Best bean to cup coffee machine 2021: for that homemade barista-style brew

Looking for the best bean to cup coffee machines in 2021? Look no further than our guide to the top machines from Sage, Beko, Melitta and more

Included in this guide:

best bean to cup coffee machine
(Image credit: Beko)

Any coffee connoisseur will know that a freshly ground bean will always lead to a better brew. That's why the best bean to cup coffee machines are so popular, especially with home workers who want to start the morning the right way. 

A fresh cup of coffee can be a simple espresso, or topped up for a classic americano. The best bean to cup coffee machines also often feature milk wands to froth up a cappuccino or latte. 

We've tried and tested many of the best bean to cup coffee machines for sale right now, including top options from Sage, Melitta and Beko, to help you find the best one for you. Alternatively, take a look at the best coffee machines.

The best bean to cup coffee machine reviews

Sage Barista ExpressReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Sage)

Best bean to cup coffee machine overall: a barista-worthy coffee machine

Specifications
Best for: utmost control of your coffee
Type: bean to cup
Pressure: 15 bar
Capacity: 2L water tank
Dimensions: 31 x 40 x 33 cm
Reasons to buy
+Helps you get involved+Looks great+Not too expensive for a bean to cup
Reasons to avoid
-Could be intimidating for beginners

For those who want to feel involved in the coffee-making process from start to finish, take a look at the Sage Barista Express. Tried and tested by one of our (former barista) editors, it allows you to adjust everything from grind coarseness to pressure. 

Adjust to every bean

Top this machine up with beans and then press the portafilter into the grinder attachment. You can choose how coarse you want your beans and adjust the amount of grounds you want, which is ideal for those who like to try different varieties and experiment. 

What do we like about it?

The look is everything. Sleek stainless steel, easy-to-use controls and that classic feel that will never feel out of place in your kitchen. No bean to cup coffee machine is cheap, but the price is right with the Sage Barista Express. It also comes with a Sage frothing jug which tells you the temperature of your milk as you heat it up, which means no disappointingly cold lattes or burnt cappuccinos. 

Cleaning is easy enough, and you can switch out from a single to double espresso portafilter and press either a single or double shot button to get the perfect measurement. The pressure is displayed front and centre, so you can alter your grind settings if it's not reaching the ideal point.

Mix it up

Simply twist the side dial to get your milk wand going and then experiment with how you want your milk for your coffee. It's an involved process, making it easy to change your technique depending on the type of coffee you want. 

You can also twist the other direction on the side dial to top up your espresso with hot milk. Americano, made simple. 

What don’t we like?

If you want a hands-off experience, look elsewhere. Everything from the bean grinding process to the milk frothing is down to you and your preferences, which could be a little intimidating to a budding barista. 

Melitta F85/0-101Real Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Melitt)

Best premium bean to cup coffee machine: fully automatic with great drinks at the touch of a button

Specifications
Best for: being a home barista
Type: bean to cup
Pressure: 15 bar
Capacity: 1.8L water tank
Dimensions: H36.5 x W25.5 x D46.5cm
Reasons to buy
+Makes great coffee+Smart features
Reasons to avoid
-A little hefty for small kitchens 

If you love the taste of coffee made from freshly ground beans, then this is the design you’ll want – and our number one. It grinds, it makes excellent coffee, frothing milk is easy, and you can use your smartphone to control it when you want to get the coffee on before you even get out of bed.

Full automation

This is a machine for those who want fully automatic coffee making but the freshness and flavour of starting from beans rather than using pre-ground coffee or a pod. The controls are intuitive so you’ll be turning out great coffees in no time, and both coffee making and milk frothing are a piece of cake.

What do we like about it?

Think of a coffee and this machine will make it for you. That’s all the classic coffees – espresso, café crème, cappuccino and latte macchiato – plus, with the ‘Recipes’ feature, a full coffee shop range including flat white, americano, ristretto and so on with a total of 21 coffees available.

Naturally, this being our number one and the recipient of a five star rating in our review, the coffees are excellent with an enticing aroma and wonderful flavour that we judged as better than those from some of the high-street chains.

What makes it stand out from the crowd is that, sophistication notwithstanding, this machine is actually really easy and intuitive to use. The sort of design we love.

Milk frothing is simple

With this machine, creating the foam that milk-based coffees need won’t be an effort. Just add milk to the container, connect the hose, and press the button for the right drink. The machine automatically adds the frothed milk to the coffee as it’s dispensed.

What don’t we like?

