The best coffee machines - as chosen by Mumsnetters
Whether you like it black or frothy, long or short, most people rely on a coffee
or twelve to make it through the day. Getting your caffeine fix at home is quick, convenient and will save you a fortune on take-out lattes in the long term – plus, with a bit of basic training, you could soon teach your children to whizz one up and bring it to you in bed. Read on for a roundup of the coffee machines that are caffeinating Mumsnetters up and down the country
Things to consider before buying a coffee machine
Gone are the days when a hot drink meant either a cup of tea or instant coffee, there are all sorts of coffee machines and accompanying gadgets. If you're a coffee aficionado and know exactly what kind of machine you're after, feel free to skip ahead, but if you're not quite sure which machine would suit your needs then you should consider the following questions
What kind of coffee do you enjoy the most? If you're constantly on the hunt for the next artisan coffee spot, have said the word “crema” in the recent past, and are willing to spend a bit more for a high-quality beverage, then your best bet is a bean-to-cup machine. Grinding your own beans at home is the way to ensure the freshest possible brew. Alternatively, if you find yourself spending
an obscene amountrather a lot of money in Costa every month, a pod coffee machine will allow you to recreate your favourite Costa drinks at home – for a fraction of the cost.
- How much coffee do you (and your family) drink every day? While espresso is undeniably delicious, if you average about five mugs of black coffee per day, or you're serving a crowd, an espresso coffee machine – which can only make a couple of drinks at a time – is going to make that very tedious. A filter coffee machine will allow you to brew up to six cups of coffee at once – just add a (reusable) straw.
- How much space do you have? True coffee-lovers may be willing to sacrifice counter space for a coffee machine – no matter how small the kitchen. But, if you're more of a casual weekend brewer, you might be interested in a more compact option. Luckily, there are lots of nifty gadgets out there which will help you make a “proper” coffee without losing lots of space (and cash).
- How much are you willing to spend? You can splash some serious cash on a fully-automatic coffee machine for effortlessly-perfect cappuccinos at home, or you can opt for a manual coffee-maker for a quick, portable, and inexpensive brew. There's an option to suit every budget and, whichever one you pick, you'll still be saving money compared to buying a daily takeaway coffee.
Related: Want to take your cup of joe to go? Check out our roundup of the best reusable coffee cups
Best bean-to-cup coffee machine
Bean-to-cup coffee machines, as the name suggests, will perform all the essential tasks that take your coffee from bean-form to being a delicious hot drink in your cup. They have built-in grinders to, er, grind just the right amount of coffee, then they heat the water, brew, and dispense the coffee. If you like milky coffees, you should look for a model with a milk frother attachment.
Pros: freshly-ground beans make the best-tasting coffee
Cons: grinding beans isn't a quiet activity
De’Longhi Magnifica bean-to cup-coffee machine, £299.99
Scooping the title of most-recommended coffee machine on our Talk boards, this compact De'Longhi coffee machine will reliably brew cup after cup of perfect coffee – however you take yours. Whether you consider freshly-ground beans a must or you've found your perfect pre-ground blend, the Magnifica is compatible for use with either and will automatically use the exact amount needed to make your coffee of choice. The easy-to-use interface helps you customise your coffee by adjusting the strength and length of the espresso it produces. The milk frother is a little harder to master if you've not got any barista experience, but once you've got the knack you'll be able to produce cappuccinos and lattes at home in minutes.
Don't let the prospect of cleaning a “proper” coffee machine deter you from investing – this one is quick and easy to clean thanks to the removable drip tray and brewing unit. It also has an automatic descaling programme that adjusts to your local water hardness. Plus, it comes with a two year warranty for extra peace of mind.
“It's a little noisy, but that's what grinding beans sounds like! So fresh and easily adjusted to taste, we rarely use the frother but the option is there if you want it. It also takes ground coffee if needed. Expensive but looks good and worth every penny.”
“De'Longhi Magnifica here too. It's brilliant. There's an art to steaming the milk but once mastered, all coffee joy is available.”Buy now from Amazon
Sage Barista Express bean-to-cup coffee machine, £369.99 (was £599)
Although there's definitely an art to brewing a great cup of coffee, there's also a certain amount of science involved. This stainless steel Sage machine allows coffee-lovers the opportunity to tinker with various settings in order to create their perfect cup (Sage is the brainchild of experimental chef Heston Blumenthal, after all) but, if you're new to the world of homemade barista-style coffee, don't be intimidated – you can simply rely on the automatic settings to produce delicious drinks.
