How To Choose The Best Bean To Cup Coffee Machine – We Review The Top 6 How To Choose The Best Bean To Cup Coffee Machine – We Review The Top 6
100(Last Updated On: November 17, 2017)100 How To Choose The Best Bean To Cup Coffee Machine – We Review The Top 6
(Last Updated On: November 17, 2017)

Bean to cup coffee machines represent modern convenience at its best. These amazing home gadgets couldn’t have arrived at a better time because in the UK we are a nation of ardent coffee fans. In fact, according to The British Coffee Association, we guzzle down a whopping 55 million cups every day.

Bean to cup coffee machines range from simple appliances to full-featured automated coffee making marvels. So there is a machine to suit every budget and need. Plus, thanks to technology getting cheaper by the day, they are a luxury anyone of us can afford to have in our homes. The downside is the choice available. With so many options, styles and features on the market deciding on a decent bean to cup machine can feel a little overwhelming.

This guide will help demystify this process, by reviewing the top coffee machines available today and providing you with all the information you need to make an informed choice.

This Guide At a Glance:

For ease this guide is broken down into easy to read chunks. You can read everything in order or skip to certain sections if there is anything in particular you’d like to know first. It covers everything we think you need to know before you buy. Here’s the contents at a glance:

Bean To Cup Coffee Machine Comparison Table

Low Price

  • Vonshef Digital Filter Coffee Maker


  • Our Rating


  • Grinder Type:
    Blade
  • Accepts:
    Ground & Whole Coffee Beans
  • Integrated Milk Frother:
    No
  • Water Tank Size:
    1.5l
  • Auto Clean Functions?:
    No
  • Digital Display?:
    Yes
  • £
Our Top Pick

  • Delonghi Magnifica ESAM4200


  • Our Rating


  • Grinder Type:
    Burr
  • Accepts:
    Ground & Whole Coffee Beans
  • Integrated Milk Frother:
    Yes
  • Water Tank Size:
    1.8l
  • Auto Clean Functions?:
    Yes
  • Digital Display?:
    No
  • £££

  • Gaggia Brera


  • Our Rating


  • Grinder Type:
    Burr
  • Accepts:
    Ground & Whole Coffee Beans
  • Integrated Milk Frother:
    Yes
  • Water Tank Size:
    1.2l
  • Auto Clean Functions?:
    Yes
  • Digital Display?:
    Yes
  • £££

  • Krups Automatic Cappuccino Plus


  • Our Rating


  • Grinder Type:
    Burr
  • Accepts:
    Whole Coffee Beans
  • Integrated Milk Frother:
    Yes
  • Water Tank Size:
    1.8l
  • Auto Clean Functions?:
    Yes
  • Digital Display?:
    No
  • £££

  • Andrew James Programmable Filter


  • Our Rating


  • Grinder Type:
    Blade
  • Accepts:
    Ground & Whole Coffee Beans
  • Integrated Milk Frother:
    No
  • Water Tank Size:
    1.5l
  • Auto Clean Functions?:
    No
  • Digital Display?:
    Yes
  • £

  • Delonghi Automatic ECAM22.110.B


  • Our Rating


  • Grinder Type:
    Burr
  • Accepts:
    Ground & Whole Coffee Beans
  • Integrated Milk Frother:
    Yes
  • Water Tank Size:
    1.8l
  • Auto Clean Functions?:
    Yes
  • Digital Display?:
    No
  • £££

Bean To Cup Coffee Machine Reviews

VonShef Digital Filter Coffee Maker with Integrated Grinder Review

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The VonShef Digital Filter Coffee Maker is a comprehensive dual machine capable of grinding coffee beans and brewing a stellar cup of coffee in one cycle. This elegant and sleek black model boasts a silver semi-ovoid display panel with a blue backlit digital panel. It has a carrying capacity of 1.5L or 10 to 12 cups of coffee. With an easy-to-read water level gauge, on/off buttons, the learning curve for this coffee maker is pretty low. Setting it up is a breeze and brewing a delicious cup of coffee couldn’t be any easier, and makes a great addition to any kitchen or office setup.