Honestly, there isn’t anything but there are two issues that will likely influence the decision over whether this is the machine for you. First, its brilliant coffee making and smart features come at a price. Secondly, it’s no minnow, so you may not be able to afford the worktop space it requires.

best bean to cup coffee machine - Beko CEG5301Bean To Cup Coffee Machine - real homesReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

Best bean to cup coffee machine for value: great features and coffee at a surprisingly good price

Specifications
Best for: price
Type: bean to cup
Pressure: 19 bar
Capacity: 1.5L water tank
Dimensions: H38 x W23.6 x D43.6cm
Reasons to buy
+Simple operation+Delicious coffee+Memory settings
Reasons to avoid
-No milk frother

Want to go bean to cup, but don’t have the £££s for a super-sophisticated machine? Then let us introduce you to the Beko CEG5301 It’ll lighten the load on your card without a compromise on the taste of your coffee.

Good looks

We’ll set aside the coffees themselves for the moment (but will return to this crucial topic below). In the meantime, let’s admit that looks count. As a permanent feature of the worktop, a coffee machine’s appearance is important. This one? Stylish in a beautifully understated way.

What do we like about it?

Moving on to the coffees, it’s a big tick in that box. The results of this machine’s bean grinding and coffee making are a most pleasing cup of java. The coffees are full of flavour, and you can make them strong or mild to your preference (or perhaps in response to a late night). You can also make a drink of the length you prefer with a press of a button.

Set up of the machine is easy from putting the beans in the container to filling the water tank, while it has a rather nifty spout that can be adjusted depending on the size of coffee cup you’re using.

The LCD touch controls work well, much to our approval, and customising coffee recipes isn’t a faff, either.

Easy maintenance

Don’t want to give up precious hours to coffee machine TLC? Us neither, and so we like this machine’s low demands. There’s a rinsing cycle for the coffee nozzle, and prompts when there’s a full grounds container and for descaling.

What don’t we like?

It’s a model without milk frother. Don’t want black coffee only? Then there is an alternative version with a steam wand on board.

best bean to cup coffee machine - Sage The Barista Pro SES878BSS Bean To Cup Coffee Machine - real homes

(Image credit: Lakeland)

4. Sage The Barista Pro SES878BSS Bean To Cup Coffee Machine

Best bean to cup coffee machine for wannabe baristas: get going on your own latte art with this stylish number

Specifications
Best for: home baristas
Type: bean to cup
Pressure: 15 bar
Capacity: 2L water tank
Dimensions: H41 x W35 x D41cm
Reasons to buy
+Great steam wand+Quick heat up+Top coffee
Reasons to avoid
- You don’t like cleaning stainless steel 

A gleaming machine for your kitchen work surface, this bean to cup design not only grinds the coffee but froths the milk expertly as well. It offers speedy heat up, too. Worth the cost? Read on.

Coffee bar style

It may be a little less sizeable than the machine in your local hang-out, but otherwise this machine has all the looks of the one you’d see there and it catches the eye in gleaming stainless steel (although you could go more subtle in black, if you prefer).

The built in grinder isn’t hidden, as with some of our favourite machines, but  prominent on the top of the machine, and it has an LCD display so you can make your coffee just how you like it.

What do we like about it?

We’re rather impressed by the quick heat-up time. That’s three seconds to optimum extraction temperature. That’ll give you time to say ‘Is it ready yet?’ but not a whole lot more.

The true coffee aficionados in the Real Homes team like the fact that the grinder’s grind size and dose can be adjusted. It’s a burr grinder, by the way, which the experts prefer over blade grinders because of the uniformity of the resulting grounds. Ultimately, this should produce a better coffee brew.

Last in the list of our favourite aspects of this machine, but certainly not least: it produces a cracking coffee, which has prompted some owners to forswear coffee shops for their own home brews from this machine.

Get arty

Yes, you can make like a barista and create latte art with the steam wand on this machine. Really, there’s nothing missing from the whole coffee shop experience if you can do this, too.

What don’t we like?

