It can be costly to buy coffee when you are out and about. According to the British Coffee Association, two billion cups are consumed every day around the globe. 95 million of these are in the UK.
With the right machine and a reusable coffee cup, you can make barista-style coffee in your own home. You can also make conscious ethical and sustainable choices about the coffee beans and ground coffee you purchase, as well as the energy consumption and waste reduction. Which coffee machine should you choose? The coffee you like most will determine the type of machine that you choose.
Espresso machines make rich, condensed, and short coffees that are topped with a hazelnut-colored crema. These machines are a great buy for any aspiring barista because they allow you to experiment with your technique and encourage creativity when steaming milk for latte art. These machines are often hands-on and require you to douse and tamper the coffee and then load the portafilter. However, more advanced machines can do this automatically.
The best coffee machines are convenient. You don’t have to grind your beans, so they can be used to make fresh coffee. The capsules in pod machines can’t be recycled, so you need to invest in compostable or biodegradable options. There are many delicious options. There is no universal solution to coffee pods. Different brands have different designs so it is important to be aware.
Coffee-to-cup machines automate all aspects of coffee-making and are a great choice if you prefer freshly ground beans. You can preselect your favorite coffee-house classics at the touch of one button. These are usually larger and more expensive, so they’re best suited for large kitchens that have plenty of countertop space.
You can also make your coffee with a drip machine or an air press, stovetop coffeemaker, or cafetiere. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, and each produces different results. Your choice of method will be based on your personal preferences.
Every year, our review experts test hundreds upon hundreds of appliances to give you objective advice and tested recommendations on the best products to buy. This guide contains models that excel in our category tests.
To give you an idea of our favorite picks, we’ve selected three machines from each category. For the complete list of recommendations, see our guides to the best espresso machine, the most efficient coffee pod machines, and the best beans-to-cup machines.
The guide also includes models that excel in our category tests. Learn more about the way we test products.
The 2021 Best Coffee Machines
SMEG ECF01 espresso machine
Best home espresso machine for aficionados
- Excellent espresso
- Advanced customization features
- There is no accompanying milk steaming bowl or scoop
Star rating: 4.5/5
The 1950-style home espresso machine by SMEG is a bold, slimline device that commands attention on the kitchen counter. You can personalize each espresso according to your preferences, while the machine does its job well and produces top-quality espresso.
De’Longhi Dedica EC685.M manual espresso maker
Most stylish espresso maker
- Giro milk wand
- A* energy rating
- Cup warmers are too unstable for safe use
- It is easy to load the portafilter by pressing a button
Star rating: 4.5/5
De’Longhi has done everything to create the elegantly designed manual Dedica espresso maker, which weighs in at just PS200. The box contains single, double, and ESE pod filters. The coffee was evenly split between two espresso cups and was topped off with a smooth hazelnut crema. Although it is compact, its elegant footprint makes it an ideal choice for any kitchen. However, it may not be the most safe for warming or storing your espresso cups on. It’s one that we would definitely buy.
Sage Bambino Plus espresso maker
The best mid-range coffee machine
- It is simple to use
- Milk frother that produces efficient results
- Try Rickety drip
Star rating: 4.5/5
The Sage Bambino Plus espresso machine is powerful and stylish. It looks great on the countertop. Its buttons feel tactile and are easy to use. The portafilter is also simple to load. And the milk wand is incredibly efficient in steaming milk. It has a slightly larger footprint than its sibling, Sage Oracle Touch, but this machine is still a great alternative.
The best coffee machine for beans-to-cup
These sophisticated gadgets are packed with power and can do everything you need to make coffee, including grinding, dosing, tamping, and brewing it at the touch of one button.
Sage Oracle Touch bean to cup espresso machine – Star Buy
Best bean-to-cup espresso machine
- High degree of adjustability
- A great selection of pre-sets
- Noisy grinder
- It is easy to drip water onto your touchscreen while filling the tank
Star rating: 5/5
The Sage Oracle Touch espresso machine is difficult to fault, aside from the fact it’s difficult to keep clean with your fingers. The machine’s sophistication can be misinterpreted as a lack of usability. However, it is fully automated and has excellent adjustability. This machine is great for novices and seasoned coffee drinkers alike, even if money is not an issue.
Smarter coffee machines
The best smart bean-to cup coffee machine
- Home and wake-up alarms
- Interchangeable front panel designs
- WiFi, voice and app-controlled compatibility
- Only filter coffee
- Minimum 4 cups (equivalent to 2 mugs).
Star rating: 5/5
The second generation jura e8 review coffee maker has many bells and whistles, which may seem extravagant. However, U-turned our skeptical testers into fans of app-activated coffee. This machine is a filter coffee bean to cup machine that can make multiple cups at once. It also comes with a glass carafe. The machine can be connected to the Smarter 3.0 app and turned on at any time. The minimum of four cups can be adjusted and two large mugs are required.
De’Longhi La Specialista Maestro bean-to-cup coffee machine
The best mid-range manual bean to cup coffee machine
- Intuitive milk frother
- Tamper leaver
- Large countertop footprint
Star rating: 5/5 stars
It is difficult to miss the beauty of this machine. This machine combines design flair and user-friendly functionality, making it an ideal machine to experiment with coffee-making. As you would expect, there are single and double filter baskets included. Six classic coffees can be selected as pre-sets. The machine didn’t fit under the kitchen cabinets once the hopper was attached. So make sure you consider how much space you have before spending. Read our full De’Longhi La Specialista Maestro coffee machine review.
The best coffee pod machine
Note on pod machines and the environment: Nespresso offers a recycling program. You can also find a wide range of compostable, biodegradable, and eco caps. A coffee gadget review offers alternative methods to making coffee without the use of machines or pods.
Nespresso Vertuo Next coffee pod machine
The best coffee pod machine to enjoy a wide range of beverages
- Every drink gets reliable crema
- Made from 54% recycled plastic
- All types of coffee available: short and long
- Noise resembles a quiet vacuum cleaner
- Nespresso pods are yours to buy
Star rating: 4.5/5
The Nespresso Vertuo Next machine has a remarkable level of coffee technology. The machine has one button but can make five different sizes of coffee (espresso double espresso, gran lungo and mug). This is due to the fact that each UFO-shaped coffee pod has an embedded barcode. The machine recognizes the pod and begins to brew it. It is compatible with Bluetooth and WIFI.
Lavazza Jolie coffee pod machine
The best affordable coffee pod machine
- Very small footprint on the countertop
- Sleek but statement design
- Manual stop for single espresso
Star rating: 5/5
The Lavazza Jolie is a great choice for basic tasks. The handle’s round statement design lifts and lowers the capsules to secure them in place. It measures only 33cm in depth and 12cm in width. Yet, the countertop footprint of this machine is the smallest. This machine is perfect if you prefer long, short or lungo shots.
Espresso pod machine by illy ESE
The best coffee pod machine for sustainability
- Uses biodegradable ESE coffee pods
- Low wattage
- Long coffee doesn’t have to be so long
- Individually wrapped ESE pods for freshness
Star rating: 4/5
BCorp certified means that illy has committed to reducing its environmental impact as well as the impacts on its employees, customers, and suppliers. The illy ESE coffee pod machine uses only 800W and was designed to be an energy-saving option to other gadgets. These pods can be used to make single shots of espresso and are encased with biodegradable filter papers.