The distinctions between ground coffee, bean-to-cup machines, and capsule or pod machines are discussed in this section. Find the ideal coffee maker for you by consulting our buyer’s guide.

Ground coffee in portafilter

Coffee makers are available in a diverse selection of designs, and their prices can range anywhere from thirty pounds to more than one thousand. What is best for you will depend on a number of aspects, such as the amount of money you have available, the type of coffee you prefer to consume, and the amount of influence you want to exert over the preparation process. Some coffee makers are better suited for espresso lovers, while others can create any form of froth you can think of. Some coffee makers can even generate latte art. Because some machines restrict the types of coffee that may be used, it is important that you do your homework before purchasing a coffee maker to ensure that you do not end up with a device that does not meet your requirements. To quickly compare different models, go on over to our coffee machine reviews.

The various types of coffee machines described

Espresso drink

The following is a list of the most common varieties of espresso machines, which can be used as a foundation for creating a variety of coffee beverages, including Americanos, lattes, cappuccinos, flat whites, and more:

Capsule or pod coffee machines – these use pre-prepared coffee pods for a quick, easy, and mess-free brew, but you’re usually limited to a specific type of capsule, and the pods can be pricey and difficult to recycle. Capsule or pod coffee machines brew coffee in a matter of minutes, and there’s no need to worry about spilling or burning your coffee.

Bean-to-cup coffee machines provide you the most freshly brewed coffee imaginable since they ground coffee beans from scratch for each individual drink.

Coffee machines that use ground coffee have a design that is most similar to the types of machines you’ll find in cafes.

In most cases, they need you to have a more active role in the preparation of the drinks. The benefits and drawbacks of using each of these different kinds of machines are outlined below. By slowly trickling hot water through ground coffee into a jug, filter coffee machines produce a coffee that stays black for a longer period of time (rather than using pressure like an espresso machine). Check out our buying guide for filter coffee machines if you’re interested in purchasing a machine of this kind.

The benefits and drawbacks of pod coffee machines

Krups nespresso coffee machine

The most widely used variety is the coffee pod machine, which includes brands such as Nespresso, Tassimo, and Dolce Gusto. If you’re seeking for a fast and simple method to brew coffee at home, you might consider purchasing one of these machines.

Coffee pod machines have a few advantages:

Typically relatively small, so they won’t require an excessive amount of space in your kitchen. A few of them can be had for less than forty pounds in price. Results that are speedy, easy, and reliable, with less need for additional cleaning. Some also prepare beverages, such as hot chocolate and tea, for their customers. Because the coffee is kept fresh within the pods, they are a good choice for people who only consume coffee on occasion. Can brew multiple types and flavours of coffee at the same time for your convenience.

Cons of coffee machines that use pods:

Compared to ground coffee or beans, the price per drink is significantly higher. Waste is produced by coffee pods because the majority of pods are made of plastic, while some pods are more environmentally friendly than others. You are typically restricted to utilising a single type of capsule (for example, Nespresso pods), which restricts the beverages you can choose from as well as the locations where you can purchase the pods.

There are some that can only be purchased online. The types of beverages that are offered to you from the machine will vary according to the brand that you select. There are some that just serve espresso, while others specialise in a wide variety of strange and amazing beverages, such as iced chocolates and caramel macchiatos.

The more expensive models will typically provide additional personalization choices, such as the capacity to save preferences and alter the level of temperature or frothiness of your beverage. Some of them also have apps, which allow you to operate them from your smartphone and keep tabs on how many capsules you have left.

Dolce Gusto, Illy, Lavazza, Nespresso, and Tassimo are some of the most well-known names in the coffee pod industry. Discover more about what they have to offer as well as how they compare to one another in terms of criteria such as price, range, taste, and eco-credentials by reading our comprehensive guide to purchasing a pod coffee maker. Go straight to our most highly rated coffee makers if you’re looking for the best pod or capsule machines. Independent reviews of Dolce Gusto, Illy, Lavazza, Nespresso, Tassimo, and other pod coffee maker brands are included in this roundup.

The advantages and disadvantages of ground coffee machines

Sage Bambino Plus Coffee Machine

If you want to have greater control over your coffee and don’t mind getting your hands dirty while preparing your beverages, a ground coffee machine could be the right choice for you. In addition to this, they provide a reasonable balance between the initial investment and the ongoing price of coffee.

The following are some advantages of coffee grinders:

You can use any type of ground coffee, provided that the grind level is correct (fine espresso coffee). You also have the option of preparing your beverages in a mess-free manner by using ESE pods, which are similar to tea bags. Compared to pods, it has a lower cost per cup. More agency over the alcoholic content and quantity of your beverage. It is possible to make two drinks simultaneously.

Cons of coffee makers that use ground coffee:

Making coffee could take a little bit of practise until you get the hang of it, and there is greater opportunity for error. More human labour is required for preparation and cleanup as compared to other types. The majority of coffee makers that use ground coffee have a steam wand that may be used to froth milk in a separate container.

Many people prefer the classic appearance, which features dials and buttons reminiscent of bygone eras and gives the customer complete control over the length and intensity of their beverage. However, certain coffee makers, like the Breville One-Touch, have adopted a more beginner-friendly design with simple pre-set drink settings and automatic milk-frothing units. This means that switching to ground coffee does not necessarily need taking a crash course in how to be a barista.

