Best Coffee Machine - UK Reviews
Help With Picking The Perfect Coffee Maker for Your Home
This is our detailed guide and review of the best coffee machines on the United Kingdom market right now. You are probably already aware that there are a number of different types of coffee machine, or coffee makers available. Before making any buying decision it is worthwhile taking a little time out to try and understand what the different types of these actually are.
The type that you eventually buy will determine the types of coffee that you can make.
What Brands Make Coffee Machines?
All of the usual kitchen brands make various types of coffee makers. There are also specialist coffee brands and we have included the most popular brands just below.
- Bosch Coffee Machines
- Dolce Gusto Coffee Makers
- De'Longhi Coffee Makers
- Nespresso Coffee Machines
- Jura Coffee Makers and Machines
There are other brands like Aerobie Aeropress, Russell Hobbs, Bialetti, Melitta, Sawn and Kitchen Craft. This of course is always good news for the buyer as it ensures plenty of competition, which does help to keep the prices down. It does however mean that picking the right one for your own personal or home needs can get very confusing. There are so many choices it can get quite bewildering.
The one thing we would highly recommend, before buying any type of coffee machine, is to make yourself aware of the various types of machine that are available on the market, and what type of coffee each of these machine types can actually make. We have shown those below to make that a little easier to fully understand.
The Different Types of Coffee Machine Available In the UK
Below I have listed the different types along with a brief description of each different maker. You will then find a link that will take you to a page that goes into each in a lot more detail of the particular type of coffee machine and with a Top 5 list, where you can find more detailed reviews.
Coffee Capsule Machines Explained
- These are a very popular choice for many UK buyers. Around 20% of all coffee makers bought in the UK are this type of capsule or pod machine. You will hear these referred to by slightly different names, either capsule, disc or pod.
- You find these in many hotels, Guest Houses and B&Bs as they are convenient and a handy way of making great tasting coffee.
- Two brands dominate the UK market for these and they are the Bosch Tassimo and The Nespresso Dolce. Each of these brands has a range of different looking models.
- These can cost between £40-200 depending on the brand, the model number and the features that you want to have. They can make coffee, latte, cappuccino, teas and hot chocolate. They are simple to use as you just have to push one button. Typically they are small and compact.
- Most will have a removable tank which you fill with water. You then add a disc or capsule and push the button to get your coffee. Quite a few of these brands also include a self-cleaning function, which means that your machine is always ready for the next brew.
- These are a popular choice for people who like a quick cup of coffee, are limited for worktop space, and as such are good for apartments, people who live on their own, or for couples.
- They are affordable
- They are very convenient and extremely easy to use
- You can make a variety of coffees - Americano, Cappuccino, Latte etc
- They can also make teas and hot chocolate
- They are easy to clean
- You do have to buy the pods/capsules and that can get expensive
- Can only make one cup at a time (Some models allow 2 cups to be made at one time)
- Restricted to the pods/capsules of the brand of machine that you buy
If you don't have the time to read about those in detail and want a quick answer, then look just below. I have included our recommendation on the best capsule machine, and also on the best pod machine, with some details.
Best Capsule Coffee Machine
- The best selling and most popular choice for a coffee capsule machine is the Nespresso Inissia Coffee Machine, Black by Magimix
- This product has sold in its tens of thousands and is available in black, white or a summer sun colour
- This machine does not take up much room on your work counter
- Simply insert a capsule of your choice and it then has a removable container for emptying
- It heats up really quickly and you coffee is good to go in about 30 seconds
- There are 16 different blends of coffee drink so you should be able to find one that suits your taste.
Best Pod Coffee Machine
- The best selling and most popular choice for a coffee pod machine is the Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2 TAS1402GB Coffee Machine
- This product has sold in its tens of thousands and is an excellent choice for a pod machine
- This is the machine that I keep in my home office and it makes really good coffee, but is also simple to use and to look after.
- You simply have to fill the water tank up, insert a pod of your choice, and then click one button. In around 30 second you have your cup of coffee
- It uses Tassimo T-Discs and they come as espresso, cappuccino, latte macchiato, hot chocolate or tea
Filter Coffee Makers Explained
- These have been around for a very long time and if you like filtered coffee, then these will be the best choice for you. With these you basically can make a pot or carafe of coffee, so ideal if you are serving coffee to a number of people.
- Once brewed it will stay warm, so as you can continue to top up throughout the day
- At the low end these cost about £20. If you want something with more features such as a grinder, built in, a nicer appearance and other such features, then expect to pay about £70-100.
- These machines have improved a lot over the years compared to very basic set-ups when they first came out. The designs and colours available are now are so much better for the kitchen, and they are also faster and a great deal more efficient than they used to be.
