Best coffee machine 2021: for homemade brews in your favourite mug

Choosing the best coffee machine is about to get a lot easier with our coffee machine reviews, featuring models from Sage, De'Longhi, Nespresso, and Lavazza

Included in this guide:

best coffee machine
(Image credit: Grind)

With so many models to choose from, buying the best coffee machine can be a real challenge. That's why we've poured hundreds of cups of coffee, and countless hours, testing the very best coffee machines you can by from the likes of Sage, Breville, Smeg, De'Longhi, Melitta, Cuisinart, Nespresso, and Lavazza. 

Every one of the coffee machines in our guide has been tested hands-on my members of the Real Homes team, so we're coming to you primed and very caffeinated with our personal recommendations. While many coffee machines can be expensive, we also tried coffee machines for under £100 which will make perfect presents when gifting season rolls around. 

Many want to keep it simple with a no-fuss pod machine, whereas others will want the best of the best coffee machines from Sage, Melitta, and Lavazza. These can come complete with milk wands for working on your home barista skills, and even coffee grinders to achieve the freshest aroma from your beans. 

How to choose the best coffee machine

There are many types of coffee machine to choose from, but which is right for you? 

The best filter coffee machine will typically be the cheapest, and makes pour-over coffee in large quantities that will remind you of life in the office. They also keep the jug of coffee warm, so once you've turned it on, you'll be sorted for the day. 

The best pod coffee machine will take neat and tidy pods full of coffee grounds and extract delicious espressos of various lengths. They are usually a mid-price option, and perfect for those who are limited on space but still want a quality brew.

The most expensive option will always be the best bean to cup coffee machine. Taking coffee beans and grinding them down before either manually tamping and brewing, or doing it all automatically, you'll end up with the freshest and often the most customisable brew. 

Best coffee machine 2021

Cuisinart Veloce Bean-to-Cup Coffee MachineReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

1. Cuisinart Veloce Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine overall: smart settings in a compact frame

Coffee type: Bean to cup
Tank capacity: 1.25ltrs
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: Two
Reasons to buy
+Smart presets+Great value+Fully adjustable+Milk dispenser+Slimline design
Reasons to avoid
-The grounds container fills up quickly

Cuisinart is a relative newcomer to the coffee machine game in the UK, but the Veloce really impressed us with its delicious brews and fully adjustable modes. 

What's it good at?
From the touch of a button you can change the length of your coffee, as well as the strength and even the amount of cups you're making. 

What do we like about it?
It has a milk dispenser, which we love. It has a tube that you place into the milk container to steam your milk into a foamy drink with fine bubbles. You can adjust the ratio of milk to coffee in all presets, so if you like your latte a little stronger or want a milkier brew, it is very easy to select. You can even save up to four favourite drinks which is great for coffee rounds in your home. 

The Cuisinart Veloce also has a very silmline design which looks smart on any kitchen counter, and should you have any troubleshooting problems or need to refill or empty elements of the machine, the display will guide you through the whole thing. 

What else?
You can change the temperature of your coffee in the settings, which offer a lot of options. 

What don't we like?
We drink a lot of coffee, and the grounds bin filled up every few days, which wasn't the end of the world but did require regular trips to the bin. 

Real Homes rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Grind One pod coffee machineReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Grind)

2. Grind One Pod coffee machine

Best pod coffee machine for style and sustainability: an upgrade of the classic pod machine

Best for: Cafe-quality espresso
Type: Pod
Pressure: 19 bars
Cups: 1
Reasons to buy
+Adjustable pouring length +Sleek and sustainable looks+Tasty coffee with Nespresso-compatible pods+Straightforward tactile controls
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for a pod machine

The Grind One Pod coffee machine is a stylish option from Shoreditch-based brand Grind. With a pretty pink line of of coffee shops and online sales of pods and beans, the brand has branched out further with its One machine. 

What we like
The airplane-style switch and lever to secure the pod into place are tactile and fun to use. There are two coffee lengths, but you can simply press the buttons down to adjust the presets. As far as user manuals go, this one is as easy as we've seen. 

