Working from home has many pluses for sure; but one thing many miss is regular access to barista-quality coffee. If you're lucky enough to have a cafe near your home then great, but if not, you might be well served to kit out your home with a coffee machine.
With espresso machines available for all budgets, you could soon be brewing fresh coffee at home. But that's not all, with manual coffee machines and drip coffee makers all now designed for the home too.
If you find the thought of all that ground coffee and steam off-putting, don't fear: brewing espresso coffee at home doesn't require extensive barista experience. The best home coffee machines are now built with novice and intermediate users in mind. If you consider pod coffee machines below you and are looking for a great coffee machine that brews freshly-ground coffee, read on.
How Do I Choose A Coffee Maker?
Even if you know you don't want a fully automatic coffee machine, manual coffee machines might seem confusing at first. Knowing which is best for you is tough. It will of course depend on your budget, how much coffee you drink, and how many folks you're brewing for.
A simpler machine will suit those with less experience, but if you've dabbled before you might want something closer to a commercial grade machine. The purists may prefer the control and hands-on precision offered by a manual coffee machine. Or if you're just missing the drip coffee from the office, perhaps an automatic drip brewer is for you.
Whatever your budget, taste or experience, there is a coffee machine for you - so you can enjoy café quality coffee from the comfort of your home (or home office). We've listed a selection of what we think are the best coffee machines for coffee lovers of all tastes and budgets.
Which Brand Of Coffee Machine Is Best?
It's hard to say exactly which brand is 'best': they all have their own distinct characteristics and strengths. If you want a name with deep history and coffee heritage, Gaggia is one of the best known and arguably iconic makers of espresso machines. La Pavoni is another of the classic espresso machine makers, whose high quality coffee machines are as authentic as they come.
Nuova Simonelli has been innovating since 1936, making the worlds first continuously dispensing commercial machine in 1950, and releasing their first 'home' espresso maker in 1973. Nowadays though, many more modern brands are vying for position, so don't overlook the likes of Vibiemme, Isomac and Expobar, all of whom bring their own strengths to your cup of coffee.
Which Is The Best Coffee Maker For Home?
This will be different for everyone. The best coffee machine for you will be the one that fits your needs the best. If you're brewing just for you, then you don't need a large machine, but if you have a large family (or you're a big coffee drinker) you might want something which can brew a little more.
Of course, the size of your home (and therefore kitchen) will be a big factor. You need space on your side for coffee grinding at least, and somewhere to knock out your coffee grounds (and if you're really spoiled for room, a smart tamping station might be in order). Manual machines require enough space to operate a lever.
Luckily, coffee machines come in all shapes and sizes, and there are quality coffee machines to fit in the most compact kitchens. We've listed the best coffee machines for your home below, so read on to find out more.
Moccamaster Classic Coffee Machine
The classic office drip machine, the Moccamaster Classic is also perfectly suited to the home environment. It's also simplicity itself - just add water and ground coffee, then flick the switch. Capable of producing 1.25l of coffee in 6 minutes, this is the ideal choice for families or shared spaces where there is high demand for high quality coffee.
The carafe is kept warm for up to 40 minutes by the built in warming plate, and the copper boiler maintains temperature at between 90-95 degrees, so you're ready to re-brew whenever you run out. The pros at Moccamaster have programmed this beauty to 'bloom' the coffee before brewing, maximising the flavour of your ground beans. The ideal coffee machine for large families or shared spaces.
Gaggia Classic Pro Coffee Machine
The iconic Gaggia Classic Pro combines unrivaled espresso heritage and know-how with modern tech to stunning effect. This entry level espresso coffee machine is ideal for beginners or those on a budget - but don't be fooled, the espresso it produces is second to none.
The Classic Pro is compact, making it an easy fit in nearly all kitchens. The additional, larger Crema Perfetta Filter baskets ensure that you are guaranteed crema, and the fitted steam wand allows you to froth milk and brew your own flat whites and lattes. This is a perfect choice if you want to make great espresso at home without too much fuss.
Rancilio Silvia V6 Coffee Machine
Jostling for top spot with the above manual coffee machines is the Rancilio Silva V6, a stalwart on kitchen countertops worldwide. Just like the Gaggia Pro, this is a serious coffee machine which makes espresso simple.
Perfect for beginners or those who just don't want the fuss, this single portafilter machine can make single or double shots with the larger 16g basket, produces 15 bars of pressure and has a steam wand attached to froth milk. Everything you need in an affordable, compact package that should fit in most homes.
Victoria Arduino Eagle One Prima Coffee Machine
Right at the other end of the price scale is the Victoria Arduino Eagle One Prima. Bringing all of their commercial know-how into this state of the art home coffee machine. This is as good as any commercial unit, and simple enough that even complete beginners can excel.
However, for those with previous experience, a dizzying amount of variables can be controlled via an app to hone your perfect shot. Either way, you are practically guaranteed barista quality coffee. If you only accept the very best for your cup of coffee, this commercial grade manual machine is for you.
The Eagle One also uses a unique instant heating system which only heats the water you need, unlike conventional machines which heat from the tank - reducing energy consumption significantly. Super stylish and top of the range, this is an espresso machine for the home coffee lover who wants the very best coffee machine.
La Pavoni Europiccola EL
For a truly authentic espresso, you need a lever powered, manual coffee machine. There are few brands more authentic than La Pavoni - so the La Pavoni Europiccola EL is about as real as it gets.
The manual coffee machine was once the only way to make espresso, and with modern innovations today's machines do as good a job as many automatic coffee machines. Ground coffee is added to the portafilter as usual, which is mounted to the machine, but that's where it gets manual - the pressure to drive the steam through the puck is generated by a lever.