This Sage coffee machine is also a great option if you like strong coffee, as it allows you to grind a whopping 19-22g of coffee beans (compared to an average 11-13g) in order to deliver a flavoursome espresso with a real kick to it. It's no wonder sleep-deprived Mumsnetters sing its praises.
“We have a bean to cup machine by Sage. We have the Barista Express, which cost around £550 but makes really good coffee.”
“I would recommend a Sage coffee machine – they are amazing!”Buy now from Amazon
Best fully-automated coffee machine
If your favourite part of going to a coffee shop is the fact that you don't have to lift a finger, then a fully-automated machine is the way to replicate this at home. Simply push a button (which only sort of counts as lifting a finger) and wait for your drink of choice – no matter how elaborate – to appear in front of you. Mastery of milk frothing and latte art not necessary.
Pros: absolutely effortless coffee
Cons: more expensive
De'Longhi Dinamica fully automatic bean-to-cup coffee machine, £601 (was £699)
If you love your lattes or can't live without a daily cappuccino, then the De'Longhi Dinamica, which produces perfectly frothed drinks with no effort from you (beyond keeping it stocked with coffee and milk) could be your perfect match. With espresso, black americanos, cappuccinos, lattes, macchiatos and flat whites available at the push of the button – plus the option to create custom drinks – this machine quickly and easily caters to all preferences.
Cleaning is similarly faff-free, with a removable brewing unit and an automatic cleaning function to keep the milk-frother component fresh and hygienic.
“I love mine! It can make all sorts. Espresso or long coffee and everything in between at the touch of a button, two coffees at once which takes under one minute. We also love the auto milk froth function. You do need to empty the bin every few days (but we drink a lot of coffee!).”Buy now from Amazon
Related: Life's too short to put up with a rubbish kettle. Read our guide to the best kettles money can buy
Best ground coffee machine
Cheaper and more easily available than coffee beans, ground coffee is still a big step up flavour-wise from instant. Ground coffee machines are also significantly cheaper than bean-to-cup alternatives. If you're set on using freshly-ground coffee, you can use one of these machines with a separate burr coffee grinder to achieve the same effect without splashing too much cash.
Pros: cheaper than a bean-to-cup machine
Cons: if you want to use beans you'll have to grind them yourself
Ninja Coffee Bar Auto-iQ Brewer with Glass Carafe, £103.04
Filter coffee machines have some distinct advantages over espresso machines: they can brew more than two cups at once, keep it warm for a while, and they can be programmed in advance so your coffee is ready as soon as you wake up. The hot plate on this Ninja coffee machine will keep your brew warm for two hours then automatically shut off
so you don't have to worry about burning the house down. Plus, rather than brewing a full jug every time, this easy-to-use filter coffee machine lets you choose how much coffee you want to brew at once – from a single cup to a whole carafe, with travel cup and half-carafe servings in between.
As well as being able to choose how much coffee you want to brew, you can also customise how strong you'd like the coffee to be. Classic is a standard brew for filter coffee, intense (as the name suggests) provides a filter coffee with a stronger flavour, over-ice is stronger still as it will be diluted when made into an iced coffee, and the “speciality brew” option is perfect for mixing with frothed milk to create lattes and cappuccinos. A manual milk frother is included in this kit but there are gadgets that will do it for you out there too.
There's also an option with a thermal carafe to keep your coffee hot without leaving the hot plate on.
“I recently bought a Ninja coffee machine and it's amazing! It was about £90 but really worth it.”Buy now from Amazon
Dualit DCM2X Coffee System, £199.99
This sleek Dualit machine can produce two drinks at a time, using either ground coffee or pods and – unlike other pod machines – has a built-in steam wand so you can use fresh milk rather than dried milk pods (more on this later). You can use it to create espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, americanos, and even quick cups of tea. The drip tray is topped with a non-slip cup warmer to make sure your coffee is still piping hot by the time you're ready to drink it and there's an extra tall height clearance underneath the coffee wand so you can use your favourite
bucket mug and start your day off right.
It's easy to use, comes with a two-year guarantee, and the compromise between ground coffee and pods should please lovers of posh coffee and those in search of an effortless caffeine fix alike.
“It takes Nespresso capsules or a different handle takes normal ground coffee. It's fab and gives us a choice – we have every bloody type of coffee in the house! Not too expensive either.”Buy now from John Lewis & Partners
Related: Check out our list of the best slow cookers and you'll be making faff-free midweek meals in no time
Best small coffee machine
If you're short on kitchen space, or would just prefer a more compact machine, opt for one of these Mumsnetter-approved pint-sized coffee machines. They don't have built-in bean grinders but, other than that, you don't have to compromise on flavour. Some innovative Mumsnetters have even installed secondary, smaller coffee machines in their bedrooms so they don't have to get out of bed for their weekend coffee. Genius.
