Best Coffee Machines for Home

The best coffee machine for home is honestly, very subjective. If you were to ask 5 different coffee lovers, you might actually get 5 different ‘best coffee machines’.

The growing interest for at-home barista standard coffee has increased exponentially, especially since the lockdown period. Many are willing to spend as long as they can get the caffeine fix exactly the way they wanted.

If you need a good cuppa everyday, investing in a good machine could save you some time and money in the long run. Some would say it’s their therapeutic moment.

Besides the range of functionalities, price points and your actual barista capabilities, it is best that your chosen coffee machine is one that does not take much countertop space – to maintain the neatness of your kitchen interior.

Choosing which machines to feature on this list was no easy feat. However, I am sure that there is at least one that would suit you perfectly.

 

WHAT IS YOUR CUPPA

Mainly two questions to ask yourself first and they are:

  1. How much time and effort do you actually want to invest (per cup)?
  2. What kind of coffee drinker are you?

If you love coffee, you know you fall either in the black coffee only or white coffee with the many kinds of milk alternatives (and syrups for some).

You should also know that pricing differs by a mile between a sleek and simple black coffee machine or something that can froth milk.

You can be the person who wants the beans grinded freshly on the spot, tamp the coffee grounds before sliding in the portafilter to see that golden flow to your cup.

Or you can simply be the person who would pop in a coffee capsule, press the button and voila.

Also in the world of coffee, you can own a smart coffee machine that you can schedule to turn on and make you coffee 5 minutes before you come out of the shower.

So we’ll break it down further to five categories:

  1. The Manual Espresso Machine
  2. Bean-To-Cup Machine
  3. Capsule Machine
  4. Filter Coffee Machine
  5. Smart Coffee Machine

 

MANUAL ESPRESSO MACHINE

Pros: Excellent tasting coffee, Space-savvy

Cons: Time Consuming, Effort Consuming, Limited Coffee Option

The manual espresso machine, also known as lever machines or piston, is all about focus and precision. Espresso extracted from this type of machine is generally pressure generated with your own strength.

Done right, the results are usually liquid gold espresso.

Everything else is done manually too, from grinding the coffee, weighing in the dose, tamping and then finally to pump the level with proper pressure.

It’s a lot of work for a single shot of espresso. Yet, it gives an enjoyable experience like no other because you would be able to appreciate the effort that comes from pulling the perfect shot.

Manual espresso machines are very much elegant. An attractive piece of machine to have on your kitchen countertop. It is sure to be a point of attraction when you have guests around.

 

RECOMMENDATION: FLAIR ESPRESSO MAKER
FLAIR ESPRESSO MAKER

Notable features:

  • Simplistic design
  • Portable
  • Consistent quality without electricity

Dimensions: 6’’ (W) x 12’’ (L) x 10’’ (H)

There’s no need to find a place near the electrical source. Electricity is not required to operate this machine, and waiting for it to heat up does not take long.

Do not be fooled by this machine because the lever allows a capacity of 6 to 10 bars of pressure! So when it is perfectly pressured, you will get a 40ml espresso shot with a beautiful crema on top.

Besides being compact in size, the Flair can be easily dismantled to store when not in use. It comes with a sturdy carrying case, making it easier to bring out for your travels.

 

BEAN-TO-CUP MACHINE

Pros: Convenient, More Coffee Options

Cons: Expensive, Time-consuming

Bean-to-cup machines fall under the umbrella of automatic espresso machines because it is the machine that generates the pressure.

They come with a built-in grinder so you can expect a machine that requires a bit more countertop space as compared to the Flair mentioned earlier.

You have different categories of bean-to-cup machines:

  1. Super-automatic: Does everything for you. The only step after filling it up with beans and water is to press the button.
  2. Fully-automatic: You will need to grind, dose and tamp the beans yourself before pressing the button to extract your espresso shot.
  3. Semi-automatic: The same, grind-dose-tamp efforts needed. But this time, you can control the shot timing.

Such machines can be more expensive when a milk frother is inclusive to make white coffee.