- Please note and this is VERY IMPORTANT - these do not make any type of coffee that is based on an espresso shot. Therefore you can not make coffees like Americano, Cappuccino, Latte etc
- Filter coffee is made by flooding hot water over medium sized ground coffee grains. The grains go into a filter, and the water goes into a tank. There the water gets heated and then covers the ground beans in the filter. The coffee then drips down into the carafe below to make your pot of coffee.
- Filter machines do need quite a bit of cleaning after they have been used. You will always need to clean the carafe, and you will always need to clean the permanent filter. Once a month or so, you may also need to descale the machine.
- They are cheap enough to buy
- They make very good filter coffee
- They are simple to use and ideal for entertaining or for larger families
- They are easy to clean but you do have to clean the pot, the filter and the inside of the machine
- They just make filter type coffee
- Most of them have a keep warm feature, but this just keeps the coffee warm and not piping hot
If you don't have the time to read about those in detail and want a quick answer, then look just below. I have included our recommendation on the best filter coffee maker with some details.
Best Filter Coffee Maker
- The best selling and most popular choice for a filter coffee maker is the Melitta Look IV Therm Timer
- Buyers rate this one with a 90% buyer satisfaction rating, and again this is my own filter coffee maker of choice
- It is available in black, white, black/brushed steel and white/brushed steel
- This can make up to 10 large cups (125ml) or 15 small cups (85 ml)
- It also keeps your coffee hot for up to 2 hours
- It also has a timer
- Uses 1 x 4 paper filters and has a descaling program
- Designed in Germany
Espresso/Cappuccino Coffee Machines Explained
- With the espresso machines you are moving into the world of what you will find in cafes and restaurants. These are the most popular type of coffee machine currently available on the Uk market
- Coffee grains are added, and then pushed out under highly pressurised water to make a rich espresso. This pressure is often measured in "bars," and the coffee does taste really good indeed.
- These come in different styles, brands and varieties and on average they cost around £50-£100.
- The price range does vary quite a lot though and these can go all the way up to £250 depending on what you are looking for in a machine. Many of these combine both espresso and cappuccino capabilities.
- The espresso is the basic core coffee that is the basis for most coffee types. These types of machine make an espresso, and from that you can add water to make an Americano, add milk to make lattes etc.
- Most of these will have a wand on the side to froth milk to help make your favourite coffee drinks
- The brands and models vary a lot, as do the range of features on each machine. Bar pressure is very important with these machines.
- They make fantastic espresso, similar to many coffee shops, and that is the basic core ingredient for most popular coffee drinks
- They do open up a whole range of coffee drinks and are great fun to use and experiment with
- You can also try out a wide range of coffee beans with these to see which you like the best
- You can become a really good coffee barista with one of these
- They do take a little knowledge to use properly
- You do need to be patient and get to learn your machine
- The better quality ones can get pretty expensive
- There are a lot to pick from, so making a decision can be difficult
Best Espresso/Cappuccino Coffee Machine
- The best selling and most popular choice for a filter coffee maker is the De'Longhi Dedica Style EC685BK Traditional Pump Espresso Machine
- Buyers rate this one with an 86% buyer satisfaction rating
- It is available in black, white, red and silver
- With a machine like this you can make all your coffee shop favourites at home
- A great choice to make a perfect espresso
- It has an adjustable milk frothing steam device for frothy cappuccino and silky smooth latte
- It also has a hot water delivery for Americanos or herbal tea
- Uses 3 filters including a single, double and ESE compatible filter
Bean to Cup Coffee Machines Explained
- These bean to cup coffee machines are now quickly growing to become the most popular on the market today.
- As the name implies you simply buy the beans of your choosing into the top of the machine, and from there when the machine has finished the process, you have the perfect cup of coffee.
- The reason for that is that these machines also come with a built-in coffee grinder, which grinds the bean freshly, for the ultimate in fresh taste. Now these are more expensive with an average price of around £100-150 for a basic version.
- They do go all the way up to around £350, depending on what other features you like to have.
- All of these machines will have a frothing arm for steam. If you want great tasting coffee of all kinds, then something like this one will be ideal.
- If you can afford one of these, then this is the type you should buy
- I call these the Rolls Royce of coffee machines. They do take some time to learn how they work especially if they have timers and programs. The good news is to make a basic espresso is actually very easy.
- Like the espresso/cappuccino machines there are a lot of these on the market, so making a choice can be difficult enough.
