There is an abundance of coffee machines to choose from in our current marketplace, but which should you go for? We all know coffee tastes good however it’s made and whatever it’s made in, but there are ways to improve the taste of your coffee by purchasing a quality coffee machine. Don’t get us wrong, we may be a bit biased as we’ve both worked in a coffee house for fifteen years and used the best bean to cup coffee machines every day to produce top-quality coffee. So, we believe that a good bean-to-cup coffee machine should be at the top of every coffee connoisseur’s shopping list. But which one? Well, check out the reviews below where we have picked what we think are the top five.
What Exactly is a Bean to Cup Coffee Machine
Let us start with the basics, bean to cup coffee machines are for those who really love their coffee and we mean really love coffee. If you want that authentic taste that you get in coffee shops but within the comfort of your own home, these types of coffee machines are the ones for you. Mainly used for whole coffee beans, these grind on cue, so your coffee is always fresh. We’d be very surprised if it didn’t come with a milk frother, nowadays most do and in our opinion, this is one of the best features. It allows you to create the perfect latte or cappuccino, nothing is better than having a creamy latte in the afternoon just to spice up your daily coffee intake.
We’ve found that bean to cup coffee machines are usually easier to use, with handy customisation features such as the coarseness of the grind, coffee strength, temperature, and cup size. It is not all about the whole beans though (although this is the main feature of a bean to cup machine obviously) most allow ground also. This comes in handy if you fancy a decaffeinated coffee for example.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing
Okay, so you’ve already made the final decision and you definitely want to go for a bean to cup coffee machine but there are a few things you want to consider before taking the leap and purchasing.
Consider how much coffee you’re going to drink at any one time, is it just for you or for you and a few others. You want to fill your coffee machine to exactly what you require, the last thing you want is for any of your coffee to go to waste. If it’s mainly going to be for yourself think about a model that has a smaller tank, this will make it better value for money, which is a plus. In addition, think about the position of the tank, if you’re going to be filling it up regularly throughout the day you don’t want to be clambering around the back to take it out. A tank positioned at the top or the side would be preferable in this instance.
Cleaning your Machine
The easier to clean the better. You certainly don’t want to spend more time cleaning your coffee machine than it takes to actually make the coffee itself. Pay close attention to the machines cleaning features, go for models that have self-cleaning features. These as it says, clean themselves at the touch of a button. They will internally clean the machine so you don’t have to which will, trust us, save you a heck of a lot of time and hassle. Hint, keep an eye out for those models that have a lot of self-cleaning features.
If you don’t like noise, noise levels are definitely something to consider when purchasing. When we talk about the noise we’re not talking about when the machines make your coffee (although this can be noisy at times) we’re talking about when it grinds those beans in preparation. You’ve just woken up and we all know the first thing you need is a cup of coffee, the last thing you want is the machine screaming at you first thing, we’ve been there and it’s not enjoyable. You want a machine that is as quiet as possible, making your coffee experience one of beauty and relaxation. Something to note here, milk frother noise is difficult to avoid, pay closer attention to the grinding and brewing stages when it comes to noise.
Milk Frothing Capabilities
The main feature for most, including us, is the milk frother. If you like milk in your coffee either full-time or from time to time a milk frother is an addition you should be looking for. We do love our lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos here.
With an automatic frother, all action takes place in a sealed tight jug. This is where the milk is heated and frothed automatically, of course, the jug will most likely be either glass or plastic depending on the model. In some models, the spout of the jug can be moved so the frothed milk pours directly into your coffee cup with the brewed coffee automatically without any assistance. In others, you have to manually pour the frothed milk into your coffee after the brewing process. With some machines, there is an automatic cleaning function for the frothed milk jug and in others, you’ll have to clean this by hand.
A steam wand, the most popular method, used in coffee shops. You’re going to know exactly what we’re talking about when we start explaining what this looks like. The steam wand is a long and thin pipe that produces froth milk using steam pressure. Decide how much milk froth you want by opening or closing the valve that releases the steam.
And last but not least the manual frothing accessory. This isn’t part of the machine but a stand-alone object meaning you’ll have to froth the milk yourself, less appealing but it might be for you.
