 1 to 3 cups of coffee at a time, but the bonus is that they are portable, so you can take them camping or on holiday - wherever you need your coffee fix! These are great value and allow you to use whatever coffee beans tickle your fancy. When using the press, you’ll need a coarser (larger) grind to prevent seepage through the mesh filter. This coarser grind will also make for a slightly longer brew time.

Stove top

Also known as a Moka pot, espresso pot or macchinetta, these devices are highly popular in Europe and Latin America. They can be used over a flame or an electric range, come in a variety of sizes, and are typically made of aluminium. These produce coffee by using the pressure of steam to force boiling water through the ground coffee. Easy to operate, you simply fill the boiler up with water, add coffee grinds to the filter, and place on a heat source.

The flavor of stove top coffee will vary depending on your bean selection, grinding quality, and the level of heat used. Often thought of as stove-top espresso makers, they are not considered to be true espresso creators by connoisseurs. The reason for this lies in the low pressure (1 to 2 bars) produced in a Moka pot. True espresso is produced at 9 bars of pressure. If you like your coffee strong, with increased caffeine kick and deeper flavors, then this simple device is for you.

Espresso coffee machines

If espresso coffee is your cup of tea (so to speak) then this style of machine is what you’re after. You can easily make barista-style espresso in your own kitchen using pre-ground coffee. Some of these machines even boast a steam arm which you can use to make frothy milk for cappuccinos and lattes.

An espresso machine will look impressive in your kitchen, although will take up a bit more space than the previously described methods. This is the appliance for someone wanting a bit of a challenge. They are harder to use than pod and bean to cup machines, but enable you to have a greater level of control over the finished product.

If you’re after a genuine old-school coffee experience you should invest in one of these bad boys. The cons of investing in an espresso machine are that they are more time consuming than other varieties of coffee machine, will take a bit of practice to master the perfect espresso, and also require regular dismantling for cleaning or descaling with chemicals.

Bean to cup

The name says it all with this machine. With one touch of a button, this intelligent gadget will grind your beans, pack the grinds, and push water through the filter at the selected pressure.

Designed for the true coffee artiste, most of these machines are fully customisable so you can plan your perfect brew down to the smallest detail (or just stick to automatic if you don’t have the patience or time for experimentation). Usually equipped with a steam arm to heat and froth milk, you can make a range of different varieties of coffee. Exceptionally easy to use, (you’d be hard pressed to make a bad cup of coffee using one of these) most are fully automatic. Some of the high-end machines have features such as cup warmers, timers, milk frothers and a variety of fully adjustable settings. Bean to cup machines make very little mess and provide opportunity for a wide range of coffee production. They do tend to be bigger, noisier and more expensive than many of the other options listed here, but as a complete coffee-making system, you are getting all the components you need in one convenient package.

AeroPress

One of the newest, and some say best, things to hit the world of coffee making for quite some time, the AeroPress is hugely popular. With a super-fast brew time of 1-2 minutes, it creates coffee with a thick, rich and complex flavour. Coffee is steeped for less than a minute in hot water, then forced through a filter by pressing the plunger (similar style of operation to a giant syringe). Although akin to the French press style, the differences are that the AeroPress uses a disposable paper filter (which removes most of the grinds so none sneak through), has a shorter brewing time, and uses air pressure to improve the flavour during the extraction process. While only making 1-3 cups per pressing, the coffee produced is super smooth and rich due to the total immersion process of brewing.

The AeroPress is easy to clean (just a quick rinse), light, compact and not fragile in the slightest – so can be used for camping, boating, hiking, whatever floats your boat. It can be used with a wide variety of grinds and has gained an almost cult-like following by coffee fans.

Also Worth Consideration:

Vacuum brewer

A vacuum (or syphon) brewers utilises two chambers and the science of vacuum and vapor pressure to produce coffee. In some parts of the world this kind of device has been used for more than a century. Designs vary, but all produce a delicious concoction using full immersion brewing. The technique can be quite elaborate and fussy, and the process requires close attention and a bit of extra time and effort.