How to use the VonShef Digital Filter Coffee Maker

Firstly it’s worth pointing out that this coffee maker is not automatic. Before you make your first cup of coffee, thoroughly wash the filter and carafe and dry them. After that, fill the jug full with water and give the jug a good rinse. With everything ready, you’re set to make your first cup.

“there is a scale from 1 to 10 for both the carafe and water tank which guides you on how much water to add”

The VonShef Digital Filter Coffee Maker can make up to 12 cups of coffee in one cycle. For your convenience, there is a scale from 1 to 10 for both the carafe and water tank which guides you on how much water to add depending on how many cups you want. For example, if you want four cups of coffee, fill the carafe to level 4 and press the 1 – 4 cup button. Each cup of coffee will contain up to 150 ml.

If you want to grind beans, add them now. Add approximately 5-7g of coffee beans per cup. You can also choose to measure out powdered coffee using the measuring spoon that comes with the coffee maker. Just remember to press the ‘grind off’ button if you choose powdered coffee. At this point, you have the option to set the clock, or you can simply just proceed to press the on/off button. The grinder is pretty noisy, however, for a cup of rich coffee in the comfort of your own house, it’s a small price to pay. Brewing a good cup of coffee with this machine is easy enough, but you may have to spend some time experimenting with different bean options to get the taste that you’re after.

We found that the clock option was a great addition because you can set your coffee maker to start brewing coffee while you sleep so that by the time you get up, your coffee is ready. The clock can even act as an alarm if you want it too! Furthermore, the coffee will stay warm for up to 35 minutes thanks to the temperature regulation of the carafe.

Extra things to know

The VonShef Digital Filter Coffee Maker comes with an easy-to-read user manual, as well as a measuring spoon for your powdered coffee.

In terms of safety, the on/off button can be pressed at any time to stop any functions. The machine also won’t work if the filter lid and or the water tank lid are open. You will need to close them firmly and properly before the coffee making cycle can be resumed.

How easy is it to clean?

When it comes to ease of cleaning, on a scale of 1 to 10, the VonShef Digital Filter Coffee Maker is a 5 and here’s why. The basket mechanism, mesh filter, and grinder all require a bit of manipulation to remove before they can be cleaned. The basket mechanism needs to be taken apart, piece by piece, and you should careful not to hurt yourself on the grinder blades. That’s not all. After you’ve cleaned the basket mechanism, you’ll need to assemble it back again. Make sure you rotate the mesh filter and grinder when you place them back in. Make sure you hear them click into place before continuing. It’s all a bit laborious especially if you need to clean the coffee maker first thing in the morning!

Fortunately, the carafe is easier to clean than the other parts of this machine. The filter should also be washed regularly with soap to remove any oil that may stem from the beans being ground in the grinder.

What we think

In an age where technology is advancing at such a fast pace, it’s nice to see that some companies still focus on making products that are easy for people to use and not laden with confusing tech. The VonShef Digital Filter Coffee Maker is simple enough, budget friendly and also environmentally friendly.

While VonShef could improve the ease of cleaning of this machine and the noise level when beans are being ground, this coffee maker seems to tick all the right boxes because of its low price point and functionality. This is why it gets a favourable review from us.

De’Longhi Magnifica Bean to Cup ESAM4200 Review

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The De’Longhi Magnifica Bean to Cup Espresso/Cappuccino Coffee Machine ESAM4200 is a compact stainless steel silver model boasting a 15-bar pump pressure.

It has the 2-in-1 function of being able to prepare coffee from either fresh coffee beans or ground coffee at the touch of a button. Its milk frother gives you the ability to prepare milk based beverages right in the comfort of your own home or office.

It’s an easy-to-clean and maintain model thanks to aspects such as its removable brewing unit and its auto-clean functions. It even has a rather roomy 1.8l water tank (so you can make a good few cups of coffee before refilling) and weighs in at 10 kg, which is slightly heavier than the Krups EA8108 Espresseria Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine. Programmable and with the ability to make espresso’s and cappuccinos this machine certainly sounds impressive but, how easy is it to use?

