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Top five best bean-to-cup coffee machines

By Yvette Fletcher

We've rounded up our top-scoring bean-to-cup espresso coffee machines to help you find your perfect model.

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Bean-to-cup coffee machines make the freshest coffee because they grind coffee beans as you use them, so there isn't time for some of the flavoursome oils to evaporate, as can happen with ground coffee.

Choose a Best Buy bean-to-cup coffee machine and you'll get a model that's easy and quiet to use, and produces rich, smooth and, above all, tasty coffee. A bad bean-to-cup machine could mean you are hundreds of pounds out of pocket and left drinking watery coffee.

We've selected the top bean-to-cup coffee machines that have been through our rigorous lab tests, which includes a blind taste test of the coffee each machine makes. Only ones that make the richest and most flavoursome coffees are included. 

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Top five bean-to-cup espresso coffee machines
  Why we love it Coffee taste test (using beans) Cappuccino Score

Best affordable bean-to-cup machine

One of the highest-scoring bean-to-cup coffee machines we've tested and one of the cheapest at around £300. It's also really easy to use and clean.

Whether you're using ground coffee or beans, it makes excellent, rich and smooth coffee. It has a built-in steam pipe for milk frothing, which works well, so can make all kinds of drinks.

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Bean-to-cup machine with multiple drink settings

This machine has lots of coffee settings, including a setting for flat white coffee, which is uncommon. The steam pipe froths milk beautifully and quickly, and it's really easy to use and clean. 

Our expert taste tester found the coffees to be full flavoured and smooth in texture, although coffee made with ground coffee as opposed to beans was slightly less impressive.

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Bean-to-cup machine with milk frothing

This machine makes thick and full-bodied coffees, and uses ground coffee or beans. Our expert rated the coffee it made using beans more highly than the coffee it made from the grounds, saying the espresso this machine produces from beans is 'hot and intense'.

The steam wand allows you to add perfectly frothed milk to your espressos to produce creamy cappuccinos. It self cleans too for a speedy clean-up.

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Fully automatic bean-to-cup machine

Thanks to an internal grinder and automatic settings, this coffee machine makes delicious espresso at the touch of a button. The built-in steam pipe quickly froths to make smooth and sweet milk.

It uses both ground coffee and beans, although the espressos made with ground coffee were rated less highly by our expert. It's a little bigger than other machines, but is relatively cheap.

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Bean-to-cup machine with personalised setting options

Espresso made with ground coffee in this machine is excellent, but with beans it's a little less impressive. However, cappuccino fans will be impressed with this model - it froths milk brilliantly and quickly with the built-in steam pipe.

As a fully automatic coffee machine, it has simple controls and a clear digital display. You can also tailor the settings so you get your coffee exactly how you like it.

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If you want to find out which bean-to-cup coffee machines made it into our top five, and for all of our reviews and Best Buys - log in or try Which? for £1.

Get the full list of models we recommend: Best Buy espresso coffee machines.

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

Most bean-to-cup machines have a built-in steam pipe to froth milk so you can also make milky coffees, such as lattes 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.

Decided you would rather get a capsule or traditional coffee machine? You can visit our coffee machine reviews to find the best out of more than 100 machines we've tested.

Bean-to-cup coffee espresso 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 in our taste test we judge the flavour, texture, aroma and crema of the coffee that each machine makes. These tests have revealed ones that make weak, unappetising coffee, so 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. This is why we put each machine through tough tests that look at every aspect of the machine, including filling it, removing the drip tray and water tank, adjusting settings, and cleaning it after each use. 

We also see how hot it makes the coffee, how well it steams milk and how noisy it is. Our reviews will tell you which are the best machines and which ones to avoid, so try a £1Which? trial.


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