Looking to upgrade your mornings? These are the best ground coffee machine we’ve tested in the Expert Reviews kitchen
Best Ground Coffee Machine In UK 2021
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 favorite 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 machines and pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses. Scroll down a little further and you’ll find a longer list of our favorite coffee machines at a wider range of prices, including the best manual espresso, bean-to-cup, pod and capsule, and filter coffee machines we’ve ever tested, along with links to our full, in-depth reviews.
What type of machine is right for you?
There are a growing number of great 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. Primarily, it’s a choice between pod coffee machines, filter coffee machines, and bean-to-cup machines.
Pod or capsule machines
Should you want to make coffees with the pods or capsules you’ve seen on supermarket shelves, or promoted by a brooding George Clooney, you’ll need a coffee pod machine.
The pods and capsules themselves tend to be more expensive and less environmentally friendly than ground or instant coffee but, despite this, recent research has found that as many as 17pc of Brits own a coffee pod machine.
Pod or capsule machines are worth the investment if you are regularly in a rush, however, as they heat up quickly and typically brew a range of coffee drinks (and teas!) without hassle or mess.
Most are only compatible with the capsules and pods sold by the machine’s manufacturer, however; if you want to get creative with your coffee, a capsule machine might not be for you.
This is the machine of choice for coffee purists and fans of barista-worthy lattes. Though bean-to-cup machines come at a higher price, they are as fresh as it gets; you simply pour coffee beans into the machine and sit back as they’re whipped into your perfect cup.
The machines use a built-in grinder, many of which come with a variety of settings so you can decide just how fine you would like your beans ground and pour your chosen drink automatically once finished.
Most bean-to-cup machines now include a steam arm so you can froth milk when needed, as well.
Filter coffee machines
For people who aren’t too fussed about coffee creations and prefer a tried and true pick-me-up (or multiple serves of the good stuff), a filter coffee machine is a fantastic option.
Filter coffee machines work by dripping water through ground beans into a warm jug. They’re a bit more time-consuming than other coffee machines, but they do let you brew great-tasting coffee for the whole family in minutes with complete control over the grounds.
An increasing number also lets you set a timer on them, meaning you can prepare your grounds the night before and wake up to freshly-brewed coffee.
There’s something for everyone among our pick of the best coffee machines, from the espresso enthusiast to the cappuccino connoisseur…
1. AeroPress Coffee and Espresso Maker
This cheap-and-cheerful gadget has a cult following among those in the know. Simply place a scoop of your best-loved coffee on the tube, add hot water, stir, then press down with the plunger.
Within 30 seconds you’ll have a smooth cup of coffee (though, admittedly, one without coffee-shop style crema). Cleaning up is easy, and they even come with 350 disposable microfilters, so are relatively low-cost to run.
2. De’Longhi Dedica Style: The best under £200
Looking for a basic espresso machine around the £200 mark? The De’Longhi Dedica Style has reclaimed the top spot. It’s a simple machine with little in the way of frills, but the slimline design means that it squeezes into even the tightest kitchens and it makes a reasonable espresso to boot. It has risen a little in the price – from around £140 to its current £190 – but it’s still very affordable.
Is it perfect? No. You don’t get anywhere near the depth of flavor of even the Sage Bambino Plus, and it’s a million miles from the likes of the Gaggia Classic or pricier Sage machines. If you’re serious about espresso, then you simply need to spend more.
That said, the Dedica is very simple to use. You can bung in supermarket ground coffee or grind the coffee yourself, and the Dedica’s pressurized baskets mean that it’s pretty forgiving if the grind is too coarse or too fine, or when you haven’t got the amounts quite right. The downside is that the results can be rather inconsistent – if you want the very best results from expensive single-origin coffees, then we’d strongly recommend that you spend more.
Key specs – Dimensions (HWD): 330 x 149 x 303mm; Water capacity: 1.1 liters; Cup warmer: Yes; Milk frothing: Manual (steamer wand); Coffee type: Ground
3. Melitta Barista TS Smart
This bean-to-cup coffee machine has a sleek black and stainless-steel and LED touchscreen panel. But don’t be intimidated. The Melitta Barista TS Smart (£800) has intuitive controls and a smartphone app that’s genuinely easy to use, which is really what you want from a coffee machine first thing in the morning.
The machine has space for two cups so you can prepare two coffees at the same time – a particular plus if you wake up feeling like it needs to be a double espresso day. While using a machine like this does limit you to using fresh beans, it can broaden your horizons. Since you aren’t limited to one brand or pod type so you can enjoy drinks from a range of independent roasters. It isn’t the smallest model on the market, however, so if space is tight you may want to take a close look at the dimensions to see it you can spare the room.
It took us under five minutes to set up the Barista TS Smart from the box to the countertop and connect it to its dedicated smartphone app. We simply added water to the tank on the side, poured our favorite beans in the top, plugged it in, and began pairing via Bluetooth. While you can control the machine via its touchscreen display, we found the app a pretty convenient day today.
We enjoyed using the app to make a range of coffees including café crème, espresso, cappuccino, and latte macchiato and we found each coffee came out with a decent amount of crema on top. There’s also a milk froth and hot water setting on board too should you want to make hot chocolates or tea. What we liked most about the app is the way that we could indicate the exact size of our coffee down to the nearest ml, using the onscreen slider. You can choose from up to 21 pre-programmed settings, but the ‘My Coffee’ memory function also allows you and up to seven other people to save your personal coffee preferences.
