How to find the perfect coffee machine
Want barista-standard coffee at home? We pick the best machines to suit all tastes – and pockets
Ah, coffee. Strong, aromatic and velvety rich, this potent substance has become part of our daily ritual. For some, the morning hasn’t started until that first cup is sipped.
Whether you prefer a pure and punchy espresso or a silky latte, there’s a coffee machine to suit your requirements. ‘We offer a wide range, from pod-based models for the more time-pressed to bean-to-cup machines for the true coffee connoisseur,’ says Zoya Mir, Partner & Buying Assistant.
Hankering for the perfect brew at home? Here’s our round-up of the highest-rated machines to suit your tastes – and your budget. For the full low-down on coffee machine types and features, read our detailed buying guide.
Back to basics
If you like your coffee strong and straight, consider the Bialetti hob espresso maker or stove top coffee maker – these design classics are easy, fun to use and often the most sustainable way to brew your morning coffee (more on that below). Just add ground coffee and water, screw shut and heat on the hob. And let’s not overlook the unfussy appeal of the cafetiere – quick, simple and particularly good if you’re making coffee for a group, it’s one for the purists.
Pod or capsule machines are one of our most popular types of coffee maker –they are incredibly user-friendly, enabling you to create your favourite cup in seconds, whether that’s a long latte or flat white. They tend to be quite compact so make a handsome addition to your kitchen top, too.
From bean to cup
Swish bean-to-cup machines are for those who like barista-quality coffee at the touch of a button. Now more sophisticated than ever, an all-singing, all-dancing appliance like this will not only grind your chosen beans but deliver your ideal cup, whether that’s a macchiato, latte or cappuccino. No wonder they’re currently our bestselling category of coffee maker. Best for taste aficionados.
Pump it up
For the espresso purist, the pump machine is the one to go for. These machines require you to be a bit more hands-on, grinding and tamping your own coffee, which – as any true connoisseur knows – is all part of the ritual. Choose from the simple functionality of the John Lewis & Partners pump espresso to the high-spec stainless steel glamour of the Sage or the retro heft of the Smeg. Best for traditionalists.
Sustainable coffee makers
Cafetieres, on-hob coffee makers and classic filter machines are among the most sustainable options, requiring less waste and energy, but there are a new generation of sophisticated pod coffee makers with the environment at the forefront. Nespresso’s Vertuo Next range is made from 54% recycled plastic and uses 100% recyclable alumimun pods (find your nearest place to drop them here).
The sleek and efficient Nespresso Creatista range further proves there’s no need to scrimp on innovation or good looks. Offering barista-style coffee thanks to an automatic steam wand which means you can create elegantly textured milk, it uses the same recyclable Nespresso capsules. The key point in your quest for a sustainable coffee machine is recycling the pods and not throwing them in the bin. There’s no excuse either as most brands selling pods – from Tassimo to Lavazza – now provide recycling drop-off points.
Ace the accessories
Of course, there’s more to making coffee than choosing the right machine. To get yours just-so, you could grind your beans to the optimum consistency, froth the milk to exactly the right temperature and serve it in the perfect cup. Luckily, we have all those staples covered, too.