In this article, we’ll go through what makes a coffee machine brand “good” or “bad.” We’ll then list our favourite brands, before giving you some advice on choosing.
What Makes a Great Coffee Machine Brand?
The most important consideration for any machine is coffee quality. You can have the highest quality components, outstanding features and an easy-to-use design…but if the coffee is weak and unappealing the machine isn’t worth the money.
But what makes a great coffee? You probably have your personal preferences, but it’s really about four things – taste, texture, aroma and appearance. For espresso, the appearance includes whether the machine makes a rich crema. Brands that consistently sell machines that can make excellent coffee are naturally the most sought after.
While coffee quality is the most important factor, it’s not the only thing we look at when judging a brand. Other considerations include:
- The reliability of a brand’s machines.
- Whether their machines are easy to use.
- Whether the machines are quick to clean.
- Customer service and warranties.
These are things to consider when judging the quality of a coffee machine brand. For more information on choosing an individual model, read our guide to choosing a bean-to-cup machine.
The Best Bean-to-Cup Coffee Maker Brands
Listed below are our top recommendations for bean-to-cup coffee machine brands. Each has proven to produce high-quality models with excellent espresso taste.
Delonghi are one of the most popular bean-to-cup brands. With three models on our top 10 list (more than any other brand), they are also our favourites.
Delonghi produce a range of excellent machines for different budgets and requirements. Whether you want a low-end model for espresso and manual cappuccinos, or a fully automatic model that can make lattes with a single button press, there are options available. It’s also rare to find a poor-quality bean-to-cup machine from Delonghi. You can view our top recommendations for Delonghi models here.
Gaggia is an Italian brand with a distinguished history of producing excellent coffee machines. One of their machines made our top 10 list, although they produce several other bean-to-cup models.
While many of Gaggia’s coffee machines are excellent, you need to be more selective when choosing a model than Delonghi as there are also some sub-par products. Even so, Gaggia’s history and ability to produce machines that serve fantastic espresso makes it one of our top brands.
Jura are a premium manufacturer of bean-to-cup coffee machines – many of their models are in the £1000+ range. They do, however, have some entry-level models, such as the impressive Jura ENA Micro 1 which made our top 10 list.
For most people, the cost of high-end Jura models is too high – although there’s no doubt that they produce fantastic espresso. Don’t let that put you off Jura as a brand though, as many of their machines provide excellent quality for coffee-lovers (if you have a large budget).
Krups are best known for their capsule coffee machines, but they get an honorary mention because of the overall quality of their products. They produce very few poor-quality coffee machines and are also highly reliable.
The company produces several bean-to-cup models which have been well-received by buyers, although none of these made our top 10 list. A good example is the EA8108 which is a compact espresso machine.
Melitta are one of our favourite bean-to-cup coffee machine brands, with two of their models making our top 10 list. The company is based in Germany and also sells coffee filters and beans.
Melitta bean-to-cup machines have a variety of prices and features. The cheapest models cost a few hundred, while the company’s most expensive options cost £1000 or more (such as the Caffeo Barista range). Click to view our top recommendations from Melitta.
- Melitta E953-102 Caffeo Solo and Milk
- Melitta E970-101 Caffeo CI
- Melitta Caffeo Barista TS
Sage by Heston Blumenthal
Sage by Heston Blumenthal is actually owned by Breville – a popular Australian appliance manufacturer. The company produces some excellent bean-to-cup coffee machines. Two models made our top 10 list, and there are others that come close.
While the prices and features vary, each is designed to provide a “coffee shop” experience in both taste and appearance. One of the cheaper espresso machine options is the Duo, although our favourite is the mid-range bean-to-cup Barista Express.
- Sage the Barista Express
- Sage the Oracle
How to Choose a Brand of Coffee Machine
At BeanToCupCoffee.co.uk, we always recommend choosing a machine based on its individual performance and reviews. While the brands on this page produce excellent machines, it doesn’t mean every model they collectively produce provides value for money.
With that said, we also recommend sticking to the most popular brands. These have proven to manufacture high-quality models that produce great espresso, are simple to use, reliable and trustworthy.
A quick warning: if you’re going to choose a bean-to-cup machine that isn’t made by one of the top brands, you should spend more time researching it and reading buyer reviews.
Here’s a quick run-down of questions to ask when choosing a bean-to-cup coffee machine brand:
- What does the warranty cover and how long does it last?
- Does the brand have a reputation for producing reliable machines?
- Do the brand’s machines usually produce high-quality coffee?
- How easy are the brand’s machines to use? Do they require hours of reading and experimenting – or just “work?”
- Does the brand’s customer service have a reputation for fast and efficient response?
Some brands also excel at different types of coffee machine. Magimix, for example, are probably the best manufacturer of capsule machines – but they don’t have a bean-to-cup product on our top 10 list.
There are some excellent bean-to-cup coffee machine brands out there – but not every brand provides value for money. The brands on this page are those we believe produce consistently high-quality machines that output great coffee. While we may occasionally recommend individual models from other brands, we trust the ones on this page more than others.