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Best Coffee Machines 2017: 12 best Espresso and Coffee Machines

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Our round-up of the best coffee machines offers something for everyone. We've reviewed dozens of pod machines, espresso machines, bean-to-cup and filter coffee machines to come up with the perfect list.

There's simply no need for instant coffee, with a huge range of high-quality proper coffee machines able to make superior drinks fast. The main decision you have to make is the type of coffee machine that suits you.

Coffee machines are split into two main types, filter and espresso. A filter machine drips hot water through ground coffee beans, giving a strong and flavoursome traditional coffee. Using either a thermos or heated plate, filter machines are an easy way to brew a large amount of coffee quickly and keep it warm. This makes them ideal for keeping a pot on the go, or for dinner parties.

When most people think of a coffee machine, an espresso machine is the one they have in mind. This is the type of device to wake your inner barista, letting you dispense your own shot of espresso. All of these machines push high-pressure hot water through compressed (tamped) coffee grounds, creating that distinctive shot of espresso: a rich, small drink (around 30-35ml is average) with the foamy crema on top.

Espresso, a drink in its own right, is the basis for all types of drinks that you get in your local coffee shop, including Americano (hot water added to espresso), cappuccino (double espresso and equal amounts of steamed milk and foamed milk), latté (double espresso, steamed milk with a small amount of froth), and macchiato (double espresso with a dab of foamed milk). There are hundreds of additional recipes and methods of producing each type of drink, making an espresso machine the perfect option for anyone that likes to experiment.

Espresso machines fall into three main types, traditional, bean-to-cup and pod. Manual and bean-to-cup machines both use coffee beans, giving you a staggering range of different options to choose from.

A traditional espresso machine gives you the most authentic experience, as they're operated in the same way as machines in coffee shops. With one of these, you do everything yourself, using espresso-ground coffee - which is very finely ground using either your own grinder or bought pre-packaged - that you tamp manually. It can take a while to learn the necessary skills, but you can get better and more consistent results with a traditional machine. Steaming milk is all performed manually, too, via a steamer wand that you insert into a jug.

For convenience, a bean-to-cup machine is an excellent choice. These grind, tamp and dispense espresso at the touch of a button. In other words, you don't need to learn any new skills to get going, but you still get the authentic coffee-shop experience, as fresh beans are used. The poshest of bean-to-cup machines can automatically froth and dispense milk, too; cheaper models have a manual steam wand so you can froth your own milk.

Finally, pod machines are the ultimate in convenience. You just drop a pod into the machine, tap a button, and your coffee comes out with no hassle and little mess. Top machines can dispense or froth milk automatically, too; budget machines use pods of powdered milk, which doesn't deliver the same results at all.

Nespresso is the best-known pod coffee type, with an excellent range of coffees and machines. Nespresso is known for producing high-quality espresso, too. Pod brands stocked in supermarkets are cheaper, but these typically lack taste and quality.

Top scoring coffee machines in this round-up

Melitta Caffeo Barista | £985 | Our score: 9/10

Gaggia Classic Deluxe Coffee Station | £529 | Our score 8/10

Smeg ECF01 | £280 | Our score 10/10

Gaggia Anima | £529 | Our score: 8/10

Nespresso Prodigio | £170 | Our score: 9/10

Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Oracle | £1435 | Our score: 9/10

KitchenAid Personal Coffee Maker | £50 | Our score: 9/10

Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De'Longhi | £350 | Our score: 8/10

KitchenAid Nespresso Artisan | £200 | Our score: 8/10

Tassimo Vivy by Bosch | £35 | Our score: 8/10

AEG Fantasia | £110 | Our score: 10/10

Melitta Caffeo Barista TS
Key features:
  • Dual-bean hopper
  • Automatic milk frother
  • 1.8-litre reservoir
  • Programmable recipe buttons
  • Four customisable user profiles
With the supreme ability to serve up practically any hot drink under the sun, thanks to its automatic milk-frothing function, the Melitta Caffeo Barista TS makes a cuppa with the same attention to detail as any good manual machine. Its dual-hopper lets you have two types of bean on the go, and its huge range of configurable recipes provides plenty of scope for experimentation.