How to Use the De’Longhi Magnifica Coffee Machine

The machine itself isn’t complicated when you look at it. The buttons featured on the front of the machine include the on/off button, one and two cup options, three dial knobs to adjust temperature, the strength of coffee and also for the ground coffees fineness or coarseness. Warning lights that tell you to top up the water tank and descale are located just under these knobs. When not in use you can press the ECO button to put the coffee machine into an eco-friendly mode – to save energy and running costs. The frother is strategically located on the left front side of the machine.

Making your first cup is easy. Plug in the coffee machine and fill the 1.8l removable water tank with water. Then place your cup(s) on the cup warmer hot plate. The cup or mug you use should be less than 10 cm in height. This is the maximum size you can comfortably fit under the spout(s).

If you wish to prepare a cup of coffee using roast beans, this is the time to place them in the bean hopper. Adjust the fineness or coarseness knob and leave the burr grinder to do its job. This only takes a few minutes so you can stand nearby and wait for the coffee to brew.

If you want to use pre-ground coffee, on the other hand, open the powder slot and use the provided spoon to measure out your powdered coffee. Close the section, adjust the strength of the coffee using the knob on the front of the machine, choose how many cups you want to prepare and stand back.

Making milk drinks is even easier. All you need to do is place your milk jug underneath the frother, adjust the frother height to reach the jug, and let the heated wand and milk mix until you get a rich and thick creamy consistency. So whatever your milk drink of choice whether cappuccino, cafe latte or latte macchiato, the De’Longhi will go a long way in making it easy for you to prepare it at your convenience.

Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?

Apart from the coffee machine itself, you should also find a descaler, a plastic coffee measuring spoon, a user manual and a plug inside the box .

How Easy Is It to Clean?

The coffee maker has been made with your convenience in mind. With that said, it comes with auto-clean functions. It will auto-descale, as well as rinse and self-clean. The brewing unit and the drip tray can be removed for faster cleaning.

Also, say goodbye to having to worry about how to clean up ground coffee after each use. Thanks to a very handy storage compartment, all the remaining coffee is collected in this section and can be disposed of at your convenience.

Furthermore, the machine will give you a warning if it needs any further attention courtesy of the flashing lights located on the front of the machine. That’s really about it when it comes to maintaining this coffee machine – easy!

What We Think About This Coffee Machine

The De’Longhi Magnifica Espresso Machine doesn’t disappoint in looks, performance or quality. And for the price, we believe that this model is really worth every penny.

Who doesn’t love an easy-to-clean, easy-to-use coffee machine that makes excellent coffee? The only downside that can be mentioned about this coffee machine is its noise level, but all things considered, this is just a small price to pay for great coffee in the comfort of your own home or office.

Gaggia Brera Bean to Cup Coffee Machine Review

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The Gaggia Brera bean to cup coffee machine is an award winning Italian automatic coffee machine that allows you to make café-worthy coffees, lattes, and cappuccinos. Easy to use, with a silver compact boxed body, this machine will fit perfectly in any kitchen setting.

Phillips bought Gaggia’s manufacturing parent company Saeco a few years back, and it’s clear to see the company’s influence on this coffee machine’s design. Whether you are using ready-made ground coffee or wish to grind your own coffee beans, you’ll find it very simple to use either thanks to the buttons located on the front of the machine.

How to use the coffee machine

First of all, the necessary buttons are all strategically located on the front of the machine. The on/off button is on the top left side. The buttons for making a coffee according to your preferred strength, and also how short or tall you want your coffee are also all on the front panel. There is a rectangular digital screen to help monitor the machine’s operations. Now to make your first cup;

“The coffee nozzle height can be adjusted according to the size of your cup”

Fill up the water tank to maximum, that’s about 1.3L. Doing this will ensure that there is no bean wastage should the coffee machine run out mid cup. The coffee nozzle height can be adjusted according to the size of your cup. Keep the cup close to the nozzle for best crema results. You will be able to make coffee of differing strengths – weak, medium, strong – thanks to the three strength settings on the front. You’ll also be able to make a short or long coffee to suit your taste.

When using powdered coffee, there is a special hopper to place the powder in for your decaf coffee. This is very convenient because you don’t need to remove the beans in the beans hopper prior to making your decaf coffee. If you want a fresh cup with real beans, open the plastic beans hopper and place the beans in. Press the ‘grin’ button on the front and let the machine do its job. Noise level is about 1 dB.