- The only decision you have to make is which type of coffee beans to try - the machine does the rest
- Packed with features such as timers and programs
- Most of these are self-cleaning and have descaling programs built in
- Can make the full range of coffee drinks (not filter)
- They do look pretty amazing in your kitchen
- They do take a little knowledge to use properly
- The menus on these machines can get complex
- The prices will put some people off
- Can make any type of coffee you like except filtered coffee
Best Bean to Cup Machine
- The best selling and most popular choice for a bean to cup is the De'Longhi Caffe' Corso ESAM2800.SB Bean to Cup
- Buyers rate this one with a 90% buyer satisfaction rating
- This is a 15 bar pressure machine with a removable 1.8 L water tank
- It has an electronic steam and coffee thermostat for accurate steam control
- The beans container capacity- 200 gram
- Most importantly it has an integrated professional burr grinder with 7 adjustable coarseness settings
- It also has an advanced boiler system
- The actual brewing unit can be removed for easy cleaning.
- There is also a drip tray and water level indicator
Single Serve Coffee Machines Explained
- These single serve coffee makers are also often referred to as single cup coffee makers. That means that they are ideal for one person, or for two people at the most
- These come in a variety of options. The pod/capsule style that I mentioned already is also classed as a single cup system. However there are other types like the Aeropress
- Many people use these to make a coffee in the morning that they can then take to work or to drink when travelling
- Some people use them on holidays or when they are camping and hiking
- There are a wide variety of these available on the UK market. The prices vary widely depending on the exact model that you want to pick - These vary from around £25 and then up to over £100 depending on the type of machine you want to own.
- It is worth pointing out to you that these do get get "mixed reviews" from buyers, with some buyers loving them, and others hating them. I have only ever tried one and I was not that impressed
- This is a convenient method of making a single cup of coffee
- They are handy when travelling or when out for a day, or for going to work
- Will save you money by not having to buy a coffee in your nearest coffee shop
- There are quite a few different types and they get mixed reviews from real life buyers
- They do take a bit of experimenting with to get the right taste
- They are easy to leave behind or get lost
- Most buyers say the coffee is just OK without being good
Best Single Cup Maker
- The best selling and most popular choice for a single cup or single serve is the Aerobie AeroPress 801701 Coffee Maker
- Buyers rate this one with a 94% buyer satisfaction rating
- This particular style of coffee maker has sold in its tens of thousands as it brews and makes smooth good tasting coffee
- This is a portable coffee maker and that is ideal for camping and holidays
- The actual 'press time' is just 20 seconds
- All buyers do agree that it is also fast to clean as there is no cleaning of any fiddly parts
- Please note this is NOT espresso coffee, as it simply makes a strong short coffee very quickly.
Stove Top Espresso Pots Explained - Manual Coffee Makers
- Another option for making great tasting espresso is the simple but elegant looking stove top espresso maker
- As the name would suggest these sit on top of a hot ring on your stove or cooker
- The lower half of this coffee maker is like a mini boiler. The heat from the cooker boils the water and forces it up through a tube into the coffee grains in the top of the container
- This type of pot really does make excellent espresso.
- There are no fancy gadgets with this to froth milk, no programs and no timers. It is basic in its operation but it is an affordable way of making really good coffee.
- I have a couple of these myself, a small one when it is just for me, and a slightly larger one if I need to make coffee for more than just me.
- These are actually quite fun to use and they do create a lovely aroma in the home. They come in many shapes and styles, and they do come in a range of colours, with the stainless steel versions being the most popular.
- Bialetti is the most popular brand by a very long way, and on average they cost around £15-25 depending on the size, brand and model of the maker
- This is what is used in many Italian homes to make their morning coffee
- It is a very traditional method of making espresso coffee
- The smell and ritual of making the brew is fun
- These are also quick and easy to use.
- They do NOT WORK on induction cookers
- Can not be washed in the dishwasher
- A little bit fiddly to get used to, but that is really all part of the process
Best Stove Top Espresso
- The best selling and most popular choice for a bean to cup is the Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker
- Buyers rate this one with an 88% buyer satisfaction rating
- You can buy this model in different cup sizes that include 1 cup, 2 cup, 4 cup, 9 cup 12 cup and 18 cup
- The pot is made from aluminium and these do last for ages
- They are easy to use and the process is simple. All you need to do is buy some ground beans, like Lavazza Red, and then follow the instructions that come with this pot.
- As soon as the pot boils you will hear a gurgling sound, and that is when you should turn this off the heat. If you leave it on too long, the coffee grains will burn and your coffee will taste very bitter.
Help With Deciding on Which Coffee Machine to Buy
Personally my wife and I have 4 different types of coffee machine in our house. I have to hold my hands up to being the guilty party as I do love my coffee. I also like variety and convenience. I have a Bosch Tassimo pod machine in my home office, a Delonghi Bean to Cup in my kitchen as my main coffee machine, a Melitta filter maker and a Vacuum coffee maker.
For years I only drank filter coffee and those machines have improved a lot over the years. However I wanted what I call a "proper coffee machine" but didn't want to pay the big money for that. I did give in though and got one for Christmas. That lasted about 3 years before I replaced it with my Delonghi.