It is recommended for coffee lovers who wants to own the fully-automatic and semi-automatic to learn the fundamentals of:

  • Coffee grinding and tamping theories
  • How to steam milk (without burning it)
  • Cleaning and maintenance of the machine

If you don’t mind cleaning up the mess after every single cup and are more than happy to learn very basic barista skills, you can consider the bean-to-cup machine.

RECOMMENDATION – THE BARISTA EXPRESS BY BREVILLE

THE BARISTA EXPRESS BY BREVILLE

Notable features:

  • Built-in conical burr grinder
  • Adjustable grind size dial
  • Precise, 15-bar extraction
  • Micro-foam milk texturing

Dimensions: 12’’ (W) x 11’’ (L) x 13.5’’ (H)

One of the best overall at-home coffee makers across all categories for being the compact, user-friendly (actual) barista-quality machine.

The Barista Express by Breville is a semi-automated coffee machine – giving you the feel of an actual manual machine, the easier way. It is more straightforward for the common man to learn and brew himself a fresh cuppa everyday.

This machine comes with a built-in grinder with intuitive functions to control the grind size according to what you need. It can help to control the dosage or you can manually stop when you want to. The built-in tamper is a neat addition.

Tamping the grinded beans and inserting the portafilter is manual.

Program how you’d like your espressos to be. The Barista Express also comes with a steam wand that you can use to froth silky, velvety milk for that delicious hot latte.

Versatile with easy-to-learn functionalities and compact in size, this machine is worth the money for all your at-home coffee needs.

 

CAPSULE MACHINE

Pros: Quick, consistent results; Mess-free; Versatile

Cons: Sustainability Issues

The capsule machine is the simplest to function amongst all the machines. Coffee is already grinded, packed in the little things called a capsule or a pod. With just popping a capsule in the machine, then pressing a button or two, you have a cup of coffee.

Most capsule machines are designed to be lean, taking little countertop space. They are often sleek. A modern look that is highly appealing.

Those that come with built-in milk frothing are only slightly wider.

Coffee Capsules

Image source | PACKAGING DIGEST

These single-use coffee capsules are sold in different strengths and flavours that consumers can choose and change to easily.Their tastes are argued to be far superior than instant coffee sachets too.

Fast, completely mess-free and consistent quality. The capsule machines are a hit with busy working adults who need good coffee, but their lifestyle does not give them the luxury of time for the usual way of making them.

They are willing to pay more for the pods than having to go through the process just to have their daily dose of caffeine.

Capsule machines shed a bit of negative light due to the heavy usage of single-use capsules. That’s a lot of trash in a year and it does not sound good to add more to the landfills. There are,however, increased efforts made to push for reusing or repurposing the used capsules, or have the capsules made from Earth-friendly materials.

 

RECOMMENDED: NESPRESSO ESSENZA MINI

NESPRESSO ESSENZA MINI

Notable features:

  • Fast heat up: Only 25 seconds warm up required
  • High pressure pump: 19 bars pressure
  • Energy saving mode
  • Compact and portable

Dimensions: 3.3’’ (W) x 8’’ (L) x 12.9’’ (H)

Ultra-compact and effortlessly portable. The Essenza Mini offers a sleek and modern design for smaller kitchen countertops.

Despite its size, there is no compromise on the coffee quality. This small unit can deliver 19 bars of pressure, resulting in consistent, perfect golden crema with each brew.

Truly a coffee machine for the busy man who does not wish to go through the mess of espressos.

 

FILTER COFFEE MACHINE

Pros: Easy to use; Mess-free

Cons: Can only make black coffee.

Just simple, black coffee. Nothing else. The filter coffee machine is the one for those who want their quality black coffee.

Filter coffee works the same as pour-over coffee: drip method.

Pour-over coffee method

Watching the coffee ground’s first bloom upon contact with hot water is therapeutic. But not when you need them 5 minutes before your Zoom meeting or you need to get 5 cups going.

That’s when the filter coffee machine comes into play.

Using the same theory, filter coffee machines are able to produce a pot of coffee at one time. The difference is the amount of ground coffee and water, whereby the brew ratio is crucial to the outcome of the coffee taste.

Such machines would also come with added functionality like programming to your preferred strength, when you want them to start brewing and even helping you keep the extra coffee warm for your next cups throughout the day.

