Coffee Machines – A Complete Buying Guide

Is there anything better than the aroma of freshly brewed coffee? A morning essential for many of us, the experience of enjoying an expertly crafted coffee is no longer limited to your local café.

Whether you love a rich espresso or a silky latte, the best home coffee machines prepare your perfect cup whenever you want it.

If you have decided to incorporate a coffee machine into your kitchen, it can be difficult to choose the right machine for your lifestyle. From built-in coffee machines integrated into your kitchen design to easy coffee pod machines, there is a wide range of styles and types to choose from. Whatever your requirements, this guide is designed to help you choose the best coffee machine to suit you and your kitchen.

Comparing the different types of coffee machines

When choosing the best home coffee machine, it’s useful to compare all the different features and functionalities for the types of coffee machines available.

Remember that even within the coffee machine categories, the features of your chosen coffee machine could vary between brands and styles. Some coffee machines will include multiple functionalities to make your system even more convenient (for example, some espresso makers can be used with pods as well as coffee grounds). It will be important to do your research to ensure you find the perfect machine to meet your requirements.

Coffee pod machine

Filter coffee machines

Espresso makers

Bean-to-cup
coffee machines

Ease of use

Simple

Somewhat simple

Somewhat complex

Complex

Cost of machine

£50-150

£20-100

£100-200

£200+

Cost per use

20-40p

8-10p

8-10p

10-20p

Type of drinks

Milk-based and black coffee

Black coffee

Espresso and milk-based (with milk frother)

Espresso and milk-based (with milk frother)

Size

Compact

Small

Large

Large

Coffee type

Pods

Ground

Ground

Beans

Coffee pod machine

Filter coffee machines

Ease of use

Simple

Somewhat simple

Cost of machine

£50-150

£20-100

Cost per use

20-40p

8-10p

Type of drinks

Milk-based and black coffee

Black coffee

Size

Compact

Small

Coffee type

Pods

Ground

Espresso makers

Bean-to-cup
coffee machines

Ease of use

Somewhat complex

Complex

Cost of machine

£100-200

£200+

Cost per use

8-10p

10-20p

Type of drinks

Espresso and milk-based (with milk frother)

Espresso and milk-based (with milk frother)

Size

Large

Large

Coffee type

Ground

Beans

Coffee pod machines

Coffee pod machines are a great choice for those that want an easy coffee maker system. They’re also a good option for those that enjoy speciality and flavoured coffees.

In this system, you simply add the pod you want to use and press a button to begin. The best coffee pod machines offer plenty of variety in terms of taste, flavour and design.

Pros:

  • Fast and easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Compact
  • Variety of coffees and flavourings available

Cons:

  • Limited to coffee pods available
  • Can be expensive to buy pods
  • One cup of coffee made at a time
  • Not all coffee pods can be recycled

Bean-to-cup coffee machines

Perhaps the most superior coffee machine choice, bean-to-cup coffee machines, give you complete control over the preparation process.

These are coffee machines with grinders, meaning your system will grind your chosen beans, pack the grounds and force water through to deliver a professional-tasting espresso. Many of these machines will include a milk frother too, ensuring you can easily create your favourite drinks at home.

It’s worth bearing in mind that you can buy integrated bean-to-cup coffee machines too. These built-in coffee machines are ideal for those that want a seamless design in their kitchen space.

Pros:

  • Professional and fresh taste
  • Convenient, as you don’t have to grind the beans yourself
  • Can make a variety of drinks
  • Built-in options available

Cons:

  • A little more complicated to use
  • More expensive than other pod machines

Espresso Makers

Whether you love the bold taste of a small espresso or want to use expertly brewed espressos in your cappuccino, these coffee machines are a premium choice for coffee lovers.

With this system, water is heated to the optimum temperature and pushed through ground coffee to produce a rich espresso. If you’re looking for a coffee machine with a milk frother, you’ll be pleased to know that a lot of espresso makers have this functionality too.

Pros:

  • High-quality taste
  • Cost-per-use can be less than other machines
  • Flexibility to choose your own coffee

Cons:

  • A little more complicated to use
  • More expensive than coffee pod machines
  • Only makes espresso

Filter coffee machines

Filter coffee machines are a great option for those that enjoy black coffee or those that want the flexibility to add their own flavourings after brewing.

By using a filter system, water is infused by dripping through ground coffee. It is then filtered into a carafe ready for serving. Many filter coffee machines also include a hot plate, which will keep your beverage warm until you’re ready to enjoy it. 

Pros:

  • Fast and easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Makes a large amount of coffee

Cons:

  • Needs to be cleaned regularly
  • Only makes black coffee

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR COFFEE MACHINE

As well as thinking about the type of coffee machine you want to incorporate into your kitchen space, it’s important to think about additional functionalities you may want from your coffee system. These will impact on how you use your machine, how your coffee tastes, and how your coffee machine fits in with your overall aesthetics.

Size and weight

Depending on whether you intend to store your coffee machine or have it on display, the size and weight of your chosen system is an important consideration. Larger machines can take up valuable worktop space, so it could be worth choosing an integrated coffee machine instead.

Water tank capacity

From coffee pod machines to bean to cup machines, many systems have a water tank attached. With this in mind, think about how many cups you are likely to make in one sitting. Larger water tanks may allow you to make multiple brews without the need to refill.

Steam arm

A coffee machine with a milk frother is a must-have addition if you wish to create milk-based coffees like lattes, macchiatos or cappuccinos. Some machines also have an in-built milk frothing function, which may be worth considering too for convenience.

Heating system

For the perfect cup, water needs to be heated to the optimum temperature to avoid your brew tasting bitter. If you want the most professional tasting coffee, choose machines that include thermoblock technology.

Bar pressure

As well as the heating system, bar pressure is an important consideration too. To ensure the best flavour, choose a coffee machine that has between 9 and 15 bar pressure.

Smart technology

The best home coffee machines don’t just create delicious coffee. They have additional functions to ensure the preparation process is as simple and intuitive as possible. For example, some coffee machines have a memory function that recreates your favourite drinks at the touch of a button.

Design

Whether you have a contemporary or traditional kitchen, the design of your home coffee machine is just as important as its functionality. Choose a built-in coffee machine for a seamless look or select a design that blends with and complements your kitchen design.

Maintenance and cleaning

Whichever coffee machine you choose, it is important to remember that your system will require regular cleaning to ensure it runs smoothly. With this in mind, you may wish to research how easy your chosen machine is to clean before your purchase. Some just require a simple rinse to maintain good condition whereas others may be more complicated to clean. For a low maintenance choice, some of the best coffee machines include auto-clean technology.

Add luxury to your space

Whether you want to make the perfect morning pick-me-up or would love to create barista-style coffees at home, investing in a coffee machine is the ideal way to bring a touch of luxury to your kitchen space. From easy-to-use coffee pod machines to professional bean-to-cup coffee machines, there are plenty of models to choose from to suit every lifestyle. Find yours in our range of exquisite integrated coffee machines.