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12 Mar 2020

Is this cheap Sage lookalike coffee machine from Aldi worth snapping up?

The machine comes with a built-in grinder, making it a competitor to models from high-end brands such as Sage and DeLonghi

Aldi is selling an espresso coffee machine as part of its March Special Buys - and it's available exclusively from the Aldi website from today.

The Espresso Maker & Integrated Grinder costs £300. It's a bean-to-cup espresso machine with integrated milk frother. If you're a coffee aficionado, and want to play barista at home, this semi-automatic machine could be ideal.

Other brands such as Sage and DeLonghi sell similar styles of machines for more than £500 - so this could be a real bargain.

We've taken a look at what the Aldi version gets you versus the very similar looking, but considerably more expensive, Sage Barista Express (typically £600; currently £445 at Currys and John Lewis).

Want a tried-and-tested option? Check our independent coffee machine reviews to discover the best coffee machines we've tested.

Aldi Espresso Maker coffee machine vs Sage Barista Express: how do they compare?

Aldi Espresso MakerSage Barista Express espresso machine
Bean hopper capacityNot stated450g
Water tank capacityNot stated2 litres
Ground coffeeYesYes
Grind settings818
Cup warmerYesYes
Water pump pressure20-bar15-bar

Should you buy the Aldi espresso coffee machine?

Both the Aldi and the Sage models are semi-automatic bean-to-cup espresso machines - a type of espresso machine for those who want to tamp and extract the coffee themselves, and who want the satisfaction of a freshly ground brew.

They work by grinding your coffee beans and dispensing them into the portafilter (the filter basket and handle that holds the coffee grounds). You then tamp (pat down) the grounds, select your preferred length and strength and attach the portafilter to extract your coffee.

This differs from fully automated bean-to-cup coffee machines, and it differs from manual coffee machines - where you have to measure and prepare the coffee yourself (these don't have built-in grinders).

Both the Aldi and the Sage models can be used with whole beans (which are then ground in the built-in grinder) or with ready-ground coffee.

Both models have a portafilter.But the Aldi model has a separate tamper for pressing the ground coffee into the portafilter. The Sage has the tamper integrated into the machine - meaning there's one fewer piece of kitchen equipment to worry about losing over time.

The Sage also has a few extras, including more grind settings, a cleaning programme (which runs an automatic clean of the machine), a cleaning brush and a milk jug.

The Aldi model has the longer manufacturer guarantee - three years compared with the two years for the Sage model. That could come in handy if you run into problems.

We haven't put this model through our lab tests: we don't generally test Aldi products because they simply don't stick around long enough. But, on paper at least, the Aldi machine appears to give the Sage model a real run for its money, as both offer similar functions and features.

So it really comes down to whether you're willing to take a gamble on how effectively and quickly the Aldi machine grinds and brews coffee.

Cheap vs expensive bean-to-cup machines

Bean-to-cup machines are a great choice if you want the freshest coffee possible. Prices range from around £200 to more than £2,000, with more expensive models offering fancier features such as colour touchscreens and automatic milk frothing.

Paying more for your coffee machine doesn't necessarily mean you'll get better drinks, though. Our cheapest Best Buy bean-to-cup machine costs less than £300, and we've found that some expensive models can be a real disappointment.

Rather buy one that we've put through our detailed tests? Other cheap models you could consider include:

Be sure to check our reviews before parting with your money.

Which? coffee machine tests

We not only check how well a machine makes espressos and cappuccinos, but whether it makes the coffee at the right temperature, how quick it is, how easy it is to use and whether it froths milk well.

A bean-to-cup coffee machine needs to earn at least 75% in our tests to earn our Best Buy recommendation.

Discover our best bean-to-cup coffee machines, or use our coffee machines buying guide, for tips on what to look out for.