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

By Manette Kaisershot

Everything you need to know about buying a bean-to-cup machine, from how much you should expect to spend to the pros and cons.

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A bean-to-cup coffee machine is ideal if you're looking for the freshest coffee possible, at the touch of a button. But with prices ranging from about £250 to well over £1,000, it pays to know which models are worth buying and what to look for. 

We've tested a range of popular models, from espresso-only bean-to-cup machines, to models that can make all manner of elaborate milky coffees such as cappuccinos, flat whites and macchiatos at the touch of a button. 

In this guide you can find out:  

  • how much you need to spend on a bean-to-cup machine
  • the pros and cons of bean-to-cup coffee machines
  • advice on which brands to look for.

Just want to compare bean-to-cup coffee machine scores? Use the filters on our coffee machine reviews to see all the bean-to-cup models we've tested.

How much do I need to spend to get a decent bean-to-cup coffee machine?

Bean-to-cup coffee machines range widely in price, from around £250 to over £2,000, but we've found that paying more doesn't always guarantee great results. Our tests have uncovered some Best Buys that cost around £250, as well as some models costing nearly well over £1,000 that proved merely OK. 

We've recently uncovered a model that's so poor we had to issue our first Don't Buy in years. Check our top five best bean-to-cup coffee machine see the models we recommend, and take a look at our list of Don't Buy coffee machines for one to avoid.

Bean-to-cup coffee machines: pros and cons

Bean-to cup machines are just one option if you're in the market for a new coffee machine. Here's a breakdown of their pros and cons vs other coffee machines.

Pros: 

  • Bean-to-cup models are often simpler to use than traditional espresso machines (which use ground coffee).
  • They make freshly ground espresso at the touch of a button. 
  • Some are entirely automatic and will froth milk for the perfect cappuccino, too. 
  • They offer the most flexibility when it comes to choosing a coffee that suits your tastes, as you can use any coffee beans.
  • Most can take ground coffee as well as beans, allowing you to try all sorts of different coffee flavours without being limited to one or two brands (like capsule machines).

Cons: 

  • Bean-to-cup machines tend to be pricier than most traditional and capsule models. 
  • They can also be quite large and bulky.
  • They can also be noisy to operate and tricky to clean.
  • Some have restrictions on the type of roast you can use

However, if you pick a good bean-to-cup machine you'll have an easy, mess-free route to a great cup of coffee.

If you've decided that a bean-to-cup machine is right for you, head to our pick of the top five bean-to-cup coffee machines to find the best model. 

Not sure what you want? Try our overall coffee machine guide for advice on other options.

Bean-to-cup coffee machine brands

We've tested bean-to-cup models from brands including Bosch, DeLonghi and Gaggia. The most expensive models we've tested are from Jura (£1,900) and Sage (£1,500), the brand backed by TV chef Heston Blumenthal. 

But you don't have to spend that much. DeLonghi, in particular, has a range of more affordable models, including a good selection under £500.

If you're looking to spend less, take a look at our DeLonghi coffee machine reviews. And before making a choice, you'll want to know which are the best coffee machine brands

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