The narrow footprint is not trend-driven, and we think it will look the part for years to come. The brand puts an emphasis on its sustainable metal build materials, as well as the compostible Nespresso-compatible pods you can use. You can also sign up to a subscription to these, and there are many aromas to choose from, including decaff. 

Anything else?
This coffee machine is very easy to clean, but we did need to wipe down the stainless steel exterior on a regular basis. 

What we don't like
Price is one issue, because the Grind One Pod coffee machine does not come cheap. Another slight issue was the drip tray, which cannot be slotted low enough for very tall mugs to fit below the coffee dispenser. 

Real Homes rating 4.5 out of 5 stars: read our full Grind One Pod coffee machine review

Swan coffee machineReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Swan)

3. Swan Nordic One Touch Espresso Machine

Best semi-automatic espresso machine: for those on a budget who love a latte

Best for: Frothy coffees
Type: Espresso
Pressure: 20 bars
Cups: 2
Reasons to buy
+Easy to use+Inexpensive+Comes in a range of colours+The milk frother is unfussy and easy to adjust+Controls are intuitive
Reasons to avoid
-Only takes ground coffee-Marks easily if not cleaned

A budget-friendly option that looks the part and is easy to use, the Swan Nordic One Touch Espresso Machine is one of our favourites for value. 

What we like
It looks lovely and comes in cream, green, blue and grey. The milk is automatic, meaning you just need to select your desired coffee type and size (there's a small and large option) and it will steam the milk right in front of you. 

The machine makes a mean espresso thanks to the 20 bars of pressure, but to make a long coffee you'll need to top up with hot water. 

Anything else?
There are two filters included with the machine for different size drinks. 

What we don't like
If you don't twist the portafilter straight towards you, you'll know about it. We had a few mishaps in testing where it came loose, so be vigilant about making sure it's screwed in safely. 

The coffee machine needs to be cleaned of any splashes after use, or you'll be left with a stained machine. We tested the cream model which is most prone to staining, so opt for grey if you want something more easygoing. 

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full Swan Nordic One Touch Espresso Machine review

The best smart coffee machine: Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102Real Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Melitta)

4. Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102 Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine with smart features: you can control it from your phone, too

Best for: Bean-to-cup coffee
Type: Bean-to-cup
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: Two
Reasons to buy
+Makes great coffee+Smart features
Reasons to avoid
-A little hefty for small kitchens

If you're looking for a bean-to-cup coffee machine, then you'll want the Melitta Barista Smart Coffee Machine.  Why? It does it all: grinds fresh coffee beans, makes great coffee, has an integrated frother for milky coffees and you can control it from your smartphone. No more 'I'd love a coffee if I could only get out of bed' and plenty 'Ooooh, that coffee aroma is encouraging me to get up now'.

A great bean-to-cup option
Let's put the smart functions aside for now because a smart coffee machine that produces bad coffee is no good to anyone. So, the all important question: does it make good coffee? Yes, of course it does – it's in spot two, and position one for the best bean-to-cup coffee maker. 

What do we like about it?
So, down to the coffee. The espressos and cappuccinos are spot on, as you'd hope – but there are actually 21 coffee recipes you can create. The milk frother is super easy to use and effective, too, plus it self-cleans, which we're always in favour of.

If you're into grinding coffee beans, you'll be happy to know that the integrated grinder is quiet when operating; that said, there's the option, as with most models of this type, to use pre-ground coffee, too. Talking of choice, the coffee bean hopper can hold two different coffee bean types, ideal if you're not a one-taste drinker.

We also like how easy this coffee machine is to use – it's a one touch and go design with an LCD text display for clear instructions (technophobes rejoice). Even the descaling function is done at the touch of a button. In other words, it maybe smart-enabled, but it's not complicated to use.

A smart coffee machine
We're always on the look out for a smart feature (you might have noticed The Hub – our home tech pages dedicated to making life easier, not just being techy). This one's a fairly simple innovation: you download the app, and it allows you to control the coffee machine from your smartphone. You can save your favourite coffee choices so you'll always get the cup you want, and there are some useful tips on getting the best from your coffee machine, too.

While we're thinking coffee machine smarts, more on those coffee choices: this machine has the My Coffee Memory function – it saves the coffee preferences of up to eight people, and four pre-programmed classic specialities: espresso, cafe creme, cappuccino and latte macchiato. You can get hot water too, should anyone dare to ask for tea instead. The plug-in Milk System has a removable milk container which fits the fridge. Handy.