Simple touch controls and a bright LCD screen make it super-easy to put your drink together, and if you don’t like the default options – which is unlikely, since they’re spot on – then you can manually override them in the menu system. My Coffee modes let you assign different concoctions to different members of a household, and a slick front and high-quality gloss finish complete the unbeatable package. If you have the cash to splash, the Caffeo Barista TS is a no-brainer.

Buy now at amazon.co.uk from £985

At the time of the review, the Melitta Caffeo Barista TS was available for £980
Gaggia Classic Deluxe Coffee Station
Key features:
  • 34-setting grinder
  • 2.1-litre reservoir
  • Included tamper, knock-out box, thermometer and milk jug
The Gaggia Classic Deluxe Coffee Station provides everything you need to make brilliant coffee at home – including the high-end Gaggia MDF grinder and a bundle of clever accessories. With 34 grind settings, ranging from super-fine to coarse, getting the right balance can be a little tricky at first; but once you're used to it, the grinder creates perfect coffee to make espresso with.

This bundle also sees an updated Gaggia Classic espresso machine. When the Gaggia Classic 2015 was released, we weren't that impressed with its plastic parts and lower build quality, compared to the original Classic. With this bundle, the Classic has an all-new metal drip tray and professional-quality group handle. The result is a high-quality coffee machine.

Fortunately, espresso quality matches the looks and the Gaggia Classic Deluxe is capable of pouring high-quality espresso shots. With the included steamer wand, you can froth up your milk and make practically any type of drink. If you want that hands-on experience for making espresso, this kit gives you everything you need.

Buy now at gaggia.co.uk from £529

At the time of the review, the Gaggia Classic Deluxe was £529
Smeg ECF01
Key features:
  • 1-litre water reservoir
  • 15-bar pressure
  • Thermoblock heating technology
If you’re a hardcore home barista with high expectations of your espresso machine, look no further than the speedy, feature-packed and 1950s design-inspired Smeg ECF01. Take its Thermoblock tech, which helps it reach optimal temperature in a staggering 40 seconds, for instance. Or its clever knack for remembering exactly how much water you like in your coffee every time. There’s no denying its sheer all-round brilliance.

Other notable perks include a cup-warming surface on the machine’s top that’s large enough for two cups. There’s also a de-calc alarm to let you know when it needs a clean to keep the coffee flowing smoothly. This is manual coffee making at its fastest, most practical, and certainly its most attractive.

Buy now at johnlewis.co.uk from £279.95


At the time of the review, the Smeg ECF01 was available for £279.95
Gaggia Anima 13
Key features:
  • Manual steam wand
  • 1.7-litre water reservoir
  • One-touch espresso buttons
A bean-to-cup machine that does everything for you feels a little bit like cheating. With the Gaggia Anima, you get the best of both worlds: it automatically pours espresso, but the steam wand gives you control of milk-based drinks.

A sleek design and simple one-touch controls on the front take care of dispensing espresso. Thick and oily crema, with a full-flavoured shot underneath, prove the Anima's quality. To froth milk, steam is dispensed at one speed with no tap to control flow. It takes a little while to get used to, but once you do you can produce practically any recipe, made exactly the way you want it.

If you're looking for a well-priced bean-to-cup machine, but still want a bit of manual control at the end, the Gaggia Anima is the machine to buy.

At the time of review, the Gaggia Anima was available for £529.
Nespresso Prodigio
Key features:
  • 9-bar pump pressure
  • 800ml water tank
  • 1260W
  • Dimensions: H25.5 x W11.9 x D37.4cm
  • App control via Bluetooth
Bringing the smarts to coffee making, the Nespresso Prodigio brings app-controlled caffeine to your kitchen worktop. It connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to let you remotely brew coffee from the comfort of the sofa or the warmth of your bed – and it will even alert your phone when you’re running out of coffee. There are notifications for when the machine needs descaling, the water tank is low, and when the capsule container is full too.

