Last Updated: 01-08-2019

10 Best Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines 2019

The perfect way to bring out your inner barista, a bean to cup machine is a little bit of your favourite coffee shop right in your own kitchen. Without leaving your home, you can have fresh coffee at your fingertips. 

Finding the best bean to cup machine means taking into consideration your particular taste in coffee, as well as your budget and if you like milk-based drinks to be made with ease.

 

The Best Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines

1.
De’Longhi Magnifica ESAM4200.S – Best Value

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans or Ground
  • Water Tank: 1.8L

Whether you’re partial to a strong espresso in the morning to give you a kick or a frothy cappuccino to ease you into the day, this De’Longhi model can deliver. It is perfect for anyone who is picky about their coffee and wants the best taste, without time-consuming gadgets and the price tag that comes with them.

It automatically grinds the beans on your behalf thanks to the integrated burr grinder, so your cup of coffee is completely fresh and tastes at its best. Or, you can use pre-ground granules if you have a brand and blend you particularly love.

The strength and length of your cup can be personalised for your tastes, and for whatever drink you may be making. Two can be made at any one time, or you can stick to the one if you fancy a full cup.

There is a frothing nozzle for preparing milk-based drinks and giving you that perfect base which is so hard to recreate at home, for things like Latte Macchiatos or Flat Whites. The water tank is also a generous size, which would make about 5 cups of coffee.

Instructions are very easy to follow, and all setup steps are well explained, including the descaling process when the time comes. Cleaning it all is also easy, which is great as it can look like a complicated piece of kit. Used coffee is turned into a round tablet when finished, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be cleaned out after every use.

It is loud – in fact, one of the loudest we reviewed – but the time from switching it on to having your coffee ready is only about a minute so don’t let this put you off what is otherwise a fantastic machine for the price.

Reasons to Buy

  • Great price for what it does
  • Coffee produced tastes great
  • Milk froth is velvety and creamy

Reasons to Avoid

  • Noisier and more plastic than the original ESAM4200

2.
DeLonghi Caffe Corso ESAM2800

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans or Ground
  • Water Tank: 1.8L

Featuring an integrated burr grinder with seven coarseness settings, the ESAM2800 allows you to cater the strength of your coffee before the operation gets underway.

Thermoblock and dual-boiler technology mean that both espressos will be made at the same temperature and texture, consistently. The automatic milk function creates the perfect base for a coffee-shop style latte, and the steam wand will produce the textured milk which tops a cappuccino. Instructions are relatively easy to follow, and with a bit of experimentation, you can adjust the process to suit your taste buds.

One factor we loved is the removable brewing unit, which can be thoroughly cleaned in between uses. A lot of bean to cup machines are difficult to keep on top of maintenance-wise because the access isn’t great. A clean appliance means a longer lasting one, so this is great for anybody who likes to keep everything in top condition.

A self-priming system means it will get up to the right settings automatically, so is ready to use quickly and with no hassle. The auto-shutoff feature will turn the appliance off after a certain amount of time is lapsed (which you can set yourself). This doesn’t only save energy consumption, but also makes it quick to pick up where you left off.

The design isn’t the prettiest, as it looks very plasticky and basic; which, for the price, is not great. But it doesn’t mean it is any less capable of its job, which is great for the price.

Reasons to Buy

  • Designed to make it easy to clean
  • Good price

Reasons to Avoid

  • Plastic appearance

3.
Melitta SOLO & Perfect Milk

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans
  • Water Tank: 1.2L

With an Aroma-Extraction-System, the Melitta SOLO & Perfect Milk has developed a pre-brewing system for full enjoyment and taste. The beans are moistened with water before being ground, to release the full flavour.

Three different settings can be chosen regarding coffee strength and length, to accommodate both your individual tastes and the length of the drink you want to make.

If you’re a fan of cappuccinos, then this is a great machine for you. The Auto-Cappuccinatore is practical, making it easier than ever to prepare warm milk. Creating a natural, light froth, simply set the amount you want with the dial and let it do all the work for you. All you have to do is pour the end result into the coffee.

If you’re also a fan of keeping your appliances clean on the inside as well as the exterior, the easily removed brewing unit helps you to access all the tricky interior, as well as being dishwasher safe so you can pop it in with the rest of your load and not bother about it until it is dry.

Automatic cleaning and descaling also keep it working well between brews, with less monitoring needed from you.