They are way cheaper than espresso machines and definitely easy for anyone to use.

 

RECOMMENDED: CUISINART CLASSIC THERMAL PROGRAMMABLE COFFEE MAKER

THERMAL COFFEE MAKER

Notable features:

  • Fully automatic with 24-hour programmability and self-cleaning function
  • 1-4 cup setting with auto sleep mode
  • 60 seconds reset memory setting
  • Charcoal water filter and gold-tone filter

Dimensions: 10.23’’ (W) x 8.07” (L) x 14.17” (H)

It’s a mouthful name, but this programmable coffeemaker is trusted as an easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain and durable to last the years.

As a start, it has a showerhead style drip-water which allows even distribution throughout the coffee grounds. The charcoal water filter and permanent gold-tone filter assures you the freshest coffee flavours to flow through.

Cuisinart’s double-walled thermal carafe and stainless steel accents in a slim design makes this coffee maker a pleasing addition to your countertop.

It is definitely worth it’s value, and certainly a must-have for black coffee lovers to get for their homes!

 

SMART COFFEE MACHINE

Pros: Convenient

Cons: Connectivity Issues

A smart coffee machine is one that can be connected directly to a hub (example, Alexa) or a smart home ethernet. Such machines will automatically brew your coffee at the time you scheduled. They would brew according to the settings you have programmed before. 

Imagine setting it to turn on and brew just 10 minutes before you wake up. You get up, head to the showers and head to the kitchen. There, your warm cup of coffee is ready.

Smart coffee machines are designed to make your life much, much easier. 

However, one would have to remember to have the coffee grounds prepared. Also, ensure that the water reservoir is filled up. Oh, don’t forget to have a cup under.

The downside of a smart coffee machine is connectivity. The machine’s inability to be detected by Alexa or your smart home app will defeat the purpose of being a ‘smart’ machine. Connectivity issues seemed to be a common problem as seen in the reviews section of certain smart coffee machines on Amazon.

Unless you are alright with leaving the switch turned on the entire time, consider having a smart plug to save electricity and safety purposes.


THE PERFECT COFFEE MACHINE FOR YOU

There are many, many machines in the market that can brew you quality coffee. Priority should first be about the effort and time you would like to use in making them, based on your preferred type of coffee.

Personally, I feel that the size of the coffee machine is an important factor. Hence, the recommended machines throughout this article are compact in design, taking little countertop space without compromising on the quality of coffee.

For myself, I have a semi-automated machine which I use very frequently, as well as the neat little Nespresso Essenza Mini. On days that I need a real quick coffee to-go, I would just pop in a capsule and have an amazing espresso shot under 1 minute.

Coffee lovers should know this already, a good coffee grinder is as important as a good coffee machine.

The one I use at home is the Baratza Encore. I find them to be consistent and very durable. Definitely, a value for its price. For anyone interested, you can get it here.

Coffee machines are very much your personality and they are indeed an investment, so choose them wisely!

 

** Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which allows me to earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. There are no additional costs to you.

17 thoughts on “Best Coffee Machines for Home”

  1. Hey, great article! Thanks for the recommendations. I think I may look further into purchasing the Cuisinart coffee maker. I like that it has a showerhead style drip, which is something I was not aware of before reading this. Quick question for ya:
    What does the gold-tone water filter do? I know the charcoal filters are great for filtering coffee but never head of the gold-tone one.
    I don’t think I will take the leap to a smart machine quite yet.
    However, we did purchase my mum a mug last Christmas that plugs into a USB cord and is able to keep her coffee warm all morning. She was a chronic ‘coffee microwaver.’ She was constantly setting her cup down. forgetting about it, then remembering it once it was already cold. But, of course, she wouldn’t just dump it. She would stick it in the microwave and keep drinking it. Yuk! We had to help her out with some new technology. Thankfully, she loves it.
    One more question, What do you think of the Nespresso machines? They are pricey but my friend has one and she swears by it.
    Thanks for all your help.

    1. Hi Ash,

      Excellent choice! Cuisinart coffee maker is a fine piece to have for home indeed.