The Prodigio backs up its Internet of Things brain with some nifty coffee-making features. As well as setting the machine to make coffee instantly or on a timer from anywhere around the house, you can customise family profiles and make a wide variety of great-tasting drinks from capsules. There are manual buttons, too, for the times when you don’t have your phone to hand. A neat size and minimal styling top off the attractive bundle.

The basic model doesn't come with any milk option, but opt for the more expensive Prodigio&Milk and you get an integrated Aeroccino, which automatically heats and froths milk, so that you can create everything from a cappuccino to a latté.

Buy now at nespresso.co.uk from £169.99

At the time of the review, the Nespresso Prodigio was available for £159
Sage by Heston
Key features:
  • Bean-to-cup machine
  • Dual boiler system
  • Integrated grinder
  • Auto-frother
  • H45.3 x W37.3 x D40.9cm
The Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Oracle gives you everything you need to keep your inner barista happy. It's a traditional espresso machine, but the integrated grinder on top means you don't need to worry about buying a separate unit.

Instead, you tap one button to grind the coffee directly into the group handle and filter basket, tamp, then hit another button to dispense coffee. It takes a little practice to get everything right, but when you do The Oracle makes stunning espresso every bit as good as from a top coffee shop. Thanks to the configurable and simple-to-use steamer function, frothing milk for all types of drinks is straightforward.

To top it all off, The Oracle looks absolutely fantastic in its brushed-metal finish. This is one coffee machine that you'd happily have out on display for all to see. It's a little expensive, but if you want high-quality coffee in one simple package, there's nothing else quite like it.

Buy now at johnlewis.co.uk from £1435


At the time of the review, the Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Oracle was available for £1599
KitchenAid Personal Coffee Maker
Key features:
  • Personal filter coffee machine
  • Insulated mug
  • One-button operation
  • 600ml reservoir
  • H39.5 x W16.5 x D22.5cm
The KitchenAid Personal Coffee Maker is a bit different; it's effectively a single-person filter coffee machine. It's designed to be used with a supplied insulated mug that you can take with you on the morning commute. There's nothing stopping you from buying another mug for more than one person, but it comes with one to start.

It produces coffee that's ready to drink straight away, but which is still hot enough to add some milk before you leave. It's a great, convenient option for anyone who needs their coffee fix in the morning, and prefers a long coffee to espresso. Its compact design looks fab, too. If you're spending megabucks on a daily Starbucks habit then consider this the perfect antidote.

Buy now at hartsofstur.co.uk from £49.99

At the time of the review, the KitchenAid Personal Coffee Maker was available for £89
DeLonghi Lattissima Pro
Key features:
  • Nespresso pod machine
  • 19-bar pump pressure
  • 1.3-litre water tank
  • 500ml milk carafe
  • 1300W
  • H37.4 x W19.4 x D33.2cm
This Nespresso machine is the absolute ultimate in pod coffee making. The key feature is the fresh milk carafe and its automatic foaming function, which is something you'd normally see on larger bean-to-cup coffee machines. It also has an impressively high 19-bar pump pressure and you can adjust the amount of milk, froth and coffee for each drink – it even remembers your preferences for later.

The high-pressure pump means this is a fast machine – it took us just 25 seconds to make a coffee and 40 seconds for milk drinks. Since this is a pod machine, it's very easy to use, too. The quality of coffee produced using the Nespresso Grand Crus pods is excellent, and we particularly love the latte macchiatos that the Lattissima Pro makes.

Buy now at johnlewis.co.uk from £349.95

At the time of the review, the Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De'Longhi was available for £429
KitchenAid Nespresso Artisan
Key features:
  • 19-bar pump pressure
  • Compatible with Grand Crus and some other pods
  • 1.4-litre water tank
  • H33 x W20.8 x D33cm
If you already have a kitchen of matching KitchenAid appliances then the Nespresso Artisan is perfect for you. Like all KitchenAid appliances, it's available in six colours, so you can match it perfectly to the rest of your KitchenAid fare.