To make thick creamy milk for your cappuccinos, place your milk pitcher under the steam wand/frother and press the ‘Start’ button. You’ll need to keep an eye on the milk as the coffee maker steams milk very quickly. You will be able to make lattes, cappuccinos and other excellent coffees with this machine.

When you’re done making your coffee, put it on standby. It’ll rinse itself when you remove it from its base.

Is there anything else I need to know?

Yes, the user manual is outdated, but it still gives a good idea of how to operate the unit, so do take some time to read through it.

You should also be aware that water seeps into the tray when the Gaggia is brewing your coffee. So, you should empty the tray regularly just to reduce the risk of it overflowing.

How easy is it to clean?

The main coffee tamping component can be removed for easy cleaning. However, this doesn’t mean cleaning the Gaggia is all that fun. There are so many corners, and the internal shape makes it slightly challenging to clean, but you will be able to clean it quickly with some practice.

One of the biggest cons of this machine regards descaling. The process as outlined in the user manual that comes with this model doesn’t work, so you will need to find a youtube video on how to properly descale this model. If you can’t access this video, these are the instructions to descale the Gaggia: pour bottled water into the water tank, press both the short and long coffee buttons together while the unit is on stand-by, continue this process until the warning light switches off. The downside of descaling is that it can take up to an hour to descale! The trick however to reducing the number of times you need to descale is to use bottling water, it prevents scaling.

Apart from that, other maintenance issues concern priming the water circuit. You’ll need to twist the knob to let the water come out of the steam wand until the warning light goes off. It’s a process that shouldn’t take too long, but if you don’t do this regularly, when you do decide to prime, it may take you a lot longer!

What we think

The price on this model is decent, and for the above average cup of coffee that it produces, this machine is worth the money you spend on it. One of the biggest concerns that most customers shared is the size of the water reservoir, which admittedly could be larger seeing as 1.3L only gives you about 3 normal sized cups of coffee.

KRUPS Automatic Coffee Machine 1.8 l 15 bar, Cappuccino Plus Review

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The KRUPS Automatic Coffee Machine 1.8 l 15 bar is a compact, ergonomic unit weighing in at just 7kg. It’s ideal for making rich espressos, milky lattes and cappuccinos. It has a steamer/milk frother on the front for easy access and use. Not only that but this machine’s operating buttons are also conveniently located on the front of device, however, there is no digital display screen, which isn’t a big issue as the machine is simple enough to operate.

How to use the Krups

Working the Krups is simple enough. Plug it in, and press the start button located on the right front side of the machine. Place your cup on the cup warming tray and adjust the coffee dispenser. Proceed to fill the 1.8l removable water reservoir. Then configure the temperature settings to suit your taste. It only takes 20 to 30 seconds for the machine to heat up thanks to the patented Thermoblock System which enables water to heat up quickly and reach optimal temperature faster. So you’ll have hot coffee from the word go.

Open the transparent coffee bean compartment and put in the beans you want ground. The KRUPS makes short work of these thanks to its stainless steel burr grinder. You can choose between a weak or strong coffee based on the machine’s adjustable coffee strength settings and even tailor the cup volume by adjusting the ‘volume’ settings. There is a front knob that shows the cup volumes you can use. The minimum volume is 20 ml and the maximum is 220 ml.

To make quality latte’s or cappuccinos, take a frothing jug filled with milk, place the frother in and let it do its work. It’s worth noting that using a smaller frothing jug allows the frother to reach the bottom of the jug, producing a really nice milk froth.

Is there anything else I need to know?

This product is made in France and comes with a continental/European two pin electric plug and not the UK three pin version. This means you will need to purchase an adaptor for it.

The safety device for the nozzle can also be prone to popping off randomly. A trick to ensuring that this doesn’t happen is to make sure that the two parts that make up the nozzle are both dry. You’ll want to keep this in mind because replacing a lost nozzle can be expensive.

The instruction manual that comes with the machine is pretty bad, and you may have to resort to emailing Krups to get a better, updated version.

The noise level of the Krups is a touch on the higher end at 60 dB and is a bit louder than an extractor fan running on ‘high’.

