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Top five best ground coffee machines for 2018

By Yvette Fletcher

We reveal which traditional espresso machines have scored highly in our ground coffee taste test.

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A traditional ground coffee espresso machine is perfect for creating that authentic coffee shop experience in the comfort of your own home.

It may take a bit of practice to get used to measuring out and preparing the ground coffee yourself, but once you get the hang of it you'll have the freedom to experiment with different blends and make the perfect coffee for you. 

We've rounded up five of the best ground coffee machines below. Each of these coffee machines excels at producing flavourful coffee with minimum faff. We've also highlighted three poor coffee machines uncovered by our tests. These mediocre models left our expert coffee taster unimpressed, and are best avoided.

Log in to unlock our table below to reveal the best and worst ground coffee machines. Not yet a Which? member? Join Which? to get instant access to all our Best Buy coffee machine reviews.

Not sure if a ground coffee machine is right for you? Our coffee machine buying guide explains the different types available and their pros and cons to help you decide.

Top five best ground coffee machines

Lowest price (in stock) £124.50
Which? score 86%
Reviewed Jun 2014
Ground coffee (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Cappuccino:
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
Weight (kg) :
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This traditional pump espresso coffee machine really impressed our expert, gaining a full five stars for its espressos and cappuccinos. It's remained one of the best-scoring ground coffee machines we've tested for years.

Lowest price (in stock) £136.99
Which? score 74%
Reviewed Feb 2018
Ground coffee (taste test):
4 out of 54 out of 5
Cappuccino:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ease of use:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg) :
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This stylish compact coffee machine makes excellent espressos and cappuccinos, all while taking up much less space than your average ground coffee machine. It's a good bet if you want a top-notch traditional coffee maker with a small footprint.

Lowest price (in stock) £296.99
Which? score 72%
Reviewed Nov 2009
Ground coffee (taste test):
4 out of 54 out of 5
Cappuccino:
5 out of 55 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
Weight (kg) :
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This coffee machine makes good espressos and cappuccinos in a flash. Milk froths beautifully with the steam pipe, and overall this machine is easy to use too.

Typical price £500.00
Which? score 68%
Reviewed Oct 2014
Ground coffee (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Cappuccino:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ease of use:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg) :
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This coffee maker has all the retro charm you could want from a traditional coffee maker, and makes a great espresso too. It's probably best suited to people who mostly like their coffee black though as it's not the best for frothing milk.

Lowest price (in stock) £299.00
Which? score 67%
Reviewed Apr 2015
Ground coffee (taste test):
5 out of 55 out of 5
Cappuccino:
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
Weight (kg) :
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

If you prefer to control exactly how your coffee is made, then this could be the coffee machine for you. It has plenty of scope for personalisation, and makes great espresso, but falls flat, quite literally, on the cappuccino front.

Note: selections last updated on 15 March 2018

Not found the coffee machine for you? See all of our coffee machine reviews to find the best option for your budget. 

Three ground coffee machines to avoid

A great ground coffee machine is a thing of beauty. You will be able to brew the espresso you want, to the length you desire, using coffee you have chosen. But choose the wrong model and however hard you try you may end up with a disappointing and weak espresso due to poor extraction.

We've uncovered coffee makers that fail to heat milk to the right temperature, ruining the froth, and models which make thin, watery espressos with an unappetising crema. See the models to steer clear of below.

Lowest price (in stock) £82.49
Which? score 50%
Reviewed Jun 2014
Ground coffee (taste test):
4 out of 54 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
Weight (kg) :
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

The Dualit XPRESS 3-in-1 84705 is a compact, user-friendly machine, but the espressos it makes just aren't good enough. Buy this machine and you'll be stuck with some of the least impressive espressos around.

Lowest price (in stock) £150.94
Which? score 50%
Reviewed Oct 2013
Ground coffee (taste test):
3 out of 53 out of 5
Cappuccino:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Speed of making an espresso:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ease of use:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Size (cm):
Member exclusive
Weight (kg) :
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This versatile coffee machine looks great and is simple and quick to use. However, unfortunately the espresso it produces it just isn't that great.

Lowest price (in stock) £219.99
Which? score 54%
Reviewed Oct 2013
Ground coffee (taste test):
2 out of 52 out of 5
Cappuccino:
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
Weight (kg) :
Member exclusive
Water tank capacity (litre):
Member exclusive
Milk frothing:
Member exclusive

This is a smart-looking slimline machine from a coffee brand with real heritage. It's easy to use, with simple controls, but unfortunately its espresso-making isn't as impressive as you might expect it to be.

If you're not sure an espresso coffee machine is right for you, browse other models, including popular Nespresso coffee machines in our coffee machine reviews.

Our ground coffee espresso machine tests

Each espresso machines goes through tough tests to see how easy it is to use and clean, whether it makes piping hot coffee or not, how well it steams milk and how noisy it is. We also get our coffee tasting expert, Giles Hilton, to taste the coffee from each machine in a blind taste test.

Giles rates each espresso on its flavour, texture, smell and crema, so only the very richest brews will make the grade to become a Best Buy. We use the same ground coffee in each machine so we can compare how well each machine extracts the flavours. All the traditional espresso machines we have selected above gained five stars in our ground coffee taste test, so you know you'll be getting a machine that makes a top-notch espresso. 

Need help getting the best from your machine? See our video guide to making the best espresso and other espresso-based coffees.

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