For those who want as much involvement in the coffee making process as possible, this is a great option. Pressure can be varied manually, allowing you a more tactile, involved way of brewing.
Expobar Leva Coffee Machine
Back to the so-called automatic machines, the Expobar Leva is a top end coffee machine at a mid range price. With different size baskets for your ground coffee, the ability to steam milk whilst brewing espresso at the same time, and a hot water outlet for Americano, it does everything a commercial machine can do.
As good looking an espresso machine as you will find, the brushed stainless steel finish not only looks great - it provides real protection for the top end technology inside. For those who want a little extra quality and control, this is a proper manual machine.
Isomac Tea Due Coffee Machine
A home coffee machine for those who want quality over quantity, and don't mind spending a little more - but don't want to break the bank over an espresso machine. Don't be fooled by the name - the Isomac Tea Due will get the best out of your coffee beans.
Definitely staking a claim to be the best coffee machine in the mid range, it's 1.2L heat exchange boiler, classic E61 group, and a slim footprint make it perfect for the home. A 3l tank is plenty for home use, and the steam and pressure gauge allow for precision brewing for those more experienced in espresso extraction. A steam wand is built-in for home milk frothing.
Bellezza Chiara Coffee Machine
Another mid-range compact coffee maker, the Bellezza Chiara has all the hallmarks of a great coffee machine. Bellezza make manual coffee machines for coffee lovers who want precision, without spending an arm and a leg.
This stylish espresso maker is compact enough to fit on any bench space, despite the 1.8l stainless steel boiler. Steaming milk is easy with the integrated milk frother. And for the afficianado's, the PID controlled heating element, with fully programmable pre-infusion at the grouphead, and in built shot timer, guarantee total control.
Nuova Simonelli Oscar II Coffee Machine
You've probably seen many a Nuova Simonelli Oscar II review floating around the internet, and for good reason. The latest Nuova Simonelli coffee machine off the block is staking a claim to be one of the best, and most affordable on the market.
These guys have form, having recently produced the official SCA Barista Championship espresso machine. Their home coffee maker should please coffee drinkers worldwide, bringing all that class without hogging your bench space. A 2.8l tank, 2l boiler are all packed in, and the programmable volumetric shot function makes this easy for all to use. The milk frother and milk wand can be used to gain the perfect milk texture for latte art and cappuccinos.
Bezzera Mitica Top PID Coffee Machine
The Bezzera Mitica Top PID is about as close as you can get to a installing a commercial grade machine in your home. One for the coffee connoisseur who's willing to sacrifice a little bench space to the cause.
That said, the 4l boiler is optional, as you can plumb direct to the mains supply if you wish. With a cafe standard, auto shot volumetric control, E62 group head, steam wand and water tap, this is the cafe at home. Boiler temp and steam pressure gauge displays sit stylishly on the front, and the stainless steel finish might just add a touch of class to your kitchen while you're brewing coffee.
Vibiemme Domobar Junior Digital Coffee Machine
If you want espresso with the minimum fuss, the Vibiemme Domobar Junior Digital is as easy to use as any automatic machine (and way easier than a full manual machine). All you need is freshly ground coffee and you're good to go, even if you've never brewed espresso before.
The machine is controlled via the discreet digital display at the top of the machine, allowing the designers to really minimise the volume, making this perfect for smaller spaces. A 1.1l boiler and 2.5l tank is ample for home use, and shot timer and E61 group head allow for top quality coffee brewing.
Ascaso Steel Duo PID Coffee Machine
One of the most unique and stylish machines around, the Ascaso Steel Duo PID combines it's great looks with some serious brewing power. The PID group temperature control system allows you to adjust the boiler temperature, steam, pre-infusion time, and coffee dose timer, giving you control over your brewing.
Toggle switches control power, volumetric dosing, and water and steam control and add to the unique look of this boutique coffee machine. This is a great machine if you want great coffee at home and the design of your kitchen appliances is important to you.
What Is The Difference Between A Cheap And Expensive Coffee Maker?
You might think that the difference ultimately will be the cup of coffee that you, the end user (or coffee drinker), will end up with. Not necessarily - a more advanced, expensive machine is no good if you don't know how to use it. A manual coffee machine with a few less dials might be better.
Generally, more expensive machines will offer more control over your coffee brewing. If you don't have a lot of experience brewing though, you might not want a machine that's difficult to set up - in which case, perhaps a cheaper machine is better. Today, even 'cheap' home coffee machines can produce great coffee. They might just be a little limited for those who really want to get deeper into the craft of coffee making.
Does Having A Good Coffee Maker Make A Difference?
Vs instant coffee, of course, yes. But assuming you're in the market, you should invest what you can: after all, this could define the quality of your morning coffee for years to come. Of course you need an affordable coffee machine (for your budget), but it's worth getting the best quality you can afford.
Real coffee drinkers know how important it is to get the best: whether it's automatic coffee machines, automatic coffee machines, or even a pod coffee machine you are interested in, it's an investment you'll enjoy every day. See our article on how to brew great coffee at home for more details.
Is A Good Coffee Maker Worth It?
100%. A good manual coffee machine can bring the cafe into the home, giving you the power to make your own cafe quality coffee. Combined with a coffee grinder and a supply of fresh coffee beans, you'll be able to brew your own barista quality espresso coffee whenever you wish.
With manual coffee machines to fit all budgets, tastes, and experience levels, be sure to check out our full range at Alternative Brewing today - there could be a coffee machine that would look great in your kitchen!