What don't we like?
We're not big fans of the black finish – although it's a good pick for contemporary kitchens. However, you'll be pleased to know it comes in a subtle stainless steel, too.

Real Homes rated 5 out of 5 stars: read our full Melitta Barista TS Smart coffee machine review

best coffee machine - De’Longhi Active Line ICM14011 coffee machine - Real HomesReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

5. De’Longhi Active Line ICM14011 Drip Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine with a compact filter: get the same delicious taste of ground coffee from a space-saving machine

Best for: space saving
Type: Filter coffee
Pressure: N/A
Cups: Five (0.65 ltr water reservoir)
Reasons to buy
+Coffee miles better than instant+Keeps drinks warm+Flavour adjustment possible
Reasons to avoid
-Jug capacity doesn’t cater to a crowd

If you're short on space and prefer a filter coffee then we can highly recommend this coffee machine from De'Longhi – we've gave it a credible 4.5 stars in testing, and for good reasons too!

Ease of use
Put simply, this coffee machine is super simple to use. All that you'll need to do to get your breakfast brew is pour water into the tank, add the coffee and switch on. It is well suited to singles and couples who want the taste of real coffee rather than instant, but don't want to get involved with all the froth which comes with cappuccinos.

It's a compact machine, with pleasing lines, which can can be matched to kettles and toasters in the range.

Coffee options and taste
Ultimately you'll be making filter coffee with the De’Longhi Active Line ICM14011, but it does offer a degree of customisation with two brewing speeds using the Aroma function.

The coffee from this machine is a good temperature too and, with the keep warm plate, it will keep warm for up to 40 minutes after brewing if you need.

Bear in mind
The size of this machine is pretty compact making it a good fit for small kitchens. For the larger households, however, this will not be suffice for more than a couple of coffee drinkers at a time.

Real Homes rated 4.5 out of 5 stars: read our full De’Longhi Active Line ICM14011 drip coffee machine review

The best multifunctional coffee machine: De'Longhi Scultura ECZ351 espresso coffee machineReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: De'Longhi)

6. De'Longhi Scultura ECZ351 W Traditional Pump Espresso Machine

Best coffee machine for multifunctional uses: brew every tasty coffee drink you can imagine

Best for: All round performance
Type: Ground coffee or ESE pods
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: Two (1.4 ltr water reservoir)
Reasons to buy
+Makes every coffee you can think of+Espressos and cappuccinos a highlight+Self-priming – always ready to go
Reasons to avoid
-Water stop is manual so requires more user input than some machines

This is the best coffee maker if you want a) a quality machine; b) the ability to make a vast range of quality coffees, from single and double espressos, Americanos and flat whites to lattes, cappuccinos and latte macchiatos; c) a price that is really reasonable.

A good range of drinks
Without being flippant, it's really good at making coffee: expressly, espresso, but cappuccino and latte, too, thanks to the easy to use steam arm. 

What do we like about it?
You can use your choice of coffee – ground or ESE pods – that for us is a winner. But how does it perform? Let's start with the espresso, which is, without fail, good. The holder for the ground coffee (you might have seen baristas pressing dry coffee grounds into this before inserting into the machine) is big enough for two cups. And before you start worrying about lacking the skills of a barista, it's an easy to use machine, in our opinion. Then, there's the steam arm to froth fresh milk. That too is user-friendly and is really effective at creating coffee shop standard cappuccinos and lattes. 

What's more? There's good hot water delivery for fans of Americanos – or for herbal tea drinkers (shudder). And, we like the hot plate that heats your cups in advance so that your coffee stays hot for longer. 

Stylish and energy saving
We love how this coffee machine looks – professional and sturdy to fit in both traditional and contemporary kitchens alike. Talking of looks, it's available in a range of finishes, including grey, white, Champagne and black (we love the white). Plus, the auto switch off is a thoughtful, energy-saving feature; the auto-off time – set at 20 minutes currently – can be changed by you, too.