      With regards to your question, gold-tone filter refers to the ‘basket’ where your grounds are. Typically, paper filters are used because it can be easily disposed after usage. Cuisinart’s gold-tone filter is reusable and prevents excess waste. Quick rinse and you’re ready to brew another pot!

      Another important difference would be taste. Paper filters are much finer, so there will be less coffee oils that goes through. Whereas for the gold-tone filter, you’ll be able to get more coffee oils running through, which means your coffee will likely be richer and stronger.

      I’ve never heard of a mug with a USB heat function! That’s so cool. Microwaved coffee is rather interesting, but it’s not for me to try either. Hahaha. Good for you, sounds like a great buy for your mom. (:

      The Nespresso machine is a remarkable invention. They really cut down coffee brewing time by a third. People pay for convenience and it serves its purpose. In fact, the crema and smoothness they produce is really amazing to me. Personally, taste-wise, I would still prefer coffee brewed from my semi-auto machine.

      Coffee is really subjective. Ultimately, I feel Nespresso machines and every other machine, is a lifestyle choice and your level of coffee knowledge.

      I hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      SAM

  2. We are a regular type of coffee drinker. We put the coffee in the pot with a strainer and folders of coffee; we like to use this to wake up and enjoy. Drinking a nice cuppa joe is the best to use and makes us happy the way we make it cold coffee. Cold coffee and cappuccino with creamer will be sufficient enough for us.
    The machines that you provided us are great as well the expresso is our next stage to achieve.

    Cheers,
    Mathew&Deloris

    1. Hi Mathew and Deloris,

      I’m happy to see two people enjoying their coffee. Sometimes it’s just the simplest things, really.

      Yes, try getting espresso machines on your next buy. There is a difference in taste, in my personal opinion. Best of luck!

      Cheers,
      SAM

  3. A very interesting read. In the end what I am really interested in is the quality of the coffee and the convenience factor is of less importance to me. So I am now wondering. How does the quality of the cup of coffee compare when prepared by The Barista Express By Breville vs the Nespresso Vertuo coffee machine? The reason for asking is that I currently own the Nespresso Vertuo machine but now wondering if I am missing out by for example not owning The Barista Express By Breville.

    I do know the quality of the coffee used obviously also matters but in the same way I am sure that the quality of the machine and the mechanism/method of preparing the coffee also matters. Looking forward to your response. 🙂

    1. Hi Schalk,

      As amazed as I am with the consistent taste of Nespresso capsules, I feel it can never fully capture the essence of freshly brewed coffee from a portafilter.

      Yes, the capsules are ‘freshly brewed’, but the coffee beans are grinded way beforehand, packed, sealed and sold in stores.

      Whereas for a semi-auto machine like the Barista Express by Breville, your coffee beans are grinded only when you feel like having your espresso shot. This is something that something that a capsule machine can’t fully replace.

      And yes! I would like to emphasise that even if you do have the Barista Express, it would only work best if you do know the basic barista fundamentals! Goes the same for most machines that requires you the grind-tamp-brew manually actually.

      So if coffee is your thing, like me, I would really recommend you to try using the Barista Express! Personally have tried it, it made me excellent coffee. You can maybe try to be fancy and practice your latte art whenever you like too.

      Who knows, you can have both machine like I did. HAHA. Anyway, best of luck!! Hope I helped you a little. After all, it should work best for you.

      Cheers,
      SAM

    2. I thought buying a coffee machine would be easy…. That was reading your article and now realizing that there are at least five different categories of machines all for specific styles of coffee.
      This is great because it means that I can now narrow it down and get exactly what I want.
      But first, I will do as you suggest and think about requirements, like where am I going to put it, how much space is available, how much time do I want to spend at the machine, and what is my skill level?

      Does mixing instant coffee in a cup and adding milk count as a valuable skill? I think not. So….. zero skills!
      I think this narrows my options down to the capsule machines, which seem to be the quick and lazy option, haha.
      But I’m ok with that as I want the consistent results and low mess option.

      Thanks for the information. It’s helped me narrow my focus and come to realize what I actually want.
      Cheers

      1. Hi Andrew,

        You are right, capsule machines are indeed fast and consistent. Rather than lazy, it’s more of.. convenient. Hahaha! There are plenty who can do without the coffee mess that comes after.

