Whether you’re a fan of cappuccino, macchiato, espresso, mocha, ristretto or just plain-old filter coffee, only the very best coffee machines will make you the coffee you want time after time. Thing is, choosing the right machine for you depends not only on your favourite type of coffee, but also on how much time, effort and money you want to invest in the brewing process.
If you’re not quite sure what you’re after, then read on and we’ll quickly run you through the basic types of coffee machine and pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. Scroll down a little further and you’ll find a longer list of our favourite best coffee machines.
Top 10 Best Coffee Machines to Buy in The UK 2021
There are a growing number of great best coffee machines available to home buyers, but the ‘best’ type will largely depend on the kind of coffee connoisseur you are – or hope to be.
1. De’Longhi Magnifica S Bean To Cup Coffee Machine
Coffee connoisseurs swear by bean-to-cup makers (machines which grind coffee beans on the spot for a more intense, richer coffee), but such appliances can cost an eye-watering amount of money.
Thankfully, De Longhi’s Magnifica range is one of the better-value options on the high street. This model lets you adjust everything from the strength of the coffee to the temperature, even if you’re looking to brew two cups at the same time.
Handily, it also lets you use ready-ground coffee — ideal for all caffeine-related emergencies.
2. Morphy Richards Espresso Coffee Machine
Morphy Richard Espresso machine takes ground coffee too, which gives you flexibility and doesn’t limit you to one brand. It has all the essential features on board such as a steam wand and the ability to dispense two espressos at the same time, so you can make a range of coffees from flat whites to cappuccinos and lattes.
At just 17cm wide it’s an unobtrusive design on the worktop, unlike some coffee machines that can often be bulky as well as noisy. It also features a handy cup warmer on top so you can store cups ready for use on board the machine.
You get a tamp spoon to pack your coffee in place and two filters for a small one cup shot and a larger double shot use. We found these slot easily into place and the indicator light comes on to let you know when the machine is ready for use.
Before the first use out of the box you will need to flush water through the system, but we found this process straightforward. The only extra we would have liked in the box would be a milk jug, but we found our own mug worked well as a substitute when frothing milk.
3. De’Longhi Dedica Style Traditional Barista Pump Espresso
De’Longhi makes seriously good-looking coffee machines, and this espresso model backs up its 10/10 reputation. Fairly new to the range, it’s slim enough to slot neatly into smaller kitchens. It pours well-bodied shots with robust crema, but our taster thought the aroma and flavour lacked depth and balance.
The filter basket has a tiresome habit of falling out of the portafilter when you empty it, but the steam wand helped make up for that drawback. It foams milk reliably and the nozzle is well-designed for manoeuvrability, making this appliance one of our top picks for milky coffee drinkers.
4. Gaggia RI9305/11 Brera
The Gaggia Brera is a compact bean-to-cup espresso machine in a stylish, modern design. The Brera is simple to use, and allows easy access to the water tank and coffee ground waste via the front of the machine.
The Brera allows for customisation of your preferred drink. The easy to use controls provide control over the grind of the coffee, the amount of coffee used in each espresso shot, and controlling the length of each shot.
5. Nespresso Gran Lattissima by De’Longhi
This single-serve pod machine can make seven types of coffee with one touch and automatically froths milk. It takes up minimal worktop space and heats up rapidly – in just 47 seconds from cold – before taking a further 17 seconds to produce an espresso.
It pours a rich shot at the correct temperature, with aromatic notes of nutty chocolate, but ours tasted a touch burnt due to over extraction and there was a lot of dripping. Milk of all kinds foams quickly, which latte lovers will appreciate, but the temperature can be patchy.
6. Sage SES990BSS the Oracle Touch Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
If you have the space for it, this is an object of beauty as well as a delight to use. Fully automated, all you have to do is find the option you want on the touchscreen, and let it do its thing. Each drink is customisable in a number of ways: strength, texture of the milk, and temperature. You can even save your preferences with a profile so that each member of the household can easily access them.
This one is perfect if you regularly make lattes and cappuccinos in addition to more basic drinks: the steamer arm produces delightfully smooth foam and you can even brew an espresso and steam milk at the same time to avoid your drink getting cold.
