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Home espresso coffee machine reviews

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Last updated: 14 September 2020


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With so many types of home coffee machines on offer, let us help you speed up the research and choose the one that's right for you. We lab test and review the latest manual, semi-automatic and coffee pod machines. If it's an automatic coffee machine that you're after, check our automatic coffee machine reviews

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We test every coffee machine thoroughly and give you good and bad points for each model, as well as the verdict from our expert coffee tasters on each of the following criteria:

  • which machines produce the best-tasting coffee
  • coffee temperature consistency
  • easiest machines to operate
  • which are best at frothing milk.

Coffee pod machines are designed to capture and convert the hearts of instant coffee lovers as well as those who value ease of use. With a variety of brands available at a range of prices and the emergence of coffee pod machines for sale in supermarkets, the category has gone from strength to strength. These machines use a coffee pod or capsule filled with enough coffee for a single shot. Simply insert the pod, press a button, and the machine pierces it to allow hot water to flow through and make the shot. 

Manual and semi-automatic coffee machines are for people who want the hands-on experience of making their own coffee exactly how they like it. Semi-automatic coffee machines will automatically cut off the flow of coffee once a pre-set amount has been poured into the cup, while with a manual coffee machine you have total control and need to cut the flow of coffee yourself - as is usually done by a barista in a cafe.

Taste test
Three experts test the freshly made espressos in a 'blind' tasting, checking the colour and thickness of the crema (the tan-coloured foam on the top of an espresso shot), aroma, flavour, mouth feel (for example, creaminess or wateriness) and aftertaste. Due to current COVID-19 restrictions, machines tested after March 2020 are done with in-house experts.

Ease of use testing
We try all of the coffee machine controls, fill the water tank and the bean hopper, adjust the grinder, make a coffee, and clean inside and out, to see how easy each machine will be to use and maintain.

Coffee temperature consistency
We measure the consistency of four consecutive coffees for each coffee machine after warming it up for five minutes. We add five minutes for thermoblock and small boiler machines, and 30 minutes for heat exchanger.

Frothing milk
We experiment with each machine to find how it best froths milk, looking for fine, pourable froth.

For full details on the testing criteria see How we test coffee machines

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List of brands we tested in this review.


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    The manufacturer's recommended retail price. Prices are often flexible, so shop around both online and in bricks-and-mortar stores for options.

    enter value/s in increments of 1 between 37 and 3799

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    Milk frothing score

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    We experiment with each machine to find how it best froths milk, looking for fine, pourable froth. We use what the manufacturer recommends (a milk frother, milk-based capsule or coffee capsule extracted over milk).

    enter value/s in increments of i between 40 and 100


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    For more on types, see our buying guide. Fully automatic machines (that grind, dose and make the espresso) are covered in a separate report.

      Included in this review

      Members-only access
      • Overall score
      • Buy now
      • Brand satisfaction score
      • Brand reliability score
      • Recommended
      • Taste test score
      • Ease of use score
      • Milk frothing score
      • Coffee temperature consistency score
      • Recycle scheme
      • Measured heat-up time (min:s)
      • Time taken to froth 200ml of milk (min:s)
      • Good points
      • Bad points
      • Brand
      • Model
      • Price
      • Milk frother supplied?
      • Availability
      • Type
      • Capsule type
      • Standby mode
      • Automatic power turn-off
      • Removable water reservoir
      • Water tank empty reminder
      • Hot water nozzle
      • Removable drip tray
      • Cup warming plate
      • Cord storage
      • Programmable coffee quantity
      • Digital display
      • Espresso pressure or milk temperature gauge
      • Adjustable water temperature
      • Adjustable steam temperature
      • Adjustable steam pump rate
      • Type of heating system
      • Water reservoir capacity (L)
      • Pump pressure - stated (bar)
      • Warranty (yrs)
      • Dimensions (cm, HxWxD)
      • Weight (kg)
      • Origin
      • Contents of packaging
      • Contact


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