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Top five best bean-to-cup coffee machines for 2018

By Yvette Fletcher

We've rounded up our top-scoring bean-to-cup coffee machines to help you find your perfect model. We also reveal the models to avoid.

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Bean-to-cup coffee machines can be extremely expensive, and our tests have shown that not all of them live up to their high price tags. Make sure you invest in the best by choosing one of our top picks. 

We've selected the top-rated bean-to-cup machines from our rigorous coffee machine tests, which include a blind coffee taste test by our independent coffee expert. Good bean-to-cup machines should be easy and quiet to use, and produce rich, smooth and tasty brews. 

Choosing the wrong machine could mean you are left hundreds of pounds out of pocket and have to put up with watery coffee, so we've also listed three bean-to-cup coffee machines to avoid.

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Top five best bean-to-cup coffee machines

Lowest price (in stock) £259.99
Which? score 80%
Reviewed May 2014
Ground coffee (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This great value bean-to-cup machine isn't the slickest-looking model we've seen, but it does make excellent coffee at the touch of a button. It's much cheaper than competitors, so is a great option if you're on a budget or after the best fresh coffee around.

Lowest price (in stock) £424.99
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Apr 2015
Ground coffee (taste test):
4 out of 54 out of 5
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This fully automatic coffee machine makes good espresso at the touch of a button, and even has settings for trendy coffees such as a flat white. It froths milk quickly, so frothy coffee fans won't be disappointed.

Lowest price (in stock) £395.15
Which? score 71%
Reviewed Nov 2010
Ground coffee (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
3 out of 53 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This machine makes a decent espresso when using beans, and an excellent one if you use the pre-ground coffee setting. It's quick to froth milk for cappuccinos too, making lovely micro bubbles that mix well with the espresso.

Lowest price (in stock) £849.99
Which? score 70%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Ground coffee (taste test):
3 out of 53 out of 5
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This high-end bean-to-cup machine makes tasty cappuccinos and espressos, and has useful extras such as a self-cleaning steam wand for effortless milk frothing. Our tasting expert described the coffee as 'hot and intense with a good gold crema' and the cappuccinos are well-balanced.

Lowest price (in stock) £574.99
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Ground coffee (taste test):
4 out of 54 out of 5
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
3 out of 53 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This coffee machine is quieter than most, even when grinding beans, and makes a lovely, frothy cappuccino. The automatic milk frother cleans itself, making for a truly hands-off coffee making experience. Like many bean-to-cup machines we've tested, it actually makes better coffee when you use pre-ground coffee.

Note: selections last updated on 15 March 2018

Not found the coffee machine for you? See all our coffee machine reviews

And here are three bean-to-cup coffee machines to avoid...

When a bean-to-cup machine works well, you end up with fresh and delicious espressos at the touch of a button. However, choose the wrong model and you could end up with a fiddly machine that produces weak and watery espressos. With prices ranging from £250 to more than £1500, make sure you check the models to avoid below before you buy.

Lowest price (in stock) £219.99
Which? score 32%
Reviewed Sep 2017
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
1 out of 51 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Ease of use:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This bean to cup machine is so bad we've made it a Don't Buy. The model we tested was slow and noisy, spurted out hot water at random, and produced weak, univiting espressos and poor cappuccinos. It's one to avoid.

Lowest price (in stock) £1,199.00
Which? score 58%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Ground coffee (taste test):
3 out of 53 out of 5
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
3 out of 53 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Ease of use:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This top-of-the-range coffee machine might catch your eye if you like to fill your kitchen with the latest tech, as it can be controlled using your phone via a Bluetooth app. But it's expensive, slow, and the coffee failed to impress us.

Lowest price (in stock) £2,145.00
Which? score 61%
Reviewed Dec 2016
Ground coffee (taste test):
4 out of 54 out of 5
Coffee made using beans (taste test):
2 out of 52 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This machine looks like a million dollars - and is pretty expensive to buy, too. It makes a good cappuccino, but its espresso is lacklustre. For the price, you'd expect it to make a good espresso - we think you can do better.

See the models that made it onto our Don't Buy list - coffee machines to avoid.

Bean-to-cup coffee machines: what to look for

Most bean-to-cup machines have a built-in steam pipe to froth milk so you can also make milky coffees, such as lattés or cappuccinos, as well as espresso. Many include digital displays and automatic settings to speed up the coffee-making process. 

If you like the convenience of ground coffee every now and then, some bean-to-cup models allow you to use this in place of whole coffee beans.

Not sure what type of coffee machine is right for you? See our coffee machine buying guide.

Our bean-to-cup coffee machine tests

You'd expect every coffee machine, even a basic one, to make a good coffee. But our tests have uncovered machines that don't. 

That's why we judge the flavour, texture, aroma and crema of the coffee that each machine makes in a blind taste test. These tests have revealed coffee makers that make weak, watery coffee that lacks flavour. Only the very finest will make the grade to become a Best Buy. 

You also don't want a machine that's a total pain to use and clean. We put each machine through tough tests that look at every aspect of using the machine, including filling it, removing the drip tray and water tank, adjusting settings, and cleaning it after each use. 

We also check how hot the coffee is, how well it froths milk and how noisy it is. Head to our independent coffee machine reviews to find the best model for you.

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