If you are keen on a Nespresso-style coffee machine, but are put off by the price, this weekend might be a good time to head to your nearest Lidl.
Lidl’s Bellarom capsule coffee machine offers Nespresso-style coffee without the price tag of the official machines. It works with official Nespresso and compatible capsules, including Lidl’s own Bellarom coffee pods (£1.69 for 10/17p each).
The cheapest available Nespresso machine retails at around £90, so on the face of it this is a pretty good bargain. But if it’s not up to scratch, you might end up wishing you’d spent that little bit more for the real thing.
We’ve tried out the Bellarom Pod Coffee Machine to see if it can make great coffee on a budget. Head to the Lidl Bellarom Pod Coffee Machine first look review to find out if it’s worth being at the head of the queue on Sunday morning.
Nespresso machine reviews – see how the real deal fares in our independent tests
Lidl Bellarom coffee machine: what you get
The Bellarom is a compact capsule machine that should easily slot onto even a crowded kitchen worktop.
It has all the important features you’d expect from a pod machine. It can make espressos or longer coffees at the push of a button, and has different-height cup holders to accommodate both espresso cups and larger mugs.
It has a decent 1-litre capacity removable water tank, and a descaling function – important for keeping your coffee machine working properly. It also comes with a little cleaning brush, which is a nice touch at this price point.
Like most Lidl special-offer gadgets, it comes with a generous three-year warranty.
Is the Lidl pod coffee machine a good deal?
Compared with the cheapest available Nespresso-endorsed machine, this Lidl version is significantly cheaper – at £40 less than the Nespresso Essenza Mini (above, right), it’s nearly half the price.
However, if you shop around, it is possible to get the Essenza Mini for less, we’ve seen it for around £70. It’s also worth checking out what deals Nespresso has on offer. If you sign up to a capsule subscription plan (£18 per month for a year for 50 capsules a month, working out at around 35p per capsule), you can get this machine for £1.
You can also buy other brands of capsule machine for £50 or less. Nescafé Dolce Gusto pod machines and Tassimo machines are often on offer for as little as £40.
Capsule machines usually only work with one type of capsule brand (eg Dolce Gusto, Lavazza, Nespresso), so it pays to do your research before you buy one, to ensure you don’t get stuck with coffee you don’t really like. See our guide to coffee capsule brands to help you choose the best option for you.
Capsule coffee: the hidden costs
Capsule coffee machines such as this Lidl machine are usually cheaper to buy upfront than traditional coffee makers and bean-to-cup models, but they can be more expensive in the long run as the cost per drink is higher.
Nespresso Original capsules usually cost around 28p to 33p per pod. Compatible pods can be cheaper, and Lidl’s own Bellarom compatible espresso capsules are some of the cheapest, at around 17p per pod.
By contrast, using ground coffee in a standard espresso machine will cost approx 7p per cup. If you’re a frequent coffee drinker, this can make a big difference. Especially if you consider that longer coffees may need more than one pod.
It’s worth bearing in mind that it can be difficult to recycle coffee pods, too. Nespresso has its own used capsule collection service, but compatible pods have varied levels of recyclability, and it often involves cleaning out the individual pods, which is tricky and time-consuming.
Best Nespresso-compatible pods – see our top picks, including compostable options, and find out how Lidl’s Bellarom coffee pods were rated by our coffee experts
Which type of coffee machine is right for you?
Espresso coffee machines fall into three categories – bean-to-cup, ground coffee and capsule machines.
- Bean-to-cup machines grind your coffee beans just before making the coffee, so it’s as fresh as it can be. Many have personalisation options, so coffee can be dispensed exactly the way you like it at the touch of a button. They tend to be the most expensive of the three machine types with some we’ve tested costing more than £1,000, but we’ve uncovered Best Buys for less than £450, too.
- Ground coffee machines are very versatile, and you’re not limited to one particular brand of coffee. They give you a lot of control over your coffee, so if you’re after that barista experience at home this could be the machine for you. Once you’ve got the hang of the method, they can be pretty quick, but do need more regular cleaning.
- Capsule machines are a quick, consistent and fuss-free way of making coffee, and there are a wide variety of coffees available in capsule form. Capsules can be expensive, though, and are not always easy to dispose of in an environmentally friendly way.
Find out more in our guide to buying a coffee machine.