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Updated: 13 Apr 2022

Best bean-to-cup coffee machines for 2022

Choose your perfect bean-to-cup coffee machine from our Best Buy round-up, plus get advice on useful machine features to look for
Sabrina Sahota
Using a bean-to-cup coffee machine

Bean-to-cup coffee machines feature built-in grinders to grind coffee beans on-demand. They also heat the water and brew your coffee automatically, for the freshest cup possible at the touch of a button.

All this convenience comes at a price though: they can be extremely expensive and choosing the wrong machine could leave you hundreds of pounds out of pocket.

When it comes to performance, our independent lab tests have shown that not all bean-to-cup coffee machines live up to their high prices either. Make sure you invest in the best bean-to-cup coffee machine for you by reading our reviews and choosing one of our Best Buys.

Visit Best coffee machines for 2022 to discover the pros and cons of pod, espresso and bean-to-cup machines.

Best bean-to-cup coffee machines for 2022

In the table below, we've selected some of the best bean-to-cup machines from our rigorous coffee machine tests, which include a blind taste test by our coffee experts. 

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  • 87%
    • best buy

    This high-end bean-to-cup coffee machine is easy to use, brews excellent coffee and froths milk like a champion. It's got a quiet grinder too. You can make a coffee from the comfort of your sofa, thanks to the smartphone app it connects with, and it's got plenty of scope for personalising your brew, too.

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  • 83%
    • best buy

    This high-scoring Best Buy is a fantastic coffee machine, with easy-to-use controls, plenty of features, and a host of customisable options. It makes delicious espressos and cappuccinos, and it’s easy to clean. It's not cheap, but if you’re willing to spend more than £1,000, you’ll be rewarded with the the latest tech and plenty of features. It's app compatible, can use ground coffee or beans, and dispenses two drinks at once.

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  • 81%
    • best buy

    This Best Buy bean-to-cup coffee machine is quiet, easy-to-use and makes excellent espresso. The integrated milk frother produces delicious, creamy froth to create delicious cappuccinos. It's also really easy to clean and descale, which is always a bonus. It’s not particularly speedy, taking more than a minute to dispense the first cup of the day, but the espresso is worth it.

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  • 80%
    • best buy

    This bean-to-cup machine isn’t the fastest, but the espresso is worth the wait. It makes cup after cup of tasty espresso, and can create a decent cappuccino, too. It’s easy to use and has a lot of useful features.

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  • 80%
    • best buy

    This Best Buy bean-to-cup coffee machine makes excellent espressos that are sure to please. It’s also quiet and easy to use, although it’s a little on the slow side – you’ll be waiting more than a minute for the first cup of the day.

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Want to see more machines like this? Check out all of our coffee machine reviews.

How to buy the best bean-to-cup coffee machine

There are a few key questions you should ask yourself before you buy a bean-to-cup coffee machine:

  • What features do you need? From automatic cleaning to smart connectivity, bean-to-cup coffee machines come with an array of clever features, but it's not worth paying for flashy features unless you're actually going to use them. Consider our list of bean-to-cup coffee machine features below before you make a decision.
  • How much are you willing to spend? Bean-to-cup coffee machines are the most expensive type of coffee machine, costing anything from £250 to more than £1,500. They can be more a economical choice in the long run though, as we'll explain later.
  • Where will the coffee machine go? Bean-to-cup machines tend to be larger than other coffee machine types – make sure you have the counter space for your new gadget.

Our guide to Which coffee machine brand to buy in 2022 will help you choose the best brand for you.

Best bean-to-cup machine features to consider

Bean-to-cup coffee machine

If you decide to splash out on a bean-to-cup coffee machine, here are some useful features to look out for.

Auto milk-frothing and cleaning

Most bean-to-cup machines have a built-in steam pipe to froth milk so you can make milky coffees, such as latté or cappuccino, as well as espresso.

Cheaper bean-to-cup machines tend to come with a steam wand for frothing milk. You’ll need to measure out and froth the milk manually, then add it to your coffee.

Pricier models will automate the milk measuring and frothing process for you, sucking the milk into the machine and dispensing froth directly into your drink.

Many also have an auto-clean feature, saving you the fiddly (and sometimes unpleasant) job of cleaning the milk pipes.