It also sports the iconic design for which the brand is so famous. That – and the high-quality die-cast zinc and aluminium construction – accounts for its original high price (it's now a fair bit cheaper), but the design and build quality are in a different league to other Nespresso machines.

The Artisan has a large 1.4-litre water tank and the pod bin can hold up to 14 pods, so it's the perfect machine for entertaining lots of people. You can choose from six drink sizes, but note that there's no milk function built in. This won't be an issue for those who enjoy the fine art of manual milk frothing, however.

Buy now at hartsofstur.com from £198.95

At the time of the review, the KitchenAid Nespresso Artisan was available for £309.95
Tassimo Vivy by Bosch
Key features:
  • Pod machine
  • 3.3-bar pump pressure
  • 700ml water tank
  • H24.9 x W16.9 x D29.8cm
The Tassimo Vivy is ridiculously cheap for such a versatile coffee machine, which is why we recommend it. Part of the Tassimo coffee system, it's also incredibly small – perfect for compact kitchens and dens.

Like other Tassimo machines, it's also easy to use. It has just one button, and there's virtually no heat-up time. The machine reads the barcode on each 'T Disc' to work out the correct temperature, amount of water and brewing time. The range of drinks is great, too, since it includes coffee, tea, chai lattes, fruit and herbal teas.

If you want a step-up from instant coffee, and don't have a lot to spend, this machine is a great choice. If you can pay more, a Nespresso machine will give you better coffee overall.

Buy now at tescodirect.com from £35


At the time of the review, the Tassimo Vivy by Bosch was available for £35
AEG Fantasia
Key features:
  • Uses Lavazza A Modo Mio capsules
  • 15-bar pump pressure
  • 1.2-litre water tank
  • 1200W
  • H29.6 x W18.5 x D36.7cm
A long-time favourite of ours, the AEG Fantasia is a 15-bar pod machine that supports Lavazza's Modo Mio capsules. It has 36 settings, so you can enjoy a tailored cappuccino, lungo, espresso or latte, controlling both the amount of coffee and milk.

But what separates this machine from many is its outstanding detachable milk jug. Both the jug and steam pipe can be removed and are dishwasher-safe, making cleaning the AEG Fantasia so much easier than most machines. The jug means you don't have to rely on powdered milk pods as you do with some other machines, and it's perfect for making hot chocolate – and even to froth cold milk for milkshakes.

Given the huge number of features on offer and the excellent coffee it makes, the AEG Fantasia is outstanding value.

Buy now at johnlewis.co.uk from £109.95

At the time of the review, the AEG Fantasia was available for £169.99

Prem Desai

November 7, 2014, 10:12 am

Very interesting read. Thanks Andy.

I've been using the Tassimo system since it first came out and would have liked to see how it compares to the other pod machines.

Having said that, whilst I still like their drinks, their machines are getting worse with each generation (smaller water tank, noiser, uglier and less reliable). Their customer service is pants too.

I think I'll be ditching my Tassimo once my current supply of pods runs out and have a look at some of these machines instead .....

andyvan

November 7, 2014, 2:54 pm

We'll be reviewing more machines over the next few weeks/months, so watch this space.

Robert Winters

December 11, 2014, 12:46 pm

Picked up a Bosch Tassimo machine last week to replace my Dolce Gusto which didn't make coffee hot enough. (even after the hassle of boiling the kettle and heating my mugs before use)
The machine was reduced from £100 to £35 and when you register the machine you get £20 of pod vouchers FREE making my new (and excellent) Tassimo T12 Vivy machine the grand total of £15! (+ free delivery)
Bargain of the year!
And you haven't even given Tassimo a mention but yet you include 3 Nespresso machines in your list! (commission?) Odd as Tassimo makes equally good coffee and at a fraction of the price of other pod machines. (£2.90 pods in Tesco Vs £4+ of the others) Not to mention the huge range of coffees, teas and hot chocolates that Tassimo provide compared to rivals. (plus 3rd party pod support even cheaper)
Because of this i don't think your list represents a very good, varied (what's with 5 Delongi machines?) or accurate assessment of the best coffee machines on the market at the moment.
You certainly haven't included any machine that represents the best value for money.
What's worse is that i am posting this comment just after you claim to have updated the list of machines to be current.
Did you even bother to see what was being sold at what prices at the moment? it doesn't seem like it.

andyvan

December 11, 2014, 2:23 pm

We have some Tassimo machines in for for test at the moment, so you'll them appear here soon.