Instructions are simple enough to get you set up, but making full use of the Melitta app will not only tell you how to make the perfect cup of coffee with your machine but will also walk you through the maintenance process, which is all well explained. A diagnostic tool will let you know the status of the appliance too.

It will only use beans as opposed to pre-ground coffee too, so bear this in mind if you like to have the option of either.

Reasons to Buy

  • Looks sleek and modern
  • Easy to understand controls

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not suitable for ground coffee

4.
Gaggia Brera – Best for Ground Coffee

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans and Grounds
  • Water Tank: 1.2L

While there is a good chance you want a bean to cup machine because you will be using fresh coffee beans, sometimes it is nice to have the option of both.

But with that option comes having to choose one or the other, cleaning out the stored beans to replace with grounds or vice versa. Not with this machine, which features a separate compartment for each. Simply switch the settings to ground coffee and fill the chamber with enough to make one cup of espresso, and you’re ready to go.

When using coffee beans, however, there is a ceramic grinder as opposed to a metallic one like with other models. The latter can sometimes over-grind the beans, producing a burnt end taste. A ceramic option is slightly less harsh, while still being as strong as a meat grinder. You can still choose a coarse or fine texture to suit your preferences.

We loved the digital display, which makes choosing settings and operating the machine a lot simpler and clearly laid out. There are regular status updates on your appliance, from when it needs to be cleaned to which part of the cycle it is in. For full cleaning, the brewing area can be removed from the machine and even replaced separately if necessary, to keep everything working smoothly. It is also a fully stainless steel body, which gives it a more robust and long-lasting feel and is easier to keep looking new.

But there is more of a limitation on the personalisation of your coffee, with only two lengths being available (espresso and lungo), and the latter tastes a bit weak. The descaling process is also very lengthy and not well described in the instructions, but it can’t be used until fully completed, which was annoying.

Reasons to Buy

  • Good clean exterior
  • Ceramic grinder

Reasons to Avoid

  • Limited on different coffee techniques

5.
Cuisinart DGB1U One Cup Grind and Brew – Best Under £100

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: No
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans and Grounds
  • Water Tank: 450ml

A bean to cup machine for under £100 sounds like quite a steal when you consider most others hover around the £300 mark at their lowest.

It isn’t the most technical appliance, hence its price. There is no milk frother for a start, which may be off-putting for some but for those who simply like a cup of strong coffee and add their own milk, and are more about taste than fancy gimmicks, a machine such as this which brings it all back to basics is great.

The interior works as a filter coffee machine, passing the water slowly through the coffee as opposed to with force for the full taste. An adjustable tray height fits different sized cups, and the grinding chamber and basket are removable so they can be thoroughly cleaned as not to damage the taste of the coffee.

Able to use both beans and pre-ground mix, it will use all of the coffee and water you put into the containers, so take this into consideration to alter your strength and length.

It will only make one cup of coffee, as suggested in the name, but the overall process is quite short, so if you need to make a few at a time it won’t take hours. It means every cup is personalised, which is great for fussy households.

There is a lot of noise when it grinds the beans, but this is to be expected and does only seem to last a minute or two depending on how much work needs to be done. The big downside which could put a lot of people off is the fact you have to clean it out every time you use it, even with disposable filters.

Reasons to Buy

  • Perfect for small households or individual coffee lovers
  • Great, pure tasting coffee

Reasons to Avoid

  • Cleaning process will soon become tiresome

6.
De’Longhi Eletta ECAM 44.660.B – Best Overall

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans or Grounds
  • Water Tank: 2L

With a water capacity of 2 litres and coffee beans capacity of 400g, this is one of the largest coffee machines on the market which makes it perfect for professionals and busy households alike.

It also takes personalisation to a whole other level, giving you full reign with the strength and length of your cup by merely navigating the digital display. With the touch of one button, it can make single/double espressos, ristrettos, long coffees, macchiatos, lattes and cappuccinos and all their variants thanks to the automatic milk frother, as well as americanos and flat whites with a few more tweaks.

Latte crema technology gives a rich, smooth milk froth which tastes great and gives the end product a real luxurious feel, similar to that from commercial appliances at the very high-end of the market.

The milk carafe is removable, so you can store it in the fridge ready with the milk for when it needs to be used. There are 13 grinding choices to pick from, so the coffee has the texture and taste of your perfect cup, and the grinder is really durable as well so will be hard wearing and last for years to come, which is one less thing to worry about.