Dual bean hopper

A dual bean hopper will allow you to have two types of coffee bean on the go at once.

This is handy if you prefer caffeinated in the morning and decaf in the evening, for example, or even if you just like to have the choice of different types.

Otherwise you’ll need to clean out the bean hopper if you want to switch coffees before one lot of beans runs out.

If you like the convenience of ground coffee every now and then, some bean-to-cup models have a separate compartment so you can use ground coffee too.

Colour touchscreen

Many bean-to-cup coffee machines include digital displays and automatic settings to speed up the coffee-making process.

On some models you can control your settings via a colour touchscreen. These make it quick and easy to select your chosen hot drink, usually from an extensive menu.

They can also be useful for diagnosing potential issues, as well as guiding you through how to clean and descale the machine correctly – this is an important step to ensure your machine continues to churn out tasty coffees and doesn’t become clogged with old coffee, milk or limescale.

Save preferences

Premium models will allow you to save multiple user profiles and customise your favourite coffee options, so you’ll never have to remind your machine that you like your morning espresso extra-strong.

This saves you the hassle of manually inputting custom orders every time you offer to make a round of drinks – particularly useful if you save the preferences of your friends and household.

Smart controls

Connecting your coffee machine to your smartphone means you can get troubleshooting tips and reminders to clean and descale your machine.

You can also use some apps to set up user profiles to make it easier to quickly call up your favourite drink, without having to cycle through lots of menu options.

Use the filters on our coffee machine reviews to find a model with all the features you need.

Are expensive bean-to-cup coffee machines worth the money?

Drinking coffee at home

The upfront cost of bean-to-cup coffee machines can be anything from a few hundred to several thousand pounds but our tests show that paying out more doesn’t necessarily guarantee you’ll get better coffee.

Average upfront cost of coffee machines compared

There’s no denying that bean-to-cup coffee machines can be more expensive upfront than other types of machine. On average (based on the models we've tested), bean-to-cup machines cost around £743. That's more than three times as much as espresso/traditional ground coffee machines (average cost £216), and almost five times as much as the average pod machine (average cost £145).

But the initial upfront cost, doesn’t tell the whole story, though, as pod coffee machines tend to be more expensive per drink, in part due to the ongoing cost of the pods you have to buy. Even the very cheapest of our Best pod coffee machines could cost you more in the long run and will not have all the extra features of a bean-to-cup machine.

Average coffee machine running costs compared over time

Based on drinking two espressos a day over the course of five years, plus the upfront cost of the cheapest relevant Best Buy coffee machine, we've calculated that espresso machines (ground coffee machines) actually work out cheapest (£674), followed by bean-to-cup machines (£867) and then pod machines (£1,153).

Upfront cost
Cost after 1 yearCost after 2 yearsCost after 3 years
Cost after 4 years
Cost after 5 years

Over the course of five years, machines that use whole or ground coffee beans work out cheaper because buying beans is a cheaper way, per cup, to enjoy an espresso.

Read more about the best coffee machine brands.

What coffee beans can I use with my bean-to-cup machine?

You'll find there are two types of coffee beans that are widely available: Arabica or Robusta. Both offer different flavours depending on how you like your coffee.

The taste of Arabica beans can vary depending on where and how they're grown. Typically Arabica is grown at higher altitudes on hillsides across Central and South America, Indonesia, Africa and India. Its flavour is sweet and fruity, with higher acidity compared to Robusta. 

Robusta is a 'robust' bush that is grown at lower altitudes and is more resistant to problems like disease and pests. Its flavour is less influenced by where it's grown and is typically less acidic with more intense and woody notes. 

Many consider Arabica the superior bean because of its more complex flavours, which is reflected in its higher price. We'd recommend having a try of both to see which taste you prefer. 

For tips on getting your coffee just right, read How to make perfect espresso and cappuccino.

How should I clean my bean-to-cup coffee machine?

Regularly cleaning and descaling your coffee machine will help to keep it working properly and prolong its life, particularly if you live in a hard-water area.

Choosing a machine with an automatic cleaning and descaling program will make maintaining your machine less of an issue.

For tips on cleaning a bean-to-cup coffee machine, see our guide to How to clean your coffee machine.