Bean to cup coffee machines can be expensive but there are many on the marketplace that are less expensive but still have the quality of a more pricey machine. For the best of the best you’ll have to be willing to spend over $1000, we would say here that they are worth the money, at this price range you definitely get what you pay for, the features in these kinds of models are incredible. What it comes down to is this, the more you pay for your coffee machine the less work is required from you in terms of grinding, brewing, frothing, and cleaning.
The De’Longhi Eletta Digital Super Automatic Espresso Machine
As the name suggests, this machine means business. It’s definitely on the more expensive side at $1,999.95 but it is worth it. Let us explain why. We hope you’re sitting comfortably as there are a lot of features to get through with this one, we’ll try and keep it brief.
Fresh Every Time
This machine guarantees that your coffee is going to be fresh with every cup. The integrated burr grinder has adjustable settings so you can decide the coarseness of your grind. It also has a second chamber for ground coffee that comes in useful for pre-ground specialty, decaffeinated, or regular coffees.
Foam, Foam, Foam
Think rich and creamy, the LatteCrema system makes perfectly layered espresso beverages like the latte or cappuccino.
Cleaning Made Easy
The small, easy to remove brew unit is easy to clean and self-adjusts so you can choose either one shot of espresso or two.
Program how you want your coffee, this is one of our favourite features on this model. You can customise every cup of coffee depending on the temperature, strength, and milk-to-coffee-ratio. The best part, the machine will remember your customisation options, so you don’t have to tell it every time.
Rest assured, your brew won’t change with every cup. Unless altered through customisation, the brewing temperature, richness, and density will be consistent with every cup.
Gets the Temperature Right
This machine has two heating elements. The first is for the espresso and the second for the milk, simple as that. You won’t have to wait for your coffee to reheat with every cup.
One-Touch Intuitive Display
It couldn’t get simpler than this, each feature has only one button, you press it and let the machine take care of the rest. The clear digital display is intuitive and very easy to use.
The De’Longi support team is on hand for your needs whether you want to discover the best beans for your new coffee machine or need help setting it up, they are there to help you.
The 10-Cup Drip Coffee Maker, Grind and Brew Automatic Coffee Machine
A coffee grinder and maker that produces good, strong coffee, it has a nice slim design that will fit perfectly into any kitchen at a very affordable price of $134.99. Here are its features:
With a 1.5L capacity, this grind and brew coffee maker can produce up to ten coffees at any given time. It’s the perfect machine if you’re planning on having over family and friends. It doesn’t have to make that much of course; the setting runs in coffee amounts of two. For example, all you have to do is set the number of powder (2, 4, 6, 8, 10) by pressing the buttons CUP 2-10 and the machine will obey. If you don’t press your desired number of cups however the machine will automatically default to making ten cups so bear this in mind. Another thing to note here is, be sure to add the amount of coffee that corresponds with the amount of water.
It is Easy
This coffee machine takes both whole beans and ground coffee to produce your preferred drip coffee. It has a burr grinder, so you know it’ll grind those whole beans efficiently. Grinding the beans ensures your coffee stays fresh with every cup retaining the beans full flavour, the powder then falls into the filter.
Create your preferred cup of coffee, choose from three control settings, and pick the strength of coffee you want, controls include strong, medium, or mild, easy as that. It also has eight great grinding controls so you can pick how coarse you want your coffee beans, from coarse to extremely fine to create your desired coffee beverage. If you think the grinding process has been too much before it has finished, you can press the grind-off button which we have found to be a very handy feature.
Automatic Start Function
This function is a good one, set the time you want the brewing process to begin, and off it goes. Set the start time for just before your alarm goes off in the morning and be welcomed by a freshly brewed coffee ready for drinking straight out of bed. There is a warning bell to make sure you know when it’s ready, it also has a warming plate so it will keep your coffee warm for up to 120 minutes just in case you decide to stay in bed that little bit longer.
Promises and Service
This coffee machine comes with a two-year guarantee. If you have any problems, which we’re sure you won’t just let the company know and they’ll get you sorted out.
Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
The Gaggia Brera Automatic coffee machine is a good size at 12.4”, it’s compact enough to fit into any kitchen and looks stylish too. It comes with the full works, capable of making anything from espresso to cappuccino. Its Pannarello wand creates delicious milk froth that is smooth and velvety. Its dreg drawer and water reservoir are located at the front for easy access. This machine comes in at $614.11, it’s slightly more on the expensive side, let us take you through its features.
