How to choose the right coffee machine for you: A buyer's guide

We’re fast becoming a nation of coffee drinkers, so it’s worth considering all the options before purchasing a new machine.

We’ve come a long way since the humble jar of instant coffee. Indeed, a swanky pod machine or bean-to-cup is far more integral to our daily grind.

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And when we say: “Wake-up and smell the coffee,” what we really mean is, we’ve mastered the art of making an espresso, cappuccino or latte just the way we like it.

But if you’re still experimenting and a cup of Nescafe Azera Americano has stirred your interest in café society, here’s what you need to know.

Coffee machines come in four categories: pod and capsule machines, bean-to-cup, traditional pump machines and filter coffee makers. We’ve broken them up so you can decide which style and strength is specific to your tastes…

1. Pod and Capsule Machines – excellent espresso

Coffee capsule systems put Nespresso on the map and it’s easy to see why. The capsule is especially pre-packed to give you the perfect espresso every time. They come in a range of styles, from barista corto (extra intense taste with a thick texture) to barista chiaro (smooth, creamy with biscuity notes), and if you’re partial to an iced coffee, there’s a capsule for that too.

Need to know: Quick, clean and fuss-free.

2. Bean-to-Cup Machines – delicious milky coffee

If you love a frothy cappuccino, or a latte, this two-in-one will give you the best of both worlds. Choose your favourite variety of beans, pour them in the hopper, it will grind on demand and hey presto, the perfect cup of fresh coffee at the touch of a button. The ground coffee goes into a brew bin which will need to be emptied.

Need to know: Needs to be maintained on a regular basis and the milk pipes kept clean.

3. Traditional Pump Machines – handmade espresso, closest thing to Starbucks

If you really want to get to grips with hands-on espresso making, a manual espresso machine is the answer. It may take a few goes to get the hang of filling the espresso shot, not to mention tapping the coffee and experimenting with the steam boiler for frothy milk, but you’ll love the results and fantastic choice of coffee.

Need to know: It requires some skill, but has professional results 

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4. Filter Coffee Makers - classic black coffee

The model we’re most familiar with; the biggest decision with a filter coffee machine is whether to buy one with a washable filter, or one that takes paper refills. And then of course whether you want a two-cup or 10-cup, glass or thermal jug, which you’ll need to heat before use to make sure your coffee stays warm.

Need to know: Good if you’re making coffee for more people and the hotplate means you can come back for a second cup without having to start from scratch.

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