What don't we like?
This machine does involve a certain amount of effort from you (tut tut). Namely, the water doesn't automatically stop – you have to make that happen. But, you know what? It's a small price to pay for excellent coffee.

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full De'Longhi Scultura ECZ351 W Traditional Pump Espresso Machine review

Sage Barista ExpressReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Sage)

7. Sage Barista Express

Best coffee machine for Barista features: get the full experience with this machine

Coffee type: Bean to cup
Tank capacity: 2ltrs
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: One
Reasons to buy
+Customise the coffee grind for each brew+Pressure gauge +Milk wand attached+Includes a smart temperature milk jug
Reasons to avoid
-Not automatic -Could be intimidating for inexperienced users

Including everything you need to grind the beans, brew your coffee and steam the milk, the Sage Barista Express is the real deal. 

What's it good at?
From the grind coarseness to the volume, everything is fully adjustable. That means you can change the settings depending on the type of bean or the pressure gauge. 

What do we like about it?
Coffee enthusiasts will enjoy how easy it is to make your favourite brew and experience every part of the process. It's a looker, too, with an in-built tamper and grinder and a stainless steel exterior. The side dial has the controls for the steam wand and even a hot water tap for topping up an americano. 

Cleaning is straightforward, you can choose between one or two shots of coffee and even track the temperature of the milk as you steam it using the smart steaming jug. 

What else?
It comes in stainless steel and also black. 

What don't we like?
If you don't like getting stuck in, you may find having to do every part of the coffee process yourself a bit of a faff. 

Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars: read our full Sage Barista Express review

BREVILLE VCF125 Mini Barista Coffee MachineReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Currys PC World)

8. Breville VCF125 Mini Barista Coffee Machine

This is the best coffee machine which YOU voted for

Best for: all coffees
Type: ground coffee
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: 1 - 2
Reasons to buy
+Makes a lovely coffee (and hot chocolate)+Simple to set up with instructions+Easy to use+Useful suite of accessories+1 year-guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-Stainless Steel marks easily-No adjustable mug height

This coffee machine by Breville won the Real Homes Awards for the category which you, our readers, voted for late last year. We're pretty big fans of it ourselves, to be fair, since we've recently tested it.

Barista-style coffee
This machine will make you your favourite coffee when ever you want it, and it'll taste just as good as it does in your local coffee shop. It'll make a latte, flat white, or cappuccino but you may have to perfect the swirls on the top with the milk jug and frother.

What do we like about it?
It'll do it all for you. By this we mean that it will control the amount of coffee grounds and the water temperature used, whilst you just need to opt for a single or double shot of the good stuff.

The machine will gently pre-infuse the coffee whilst the 15-bar pump will perfect a rich crema.

Keeping it clean
The stainless steel is easy to keep clean if polished and shined regularly. And the machine has a cleaning programme so it will take care of the internals, whilst you matter about how it looks.

What we don't like?
Nothing really. The price is a little steep, yep, but this is an investment and one to rival the coffee shops so it's worth the investment (if you ask us anyway).

Real Homes rated 4.5 out of 5 stars: read our full Breville VCF125 Mini Barista Coffee Machine review

best coffee machineReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

9. Nespresso by Sage Creatista Uno SNE500BKS Pod Coffee Machine

Best pod coffee machine: it's easy to use, easy to clean and makes lovely coffee, too

Best for: Pod coffee
Type: Pod
Pressure: 19 bar
Cups: One (1.5 ltr water reservoir)
Reasons to buy
+Really quick coffee+Easy to clean+Makes great coffee
Reasons to avoid
-Cost of pods

This coffee machine by Sage gets our vote for the best pod coffee machine you can buy. Why? Because it simply makes a really great coffee, plus it's super easy to use, keep clean and looks fab on the worktop, too... 

Speedy and easy to use
If you like the ease of a pod machine with good milk frothing too, this is for you. It can produce three types of milk foam! Another thing it does well is deliver you an espresso in no time at all (just 25 seconds). Ideal if you get twitchy waiting for that first fix of the day. Plus it's easy to use and we like that.

What do we like about it?
The automatic steam wand has three milk temperatures to choose from. Plus, the steam wand purges itself after use so cleaning it isn't an issue.