Hopper and Bypass Doser
Brew your coffee with either whole bean or ground. This machine has a ceramic burr grinder for grinding your beans and a ceramic bypass doser for your ground.
Pannarello Steam Wand
The long thin wand injects air directly into the milk, creating rich and creamy milk froth.
Removable Brew Group
The brew group can easily be removed for continuous cleaning and maintenance.
As previously mentioned, the water reservoir and dreg box are located at the front of the machine.
Gaggia Adapting System
Brera’s Adapting System allows your machine to learn how to create your perfect coffee. It will adjust how it grinds your beans to accommodate your preferred brew.
Stainless Steel Front Panels
A very authentic look, the stainless-steel classic look gives the machine beauty and style making it a feature within your kitchen.
Get your steam, on-demand in only ten seconds.
Simple yet effective. With just a small number of buttons, this machine is easy to understand and use. It has an LED screen that helps you brew and create a list of drinks, both classic and custom.
The Cuisinart DGB-550BKP1 Grind and Brew Automatic Coffeemaker
This fantastic 12-cup coffee maker has expert coffeemaking technology that delivers a delicious and rich coffee flavour. At a very affordable $99.95, we love the price. See below for more about its features.
- Elegant Italian Styling
- Automatically grinds whole beans before brewing
- 24 hour fully programmable
- Brew Pause™ feature lets you enjoy a cup of coffee before brewing has finished
- Adjustable auto-shutoff – 0-4 hours
- Grind off feature
- 1-4 cup feature
- 12 (5 oz. each) cup carafe with an ergonomic handle, dripless spout, and knuckle guard
- Gold-tone commercial filter
- Charcoal water filter removes impurities
- Separate grinder chamber and filter area make for easy clean-up
- Limited 3-year warranty
The De’Longhi ESAM3300 Super Automatic Espresso/Coffee Machine
A classic design, this coffee machine is a favorite of ours and comes in at a very reasonable price point.
The burr grinder has 13 adjustable settings grinding fresh beans with every cup to ensure each is fresh and a second chamber allows for ground coffee to be used in your choice of decaffeinated or regular.
We love the fact that this machine comes with a manual frother that mixes steam and milk to create a rich, creamy milk froth just the way you like it. We also found that compared to other similar machines in this class the De’Longhi gave the most consistent results and each cup is brewed to the perfect temperature, richness, and density.
Did we mention that it’s also very easy to clean? Cleaning simply involves taking the small brewing unit out and can be done in just a few minutes without the need for complicated strip downs and rebuilds.
Where the De’Longhi really excels though is its ability to create the cappuccino of your dreams at home with its advanced Cappuccino System which mixes steam with milk to create a thick, creamy foam. The same system can also be easily adjusted to create magnificent lattes, macchiatos, or a flat white making this model one of the most consistently good ones that we tested.
Another really neat feature is the way that this machine will remember your preferences, so you enter them only once. Make your coffee your way, program in your perfect cappuccino and espresso, and let the machine do the hard work. Every time.
Best of all, though, is the fact that despite the top quality results, this machine really is so simple to use. With a clear and easy-to-use Control Panel, it couldn’t be simpler to adjust your menu settings for temperature, coffee strength, and cup size.
And finally, there’s the world-class De’Longhi support. If you need help with anything whether that’s setting your coffee machine up or advice about what beans would be best for the machine the De’Longhi team will help you out.
The Best Bean to Cup Coffee Machine in Our Opinion
For us, the De’Longhi takes it. The coffee it produces is sublime and we love the manual milk frother, mostly because we’ve had the experience with a manual one so it comes easy to us but we do love the control a manual frother can give not to mention how creamy it makes your latte or cappuccino. An important part for us is the freshness you get with every cup; you can brew how every much you want so none goes to waste. The customise option as part of the machine is brilliant and saves a lot of time. When you’ve worked out your favourite coffee, save the preferences, and have that same coffee as many times as you like, we love this feature! Don’t take our word for it why not try it out for yourself, purchase it today, trust us you won’t be disappointed.