Turkish coffee pot

The Turkish Coffee Pot is also known as an “ibrik”. This small pot holds enough water for one or two cups of coffee. Requiring a watchful eye, and attention to detail, as well as a rather extended brewing process, this traditional style of brewing coffee creates a very strong and full flavored blend.

Pour overs 

There are a number of different styles on the market for this method, which is becoming increasingly popular with coffee enthusiasts and the hipster crowd. Pour overs are a simple, low-tech way to create a delicious, small batch of coffee, providing the home barista with the ability to dictate every different step in the brewing process. Offering more control and an authentic brewing experience, pour over coffee makers are a nice hands-on way to create your favourite drink.

Top 5 Best Coffee Machines

With a huge variety in coffee brewing techniques available, your ideal machine will come down to a matter of personal preference and taste. While some people prefer the challenging science of crafting the perfect brew with a fully adjustable machine, others just want a no-fuss method to create tasty coffee they can grab on their way out the door. To reflect this, our top 5 best coffee makers cover a variety of different machines and methods to help you find the number one in your category of choice.

1. De'Longhi Magnifica Bean to Cup ESAM4200

This stylish and ridiculously talented bean to cup machine is the ultimate in coffee making prowess. With a whopping 15 bar pump pressure you can create invigorating espresso, or use the stainless steel frothing arm to create a range of specialty drinks. With built-in burr grinder, dual boiler system, cup warmer and one-touch operation, you will not find an easier way to create fresh, great tasting coffee all in one compact machine.

The Magnifica is easy to clean (every time you turn the machine on or off it self-rinses), easy to use, and can be operated on automatic (so the perfect heat, pressure, grinding consistency are all pre-selected) or manual, so you can get a bit more hands on with your barista skills! Presented in stylish stainless steel with silver finish, this is an appliance you will want to proudly display in your kitchen.

2. Aerobie AeroPress

This hugely popular and extremely affordable gadget can produce fresh coffee in the same time or less than it takes to make instant coffee. It boasts perfectly smooth coffee every press (with an actual press time of only 20 seconds).

To use, simply place a paper filter in the cap, twist it on to the chamber and place it over your mug. Add your scoops of coffee, fill it with the correct amount of hot water (instructions included), mix for 10 seconds, then depress the plunger. No mess and no fuss, cleaning only involves a quick rinse, and you can take this nifty machine anywhere you require a delicious caffeine boost.

Marketed as a foolproof new way to make perfect coffee with every press, the AeroPress uses air pressure to optimise uniform extraction of flavour.

This technique is so hugely popular, that there is a World AeroPress Championship based around the use of it. The AeroPress is affordable, durable, portable and foolproof, with the only downside being that it can only make one or two cups of coffee at a time. This product is generally rated very highly in all the best coffee maker reviews.  

3. Krups Nescafe Dolce Gusto Melody

Krups Nescafe Dolce Gusto Melody 3

Firstly, this pod/capsule style machine looks just plain cool and would make a modern and interesting addition to any bench top!

Aside from that, this compact gadget has 15 bar pump pressure – as much as any big coffee shop machine (higher bar pressure means coffees are produced with the highly desired “crema” on top). Super easy to use and clean, you can create over 30 varieties of hot and cold drinks with it. Weighing in at only 2.7kgs, with a compact design, the Melody features a milk frother, removable tank and thermo block system.

Ideal for busy people on the go, the three step process is utterly simple: place a pod in the slot, move the lever to hot or cold, stop the water – and your drink is ready. The pods themselves are cleverly designed to regulate the required pressure for each variety of coffee – no tricky calculations needed on your part. 

4. Bosch Tassimo Vivy

This Bosch pod/capsule machine is packed with loads of extra features. Available in a variety of bright colours to suit your décor, it is super compact and light - you could easily take it on holiday with you so you don’t have to forego your favourite brew.

The Tassimo Vivy is fully automatic, simple to use, and ready to go at any time (with no heat-up time necessary). Cleaning is simple, with an inbuilt automatic cleaning and descaling program. For the eco-minded, the Tassimo automatically switches to stand-by mode after every use in order to save energy.