The adjustable settings don't stop there: you can control your coffee cup size, too (there are three to choose from) and milk texture, too. So, whether you like a long or short coffee, adjust the coffee machine to suit, and it'll produce your perfect cup every time.

Despite the high pressure (19 bar) pump, this coffee machine is quiet. And, there's an energy-saving auto shut-off feature (after nine minutes).

Cleaning is simple
Let's talk cleaning: the 1.5ltr water tank is easy to remove and the metal milk jug can go in the dishwasher. There's also an indicator so you'll know when the coffee machine should be descaled (answer: not too often, and another easy, quick job). 

What don't we like?
The ongoing cost and waste of pods – but then this is always an issue you'll face if you choose this type of coffee machine. That said, Nespresso does run a pod recycling scheme that's advertised on their website. Or, look out for the compostable pods that are compatible with Nespresso machines. You can even find refillable pods on Amazon that can be used time and time again, filled with your own choice of ground coffee.

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars: read our full Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno SNE500BKS coffee machine review

De'Longhi Primadonna SoulReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: De'Longhi Primadonna Soul)

10. De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul

Best high-end coffee machine: choose from 21 drinks

Best for: High end
Type: Bean-to-cup
Pressure: 19 bar
Cups: Two (2.2 litres)
Reasons to buy
+App compatible+Up to 5 user profiles+21 coffee presets
Reasons to avoid
-Large and expensive

Costing over £1000, the De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul is a true investment. It's got a lot of appealing features though, so if you want a seriously premium coffee machine, this is a great pick. 

So many options
If you enjoy experimenting with coffee, the De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul is a great pick. It has 21 coffee styles to choose from, including over ice, cortado, and mug to go. 

The Coffee Link App allows you to make coffee remotely. Simply pair it with your machine, and don't forget to leave a mug under the spout! 

You can adjust everything from intensity to milk settings using the app, and we found that it's easy to set up and use. 

Fully automatic
Keep the beans, water and milk topped up, and the machine will do the rest. The LatteCrema system allows you to adjust your milk settings, and can froth your milk in seconds whether you want a flat white or a cappuccino. Even if you just want a mug of hot milk, the machine can do it with the press of a button. 

What don't we like?
There is no warning when the beans are low, so it can run out mid-cycle with no real warning. For such an expensive machine it would be nice to have a warning when it's time to fill up the bean dispenser.

It's also not great for bijou kitchens. You'd be better off with one of the smaller machines in our guide, like the BREVILLE VCF125 Mini Barista Coffee Machine, if you have a small space. 

Real Homes rated 5 out of 5 stars: read our full De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul review

best coffee machine for filter coffee drinkers Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine reviewReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

11. Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine for matching with other Smeg appliances: it makes a lovely tasting filter coffee, too

Best for: Making a really good filter coffee
Type: Filter coffee
Pressure: N/A
Cups: Up to 10
Reasons to buy
+Makes a really good coffee+Excellent filter+Six colour options available
Reasons to avoid
-Bulky 'small' design-A little tricky to fill up the water tank

If you enjoy the taste of fresh filter coffee in the morning, without too much faff, and want to mix-and-match models for a colourful chic kitchen set-up, then this coffee machine is for you.

What we like
This coffee machine does exactly what is intended: make filter coffee. And the filter coffee is really nice, at that. 

When the coffee is made it is easy to clean and maintain the coffee machine, once, like everything you get used to it.

Anything else?
It also comes in a selection of complimentary colours. These colours would probably suit other Smeg appliances in the kitchen, more than if you just have this standalone coffee machine, but it's one (of a few things) we like anyway.

What we don't like
There's nothing we especially dislike about this coffee machine, but the set-up is a little fussy with a number of settings to work your way through before you can brew. And the water tank is pretty tricky to fill up, too, particularly if you have it sat on the work surface under some cupboards.

Also, just be mindful NOT to switch off the machine at the plug after each use because all settings will be cleared so you'll need to run through the set-up process again.