Although DeLonghi offers the widest selection, Krups and Sage are two more brands that produce ground coffee machines. There are also some more affordable alternatives available, such as those sold by retailers such as Argos, Beko, Sainsbury’s, and Swan.

Discover the best coffee grinders by reading about the various types that we propose. All of our reviews for ground coffee machines are unbiased and include the most recent models available.

The benefits and drawbacks of bean-to-cup coffee machines

Jura S8 bean to cup coffee machine

Coffee makers that go directly from the bean to the cup have a number of advantages.

Make a new brew by grinding the beans on demand. The method of producing coffee is often automated by most. It is possible to utilise a number of different types of coffee beans, and in some instances, ground coffee as well. Some of them feature significant customizability settings, which allow you to adjust drinks to your preferences and save those changes. Some people are able to create two drinks at the same time.

The following are some drawbacks to bean-to-cup coffee machines:

Usually come at a significantly higher cost.

Some of the models are quite big and cumbersome.

It’s not always easy to clean, and it has a tendency to get clogged up.

When ground, it sometimes makes a lot of noise.

The most expensive bean-to-cup coffee machines typically come equipped with colour touchscreens and extensive beverage options. Additionally, some are equipped with milk-frothing machines. Less expensive models are more likely to come equipped with a steam wand that can be used to manually froth milk. The price range is extremely broad, with some versions costing more than two thousand dollars. However, paying more does not necessarily result in better quality coffee. We have found bean-to-cup machines that score really highly for a fraction of the cost of those equipment, and we have also found some pricey versions that produce subpar coffee. The names DeLonghi, Dualit, Jura, Melitta, and Krups are all household names in the bean-to-cup coffee industry. Similar to a ground coffee machine, Sage and DeLonghi both manufacture traditional-style coffee makers. These coffee makers include built-in grinders but still need the user to have some level of involvement in the preparation of the coffee. Check out the models that we propose for the best bean-to-cup coffee machines in 2021. Reviews of bean-to-cup coffee machines, including unbiased evaluations of the most recent models available.

The initial investment against the ongoing price of coffee equipment

Pod coffee machines are often the least expensive variety to purchase, with costs beginning at approximately $30 for some Dolce Gusto, Lavazza, and Tassimo devices. Pods are more expensive than ground coffee or beans, which means that the cost of each cup that you make is going to be higher when you use pods. This can make them more expensive in the long term.

Pod coffee machines can cost anywhere from £30 to £400, but the average price is £100.

Coffee grinders cost anywhere from £50 to £500, but commonly cost £200.

Bean-to-cup devices can cost anywhere from £250 to over £2,000, but the average price is £850.

The cost of pods can range anywhere from fifty cents to one pound per unit, depending on the manufacturer. Here is how the prices pile up over time depending on the type of coffee machine:

What does your coffee habit cost you?

Coffee machine features to consider

Frothing milk

The foaming of milk

Choose a coffee maker that comes equipped with a milk frothing feature if you enjoy drinking milk-based beverages like cappuccinos and lattes. There is more than one choice available to you; you will need to determine if you want your beverage prepared for you or whether you are content to froth the milk and add it to your coffee on your own.

milk frothing graphic

The steam wand is a typical component that can be discovered on most bean-to-cup and certain ground coffee makers. After giving the milk a quick blast of steam in a separate container, you may then incorporate it into the beverage of your choice. Some of the more expensive versions are partially automated, meaning that all you have to do to make froth is stick the wand in the jug.

Automatic milk frothing is a feature that can be found on bean-to-cup machines as well as some ground coffee and pod machines. Simply pour milk into the designated container, and a built-in frother will take it in and deliver foamed milk directly into your cup. There’s no need to do anything else.

An accessory that whisks and warms milk for you to add to your coffee, the milk frothing accessory. Frequently offered for purchase together with Nespresso and Lavazza pod machines. You also have the option to purchase them separately as an accessory. Check out our guide to the best milk frothers to learn more about our favourite recommendations.

Milk pods, also known as UHT milk pods or powdered milk pods, are convenient since they discharge froth right into your cup. Used in the Tassimo and Dolce Gusto single-cup coffee brewing systems.

Memory and personalization capabilities

Some coffee machines allow you to modify the drink settings that have been pre-set so that they better fit your preferences. This ensures that each cup of coffee will have exactly the proper amount of coffee, brewed to the ideal strength, and dispensed by the machine automatically.


If you have a habit of brewing a large amount of coffee at once, you should opt for a model that has a larger water tank, preferably one that is approximately 1.5 litres, because otherwise you will find that you have to replace it very frequently. A few of the pod machines have relatively little space in their tanks.


Your machine will continue to function well for a longer period of time if you clean and descale it on a regular basis. Consider using one of the many automatic cleaning programmes available to reduce the amount of work involved. If it needs to be cleaned by hand, you should determine whether or not the components can be removed easily for cleaning and whether or not they can be washed in the dishwasher.

Smart controllers

Using an application on your smartphone, certain coffee machines can be connected to your device. From within the application, you’ll have access to troubleshooting assistance and maintenance warnings, and you’ll also be able to control the machine.

Investing in a coffee maker with a long service life

You should look for a coffee machine that not only brews a delicious shot of espresso or latte, but also maintains its ability to do so for many years into the future. Check out our guide to the most and least reliable coffee machine brands to help narrow down your search. We survey coffee machine owners to find out which coffee makers last the distance when you get them home, so check out our guide to the most and least trustworthy coffee machine manufacturers.