Er, cleaning stainless steel isn’t one of our most loved jobs. Having said that, it is brushed stainless steel, so shouldn’t prove too onerous to keep pristine, or you could avoid this with the black finish we mentioned above.

best bean to cup coffee machine: Smarter Coffee (2nd Generation) Bean To Cup Coffee Machine - real homes

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. Smarter Coffee (2nd Generation) Bean To Cup Coffee Machine

Best bean to cup filter coffee machine: freshly ground java for filter machine fans – and smart features, too

Specifications
Best for: freshly ground filter coffee
Type: filter machine
Pressure: N/A
Capacity: 1.5L water tank
Dimensions: H26.6 x W20.6 x D42.4 cm
Reasons to buy
+Smart capabilities+Interchangeable colour panels +Personalisable brews 
Reasons to avoid
-A pricey way to make filter coffee 

So, you like filter coffee rather than espresso or latte, but you don’t see why you should miss out on the taste benefits of grinding beans in the machine? Nor should you. This filter machine lets you do just that plus it links to your smartphone.

Coffee app

If you want your home appliances to come with smart features, check out this filter coffee machine. The app allows you to set the strength and coarseness of the grind and the number of cups you want remotely – though you’ll need to show up for the actual coffee.

The machine can also be connected to Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Siri enabled devices.

What do we like about it?

As we may have mentioned before, we do like filter coffee as well as more fancy drinks. There’s something rather soothing about being able to brew up a big pot of coffee ready for a lot of refills over a leisurely weekend breakfast when the alternative is to keep starting over with a new round of coffees. That being the case we’re rather open to a filter machine – and especially one that lets us use beans rather than ground coffee.

Being able to control the strength and grind coarseness is a feature we appreciate, too, as we do like perfecting our brews.

Aside from that, this is a machine that’s good looking enough to earn its place on the worktop.

Colour changing

Like to change the decor a tad? Serial renter and want to be able to complement each kitchen with your coffee machine more easily? Swap between the red, cream and black colour panels that come with your machine.

What don’t we like?

Making a filter coffee machine smart makes it a more costly buy and the benefits might not outweigh this for many.

best bean to cup coffee machine - De'Longhi Autentica ETAM 29.510.B Bean To Cup Coffee Machine - real homes

(Image credit: Amazon)

6. De'Longhi Autentica ETAM 29.510.B Bean To Cup Coffee Machine

Best bean to cup coffee machine for style: one button operation and a handsome addition to your kitchen

Specifications
Best for: sleek good looks
Type: bean to cup
Pressure: 15 bar
Capacity: 1.3L water tank
Dimensions: H34 x W19.5 x D48cm
Reasons to buy
+Compact design+Simple operation+Milk frother built-in 
Reasons to avoid
-You don’t like manual milk frothing 

Fallen for the dark good looks of this bean to cup machine, but wondering if it’s just a pretty face. We say no. Find out why this De’Longhi design fully deserves your attention.

Tubeless system

Why is a tubeless system a plus point? The idea is to reduce the amount of coffee left inside the grinder to a minimum so it’s only the newly ground coffee in your drink. After all, if you’re going for a bean to cup machine for the freshness, you don’t want to compromise the flavour.

What do we like about it?

One button touch for espresso, espresso lungo, long and doppio+ coffees are at the head of the list of this machine’s assets. Add to this milky coffees including cappuccino, latte and more which come courtesy of the built in milk frother. Oh, and it’ll make a cup for you and a cup for your other half/mate at the same time, which is handy.

You can adjust coffee strength by moving the taste selection dial so more or less coffee beans are ground by the machine, and you can change the coffee quantity the machine delivers automatically as well.

Also on our list of likes is the glossy finish and streamlined good looks of this machine.

Size matters

This machine is rather slim at only 19.5cm wide, so it won’t elbow its fellow small appliances out of the way on the worksurface. Bear in mind, though, that it’s almost 48cm in depth, so it does take up a fair bit of space front to back.

What don’t we like?

At 9.1kg it’s no lightweight if you’re a frequent housemover.


What is the best bean to cup coffee machine?

So, let's recap...if you're looking for a sophisticated bean to cup coffee machine which will make delicious espresso and froth for all your other favourites, we highly recommend buying the Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102. As the name reveals, you can control it from your smartphone, plus customise your coffees so they’re exactly how you like them.

Need a model that’s not as pricey and takes up less kitchen space? Then we would recommend you buy the Beko CEG5301coffee machine. It looks good, it’s no space hog, and it makes great coffee – and all for a price that’s a great deal for a bean to cup coffee machine.

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Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She’s spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes – long enough to see fridges become smart, decorating fashions embrace both minimalism and maximalism, and interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves testing the latest home appliances, revealing the trends in furnishings and fittings for every room, and investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement. It's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, and is a serial house revamper. For Realhomes.com, Sarah reviews coffee machines and vacuum cleaners, taking them through their paces at home to give us an honest, real life review and comparison of every model.

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