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20 Nov 2019

Five stylish coffee machines that could make the perfect festive treat

We've rounded up some choice models worth considering for coffee fans

Thinking of buying a coffee machine this Christmas? Get the lowdown on the latest models to consider.

Whether it's for yourself or a loved one, we've rounded up a range of machines to suit different types of coffee drinker, from amateur caffeine cravers to enthusiastic baristas-in-the-making.

There's something for all budgets too, with prices starting from £80.

Keep scrolling for more details on the coffee machines to look out for this Christmas, along with our expert tips on the features that matter and other good gift options for coffee fans.

Best coffee machines - the exceptional models worth splashing out on

5 Christmas-worthy coffee machines to consider

1. Sage The Barista Pro SES878BTR (£550)

This hybrid bean-to-cup coffee machine, available in black or stainless steel, is as near as it gets to bringing the traditional coffee shop experience home. It's a good option for those who want a freshly ground brew, but don't mind getting hands on with the process.

It has a built-in grinder, which grinds as much as you need for one coffee. A mini LCD display on the front of the coffee machine keeps you clued up on drink temperature and coffee strength, while the steam wand allows you to froth milk for foamy lattes and flat whites.

Other handy extras include a cup warmer, as well as a double filter that lets you make two drinks at the same time.

Does it make great coffee? See our full Sage Barista Pro coffee machine review for our verdict.

More of a traditional type?

If you like the sound of the Sage, but want an ultra-classic look, check out the DeLonghi La Specialista coffee machine. It's more expensive (around £720), but sports an old-school pressure gauge, and has tactile rotary dials and levers.

See how the two compare in our DeLonghi La Specialista vs Sage Barista Pro comparison.

2. Swan Retro coffee machine (£80)

Swan's vintage-style ground coffee machine could catch your eye if you're on a budget. It comes in a few colours - we tested the blue model, but you can also buy a Swan Retro coffee machine in cream or a Swan Retro coffee machine in green.

There's no touchscreen, so you'll be spinning dials and tapping buttons instead. The front of the Swan retro coffee machine has a large temperature gauge, along with controls for frothing and steam pressure.

You'll need to measure out and prepare your coffee, and master the art of frothing, so it's one for those prepared to put in a bit of effort. Once you get the hang of it, though, it should be a breeze.

See our full Swan Retro coffee machine review to find out if this cheap coffee machine can make a good brew, and is easy to use too.

A compact alternative

If you're after an ultra-slim model, it's worth checking out the DeLonghi Dedica EC685.R coffee machine. Available in festive red, and with classic good looks, it's got a small worktop footprint and is a similar price.

3. DeLonghi Gran Lattissima Nespresso machine (£350)

The Gran Lattissima Nespresso machine, available in black or white, is one for the time-poor frothy coffee fan. It's one of few pod machines to have an automatic milk-frothing system.

This saves you having to use a separate frothing accessory, so you can get a latte at the touch of a button. It's compatible with Nespresso (or Nespresso-compatible) pods.

There are nine pre-programmed drinks, including flat whites, cappuccinos and simple espressos.

Get our first impressions of this brand new model in our DeLonghi Nespresso Gran Lattissima EN650 review.

You can see how other models in the Lattissima range have fared in our tough tests:

If you like the sound of a coffee machine that froths for you, but aren't keen on pods, take a look at the Breville One-Touch coffee machine, which uses ground coffee instead.

Coffee machine buying guide - not sure about pods vs ground coffee? We'll help you decide what type of machine is right for you

4. Lakeland 2-in-1 Coffee Pod Machine (£100)

A '2-in-1' design means this jazzy new Lakeland coffee machine works with both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee pods, making it a rarity in the coffee world.

This means you can choose from a wider variety of pods than with rival pod coffee machines. It's compact too, so it'll sit comfortably in a small kitchen.

There's no milk frother, so if you're keen on fresh froth you'll have to buy one separately. The Dolce Gusto system uses milk pods though , so you can still make milky coffees.

5. DeLonghi Dinamica Plus (£1,155)

If money is no object this Christmas, you might want to ask Santa for the DeLonghi Dinamica Plus. This pricey premium coffee machine has all the bells and whistles you could wish for.

It'll grind beans for you, but you've got the option of using pre-ground coffee too. An automatic milk-frothing system means you can luxuriate in an (almost) totally hands-off brewing experience.

You can control it via the stylish touch controls and colour display screen - or even from your smartphone. You can pick between various drinks including cappuccino and latte macchiato, and save your preferences.

If you're catering for a crowd, the coffee pot function lets you make up to 750ml of coffee in one go.

Bounding past the £1,000 mark, this DeLonghi coffee machine doesn't come cheap. Is it a must-have for coffee lovers? See our DeLonghi Dinamica Plus review.

Bean-to-cup coffee machine reviews - compare more than 35 popular models to find the best one for you

Best bean to cup coffee machines - find out our Best Buy recommendations

Buying a coffee machine - features to look out for

Whether you're buying a coffee machine for yourself or stowing it under the Christmas tree, here are some key things you'll need to think about:

Coffee type

You'll need to weigh up the pros and cons of using ground coffee, beans or pre-packaged pods, as most machines are designed to work with one type and what you choose will affect what coffee you can buy and the type of drinks you can make.

Milk frothing

A steam wand is the traditional option and usually found on ground coffee machines. You'll need to froth milk in a jug before adding it to your drink. Automatic frothing is a convenient alternative, found on bean-to-cup and some ground coffee machines.

Smart controls

These are by no means a must-have, but they can be handy for drink selection, maintenance and personalising your brew.

Our full coffee machine buying guide walks you through the key decisions to help narrow down your choice.

Three more gift ideas for coffee lovers

1. Reusable coffee cups

Perfect for the coffee fanatic who wants to ditch their disposable cup habit, a reusable cup or travel mug can also save money on shop-bought brews, as many cafes offer discounts for using your own cup.

We've tested a range of popular reusable cups and travel mugs from brands such as KeepCup, Stojo, and Chilly's for heat retention and spillage, as well as how easy they are to carry, drink from and keep clean.

Discover the highest-scoring models in our round-up of the best reusable coffee cups and travel mugs to buy.

2. Milk frothers

A milk frother will help add a foamy finishing touch to your hot drinks. Whether you're making a coffee, hot chocolate or latte, the right frother can serve up dense foam that's satisfyingly smooth.

We've tested a selection of milk frothers from brands including Dualit, Illy, Lavazza and Nespresso. Prices range from around £30 to nearly £200, but paying more isn't a guarantee of great foam.

Make sure you're getting value for money with our pick of the best milk frothers to buy.

3. Coffee grinders

Nobody likes a watery brew. Investing in a reliable grinder will help you make great coffee at home, whatever your drink of choice.

We've tested everything from premium electric coffee grinders to basic, manual alternatives.

Our best on test is both affordable and delightfully easy to use, offering several grind options to suit your needs. But it's not all good news - the manual coffee grinder at the bottom of our test results table won't take long to tire you out.

See our pick of the best coffee grinders to buy.