Now the only reason I am telling you this at all is because the coffee machine or machines that you finally decide upon comes down to three main things:
- Your lifestyle
- Your budget
- Your love of coffee
It is really hard to pick just one good coffee machine for your home. That is especially true if you like different types of coffee. Many coffee lovers like me do end up with a number of machines. My advice would be to consider all three of the choices of lifestyle, budget and how much you love your coffee.
Handy, Quick & Convenient Coffee Option
If you just want great tasting coffee without a great deal of work, I would highly recommend either a capsule or pod machine. They make great tasting coffee and they are really simple to operate. Some of the models are really cool looking and there is very little maintenance with them. The only real disadvantage is that they only work with whichever brand of pods or capsules (discs) that the brand of your machine uses.
You can of course buy a stove top espresso pot. The only drawback with these is that you do have to keep an eye on them. If you are in a hurry in the morning it is all too easy to forget about them. That said they do make excellent espresso and you can then top up with water to make an Americano. That is their limit though, so if you prefer a different type of coffee drink, these will not be for you.
Barista - Loving Your Coffee Option
If you just want the type of coffee that you can get in Starbucks, Costa or your favourite coffee shop, then you need some type of a espresso/cappuccino machine, or a bean to cup machine. I call this taking your coffee drinks to the next level. If you have a grinder then you buy the beans of your choice so as they are always fresh.
Then you grind them to suit your machine (fine grind for an espresso), and then let the machine do the work. With just a few attempts you really do get a great tasting espresso. When you have that, then you can turn that into your own favourite coffee drink, by adding water, milk, froth, cream etc.
The Ultimate Coffee Machine Option
If you just want the best then buy a bean to cup machine. They are not cheap but you will own the Rolls Royce of coffee machines. If you have one of these then it really is a matter of buying some fresh coffee beans. Your machine then does the rest and you simply enjoy the taste.
I know that many people will not be able to afford one of these. Avoid the really cheap versions of these though as they are really bad. The good ones cost around £300-800. I have seen these as cheap as £150, which I know is not really cheap, but the reviews are simply terrible. If you have the money, and you want a good machine, then do spend £300+ and get a really good one.
This type of machine will of course bring your coffee making skills to the next level. They are a very good option if you want to find out more about making the full range of coffee drinks, or if you are someone who likes to entertain.
What is really important about these machines though is that it allows you to buy and use fresh coffee beans. Most of these then have a built-in burr coffee grinder. There are two main types of coffee grinder available. One uses a blade to chop the beans into pieces, and the other type uses a set of burrs to squeeze the beans into grains. The burr style is by far the best option of the two.
Most good quality bean to cup machines will have a burr grinder, and I would recommend buying only a machine that has a burr grinder. It just makes a much better fuller flavour coffee.
It is also worth mentioning that you can buy filter coffee makers with a built-in grinder as well.
The Fun Coffee Machine Option
When I use the word "fun" I am referring to the process of coffee making. The easiest method in the world to make coffee is to buy a jar of instant coffee, boil a kettle and then add milk and/or sugar to suit your own tastes. Nothing could be simpler, and let's face it there are a whole range of instant coffee brands to try out.
However that process would hardly be described as being fun. if you like to make coffee house style coffee, then by moving up to a filter machine, an espresso machine or a bean to cup machine, then you can certainly have a lot more fun. That is when you can make the entire range of espresso based coffee drinks. You can get to use the steamer, froth maker and experiment with a wide range of coffee bean types.
For something different though I would suggest trying both drip coffee making and also vacuum coffee making. The vacuum method is an extremely interesting coffee making method. I first saw this in a coffee shop in Rhodes and it really caught my eye. I would even go as far as to say it was very dramatic.
My Conclusion on Coffee Machines
If you have managed to get to the end of this article, then I hope that you are a little bit better informed about the types of coffee machines that are available on the UK market. I have always believed that lifestyle mainly drives the type of coffee machine that you will go for in the end. if you just like a quick cup of coffee in the morning, or want to make one quickly, then the pod/capsule machines do that really well. There is also very little cleaning to worry about.
For buyers wanting to be able to make a good quality espresso, and then turn that into a latte, Cappuccino etc, then a good quality espresso maker will certainly do that. if you want the ultimate then go for a bean to cup, but be prepared to pay for that.
Filter coffee is a coffee in its own right, and you will either love it or just not be so fussed on it. I do like it for a change from time to time, and the filter coffee makers are not expensive. They do take up a bit of room though so just be aware of that.
If you like a traditional method for making strong coffee, then the stove top espresso, or a percolator will certainly tick those boxes.
Finally if you like something different, try out a dripper or the vacuum method, which are really interesting brewing methods. Happy coffee making with whichever machine you end up choosing.