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full Smeg DCF02 Drip Filter Coffee Machine review

Lavazza Tiny best pod coffee machineReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Lavazza)

12. Lavazza A Modo Mio Tiny Espresso Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine for budget & espressos: perfect for compact (tiny) spaces if you need an espresso in a hurry

Best for: space saving
Type: Espresso
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: 1 (0.75 ltr water reservoir)
Reasons to buy
+Space saver+Simple to use+Great result+Good value
Reasons to avoid
-Limited to just Espresso and tiny cups-If you prefer ground beans

If you like an espresso in the morning to kick things off then you'll enjoy a shot of this coffee machine from Lavazza.

Easy to use
If you're eager to start the day then the Lavazza Tiny is on hand to help. It's ready to use in 25 seconds flat, fairly quiet and no need to boil a kettle so you won’t be waking up the whole house when you’ve got an early start. 

All you'll need to do in the morning is remove the pod tray and pop your Lavazza A Modo Mio capsules (pod) in, then you’re ready to click the on/off/go button – we like an easy life!

Cleaning and maintenance
Just on the first use you’ll need to rinse out the water tank and fill it with a minimum 0.5 litres of fresh water. Then run it without a pod inserted for an easy cleanse. If you choose to do so, you could do this cycle on a weekly basis to flush it out, otherwise just wipe it down with a warm and damp cloth . Removable parts are dishwasher safe too, so happy days!

How it looks
This coffee machine is compact (tiny) with a pleasing streamlined design which will work well on a kitchen counter, in your home office space or outhouse kitchen. It could also make the perfect gift for the university student stuck in a tiny room but in need of a lot of caffeine. 

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full Lavazza Tiny Coffee Machine review

IllyReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Illy)

13. Illy Y3.3 Iperespresso Coffee Machine

Best compact pod coffee machine:

Coffee type: Pod
Tank capacity: 1ltr
Pressure: 19 bar
Cups: Two
Reasons to buy
+Makes delicious quality coffee+Very compact+Comes with a range of colours+Either espresso or lungo
Reasons to avoid
-Not a top choice if you don't love espresso

Pod coffee machines can give you some seriously delicious espresso, and the Illy Iperespresso is no exception.

What's it good at?
It makes delicious espresso, with rich and fragrant crema and in either espresso or lungo measures. 

What do we like about it?
The compact design makes it perfect for smaller kitchens, and it comes in some lovely colours including red and baby blue. 

What else?
The used pod holder can hold up to eight pods, so be prepared to empty on a semi-regular basis. It doesn't offer many options but it's very easy to use. 

What don't we like?
You can only use Illy captions with this machine, and there isn't the largest range of options. Illy does offer some delicious high-quality pods though, and you get a good selection included with the machine. 

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full Illy Iperespresso Y3.3 coffee machine review

Best small coffee machine: De’Longhi EC685Real Homes Rated Silver Badge

14. De’Longhi EC685 Coffee Machine

Best small coffee machine: for professional barista brilliance on a small footprint

Coffee type: Ground or ESE pods
Tank capacity: 1.1ltrs
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: One
Reasons to buy
+ Heats up in 30 seconds + Three interchangeable devices for the perfect milk froth +Cup warmer+Milk functions and lots of options
Reasons to avoid
-Handwashing parts is a faff

The coffee machine may be small, but it's pretty mighty and is our pick of the best small coffee machines – perfect for small kitchens.

Good for customising your cuppa
Everything. It works perfectly well with both ground coffee and pods, so if your palate is particularly fussy, you can explore all the options to find the perfect blend. It has a steam pipe for frothing milk, and if you want to grind your own beans, you can get a matching grinder.

What do we like about it?
This small coffee maker is the real deal, thanks to a speedy heat up, adjustable steam frother and interchangeable devices for producing the perfect froth. 

It comes in a number of colours, too, so can suit many kitchen schemes. While traditional in shape, its matt steel and chrome outer brings it right up to date, at a decent price, too.

Check the plug
Some reviewers mentioned it comes with an EU plug so check before purchase.

What don't we like?
Cleaning. This is like a mini version of the machines you see in coffee shops so it has a coffee sump and other accessories. This adds to the versatility, but also gives you more things to wash up afterwards.