Robert Winters

December 11, 2014, 2:40 pm

Well as a consumer site i would have expected you to be raving at a Bosch coffee machine being delivered for an effective £15
It is Christmas.
I guess you'll get round to it.

Stephen Middlehurst

January 2, 2015, 9:59 pm

I was wondering about this too as not only are there no Tassimo machines on the 'best of' list but none have been reviewed full stop. Odd that in the 22 days since the reply to your post there's been two more Dolce Gusto reviews but I'm sure they'll be along soon. Shame that they're not up already though as there's some ridiculously good deals around at the moment across the range. Just picked up the T55 for £70 (owing to water quality in our area a Brita filter is more-or-less an essential feature) and very impressed so far. Well built, stupidly easy to use, good quality drinks and a very wide range of pods to choose from (likely helped by not being tied to a single manufacturer). Add on the 2 x £10 vouchers (not to mention decent cashback rates at the moment) plus decent availability in supermarkets and it's an attractive system right now.

On the subject of Dolce Gusto I'd have to argue these really aren't machines that do anything but coffee. Sure there's a couple of hot chocolate variants but they're all coffee-based. Similarly for tea, there's a couple of latte options but I think anyone buying this as anything other than a coffee machine is likely to be disappointed.

andyvan

January 16, 2015, 6:27 pm

We've reviewed that machine now and it's in the round-up. Thanks for the tip!

Paul

January 16, 2015, 9:10 pm

Nice to see my Melody 3 get a 9

aksolanki

January 19, 2015, 10:48 am

Or, you could pony up £35 and enjoy great coffee in 60 seconds for £0.25 a cup. Perfect if you have an early start and want to enjoy great tasting coffee.

Ian Morris

January 19, 2015, 2:58 pm

I have a Tassimo and a Bialetti, both of which I love and both of which I use all the time. The Bosch Tassimo machine I have wins on speed, but it takes a while to find the good pods - I suggest the Costa Americano as a good starting point and the Kenco Cafe Crema as a nice option.

The big problem I have with Tassimo is that shops don't carry a wide selection, and the online store is very expensive as you usually have to cough up for shipping.

James vB

February 20, 2015, 1:29 pm

Having tried a bunch of these capsule machines back-to-back, I can recommend AEG's Lavazza A Modo Mio, esp with my favourite blend 'Intensamente'. Quick, easy, clean and consistent results, unlike others I could mention, with UK cost at c. 20p per cup. Have Bialetti and Aeropress as a back-up, but too fiddly and messy for use x times per day.

Richard Leake

January 2, 2016, 4:21 pm

Making your own coffee is a joy I find, I could never give up the heady aroma of it brewing and it's wonderful rich taste once finally ready. I'm looking forward to try a brand new method of making it soon - it's the cafetière re-invented, improved and NO MESS. Currently available from http://igg.me/at/itsamerica...
Take a look and if you like join me in the revolution.

Dropout

July 24, 2016, 12:45 pm

What a crap review, try a Jura

dopehome.com

September 8, 2016, 11:45 pm

As an Australian, I know what good coffee tastes like since we have the best coffee in the world (I'm kidding, put your armour down). I've tried a few of the different coffees from espresso machines to the capsules machines, but I gotta say I still settle with the simple black coffee from the stovetop espresso maker.

Gabriela

April 7, 2017, 11:50 pm

The Karmin espresso machine works well for me :-)

toboev

April 19, 2017, 4:28 pm

How come the pricey Smeg makes the cut whilst the functionally identical yet far cheaper Delonghi Dedica does not?

" look no further than...the Smeg" - short-sighted advice!

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