How easy is it to clean?

The only real downside to cleaning the KRUPS is that the tray containing the leftover coffee needs frequent emptying, even when it isn’t even full! However, that’s all you have to worry about because cleaning the rest of this machine is a breeze.

It features automatic rinsing, cleaning as well as descaling programmes. All you have to do is follow the instructions it gives you, clean it when it alerts you to, and you won’t have any problems. On the front of the machine is a button that reads, ‘Clean’. This is the button you’ll need to press to go through the descaling process. Descaling simply requires that you boil water in the machine until the warning lights switch off. If you take the time to descale on a regular basis this shouldn’t be an issue and won’t take you long. The nozzle is also relatively simple to clean.

What we think

The Krups isn’t the cheapest model on the market, but it offers great coffee making ability, ease of cleaning, and makes a mean latte.

If you’re looking for a strict bean to cup machine, then this is the coffee maker for you. If you’re looking for a machine that will allow you to make decaf coffee using pre-ground coffee then you’ll need to look elsewhere seeing as this model doesn’t come with a ground coffee compartment.

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Andrew James Programmable Filter Coffee Machine with Integrated Bean Grinder

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If you’re looking for a 2-in-1 eco-friendly bean-to-cup and filter coffee machine, then this filter coffee machine might just be what you’re looking for.

The Andrew James Programmable Filter Coffee Machine with Integrated Bean Grinder is a sleek box shaped model that comes in a stainless steel finish. It closely resembles its sibling the Andrew James 15 Cup Digital Filter Coffee Machine’s style and build, except that the Andrew James 15 Cup has a semi-circular carafe space, whereas the Andrew James Programmable’s carafe space is square in shape.

The Programmable’s digital controls are all clearly placed on the front – On/off, Grind Off, Strength Control, Cup, Program, Hour, Min. The only button not located on the front is the water tank’s ‘Open’ button which is on the right-hand side of the machine next to the water tank gauge.

How to Use the Andrew James Coffee Machine

To make an irresistible cup of coffee, first place the carafe squarely on the hotplate and fill up the 1.5L water reservoir. The gauge on the side of the Coffee Maker will guide you on how much water you need to put into the water reservoir. Next, set the brew strength to weak, medium or strong as desired.

Finally, choose whether you want to make coffee with beans or without beans.

If you opt for filter coffee, press the ‘Grind Off’ button on the front, add the powdered coffee to the filter reservoir, stand back and let the hot water pour in as the brewing begins. It only takes a few minutes to have enough coffee in the carafe for your first cup. The anti-drip spout ensures no coffee drips onto your surface when you remove the jug.

For a bean-to-cup experience, add the unground beans to the transparent grinder compartment located on the top of the machine. Use the knob next to the grinder section to choose how finely or how coarsely you want your beans ground. Leave the machine to do its job. It only takes about 3 minutes for the beans to be ground and for your first cup to be ready.

If you want a strong coffee in the morning, you can use the 24-hour clock function to let the Coffee Maker know your preference and it will start brewing your coffee the night before. The hot plate will keep the brewed coffee hot for 30 minutes. This is very convenient because it allows you to wake up to a ready-made hot cup of coffee each morning.

Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?

Several customers have experienced problems with the grinder on this model and have had to return it to the company for replacements.

The general consensus is that the machine looks good, makes above-average coffee for a few weeks and then suddenly the grinder stops working one day. When this happens the number of cups is also reduced to a measly 2 cups per day no matter what you do (i.e. descaling, adding more water, or cleaning it etc).

Many people report that when contacting Andrew James, the most common response is to be asked to descale the product and try again, however it almost always never rectifies the problem. This is a little disappointing considering Andrew James excellent track record with other products such as their impressive soup makers.

The product also comes with a poorly written/translated English manual.

How Easy Is It to Clean?

Maintenance-wise the Andrew James comes with a reusable mesh filter that can be removed for easy cleaning. This means you don’t need to purchase a constant supply of paper filters. A damp cloth is sufficient to give it the occasional wipe down. Regular descaling will also help to keep this unit in tip-top shape.

