Ultimate Coffee Machine Buying Guide UK 2017
If you are thinking of buying a coffee machine, then which is the best type for you? There are so many different types available, it can be at times quite mind blowing. Here at "The Perfect Grind" we hope that we can make your choice a great deal simpler. So let's get started and we can quickly get you to the best choice for your own needs and preferences.
Different people living in the UK will have different tastes and that means having different requirements. You could simply be a casual coffee drinker, who likes the odd cup of coffee. At the other extreme, you could be a true coffee lover, who wants to try every type of coffee drink that is available.
In this buying guide we look at the options, explain the prices, explain the features and hopefully make sense of all the coffee machines that are available.
Different Types of Coffee Machines
Just underneath, you will see the main types of coffee machines. I will explain each one in more detail underneath.
Capsule or Pod Style Coffee Machines
These coffee machines are for those who want a cup of coffee the hassle free way.
You simply put a pod or capsule into the machine, push a button and get a cup of coffee. When you are finished throw the used pod in the bin and you are done.
These are hugely popular. Familiar brands include the Bosch Tassimo, Nespresso, Lavazza and Dualit.
They are affordable with an average price of around £50-100 but you can pay up to £200 for more advanced types. (Those will include features like programming your machine using a mobile application.)
You can pick the coffee that you prefer. They have all been blended, roasted and ground, then sealed in a pod for freshness. The pods can be expensive and they do have a use by date.
- Really good value for money
- Small and Compact - do not use up much kitchen counter top space
- Fast and easy to Use
- Ideal for 1-2 people
- Perfect for the casual coffee drinker
- Can make espresso and cappuccino
- Low maintenance
- Best for coffee beginners
- Limited to the types of pods available
- You can only use pods in the machines
- Pods can be expensive to buy
There are really two popular choices of pod style coffee machine in the UK market. These are the Bosch Tassimo and the Nescafe Dolce. Even with these two specific brands, there are a number of different models.
These are a really good idea for a small office, or for a home style office. I have also seen these used a lot by single people, where they only want to make a single cup of coffee.
Espresso/Cappuccino Coffee Machines
If you want to take your coffee making to the next level, then these will be a very good choice for you.
With the pod machines, a major disadvantage is that you are limited to the pods made by the manufacturer of the machine. Now although they provide a decent range of pods, they are still limited.
With these machines you can buy pre-ground coffee and make whatever type of coffee you like. You can also buy fresh whole coffee beans, use a grinder and then add them to your machine. This really opens up the full range of all the coffee that is available.
They cost around £75-150 on average and the more advanced ones cost £400-500
- Can make a wider range of coffee types such as latte, cappuccino etc
- Uses ground coffee which has a wide variety
- Can be used for using beans and if you grind them yourself
- Good for making lots of brands and grades of coffee
- Fast high quality and consistent coffee
- Cheaper to buy ground coffee than to buy pods
- They are more expensive than the pod/capsule machines
- They do need more cleaning than the pod machines
- You do have to learn to use them
These could also be described as your full blown, or cafe style coffee machines. There is a bit of a learning curve when you first start using these. The good news is that it doesn't take long, and after a few uses, you will easily master these.
The beauty of these is that you can really make any type of coffee you like.
Bean to Cup Coffee Machines
These are at the opposite end of the scale to the pod machines. These are I guess the all singing and all dancing coffee machines. The only people who would consider buying these is the true coffee buff or connoisseur.
These are machines that start by putting fresh coffee beans into the top of the machine, (the hopper) and then have the highest quality coffee come out at the bottom.
The main difference between this type and the one above, is that these come with a built-in coffee bean grinder. By having that you can pour beans into the machine. The machine then grinds these to a thickness that you select, and then the fresh coffee gets brewed.
These are expensive with an average cost of around £300-400 and upwards of £1,000 at the high end.
- Made with the coffee connoisseur in mind
- Packed with features and programs
- Self cleaning and descaling
- Unlimited coffee types and tastes
- The Rolls Royce of the coffee machine world
- You do need to learn how to use these as they are feature packed
- Takes time to find your perfect brew
- Very expensive
If you are like me and love your coffee, then this should be your choice. These are for me the ultimate coffee machine. They are also ideal if you have a large circle of family and friends, and they all drink coffee.
These are really good at making large amounts of coffee. They are also great at making high quality coffee.
Filter Coffee Machines
Some people simply prefer the taste of filtered coffee. These types of machine will only ever make filtered coffee. Don't buy these if you are looking for espresso style coffees.
These are the classic style of coffee maker. The brewing method is to drip water through ground beans into a warmed jug underneath the machine. These are ideal for those who entertain and want to make a carafe of coffee for a number of people.
Rather than having to make individual cups for each person, you can make a jug of filter coffee and then simply serve. They are relatively inexpensive costing around £35-50.
- Good for people who like to entertain and want a simple coffee solution
- This is a classic brewing method
- Handy and convenient
- Only makes black filter coffee so no espresso, latte or cappuccino coffees
- They need filters
- They take time to clean
These are for coffee lovers who like that stronger type of what I describe as hotel coffee. Filter coffee is not everyone's choice, but personally I like it a lot. I also like the fact that you can make a pot of coffee, and then top up your cup or mug whenever you fancy it.
Vacuum Coffee Machines
These are now one of the highest trending coffee makers in the UK. They have actually been around for a while, but recently they seem to have taken off.
These are a unique way of making coffee. It is I have to say also a very unusual method, and one that is intriguing to watch.
As you can see on the image to the right, it looks a bit like an egg timer shape. There is essentially a bowl on the bottom and one on the top.
When the water is heated up, it is drawn up, by means of a vacuum and it floods the coffee grains.
These are not too expensive to buy, but they do require a bit of practise to get it right.
Which Coffee Machine Should You Buy?
The information provided above should at least point you in the right direction. The biggest sellers are without any doubt the pod style machines. They are affordable, super easy to use and make good tasting coffee.
They don't take up much room and there is little or no maintenance with them. The only problems really is the limited choices available of pods, forgetting to buy them and the price of the pods.
They are in my opinion a good choice for the casual coffee drinker, who enjoys a brew, but does not want too much hassle working the more advanced machines.
The espresso/cappuccino machines are the next most popular. These allow you to buy and use ground coffee and there are a whole variety of those to try out. If you then buy a coffee grinder, you can also buy coffee beans and make your own ground coffee.
Depending on the features of the individual machine, you can quite literally make a whole range of high quality coffee. The bit you will not like is having to clean these on a regular basis.
If you are a coffee freak like me, you will buy the bean to cup. If you LOVE your coffee and want it tasting as fresh as possible, then get one of these. And finally there is the filter coffee machine. This is clearly only for those who enjoy the taste of filter coffee. You can only make this type with a filter machine.
So folks, happy hunting and I hope you find what you are looking for.