Best Coffee Machines 2017: 11 best Espresso and Coffee Machines

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.

The main decision you have to make is the type of coffee machine that suits you. If you already know, scroll down to our list of the best coffee machines, but otherwise here’s a guide to the ins and outs of coffee makers.

Filter vs espresso

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.

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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.

Which espresso machine is for you?

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 ground coffee 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.

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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.

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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

Read the full Melitta Caffeo Barista TS review

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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

Read the full Gaggia Classic Deluxe Coffee Station review

Smeg ECF01

3 of 11

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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

Read the full Smeg ECF01 review

Gaggia Anima

4 of 11

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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.

Read the full Gaggia Anima review

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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.

Read the full Nespresso Prodigio review

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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

Read the full Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Oracle review

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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

Read the full KitchenAid Personal Coffee Maker review

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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

Read the full Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De'Longhi review

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

Read the full KitchenAid Nespresso Artisan review

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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

Read the full Tassimo Vivy by Bosch review

AEG Fantasia

11 of 11

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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

Read the full AEG Fantasia review