What We Think About This Coffee Machine

No one buys a coffee machine for its looks alone, if that were the case, then the Andrew James would be a winner! However, it’s all about the coffee. If you’re hard pressed and need a quick replacement, this model may be for you, but it’s certainly not a long-term investment coffee machine.

You will probably be the exception to the rule if this machine carried you longer than a year. It’s a great machine if you’re an occasional coffee drinker and would like an easy-to-clean, nice looking coffee machine to grace your countertop. Apart from that, serious coffee fans should save their money and look for a better model. It’s also great if you’re looking to buy buying a model that can make filter coffee and also grind beans.

All in all, considering the price, the Andrew James Filter Coffee Machine with Integrated Bean Grinder does do a relatively okay job, but coffee aficionados should look elsewhere.

De’Longhi Fully Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine ECAM22.110.B, 220 W Review

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The impressive De’Longhi Bean to Cup Coffee Machine ECAM22.110.B is programmable, able to make filter coffee and grind beans as well as make piping hot lattes, cappuccinos and espressos – all inside a sleek, compact piano black case.

It’s an ideal coffee machine for making filter coffee or coffee using fresh beans. Thanks to the integrated burr grinder with 13 adjustable settings, you’ll be able to customize your coffee according to your preference. A picture-based control panel is located on the front-end for easy navigation and programming of the coffee machine. You’ll also be able to prepare two cups of coffee from a single brewing unit. The water reservoir’s capacity is a good size at 1.8l and may shouldn’t require refilling after every use (depending on how many coffees you are making).

How to Use the De’Longhi Bean to Cup Coffee Machine

Before you begin making your coffee, you’ll need to know how the machine operates. The front panel of the De’Longhi Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine has six square buttons, a dial knob, and another circular function button.

Next to each button there is a corresponding icon to help denote what each one does. If you’re still unsure about what each button means this is where the supplied user manual will come in handy and provides a clear explanation of what each icon means. The integrated frother is also conveniently located on the front right side of the machine if you want to make milk based beverages. Now that you know how the coffee machine works, let’s make our first cup.

First, slide out the 1.8L water tank and fill it. Next set the cup(s) squarely on the hot plate directly beneath the spout(s). Adjust the spout according to the height and size of your coffee mug.

Put the beans into the bean hopper on the top and close it. The bean compartment is covered by an easily detachable transparent lid so it’s easy to open and close. Set the integrated burr grinder to grind the beans to the fineness or coarseness you require.

The dial knob on the front allows you choose whether you want a short, medium or long coffee. You can also set the temperature – piping hot, medium, or low.

To make lattes and cappuccinos, you’ll find the frother very useful. Place the milk jug directly beneath the black wand and lower it gently into the jug. Allow the steam and air to produce a rich, thick creamy froth that’s characteristic of great milk beverages. Watch it carefully as it doesn’t take long for the milk to become piping hot!

Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?

The De’Longhi Fully Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine should not be used with very oily coffee beans. Oily beans have a tendency to get stuck and as a result, clog the burr grinder. The recommended coffee beans to use are roast beans.

The machine will also flash warning signals if there are any problems that need to be attended to on the unit.

The machine also gives you the option of two cup size settings – one large and the other small.

Lastly the filter is non-reusable, which means that it’s going to be an extra cost you have to factor in when purchasing this coffee machine. The average coffee drinker has to purchase a new filter once every two months.

How Easy Is It to Clean?

The De’Longhi Fully Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine runs auto-cleaning programmes for your convenience. It’ll rinse itself and also auto-decalcify. You don’t have to do much in terms of maintenance. Apart from that, its brewing unit is completely removable and safe to wash.

What We Think About This Coffee Machine

Some of the advantages of this machine include its silent integrated grinder and its looks. It’s a low-maintenance unit that doesn’t require a lot of cleaning, which is always a good thing!

It’s a model that allows you to use both ground coffee and roasted beans if you wish. You get a two-in-one machine when you purchase this De’Longhi Fully Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine.

If you like strong espressos and other cafés you just might have found a reliable machine in the De’Longhi. Furthermore, this machine is an investment as there have been few cases of malfunction compared to other coffee machines like the Andrew James Programmable Filter Coffee Machine. With these benefits in mind it is definitely a coffee machine we recommend.

