Best For: Coffee with milk
Who are these for?
They’ve got a built-in grinder, so they’re easy to use. Add the beans and the machine will do the rest. If you haven’t got the space, budget or interest to replicate the sort of coffee you can get from a skilled barista, they’re a good option – especially if you take milk.
How good is the end product?
Again, if everything’s calibrated well, the coffee will be better than a lot of what you still find on the high street.
What should you be looking for in one of these machines?
Ideally, it’ll be easy to clean, reliable and adjustable. You’ll want to be able to change the grind texture, dose (quantity of coffee used) and the amount of espresso it produces.
Do they take much looking after?
You will really need to keep on top of cleaning your machine after every use. That means cleaning the grinder, milk steaming wand and all components that come into contact with coffee or milk. Hard water like London’s can very quickly break these machines, so use a good water softener or mineral water to increase its lifespan of your machine. Before you make your first drink, run hot water through your machine and coffee through your grinder to ensure your machine is hot and your coffee fresh.
Bean-to-cup machines come at a range of prices – is it worth spending a bit more on one?
There are budget machines, but it’s worth spending a bit more for quality design, useful features and reliability. The higher you go in price, the more customisable automation features you have.