        Glad this helped you. Hope you’ll get your capsule machine soon!

        Cheers.
        SAM

    3. Hi Sam, Not a huge coffee drinker. I used to be through 2020 I got through like 3 economy drums of the stuff but switched to Green Tea late last year as it is a bit better for my heart. I think out the machines I quite like THE BARISTA EXPRESS BY BREVILLE ~ I am not sure I would understand how to use it mind you but looks like a proper Coffee machine. Have you used this yourself?

      1. Hey Alex,

        Do you mean palpitations, like your heart will beat super fast? If it is, it’s exactly what my cousin went through. She loved coffee, drank them everyday and it got so bad it gave her palpitations and anxiety. In that case, it would be best to avoid coffee or drink in very small quantities.

        Yes I used the barista express before, it gives you the feel of a commercial coffee machine but made to be much simplified. Espresso pulled from this machine is beautiful and smooth. Personally, as mentioned, this machine will be most effective if you do know your coffee – which starts with getting the right grind size.

        You can learn these from YouTube too and experiment them yourself.

        If I were to choose one machine from this article, I would choose the barista express too!

        Cheers,
        SAM

    4. Hi SAM,

      I drink coffee every morning before work, and I think this post just came at the right time when I need to purchase a new model. Although I love how convenient the NESPRESSO machine is, it’s not sustainable for the planet we are living on. I would rather choose CUISINART coffee maker instead. It also comes with a double-wall insulated thermal carafe that keeps your coffee hot for a bit longer. I think this is the one I would pick for my morning routine. By the way, the Baratza Encore coffee grinder looks nice too.

      Thanks a lot for sharing those machines.
      Matt

      1. Hi Matt,

        In all true honesty, I feel the same about the single-use pods. Although Nespresso and a lot more brands are revving up efforts in making their pods more sustainable by making them Earth-friendly or compostable and even having recycling programs, I can just imagine the amount of waste put together.

        Yes! Cuisinart’s coffee maker is good enough for your daily caffeine. Price-wise is cheaper and perhaps lesser electric used too.

        I’ve been using the same Baratza Encore for more than 3 years now. I believe it is good. The looks are undeniably sleek. Proud to have it in my kitchen!

        My pleasure to share!

        Cheers,
        SAM

    5. This is an excellent review. I for one like coffee with all the bells and whistles but I am too lazy to make it at home. Therefore, I usually go out and buy one from my favorite coffee shop. However, that does become quite pricey. I like how you described all the varieties of machines, their uses, pros, and cons. I am into sustainability so I would probably get one without pods that you drop into the machine. I don’t like making any more waste than I have to. So I would buy one where you supply your own grounds. Thanks so much for this informative article!
      Nina

      1. Hi Nina,

        It does, doesn’t it? You can save so much more, if coffee is part of your daily ritual. The initial investment may cost a bit, but definitely worth it in the long run.

        Awesome! That’s good, to avoid making waste whenever possible. If you do get such a machine, I can imagine you re-using the used coffee grounds in various, useful ways!

        Cheers,
        SAM

    6. Hi Sam, this is a great review! I actually have to admit that I only brew Swedish coffee. I love this coffee! It is a glass where you put your ground coffee in, over brew it with hot water, and then press the filter down.
      However, the natural way I would certainly try because I love everything independent of the machines. An espresso is a yummy coffee, and I love drinking it, but the cappuccino is also delicious.
      I had no idea that we have so many different machines and ways of brewing coffee. My mother still has a coffee machine with a filter, but I don’t like this coffee very much. Thank you very much for this interesting review! 🙂

      1. Hi Slyvia,

        Wow! I’ve never tried Swedish coffee before. It sounds like the Aeropress method.

        I think it’s good that you are brewing coffee without the machines. That way, you’ll feel more appreciative of your coffee, as you are more connected with its process. I’m assuming you manually grind your beans too!

        Understand. Coffee is really subjective, everyone has their own favourite kind – which is kind of amazing.

        Glad you enjoyed this topic (:

        Cheers.
        SAM

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