What to Look For When Buying a B2C Coffee Machine (Buyers Guide)

Here Are The Important Points We Think You Should Consider When Buying A Bean 2 Cup Coffee Machine

Today, bean 2 cup coffee machines are as essential in an office or home kitchen as any other appliance. In a matter of minutes, you can have the perfect brew in the comfort of your own home or office. However, in order to make that café style coffee, it’s important to have the right coffee machine. We’ve put together a list of the top eight things you need to look for when buying a bean to cup coffee machine.

1. Ease of Use

Let’s be honest for a second. Most of us don’t function fully before our first cup of coffee. Therefore, it’s not the best idea to buy a coffee machine that’s difficult to use! Ease of use should primarily be at the top of your list when looking for coffee machines. Find out what the machine can do and how complicated the extra features could make using it. It’s also worth noting that expensive doesn’t always translate to ease of use.

2. Ease of Cleaning

Easy cleaning is important

Following hot on the heels of our first point is ease of cleaning. Nothing will dissuade you from using your nice new coffee machine as one that is difficult-to-clean. The best models come with an easily removable drip tray, brewing unit, and also offer automatic cleaning functions. However, an automatic cleaning feature does not entirely relieve you of manual cleaning; it may simply just stop calcification. An added descaling function would also be considered a good thing.

3. Ground Coffee Function

Opt for bean-to-cup machines that have a ground coffee function. You’ll thank us for this because coffee brewed from beans tastes better and is fresher. If you prefer to drink decaf coffee and use pre-ground beans look for a machine that will also accommodate this need.

4. Brewing Speed

If you’re impatient and simply can’t tolerate having to wait long for your coffee, then this feature is important for you in order to avoid frustration. Some coffee machines produce a cup in less than 15 seconds while others require anywhere up to a few minutes. So take note and decide how long you’re prepared to wait!

5. Automatic Milk Frother

If you like rich, creamy lattes and cappuccinos, you might want to also consider the milk frothing option when looking at potential models. Select a model with an automatic milk frothing system. Most of the machines with built-in milk tanks have their own cooling systems or can be placed in the fridge to maintain milk freshness. An automatic milk frother will save you on having to hold the manual frother in the milk jug. Put simply, an automatic milk frother makes your life easier.

6. Noise level

Coffee makers can be noisy and distracting. If you’re the sort of person who doesn’t like the whirring sound of beans being ground early in the morning, you’ll be happy to know that there are bean 2 cup coffee machines with silent grinders. If you live in a flat or house with thin walls or are purchasing a coffee machine for the office, buying a coffee machine with a silent grinder will also be a courtesy to those around you.

7. Appearance

Shouldn’t appearance be at the top of the list? For many people, this is often at the very top of their list, and we can see why. Coffee machines are now an essential staple in any kitchen and as such, they should complement and fit in well with your kitchen design and decor. Thankfully, most of the bean 2 cup coffee machines come with exquisite luxury appearances, so it won’t be difficult for you to choose one that is agreeable and fits in with your kitchen’s colour scheme and overall design.

8. Hard Water Filter

Water isn’t the same in every place. Water can either be soft or hard. What qualifies water as soft or hard are the minerals that are found in the water. If you live in a city or town that has hard water, you might want to consider getting a coffee machine with a hard water filter. What’s the purpose of a hard water filter you’re asking? Well, it serves to get rid of impurities before commencing brewing leading to better tasting coffee.

Differences Between Burr and Blade Grinders

The type of grinder used can affect the quality of the coffee produced

Have you ever wondered what differentiates burr and blade grinders?

Experts all agree that there is nothing quite like a freshly ground cup of coffee. Of course, you could always buy pre-ground beans to make coffee, but coffee connoisseurs hold the firm opinion that freshly ground beans are a prerequisite for producing a great cup of coffee. With that said, the kind of bean grinder you buy is very important. Let’s take a look at the differences between burr and blade grinders.

The Blade Grinder

If you’re familiar with using a blender, then you know how blade grinders work. Coffee beans are placed inside the grinder where the blades spin, chopping the beans simultaneously and repeatedly. The end result is coffee grounds whose consistency is determined by how long you ground the beans.