This machine and its associated pods are super hi-tech, and use special barcode technology so your capsules communicate directly with the machine – telling it how much water to use, at what temperature, and for the correct duration to create your desired cup of coffee! You are also spoiled for choice with 36 different Tassimo T Discs pods available, so you’ll never get bored.

5. Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker

Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker

The original Moka Express model was created back in 1933, and was patented by Bialetti (one of the top names in Italian housewares), so this Espresso Maker has a rich heritage and quality history to back up it’s highly ranked performance.

In just minutes, this small jug can produce authentic tasting espresso style coffee. Using an aluminium pot with the patented Bialetti eight-sided shape, the coffee produced is flavour enhanced and rich.

You won’t find it difficult to use; just fill the bottom compartment with water, put ground coffee into the filter, and place on the element or other heat source until the water boils. You’re not just limited to espresso – for an Americano add more water, or for a delicious cappuccino or latte just add hot frothy milk.

Although not considered traditional espresso (because the steam pressure does not reach 9 bars), this great device still delivers no fuss, mouthwatering coffee without any complex fiddling. With a slightly lengthier brew time than some automatic machines can offer, the Moka Express makes up for it by producing quality coffee every time. It is a low maintenance, durable and affordable option. 

Other Quality Coffee Makers

Most of the top coffee-making gadgets are from De’Longhi, Bialetti and the Nescafe pod/capsule machines manufactured by companies such as Bosch and Krups. All of these brands are known to produce quality products. Other brands you can also consider are Jura, Bodum and VonShef (all reviewed on this site).

Bosch Tasimmo T4011

Krups Nescafe Dolce Gusto Oblo 

Bialetti Venus Induction Espresso Maker 

Bodum Chambord French Press

De’Longhi Nescafe Dolce Gusto Melody III 

Things To Consider Before Buying

Ultimately, the best coffee machine for you will depend on a wide variety of factors. You can read all the top rated reviews available, but ultimately you need to consider whether your enjoyment of coffee involves the routine of the creation process or just the end product. For me, the step by step routine every morning of crafting my first cup of coffee is just as soothing and pleasurable as consuming it is. Others may just want a quick, easy and delicious brew on demand.

It’s important to take into account size and weight: something like an espresso or bean to cup machine will be a permanent fixture in your kitchen, and will need a bit of bench space. Smaller devices such as the AeroPress, French press or pour over models can be easily stored in a cupboard.

Every coffee expert will tell you that the two most important factors in brewing quality coffee are the quality of the beans and the freshness. A great cup of coffee heavily depends on using freshly ground beans. Coffee starts to deteriorate (lose its aroma and flavour) as soon as it is ground, so needs to be used straight away post-grinding. If your chosen method of coffee making doesn’t come with a built in grinder, bear in mind that this will be another important purchase for your kitchen.

Think about what style of coffee you prefer, how much you would like to make, and how often you plan on using your machine. This will help inform you as to what kind of appliance is best suited to you.

How An Espresso Machine Works

While all coffee machines/makers perform the same basic function i.e. brew coffee, the electric versions were born out of the traditional Italian espresso machine.

Watch the short video below for an interesting insight into how a traditional coffee machine works.

Conclusion

There are many different aspects that come into play when crafting the perfect coffee: the type of beans used, how they are ground (and how quickly after grinding they are used), the temperature of the water, the brewing time, even something as simple as the temperature of the vessel the coffee is poured into – all of these affect the final product. Being a 'home barista' can involve quite a scientific approach to the process, and it can be hugely satisfying learning about all the different subtle flavours and aromas you can produce. There is no right way or wrong way to make coffee: as long as the final product is something you enjoy then go ahead and use whatever method you enjoy.

Product Images Sourced From Amazon.co.uk

Stephen Richardson
 

Hi there, I’m Stephen Richardson, chief editor at Coffee Caboodle and we believe in sharing our passion for all things coffee.

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