The temperature of the end coffee is ready-to-drink, which may be a little niggle for those who like their hot drinks really hot. But the taste isn’t affected, so we presume De’Longhi are merely going by the old “high temperatures damage the taste of the coffee” rule here.

Reasons to Buy

  • Large capacity overall
  • Great choice of drinks are one-touch operation

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not as warm as other models

7.
Sage BES875UK The Barista Express – Best High End

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans or Grounds
  • Water Tank: 2L

Sage by Heston Blumenthal is a range most associated with high-end appliances and kitchen gadgets, and to have this coffee machine offered at such a great price without skimping on quality seems like a bit of a steal to us.

From whole beans to espresso in just under a minute, it is super fast yet doesn’t cut corners, meaning the end result is velvety smooth and tastes great. Without any effort from you, both the volume and grinding level of each coffee is consistent, so you don’t have any unpredictable delivery.

Steam output is also high pressure for an extra-frothy texture. With a vast choice of 18 grind levels to choose from, there is little chance of you not getting the consistency and flavour levels you want, and the 15 bar pressure builds up in stages for even extraction of flavour.

Packed with smart features, it will only grind the amount of coffee you need so there is no chance of waste or it being too strong and the digital temperature control means the water is the correct warmth when it hits the grounds, so you can’t risk overburning everything.

For that full coffee shop experience, the milk is held in a stainless steel jug rather than a plastic container so you can get practising your latte art like a pro. There is also a separate hot water arm if you wish to preheat your cups or add a bit of extra water to your long drinks.

Reasons to Buy

  • Brushed stainless steel finish
  • Full flavour results

Reasons to Avoid

  • A bit cumbersome to set up completely and get used to

8.
JURA 15079 E6 Coffee Machine

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans
  • Water Tank: 1.9L

Getting the perfect serve requires something a bit different, and this is why Jura have invented Pulse Extraction Process technology. PEP allows the flavours to fully release, meaning a more exact espresso is delivered just how it was created to taste.

The display is certainly one of the most user-friendly of those we reviewed, with the buttons for the espresso, coffee, cappuccino and milk foam functions positioned on the front for maximum convenience and the self-explanatory selection process.

Milk-based drinks don’t seem to be very hot, unfortunately. This appears to be a combination of the fact the water doesn’t get as hot as with a lot of other machines, and the milk is cold. Still, there are seven pre-programmed coffees to choose from so you can’t say the choice is an issue, and there is always the option to preheat your cup manually if you wish.

You can control everything from your compatible smartphone or tablet, via the JURA Smart Connect accessory. Choose your perfect coffee and all the settings without altering those already on the machine, simply by tapping the drink and adjusting strength and volumes. This does have to be purchased separately, however.

It is simple to set up even without instructions, which makes it a great choice for anyone who doesn’t want an appliance with unnecessary additions.

Reasons to Buy

  • Really simple to navigate
  • Good set up

Reasons to Avoid

  • Delivers the least-warm coffee of all reviewed

9.
Sage BES980BSS

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 9 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans
  • Water Tank: 2.5L

The big, bold brother of The Barista Express, The Oracle is, as suggested, a bit of a know-it-all when it comes to coffee. Cafe-quality drinks are produced without you having to learn the tricks of the trade.

Everything which would usually be manual is now automated. While this could suggest a possible recipe for disaster, it simply results in the perfect brew. The low-pressure deliverance results in maximum taste and even the milk texturing is all done for you, so it is perfect every time.

The triple-heating boiler system will please anybody who is obsessed with the temperature of their drinks. With precision within 1°C, a boiler to deliver instant steam, and simultaneous espresso extraction and milk frothing (so they’re both delivered at the same time), your brew will be hot enough without causing any damage to the taste.

Flavour delivery is pretty unrivalled. Whereas other machines can sometimes produce an uneven taste, with one sip being strong and the next watery, the Oracle makes an even blend with balance. The milk is silky, with a micro-foam texture which is perfect for latte art (if that is something you like the idea of).

It is a complex machine to set up, which is perfectly understandable. Sage do offer a White Glove Service, where a coffee expert comes to your home and sets everything up on your behalf while talking you through how to get the most out of the appliance. This could be the best bet if this is your first exploration into the world of high-end coffee machines, or if you are starting a business and want everything perfect.

