How to Choose a Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine
Whether it’s what gets you out of bed in the morning, or what makes your workday more bearable – a good cup of coffee can go a long way.
For this reason, it’s really important to make sure you select the right bean-to-cup coffee machine – so you can be sure your coffee is always exactly how you like it!
However, with so many excellent options on the market, you might be wondering ‘how do I go about choosing a bean-to-cup coffee machine?’
No matter if you’re a coffee machine enthusiast, or have never owned one before – this ultimate guide has everything you need to know to find the perfect model for your lifestyle.
If you’d like any further information, scroll to the bottom for the answers to some key FAQs.
The Ultimate Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine Guide
If you’re feeling unsure about how to select the perfect machine for your needs – we’ve got you covered.
From extra accessories to our top 3 coffee machines – here’s all the information you need to find your ideal make and model.
What are bean-to-cup coffee machines?
If you’re a frequent cafe-visitor, you’ll definitely recognize the sound of grinding beans. In fact, it’s this crucial step that makes a barista-made cup of coffee so much more enjoyable.
The fresher ground coffee is, the better the flavor. Coffee beans are incredibly porous, and once you’ve ground them they quickly begin to lose moisture and flavor.
When you buy ground coffee from a store to use at home – that coffee was probably processed a while ago. Even though it’s sealed inside its packaging, the coffee will have already begun to lose its unique flavor by the time it reaches your cup.
This is where bean-to-cup machines come in.
If you can’t get enough of barista-style coffee, a bean-to-cup machine allows you to recreate it perfectly at home.
The machine will not only freshly grind each coffee bean for you but include everything you’ll need to recreate your favorite kinds of coffee from home.
Depending on the style of coffee you’re looking for, many models come with excellent additions like stainless steel steaming mugs, milk-frothers, and the ability to program customized coffee presets.
They might seem slightly more involved, but a bean-to-cup coffee machine actually doesn’t require much more effort than coffee makers that work with pods or sachets.
This way, you can create luxury-level coffee without the need to travel to your local coffee place.
Read Our Best Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machines Guide
How expensive are they?
The answer to this question depends on the type of unit you’re looking for.
Bean-to-cup coffee machines can range in cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand – but don’t worry, you can find some excellent machines at every price point.
Generally, the more features you require, the more you’ll have to pay.
If you’re looking for a reliable bean-to-cup coffee maker that allows you to make an excellent americano and practice your latte art, then a model in the low-to-mid hundreds should work perfectly.
If you’re looking to expand your coffee-making repertoire, or want to invest in a fully automatic machine with lots of accessories, then your ideal machine may cost slightly more.
Remember, it’s always worth shopping around or waiting for the machine to go on sale. Try to compare different retailers, and hold out for those handy deals in the lead up to the holiday period.
If you’d like some ideas on what’s available at different price points, you can find our picks for the best bean-to-cup coffee brewers below!
What to Consider Before Buying a New Coffee Machine
Your Preferred Drinks
There’s no point buying something with a lot of extras if you’ll only end up using it as an espresso machine.
Comprehensive models not only cost more, but they take up more space in your kitchen, too. For this reason, it’s best to only invest in something that you’ll get a lot of use out of day-to-day.
Most coffee drinkers will find that a machine with a good grinder, quality steam wand, and a few customizable settings is perfect for all of their needs.
No matter your preference, we recommend always using good quality, ethically produced coffee beans.
‘How many ways are there to froth milk?’ we hear you ask – well, there’s actually 3.
It may not seem important, but it’s worth keeping in mind when choosing the best machine for your needs.
A Steam Wand
This is the tool your local barista probably uses. They aren’t too bulky and are fairly time-efficient – but may be messy if you’ve never used one before.
If you’re looking to save space, a machine with separate frothers can be really convenient. It does require manual operation, and may not be the best if you’re short on time – but it’s a lot easier to control!
These frothers are the ones you’re most likely to find on a bean-to-cup coffee machine. They heat and froth using a separate milk container, and some fully automatic models will even pour the milk directly into the cup for you.