Pros: won't dominate your kitchen
Cons: fewer bells and whistles
De'Longhi Dedica Traditional Pump Espresso Machine, from £153.93
Lack of counter space shouldn't mean you're condemned to a life of tasteless instant coffee: this perfectly petite De'Longhi machine will add a touch of Italian chic on your kitchen counter without taking up too much precious space.
The Dedica uses ground coffee (or ESE pods) but, as with the ground coffee machines above, coffee purists can always use a separate burr grinder for maximum flavour. The drip tray can be lowered to accommodate a larger mug and the machine is still capable of producing two espresso shots at a time, in spite of its small size. The water tank still holds a full litre of water and it even has a mini milk steamer. What more could you want?
“I'd recommend a De'Longhi Dedica style 685. It's what I have and makes very good coffee. It has a steam arm which works well too. They're expensive on the De'Longhi website but cheaper if you shop around (less than £150).”
“I have a De'Longhi Dedica. It’s been really good. No pods, put ground coffee in the hopper thingy like in a cafe and press a button, about £140 I think.”Buy now from Amazon
Morphy Richards Coffee On The Go filter coffee machine, £19.99 (was £24.99)
It may be more suited to a manic Monday morning than a lazy Sunday lie-in but, for the ultimate grab and go morning coffee, you can't beat this mini Morphy Richards coffee machine. You can fill it with coffee and water the night before, meaning you just need to stick it on while you get ready in order to have fresh coffee in a thermal mug, ready for you to grab as you run out of the door.
“The beauty of it is that you put the grounds and water in, and it's brewed and ready in a travel mug for when you want it.”Buy now from Amazon
Best pod coffee machine
Pod coffee machines use pre-packaged pods of ground coffee to create mess-free, hassle-free hot drinks. It is worth noting that the discarded pods can be tricky to recycle in some parts of the country.
Some Mumsnetters use and recommend Nespresso pod coffee machines. Nespresso is owned by Nestle. Mumsnet refuses advertising from all Nestle-controlled companies as part of the Nestle Boycott, a campaign run by Baby Milk Action to put pressure on formula manufacturers to act responsibly – particularly in the context of developing countries. We haven't included any Nespresso machines in this roundup as part of our support for the boycott.
Pros: easy to use
Cons: capsules are expensive and wasteful
Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2, £51.46 (was £107)
If you fancy a pod coffee machine but want to avoid Nestle products, this Tassimo machine will do the same job. It produces a range of hot drinks – including Costa lattes and Cadbury hot chocolate – at the push of a button and has an adjustable drip tray so you can use your favourite (or biggest) mug. Tassimo has 130 recycling points across the UK where you can recycle old capsules and most of their external packaging. You can buy the machine and capsules separately, or you can get a bundle – including the machine and 56 drink disks – to get you started for £61.46.
“I've got a Tassimo and love it. You get a great variety of pods and the Costa lattes are lovely.”
“I love my Tassimo! I use it every day for coffee and sometimes tea (the kids can make me perfect tea using that rather than the kettle) and the kids sometimes have hot choc as a treat from it.”Buy now from Amazon
Best manual coffee maker
For great-tasting coffee that really won't break the bank, you might have to put in some of the leg work. A manual coffee maker has some real advantages over its more complicated relatives: it's eco-friendly, portable, and will still work in a power cut, to name but a few.
Pros: portable – no need for plugs or batteries
Cons: tricky until you get the hang of it
Don't be deterred by the number of bearded hipsters evangelising about the AeroPress – Mumsnetters love it too. Invented by a Stanford engineering professor, this nifty little gadget works a bit like a cafetière – except your perfect cup of coffee is ready in just 30 seconds.
Although it comes with a slightly daunting number of bits, it's very simple to use: place a round paper filter into the filter cap and attach to the chamber, fill the chamber with ground coffee and hot water, then plunge. Once you've mastered assembling it and taking it apart, it's faff-free to use and quick and easy to clean, too. It's also lightweight and portable, making it perfect for camping, travelling, and small kitchens. The only downside is it can only make one cup at a time.
“AeroPress is the best ever. I've converted everyone that's ever tried one of ours. We have two of them at home (and one everywhere we visit). We used to have a coffee machine, but since it died I've found I'm just as happy with an AeroPress and a burr grinder, which was much cheaper.”
“It takes a bit of getting used to, but it's well worth it as it makes amazing coffee. As others have said, it's just for one or two, but very easy to clean up too – no mess – so I'd really recommend!”Buy now from Amazon
How to use an AeroPress
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