The milk compartment on the Barista TS Smart is easy to attach onto the machine and is quick to provide warm milk with a thick froth. After use, it automatically offers an ‘Easy cleaning’ feature to rinse through the machine so it’s fresh and ready for your next drink. The underside of the machine also slides out easily so you can empty ground coffee and simply wash the base.
Pros: Quiet bean grind operation; smart app control; one-touch style
Cons: You’ll need space on the worktop to house it
Water capacity: 1.8L | Pressure: 15 bar | Recipes / Settings: 21 | Dimensions: 372 x 259 x 467mm
4. Smeg DCF02SSUK Drip Coffee Machine
If you enjoy the taste of fresh filter coffee in the morning, without too much faff, and want to mix-and-match models for a colorful chic kitchen set-up, then this coffee machine is for you.
What we like
This coffee machine does exactly what is intended: make filter coffee. And the filter coffee is really nice, at that.
When the coffee is made it is easy to clean and maintain the coffee machine, once, like everything you get used to it.
It also comes in a selection of complementary colors. These colors would probably suit other Smeg appliances in the kitchen, more than if you just have this standalone coffee machine, but it’s one (of a few things) we like anyway.
What we don’t like
There’s nothing we especially dislike about this coffee machine, but the set-up is a little fussy with a number of settings to work your way through before you can brew. And the water tank is pretty tricky to fill up, too, particularly if you have it sat on the work surface under some cupboards.
Also, just be mindful NOT to switch off the machine at the plug after each use because all settings will be cleared so you’ll need to run through the set-up process again.
5. 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 flavors 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.
6. Beko CFD6151W Digital Display Sense Filter Coffee Machine
This is a minimalist espresso machine with a simple design. With only two functions – express coffee or froth milk – this Beko model is easy to use. Primarily a ground coffee machine, this model can also take ESE pods. It produces a very good espresso and steams milk well too. It’s a straightforward model that gets the job done.
7. Cafe Du Chateau French Press Coffee Maker (34 oz)
From frothy lattes to your standard cup of coffee, the Cafe Du Chateau French Press Coffee Maker can whip up a wide array of delicious drinks. The item has received glowing reviews online, with customers offering high praise for its versatility, ease of use, and value for money.
After packing the filter with freshly ground coffee beans, you can choose from six different brew sizes, ranging from a single cup to a full carafe. There’s even an option for iced coffee drinks—a feature that sets the Cafe Du Chateau French Press Coffee Maker apart from many other machines. Keep in mind, however, that the item produces a rich coffee concentrate to make specialty drinks, such as lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos, rather than using true espresso.
8. Krups Citiz Red and Milk – Best budget coffee pod machine
Top functions: small kitchen footprint, reasonable price point, and excellent milk frother
We were really impressed by this unassuming model. It’s easy to set up, slim (even with the milk jug attachment), and intuitive. It’s compatible with Nespresso pods (as are many pod machines on the market), and the coffee has an excellent crema. We were most impressed with the milk attachment – it works silently to heat milk to the perfect consistency for making cappuccinos, lattes, or flat whites.
9. Cuisinart Next-Generation Burr Grind & Brew 12-cup DGB-800
CR’s take: If you want a coffee maker that grinds beans right before brewing, check out the Cuisinart Next-Generation Burr Grind & Brew 12-cup DGB-800. In addition to its built-in grinder, you’ll get a permanent filter, water filter, auto-shutoff, programming, and brew-strength control. This model earns solid scores in our tests, and as a group, Cuisinart machines receive an Excellent rating for owner satisfaction in CR’s latest member survey.
10. The NEO, by Flair Espresso
Manual espresso makers like the Flair Espresso are not only affordable, they offer more control than most budget machines that don’t allow you to adjust temperature or pressure.
Just know this before buying: using the Flair is slightly more time-consuming than making espresso with a machine by about two minutes. And, you’ll still need a grinder. Again, though, if time is a real constraint, you may want to look to pod machines, or perhaps the Breville Barista Pro, which offers a relatively quicker shot.
What to consider to buy a new coffee machine
Before you buy, consider how you want your coffee to be extracted. Choose from bean-to-cup, ground coffee machines and capsule designs. An all-singing bean-to-cup model will grind fresh beans from scratch for example, and in some instances be able to take ground coffee too. Using one of these will no doubt make you appreciate how fresh-tasting and aromatic coffee can be. Machines that solely use ground coffee, however, can be a less expensive alternative and if you buy a drip-filter design with a glass carafe, it gives you the bonus of being able to enjoy bottomless refills.
Then there’s the capsule machine option. These provide a cleaner solution over the mess a bean-to-cup or ground coffee model can make, but they aren’t the greenest option and will mean you’re limited to a particular brand such as Nespresso or Dolce Gusto. You’ll also need to explore ways to recycle the used capsules.
It’s also a good idea to consider the functionality of your machine and how flexible you want it to be. Some designs offer pre-sets for ubiquitous favorites such as cappuccino, Americano, and latte, while others offer basic buttons for short and tall espressos. The more sophisticated coffee machines let you personalize a setting to the perfect strength and save it for future use.
You’ll also find machines that offer remote app controls, which comes in particularly useful when you find yourself in a rush to leave the house in the morning – simply set it to make your coffee as soon as you wake up so it’s ready when you’re up, showered, dressed and ready for breakfast. Consider the size of the reservoir too as this will affect how many coffees you can make in one go – if you have a large household for example you may want to invest in a design that can produce more than two coffees in one fill.
Added extras to look for include ergonomic steam wands that produce impressive latte art and help to create milky drinks, and accompanying water filters to help rid any of any impurities in your water supply.
This review was last updated in Feb 2021. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at cupomanble.com