7. Krups XP320840 Opio Steam and Pump
This might not be the most sophisticated of coffee machines in this edit, but it’s great for smaller kitchens that don’t offer up tonnes of work-top space. It’s a ground-coffee espresso machine which makes a smooth, strong and delicious coffee with ample foam on the top. You can also make more than one cup at a time thanks to the 1.5-litre water reservoir.
The coffee machine comes with a coffee tamper for ground beans, a measuring spoon, and its adjustable manual settings mean you can choose exactly how long or short you’d like your drink. Just make sure you stand next to the machine when you’re making your coffee to avoid the cup overflowing.
8. Beko CEP5152B Espresso Coffee Machine
This is Beko’s only espresso coffee machine. It has a simple design with just two settings: steam milk and express coffee. Note that there is no automatic espresso setting, meaning you’ll need to turn the “express coffee” setting off manually after pouring your desired dose.
Happily, it makes technically perfect espressos, producing shot after shot at the correct temperature, each with a thick, robust crema. Our expert taster praised the “nuanced flavours of citrus and dark chocolate”. It steams milk well, with pleasingly fine and velvety bubbles, but there is no milk jug and the nozzle can’t move much as it sits so close to the machine.
9. Jura ENA 8 15314 Bean to Cup Coffee Machine – White
This Swiss-made machine looks beautiful and comes in black, white, brushed silver or a bright glossy red. But it’s not just a pretty face: this machine prepares some serious coffee.
Setting up seems complicated – it requires you to measure your water hardness as a start – but really the machine talks you through it all. Its Bluetooth compatible and makes 1o fresh coffee varieties, all with programmable preferences for temperature, strength and length.
The integrated milk is housed in a removable tank that looks like a glass carafe and is easy to clean, and it produces a seriously impressive foam of perfectly creamy, super-fine bubbles for barista-level latte drinks – all before automatically rinsing itself. The coffee itself is deeply impressive too; they say their grinder has been developed to produce extra-fine grounds for maximum aroma and taste, and after becoming slightly addicted to the Jura macchiato we’d agree. It’s very quiet too.
10. Russell Hobbs Chester Grind and Brew 22000
For a very reasonable price tag, you’ll get a capable machine with the Russell Hobbs Chester Grind and Brew 22000. Whether you want to use beans or ground coffee, you can get a strength and smoothness to suit your taste.
It may not be smart – and may only be suitable for producing black filter coffee – but what it does, it does very well. It’s a great starter coffee machine.
You can keep your coffee warm for up to forty minutes, and schedule the machine to start brewing at a certain time so you have a pot ready and waiting first thing in the morning. The fact that you can’t change the timer once it’s started was a minor annoyance, but it didn’t detract from the fact that this is a reliable coffee maker at a good price point.
How to choose the Best Coffee Machines for you
Coffee machines come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and styles. They can cost anything and there’s something to suit every possible taste. But what’s right for you?
The higher the number of watts a coffee machine has, the faster the water will reach the required temperature.
Machines with this feature will switch off automatically after a certain time if unused; saving energy and helping to keep the machine is good working order.
If you like milk in your coffee then a built-in steam arm or frother will help you create a wider variety of coffees, such as macchiatos, cappuccinos and lattes.
Coffee machine systems that need to heat a large amount of water, such as though used professionally, will usually be fitted with a boiler. Thermoblock heating systems heat water quickly to the optimum temperature for making coffee (90-95 degrees), without overheating and boiling the coffee. They are more commonly found in domestic espresso machines. Water is heated in a metal block with an exterior element. Thermoblock systems can switch between providing hot water and steam.
Ease of use
How much time do you want to spend making your coffee? Pod and capsule machines provide the quickest option. Programmable memory for dispensing and cup sizes with touch buttons are often easier to operate and faster than manual machines. Filter machines, percolators and cafetieres are easy to operate but require time to brew.
Size and weight
Machines vary in size, with capsule machines more likely to be smaller. Consider the space you have on your worktop. If you plan to store your machine inbetween uses be aware that some, such as a bean to cup, can be heavy and not practical to move around.
The best coffee machines can do much more than just brew a cup of coffee. Some of the top coffee makers are programmable, which means that you can program the coffee maker to brew your coffee before you get up in the morning. This feature will help you wake up to fresh coffee and allow you to get your cup of joe before you head out into the world.
Always remember to shop within your price range so that you don’t regret your purchase by overspending. We would recommend that you set a budget and then look for coffee makers that are within your budget so that you can find the perfect coffee maker at the right price.