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full De'Longhi Dedica Style EC685 coffee machine review

Best quiet coffee machine: Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie PlusReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

15. Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus Coffee Machine

Best coffee machine for keeping the noise down: a quiet and compact machine

Coffee type: Pod
Tank capacity: 0.6ltrs
Pressure: 10 bar
Cups: One
Reasons to buy
+Super quiet +Authentic Italian espresso +A range of pre-set coffee settings 
Reasons to avoid
-Pod-only-Small tank (but it is super compact)

This little coffee machine from Lavazza gets our vote for the quietest model on the market, plus it produces a decent cup of coffee too.

What's it good at?
It is quick and the coffee tastes amazing. It only takes Lavazza pods, but fortunately their coffee is of supreme quality and even capsule-machine skeptics will enjoy a cup from this machine.

What do we like about it?
This stylish coffee machine produces both single and double espressos with a smooth, rich crema. Use compatible milk pods alongside its range of preset coffee settings to create your own drink, whether it’s a cappuccino or a latte. 

Some pod coffee machines are notoriously noisy – not what you want in an open-plan kitchen – but not the Lavazza Jolie Plus. 

What else?
Apart from being super quiet, it is also unobtrusive in size. It does only have a 0.6ltr capacity tank, so it’s perfect for individual usage and a smaller tank means it takes up less space on the worktop – win, win. 

What don't we like?
The only drawback is the restrictions around the pods you can use. The machine requires Lavazza capsules and while some companys create compatible pods, the branded ones are recommended. We were happy to hear that Lavazza has recently launched some compostable capsules. Check out their Eco Cap capsules.

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars: read our full Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie Plus coffee machine review 

Black Friday coffee machine deals: what to expect

Black Friday 2021 will be on the 26th of November. It's still a while away, but we're expecting to see deals dropping as early as a fortnight before the big event. 

Top brands like Nespresso and Sage usually get involved with discounts on some of their best coffee machines, and because they are often a big ticket purchase, even a 10% discount could potentially save you some serious money! 

Take a look at our Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto page for more info on pod coffee deals, and we will keep you posted as we bring the best of Black Friday's coffee machine deals. 

How we test coffee machines

Here at Real Homes we like to get hands-on experience with the products before featuring in our buyer's guide. And since most of the team thrive (survive) on coffee, it wasn't a problem – honest! We totally understand that there's A LOT of choice out there at the moment, and with more of us now working from home or home schooling (or both!) a coffee machine which is ease to use and doesn't cost the earth is a must. But the only way to really find this out is to test one out for size, in our own homes.

Each time we hear of a new coffee machine or we're intrigued to find out more about an already popular option, we call them in. We then test the pod coffee machine, espresso coffee machine, filter coffee machine or bean to cup coffee machine for a number of weeks (or months) to get a better understanding about how they work. Sometimes we're even fortunate enough to keep the coffee machine which means that we can continue to use it and update you as we go. All the important factors such as ease of use, cleaning and maintenance and cost to run are all considered. We even take into account user reviews so no stone is left unturned when reporting back to you.

How to choose a coffee machine for my home?

Coffee machines can be divided into two categories: espresso or filter. Espresso coffee machines are going to please coffee addicts who like the choice of everything from classic espresso to milky cappuccinos. Their pressurised hot water extracts rich flavour from coffee grounds, but they can really only handle single or double shots at any one time. Pod coffee machines are a simplified form of espresso machine which save you from having to measure coffee or manually control the pressure and water through the grounds.

Filter machines, on the other hand, are crowd-pleasers. The hot water is dripped through the coffee grounds quickly – and while you won't get the choice or the richer taste, you will get quantity, fast. If you like a no-fuss cuppa (or ten), then a filter machine is for you.

Which type of coffee machine is right for you?

We've looked at bean to cup, pod and ground filter coffee machines. Our top picks are above, but if you need a little jargon-busting first, here's what to consider when buying the best coffee machine:

Pod and capsule machines
These are very popular as they are quick and easy to use and are normally pretty good value for money. They're ideal if you are regularly in a rush as they heat up super quick and they make a range of coffees and teas – yep, teas!

However, purchasing one of these means you are committed to buying the right pods on a regular basis which could quickly add up if you drink a lot of coffee. 

Browse our best pod coffee machine guide, if you want barista-style brew options at the touch of a button.

Bean to cup machines
If you love barista-style coffee then this is the coffee machine for you, for sure, as it will recreate all those flavours and aromas which you've become attuned to.

