Buying Guides

Buying The Best Coffee Machine

What coffee machine is best? We take you through all the essentials so you can bring your favourite coffee experience home.

5 Min Read

Sage Bean To Cup coffee machine

If you're a coffee lover, the thought of a fresh morning brew might be the best (and only) way to get you out of bed. If that's you - adding a barista-quality coffee machine to your wedding gift list could be your saving grace. Dramatics aside, how coffee is produced, brewed and served really does make a world of difference. This guide will take you through all the essentials so you can bring your favourite coffee experience home. Think hand-roasted, freshly brewed coffee with the perfect amount of froth. Beautiful!

Flat white

Coffee Machines: Which One?

All coffee machines ultimately work by filtering hot water through ground coffee beans. This process differs between machine types - some use high air pressure to force hot water through the ground coffee, while others use an automatic pump. Each machine will produce a different coffee type.

Think about your favourite brew. Do you like your coffee rich or prefer something a little sweeter, like a caramel macchiato? Do you want to whip up a coffee quickly, or are you happy to spend a little more time recreating your dream cuppa? 

Below we break down the key things to consider when choosing the best coffee machine for your taste and lifestyle. Let's get started!

Filter Coffee Makers

A filter coffee machine (or drip filter) is the most affordable way to create coffee using ground beans. There are different types of filter brewers, and most will come with their own removable filter, making it easy to clean.

Filter coffee machines work by pouring hot water through ground coffee. The water drips through the filter into a waiting pot. The waiting pot comes in many sizes, making it an excellent choice for larger households.

An AeroPress is another way to make filtered coffee. This type of machine uses high air pressure to speed up the brewing process, resulting in an extra-smooth brew. It's an excellent choice for making single cups of coffee quickly.


Aldo Rossi Press, Alessi

Pod Coffee Maker

Pod coffee machines are excellent at making a variety of coffees - espressos, cappuccinos, salted-caramel lattes - you name it. They also require very little maintenance.

This type of coffee machine relies on vacuum-sealed pods or capsules of freshly ground coffee. Just insert your chosen pod, press start, and you'll have a fresh brew in approximately 30 seconds.

Bear in mind that some coffee pods aren't recyclable. We love Grind Coffee's home-compostable pods. Nespresso coffee capsules are also recyclable, although you'll need to send these off to specific recycling centres. This process is easy and free -  - Nespresso provides recyclable bags to collect your pods in before sending them off.


Nespresso® Pod Machine, Grind Coffee

Espresso Coffee Machine

Have you ever seen the equipment your local coffee shop uses? It's most likely to be an espresso machine.

An espresso machine makes authentic Italian-style coffee by pumping hot water through ground coffee, producing an espresso. You're usually required to fill a portafilter with ground coffee, tamp it, secure the portafilter and then leave the rest to the machine. Most machines come with an integrated steam wand or milk container too to create that dreamy frothy milk.

Using an espresso machine does require a bit of practice - especially if you're determined to master the skill of coffee art. But if you're dedicated to your coffee and appreciate the talent behind making the perfect brew, this is a must-have on your wedding gift list.


La Pavoni Botticelli Speciality Coffee Machine

Bean-To-Cup Coffee Machine

The bean-to-cup coffee machine is a development of the espresso machine that is fully automatic. With innovative features such as integrated grinders and automatic milk texturing, the bean-to-cup coffee machine is probably the easiest way to whip up a perfect coffee each time. Some models also have customisable settings, allowing you to create and save your favourite coffee programmes. 

As bean-to-cup coffee machines can be a little large, they'll require dedicated space in your kitchen. They're also the most expensive type of coffee machine - but are absolutely worth the investment - especially if you're after consistent, barista-quality coffee every day.


The Barista Express Impress Espresso Machine, Sage

Features To Look Out For

Milk Frother or Steam Wand
A milk frother is a utensil used to heat and foam milk. You can find automatic or manual frothers. These can be integrated into your coffee machine or sold separately. Manual frothers, especially steam wands,  will require a bit of practice beforehand but are super fun to use - especially once you've become a pro at latte art. We have faith!

Bar pressure
Hot water is forced through coffee grounds using pressure. Pressure is measured using bars. Finding the correct bar pressure is crucial for extracting the best coffee flavour. If it's too high, your coffee will be over-extracted and taste bitter. Too low, and your coffee will taste weak.

There is no perfect bar pressure, as this will be affected by variables such as grind size, water pressure, and tamping pressure. However, espresso machines with a bar pressure between 9 and 18 are best. For more control, consider an espresso machine with an adjustable pressure and pressure gauge too.

A thermoblock in an espresso machine is a feature used to heat water fast, efficiently and to the optimal temperature of around 93°C. Sticking to this temperature is important to prevent your coffee from burning.

A portafilter is a tool used to hold coffee granules. It's where the coffee and water mix to form an espresso shot. There are many types of portafilters - from basket size to material. We recommend stainless steel portafilters that are 54mm to 58mm in diameter.

Most coffee machines will have a valve used to control water flow. Look out for solenoid valves, as these automatically control water pressure and shut off as soon as the coffee extraction has finished.


Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Tamping?
In between coffee grounds are tiny air gaps. The process of removing these air gaps is called Tampering. When tampering, pressure is applied to the coffee grounds, producing a flat surface for water to go through, ensuring an even distribution of flavour.

How Often Do I Need To Clean A Coffee Machine?
We recommend cleaning your coffee machine every month, depending on how frequently you use it. A build-up of scale and coffee residue can impact the taste of the coffee and cause mould. 

We recommend descaling your pump machine after 150 uses. So - if you're coffee obsessed - it may be much more frequent! Most bean-to-cup coffee machines will alert you when it's time to descale your coffee machine. However, it's always best practice to look at the instruction manual provided with your coffee machine.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Coffee Machine?
A standard coffee machine should last between five to ten years, depending on the quality. You can increase the lifespan of your coffee machine by cleaning it regularly, turning it off when you are not using it, and ensuring there is enough water in the tank. 

Both filter and pod machines have a standard life expectancy of five to ten years. However, with regular and correct cleaning, they can last a lot longer. Espresso machines will last at least five years. However, by descaling and cleaning them regularly and correctly, espresso machines can be a lifetime investment. Low to mid-range Bean-to-cup machines will last between five to ten years. However, high-end machines will last up to 15 years and longer if looked after correctly.

Added to List!

What’s the Difference Between Espresso, Ristretto and Lungo?

Espresso and lungo are not different types of coffee. They are both types of coffee made in a professional machine but differ due to their coffee-water ratio. 

Brew ratio 1:2 (one part coffee to two parts water)
A small amount of water flows through the coffee grounds when making an espresso. The result is a strong shot of coffee that typically has frothy crema on its surface. 

Brew ratio 1:4 (one part coffee to four parts water)
A lungo is also an espresso but uses more water and time to extract the coffee. The result is a weaker shot of coffee double the size of your espresso. 

Brew ratio 1:1 (one part coffee to one part water)
Again, a ristretto is an espresso but uses the least amount of water and time to extract the coffee. The result is a very strong shot of coffee packed with flavour.

Coffee Machines

Best Bath Towels: How To Choose Lavishly Soft & Absorbent Towels

Everything you need to know to choose the best bath towels for your lifestyle.

Read more

Best Bedding: A Step-by-Step Bed Linen Buying Guide

Finding the best bed linen for you is made simple with our helpful buying guide.

Read more

Wedding Catering: Your Most Asked Questions Answered

Wedding catering experts, Caper & Berry, give advice on a few key questions.

Read more