They make milk texturing fast and easy to control, so you won’t have to worry about the additional mess!
These days, almost everything is fully automated – which makes most machines really easy to use! If you want to achieve coffee-shop level drinks with minimal input – a model with smart features is the perfect choice
Many machines now use a ‘one-touch’ approach, where you simply push a button and receive your favorite drink.
However, if you like your coffee a little more special, choose a machine that allows you to save your perfect cup as a pre-set option. This way, your espresso will always be at the right temperature, and your latte will always be wonderfully frothy!
Once you’ve made your favorite drinks, you don’t want to spend hours cleaning up – especially if you’ve got a busy schedule.
Some of the best bean-to-cup espresso machines and coffee brewers come with one-touch cleaning functions, where you simply step back and allow the machine to clean itself.
Depending on your needs, here are some extra accessories you may want to look out for:
- A Hot Water Tank: Does your chosen model have a hot water tank, and how is it filled? Some machines may need to be connected to your water supply, whereas others may need you to manually refill a water tank.
- A Drip Tray: A model with a tray will cut your cleaning time down drastically.
- Stainless Steel Jugs: Especially for cappuccino-lovers, it’s worth looking for machines that come with steel jugs to make milk-frothing a breeze.
The Best Bean-to-Cup Coffee Makers Available Now
Even with with a bit of guidance from us, with all the different machines and baffling array of features and options, it can still be difficult to know if you’re choosing the right machine.
To help, in case you want to short cut the process and see what the majority of coffee drinkers think are some of the best bean-to-cup coffee machines available right now, we’ve come up with our top three for you to check out.
1. Breville Barista Express
Part of Breville’s Barista Series, with an integrated grinder that allows you to go from beans to espresso in less than a minute.
Dose Control Grinding utilises the precision conical burr grinder to ensure the delivery of just the right amount of freshly ground coffee, whichever beans you choose to use.
Clever technology ensures all the flavors are evenly drawn out during the extraction process using low-pressure pre-infusion. With digital water temperature control and Microform Milk Texturing, this offers everything you need in a good-looking package.
2. Magnifica S by De'Longhi
This model comes at a mid-range price point but still boasts impressive features.
Despite its excellent 1.8 liter capacity, it’s still sleek and compact, making it perfect for any space.
The model allows you to brew two cups simultaneously, and even includes a silent grinder with up to 13 settings.
The intuitive control panel is quick to operate, whilst the powerful steam milk-frother ensures great coffee every time.
3. Brera by Gaggia
The Gaggia Brera is ideal if you’re an espresso fan, or looking for budget machines.
It has space to brew up to two cups at once, boasts a ceramic burr grinder, and has an effective steam milk-frother that can also be used as a hot water tap.
The Brera makes customization easy, as you can tailor the amount of coffee, cup height, and temperature. Automatic cleaning is an excellent extra feature, too.
1. Which bean-to-cup coffee brewer is best for a coffee enthusiast?
If you’re a coffee expert, the best bean-to-cup machine will be one that not only makes consistently perfect drinks, but that comes with enough features for you to explore.
Something that has an efficient, quality grinder and the ability to make a range of different drinks is always a good choice. Look for coffee machines with a milk-frother and the ability to program customized settings.
Ultimately, the best option for you will be one that fits in with your lifestyle and makes brewing your favorite coffee effortless.
2. Are bean-to-cup machines good?
Investing in bean-to-cup machines is always a good idea. Not only do they deliver a fresher, more aromatic flavor, but they’re often much more convenient, too.
Additionally, they can use freshly ground beans or pre-ground coffee, so you can really work with what you love. You won’t need to constantly purchase pods or sachets – which saves money and is more environmentally friendly, too!
A bean-to-cup model will give you a lot more room to explore – making it an excellent investment.
3. How much coffee does a coffee maker use?
On average, it takes 70 beans to make an americano. For more specific information, check the capacity of your chosen brewer, which will tell you how many cups per day it can craft from your beans.
Always use good quality coffee for the best results!