Nowadays, choosing the right coffee maker or machine is not easy. Do you need a professional or domestic standard unit? Are the cheap ones best? Should you get a single serve pod machine or drip coffee maker? With so many options, most people are left confused. That’s why we made this guide so you could find the best coffee makers with ease.
Coffee, for many people, is one of the most important aspects of their morning routine. That in mind, when buying one it is important to find a coffee maker that best suits your needs. Before you even think about the price, model, and brand, you should view the different types of machine available.
So, take a look at our guide below to find out what main types are available and which kind might be right for you.
Check out our latest review – the De Longhi Magnifica bean to cup coffee machine with integrated grinder and built in milk frother.
The 4 Main Types of Coffee Machines
1. Filter Coffee Machines
The traditional coffee maker for many households. It is one of the easiest to use. You pour water into the tank, place the ground coffee and filter, and switch it on. The coffee is collected in a pot ready to pour. Depending on the cup capacity, this will take more or less time. Either way, it takes at least 10 minutes to brew a good pot of coffee.
The pot aspect is great for anyone that requires large quantities of coffee – opposed to one cup coffee makers. Many, however, debate the final taste of the coffee. A filter coffee machine requires high-quality coffee beans to get the best taste. It is also important, taste wise, to grind the beans immediately before brewing. This would mean that you need a coffee grinder and it adds time to the process. On the other hand, many filter machines are programmable. This means you can prepare your machine the night before. Then programme the machine to make the coffee at a predetermined time.
The price range for most filter machines is between £15 and £150.
If you’re looking for a good (and reasonably small) mid-range filter coffee maker you can’t go far wrong with the Morphy Richards Accents Machine. It has some great features which make it ideal for both home and work. It comes with a 2 year guarantee and complies with European energy legislation – making it cheap to use.
2. The Nespresso Style or Capsule machine
This is without a doubt the easiest machine to use. You place water in the water tank and switch on the machine. It takes a couple of minutes to heat the water. Once this is done, you place the appropriate capsule into the available slot and press the button. The coffee is made quickly, less than a minute per cup.
They can prepare the usual coffees such as espresso or a cappuccino. But they can also prepare a good range of other coffees from Chococinos and Latte Macchiatos right through to Gusto Nesquik! Most manufacturers also supply regular hot chocolate and tea pods aswell. The coffee is contained is airtight pods which means the coffee remains fresh for up to 6 months.
A big drawback, however, is that you are limited by the pods. The machine will only take pods created by the manufacturer. You are also limited to the capsules that are available at your local store. Another problem is the price. Not so much of the machine itself, but the capsules. They are not the cheapest option either and are not sold in bulk quantities. Commonly, a box contains around 16 or so capsules. Other manufacturers offer the option to order capsules online. This means you can order as many as you need, but only if they deliver to your location.
The price range of capsule coffee makers is around £50-£230.
If you’ve read our reviews you’ll know we’re not a huge fan of capsule machines. But this is personal preference and they are very quick to use, require virtually no maintenance and can prepare complex coffees in under a minute. They are the ultimate convenience coffee maker.
3. Pump espresso machine
This the traditional espresso machine that is seen in many cafes worldwide. The home or office model is slightly smaller, and it produces the best, most authentic cup of coffee you are likely to taste outside your favorite coffee shop.
There are, however, a number of things to consider. First of all, the machine needs to heat up to build the necessary pressure. This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on the size of the machine. Once ready, you place the freshly ground coffee in the spoon, tap the coffee and screw it into place. Press the appropriate button and the coffee is made as quickly as the pod system, in less than a minute.
With the pump espresso machine, you can also use the pressure pipe to froth up milk for a real cappuccino. One of the biggest problems with this machine is that it takes some time and experimenting to learn how to make the perfect coffee. If the temperature is too high, for example, the coffee will be on the sour side. If you tap the coffee too tightly, the water will not go through the ‘spoon’. However, once mastered, this gives the best tasting coffee.
The price range can go well beyond a £1,000, but the ones created for households are between around £100 and £700.
The Delonghi Scultura ECZ 351 contains a 15 bar pump for creating rich, authentic espressos. Not only this, but mounted on the right hand side, is an integrated milk steamer which will allow you to create authentic milky coffee drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes. It is a fantastic value machine which will please anyone looking for authentic coffees at home.
4. Bean-to-cup machine
This is essentially an upgraded pump espresso machine. It has a built in grinder producing a great tasting coffee. They are fully automated, so you place the vital ingredients: coffee beans, water, and milk and the machine does the rest. This means that you don’t have to know much about the temperature or pressure to make a perfect espresso. It also reaches optimum temperature and pressure faster than the traditional espresso machine. This is because many models heat small amounts of water at a time.
The only minus to this machine is the price. It is the most expensive option, but for many a good investment.
The price range goes from around £300 and up to £1500 but there are models which are even more expensive.
The Krups EA826e is a popular machine which features rave reviews. It is a true bean-to-cup device and comes with everything you need to make a range fully authentic coffees virtually automatically. If you’re after that genuine coffee taste, but without the learning curve which comes when trying to use espresso pumps, this machine might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Now that you know what your options are, you need to consider your needs and wants. To do that, think about these 5 factors:
That is how much time you have in the mornings. If you wake up with time to spare, time may not be an important factor. If on the other hand, you are always in a hurry, you need something that does this quickly.
Think about how much coffee you drink on a daily basis. For those that drink a cup or two, the capsule option will work for you. Those that have lost count should consider the other options. Also, if you need multiple cups made instantly, consider the filter machine.
This depends on the type of coffee you prefer. Those of you which prefer stronger coffee should perhaps avoid the filter. The quality of the taste for all machines, except the capsule, depends on the coffee beans. If the taste is not the most important factor to you, any machine will serve its purpose perfectly.
As stated, the pump espresso is slightly complex to use. If you do not want to put any effort into making a cup of coffee, then any of the other three options is for you. If you are willing to learn, or already have experience, then the espresso machine would be a good choice.
This is important when buying anything. With buying a coffee machine you should also consider the longevity of the machine. Don’t go for the cheapest possible as this can indicate low-grade materials and thus work for a short time. The middle range price for any machine is the best choice, but again some machines are simply made to last. For example, the filter and capsule machines will not outlive the pump or bean-to-cup. These are more expensive, but they are also sturdier. At the end of the day, you have to not only consider how much you want to pay but how much you can afford.
We have looked at the many different options available. To summarize, the filter is probably best for families or small offices. Inexpensive and easy to use. However, it lacks the strong taste the other machines offer. The capsule machine is the easiest to use and offers a wide variety of tastes. It also makes coffee quickly but you would be limited to the pods you can find locally. The pump machine is the most authentic and delivers a powerful taste. This comes at the cost of practicality as too many aspects affect the flavour of the coffee. The bean-to-cup is the perfect blend of flavour, ease of use, and speed. This is, however, the most expensive option and so not suitable for everyone.
With this new knowledge of the different types of coffee makers, and a checklist available, you are ready to buy that new coffee machine. We recommend…
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