Blade grinders are more versatile and less expensive than burr grinders. They can be used to grind herbs and nuts that need fine or coarse grinding.

The Burr Grinder

The burr grinder has abrasive surfaces which work together to perform the grinding task. The beans are placed in the main chamber and the burrs start a back and forth motion against each other, gradually pulling in the beans. The beans are not bashed; they just break up and are evenly ground. Burr grinders tend to have a wider range of bean grinding options. This is the biggest reason espresso lovers choose burr grinders over blade grinders.

Burr grinders may vary in price and quality. However, they offer you the option of producing a fine or coarse grind which you’ll use to make your espresso.

To Sum Up…

If you’re a coffee fan and want the absolute best in espresso taste, then the burr grinder is the ultimate choice. On the other hand, if you’re not all that fussy but enjoy drinking coffee anyway, the blade grinder will get the job done too.

How To Store Coffee Beans

Coffee beans require a little more care than instant…

If you’re making the jump from instant to fresh coffee you’ll probably be used to instant coffee lasting until the end of time. But, freshly ground coffee, and coffee beans, require a little more finesse to care for.

It’s a lesson I learned the hard way. Improperly stored ground coffee or beans can soon loose its wonderful aroma and intense flavour – leaving you will a dull, dish-water of a brew. The good news is its not difficult to care for… if you follow a few simple tips.

Here are the main tips I recommend to keep your fresh coffee fresh!

1. Avoid heat, air and moisture

Think of these as the deadly trio for fresh coffee. All quickly dimmish the flavour and aroma of fresh coffee.

Always keep your coffee in an air-tight containers in a cool place in your kitchen. The air tight container will prevent air and moisture from reaching the coffee. Coffee which has been exposed to too much moisture will develop a sour taste.

Placing the container in a cupboard will prevent sunlight from heating the container during the day, especially if your kitchen gets the morning or afternoon sun. You should also never store your coffee in cupboards which are close to your oven or other heat sources, like a radiator.

The rise in temperature quickly accelerates the break down of coffee.

2. Coffee likes the dark

Stored in glass containers coffee beans can make for attractive countertop adornments. But even light is the enemy of fresh coffee.

If you must store your coffee on your worktops always buy opaque containers to prevent light from ruining your coffee. But if you’re really attached to your glass jars keep your coffee in a cupboard.

3. It won’t last forever

Coffee is like salad – best served fresh. Never buy more than you can consume in around two weeks. Trying to store it any longer is possible and coffee beans will last longer than ground coffee, which brings us on to our next point…

4. Beans are best

Why? Simply because they remain fresher for longer when compared to ground coffee. Ground coffee has a greater surface area when compared to coffee beans so the deadly trio can enact their damage much more quickly.

In fact, whilst ground coffee has a shelf life of around 2 weeks fresh coffee beans can be stored for up to a month.

5. Keeping it in the fridge will keep it fresh, right?

This really depends on who you speak to. In air tight containers I have personally found that ground coffee can be stored quite successfully in the fridge – so long as you take it out, use it and place it back in immediately.

Then again this is coffee-blasphemy to some ardent coffee lovers who claim you should never store ground coffee in the fridge.

The reason is simple: removing cold coffee and placing it in a warm room increases the chance of condensation forming, which is moisture, and we all know what moisture does to coffee…

It really depends on your coffee risk level.

Reading the above it might sound like fresh coffee is hard work!

Of course, its not as easy as instant. However, all you need to do is essentially keep it in an airtight container, in a cupboard away from your oven and you’ll be rewarded with the wonderful fresh aroma and taste of piping hot coffee anytime you want it. To me the extra effort is definitely worth the trouble.

Closing Thoughts

Making an appropriate choice for a bean-to-cup machine can prove to be a momentous task. However, armed with the knowledge contained in this guide we’re sure you’ll be able to narrow your options down quite well.

When all is said and done, settle on the model that will give you the most returns from your investment. In the end, you want a coffee machine that’s reliable and durable, one that produces excellent coffee and will last you a long time to come.

But, if you’re still a little unsure we recommend you:

  • Take a look at our comparison table to quickly evaluate our pick of the top models.
  • Check out the buyers guide to get a round up of the important features we think you should look for before buying.