Although they do come with a higher price tag, this sort of coffee maker tends to work out cheaper in the long run, and are much more likely to please the coffee aficionado with their fresh-tasting results. 

The machine has a built-in grinder and they normally come with a range of settings so you can make anything from an espresso to a cappuccino, and have added features such as a milk frother so that you can have your very own Costa or Nero from the comfort of your own home. 

Check out our best bean-to-cup coffee machine guide for our top machines of this sort.

Filter coffee machines 
A more classic option, and better when catering for more people than just yourself, the filter coffee machine will create a simple yet wonderful coffee. If you like your coffee strong and black, then a filter machine will most likely cater to your taste a little better than a pod or bean to cup machine.

However they do take a little longer to prepare your drink because they work by dripping water through ground beans into the jug, so you’ll just need to have a little patience when making a mug of filter coffee – it'll be worth the wait, honest.

View our best filter coffee machine guide for options from the likes of Morphy Richards, Russell Hobbs and De'Longhi.

Milk frothers
Okay these aren't a coffee machine per-se but, are these a must-have or a luxury to accompany your coffee maker? Well, it depends whether you like a coffee with the perfect crema on top or not, and how much effort you're prepared to make. An integrated or automatic milk frother will undoubtedly drive up your coffee machine's price, but it will heat and froth milk for creamy coffees fast. Manual frothers may come with your coffee machine, but you have to do the frothing yourself. It doesn't mean you can't have great crema, but it will mean you have to allow for a bigger budget.

What is the cheapest coffee machine?

If you're wondering which coffee machine type is the cheapest then you're in luck because we've done some calculations. Okay, they are pretty high level calculations but in a nutshell the filter coffee machine offers the best value for money. They are relatively inexpensive to buy in the first place and the ground coffee can be bought from your local high street stores or supermarkets, so it's all readily available.

In terms of what kind of numbers we are talking about, a coffee machine of this type will make you a caffeine-fuelled brew for £0.16 per cup with an initial upfront cost of £50. This means means that you will easily make your money back (if you drink enough coffee) and also continue to save you money in the long run since an Americano from a popular coffee shop will set you back £1.95 per shot.

An even cheaper alternative would be an instant coffee but you'll get a lot more flavour and pleasure from a good filter coffee machine, so it's worth every penny. Don't forget to check in with our coffee machine sales to grab a bargain.

How to be more ethical with your coffee drinking

Making a choice to be more ethical and sustainable is something which a lot of us have become more and more aware of lately, especially since making our own coffee at home. It's a very personal experience. From the type of coffee we drink, to how or where we drink it. It's a way of life - one which is part of the morning ritual - for many of us which is why Barista & Co have put together a few top tips to help us make a positive impact through the smallest of changes.

1. Begin with ethically sourced beans
Whether you prefer a light, medium or dark roast check the label to make sure you’re supporting small farmers who are working to create a fairer, sustainable system. 

2. Ethical ground coffee beans are an option, too
Let us not forget the ground beans. These can be bought from Barista & Co and ground down or other ethical brands such as PACT coffee (even the supermarkets) which is a very affordable option for your filter coffee machine. You you can be sustainable whilst saving money. It's a win win.

3. Go plastic free
Rather than returning to buying your coffee from a shop, why not brew at home. Not only does it cut down waste production from takeaway cups, you can choose how and when you brew it, turning to the latest plastic-free coffee makers to help you make a more sustainable choice.

4. Opt for companies which give something back
Barista & Co also believe they have a responsibility to bring about positive change and help leave the planet in a better state than first found, that’s why they have joined 1% for the Planet, making a commitment to the social and environmental causes they believe in, by donating 1% of annual sales to support the planet and its people..

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Jennifer Oksien
Jennifer Oksien

After returning to Future Publishing in February 2020, Jennifer has been working on our appliance and mattress content to showcase the best in class examples which are available to buy for your homes. When she is not scouring the web for deals or reviewing products for your pursuit, she can be found hanging out with our three guinea pigs in her Victorian terraced home which she has lovingly (patiently) been renovating with her husband over the past few years. Jennifer also likes tea and homemade cake, very much.