Reasons to Buy

  • Best tasting coffee of all machines
  • Precise temperature control
  • Automated system

Reasons to Avoid

  • Descaling process is long as it is thorough

10.
Melitta Barista TS SMART – Best Quiet Coffee Machine

Specifications

  • Milk Frother: Yes
  • Pump Pressure: 15 bar
  • Coffee Types: Beans/Grounds
  • Water Tank: 1.8L

With 21 pre-set coffee varieties, five adjustable intensity settings and the ability to remember the preferences of up to 8 people, the Melitta TS Smart is a great sophisticated gadget for any kitchen and coffee lover.

Being able to manually set the amount and strength of the coffee on the machine is great for anyone who doesn’t like the ‘traditional’ coffee recipes which come automatically, but using the app is really where this machine comes into its own. The full use of recipes can be chosen and personalised here, and these settings can then be saved to the automatic button choices on the appliance, meaning it is one of the most configurable coffee makers on the market.

We loved the fact the bean compartment was split into four separate spaces, so you can pick which is used before everything gets ready. Great for any households who not only don’t like their coffee the same but also don’t like the same beans and blends.

Two black coffees can be prepared at once, and the milk carafe is removable and attached to the body of the machine via a special tube. This saves space when it isn’t in use, or ensures you can store it in the fridge in between uses.

It will turn itself off after being left on idle for a little while, and there is also an eco-mode, so the machine doesn’t use more energy than needed. If you’re prone to grabbing a cup of coffee in the mornings before you leave the house but feel the bean grinder will wake the kids up, the quiet one on this model will likely appeal. In fact, it is so quiet that it has been awarded the Quiet Mark, which is great for a machine which grinds beans.

The fact it can be catered to up to 8 individuals would make it a great choice for any office spaces, as long as you can all agree on the saved settings via the compatible device.

Reasons to Buy

  • Completely configurable and personalised
  • Good build quality
  • Quiet mark

Reasons to Avoid

  • Pretty reliant on the app for setting up personalisation

Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine Buying Guide

What is a bean to cup machine?

A bean to cup machine is a form of coffee maker which grinds coffee beans just before they are used, resulting in a fresher taste.

These coffee grounds are then mixed with the preheated water and dispensed into the cup. Many come with milk frothers so you can also choose to make drinks such as cappuccinos as well as espresso shots, and the strength and length of the coffee are usually adjustable in some form.

What makes bean to cup machines so good?

Once beans have been ground, they immediately start to lose their flavour. That is why instant coffee will never taste like the one you get out of the coffee shop on your lunch break.

As a bean to cup machine grinds the beans on-demand, the result is a full flavour which would be found in a cafe.

A built-in grinder means you don’t have to do this yourself or buy any extra gadgets.

What is the best bean to cup coffee machine?

The best machine for every individual changes from person to person.

Think about how many cups you will want to make at any one time, as well as how personalised you like your coffee. Some machines will just allow you to change things like how much water you put into the cup, whereas others may be able to alter the intensity via the grinding process or change the amount of milk which goes into the drink.

Price

The price of bean to cup machines can vary, but they are among some of the most expensive options generally. This isn’t surprising, given the technology which goes into making them work.

In contrast, they are thought of as one of the cheapest options to run over time. Buying coffee beans is usually less expensive than pre-ground coffee, and definitely cheaper than using pods (as well as being better for the environment).

Are there any negatives?

They need descaling and cleaning often, as a lot of the appliance is used in the coffee making process. Some make this more comfortable than others, by simply blasting a shot of hot steam through the internal operations, and some require you to take them apart and hand wash everything separately.

Some are also quite noisy when grinding the beans, but this can’t be helped and usually only lasts a few minutes maximum.

FAQs

What are the best beans to use?

The end resulting coffee isn’t just about the appliance itself. In fact, a lot of it depends on the quality of the beans.

Most machines recommend you don’t use oily beans, as this can damage the texture of the grinder over time.

And, as a personal recommendation – don’t skimp on quality. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, you’re going to be wanting the best taste. Same applies if you’re looking at bean to cup machines in the first place.

There are good quality brands available from supermarkets or local shops, so don’t worry if you have no coffee stores around. A case of trial and error may be the best option, to see which suits both your taste buds and the method of the machine the best.

How does a smart coffee machine work?

Pretty much the same way as most other smart appliances. They are usually connected to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth, and you operate them through the official manufacturer app.

Each will vary, but you can usually control the appliance and get it to make a cup of coffee remotely if you are in range, such as being in bed. High-end options may let you choose from a wide range of different coffee types, personalise them, and save the particular drink for easier access the next time you use it.

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