Best coffee machines 2019: bean-to-cup, pod or ground

Our pick of the best coffee machines will please everyone, whether you’re an espresso lover or just want a simple filter coffee. We've got them at the best prices, too

Nespresso Sage coffee machine in best coffee machines roundup
(Image credit: Nespresso)

The best coffee machine is an essential for any coffee lover. Whatever your brew of choice, investing in your own coffee machine will save you hundreds in going to your local coffee shop on the way to work. And, having the tech right at home could be the start of the perfect Sunday morning ritual.

Coffee machines can be divided into two categories: espresso or filter. What's the difference? 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. 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.

Find out more about how to buy the best coffee machine by jumping to the bottom of this feature.

Otherwise, read on for the best coffee machines you can buy. If you're looking for a bargain, don't miss the latest coffee machine sales

What is the best coffee machine?

The best coffee machine is the De'Longhi Scultura ECZ351 W, which can deliver every coffee imaginable, barista style. It uses either ground coffee or pods which some find more convenient. It can also froth milk so if you like a longer, milky coffee this is for you. It's not badly priced, either. 


The best coffee machine: De'Longhi Scultura ECZ351 W Traditional Pump Espresso Machine

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

The best coffee machine: 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
-Not automatic: you have to have some input

The DeLonghi Scultura ECZ351 W 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 – all of which is why it takes our top spot. 

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.

The best pod coffee machine: Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno

(Image credit: John Lewis)

2. Sage Nespresso CreatistaUno SNE500BKS

The best pod coffee machine: it's easy to use and clean, 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

The Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno capsule coffee machine takes the second place in our list for good reason: it makes really great coffee, it's super-easy to use and clean and it looks good on a worktop. It's only beaten into second place by our first choice because it's pod-only (Nespresso Original or compatible coffee pods) and because it's a little higher in price. Otherwise, we're big fans. 

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 far faster than our first choice (about three times quicker at 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. Like our first pick, 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 coffee machine should be descaled (anwer: 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.

The best bean to cup coffee machine: Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102

The best bean to cup coffee machine: 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, the Melitta Barista Smart TS F85/0-102 bean-to-cup coffee machine is our top pick. 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 three, 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 subtler stainless steel, too.

The best filter coffee machine: Beko CEP5152B

(Image credit:

4. Beko CEP5152B filter coffee machine

The best filter coffee machine: get that ground coffee ready people

Best for: Filter coffee
Type: Ground coffee
Pressure: 15 bar
Cups: One
Reasons to buy
+Great price+Good tasting coffee+Easy to use
Reasons to avoid

The Beko CEP5152B coffee machine has a lot going for it: it's neatly proportioned, but still has a few fancy features (we'll go into them in a minute), it makes good coffee and it's really affordable compared to our other picks. But do you get what you pay for? 

Value for money

For its price, you wouldn't expect this coffee machine to be the very best on our list at making coffee, but it does make a really very decent cuppa, so it's a great buy if you're on a budget or aren't a coffee snob and just like a good tasting morning pick-me-up espresso or after dinner cappuccino. 

What do we like about it?

Well, the price, for one. And the one dial control is a bonus for anyone (us) who hates complicated appliances of any kind. With this one, you have a choice of three settings: one for brewing, one for milk frothing, one for standby. 

But we like the extras we weren't expecting with a coffee machine this cheap: namely, the cup warmer; the manual steam wand for frothing milk; the two-in-one filter basket for fresh or pre-ground coffee. Plus, it's quick. And we mean really quick: just 20 seconds for an espresso.

Finally, we think it's subtly good looking. At that price, it could look plasticky, but we think it looks pretty professional, if on the small side.

Well built and easy to use

You might expect, for this price, that it's noisy and not very user friendly. Nope. This coffee machine is quiet and simple to get the hang of – right down to the removable water tank, which makes refilling easy (and spill-free). And for its low price, it's surprisingly sturdy.

What don't we like?

Descaling is manual. Yawn. The milk froth could be hotter. But at that price, we can live with it.

Best small coffee machine: De’Longhi EC685

5. De’Longhi EC685

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 De’Longhi EC685 might be small, but it's pretty mighty and is our pick of the best small coffee makers – 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 machine 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.

How to buy the best coffee machine

We've looked at bean to cup, pod and ground filter coffee machines. We've also included our top pick of the best small coffee machines. These are all our top picks, but if you need a little jargon-busting first, here's what to consider when buying the best coffee machine:

Pod and capsule machines are very popular as they are quick and easy to use and are normally pretty good value for money. 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. 

Bean to cup machines tend to work out cheaper in the long run, and are much more likely to please the coffee aficionado with their fresh-tasting results. 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. 

Filter coffee machines are a more classic option, and better when catering for more people than just yourself. 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, although they take a little longer to prepare your drink, so you’ll need to have patience when making filter coffee. 

Milk frothers – are they a must-have or a luxury? 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.

We’ve picked out the top coffee machines above that cater to all coffee drinkers and picked out ones to suit all different styles of kitchen and budget. 

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