These machines eliminate the need to be involved in the process, automating every step of the way from grinding whole beans through dosing, tamping, and brewing. There are many settings that can be used to customize your coffee. You can connect to them wirelessly to control your coffee via a smartphone app or smart home device.
These machines are often large and expensive because of the technology involved. Don’t be afraid. We have broken down the differences between espresso and bean-to-cup coffee machines. Below, we share our top-rated picks for the best bean to cup coffee machines.
What’s the difference between bean-to-cup coffee machines and espresso machines?
The traditional semi-automatic espresso machine encourages the development of basic barista skills. They require a more hands on approach when loading portafilters or using pre-ground coffee.
The best bean-to-cup coffee machines, however, are fully automated and can freshly grind whole beans in just a few seconds. You can also personalise your cups with the option to add flavour. Bean-to-cup machines will cost more, but the savings in time and effort can be well worth it.
How to choose the best bean-to-cup espresso machine
There are several machine types in the bean-to cup world, but they all share one thing: a bean compartment with grinder.
- Bean to-cup espresso machines: These machines focus on making espresso. They produce strong coffee makers that is brewed under pressure. This is the core element of many coffee house classics.
- Bean to cup coffee machines: These can be used for making espresso and also have filter systems that make drip coffee. They are available with glass carafes and measuring cups, so you can use them to make single or double espressos.
- Manual bean to cup:this type blends automation and hands-on experience. The fun parts are left for you. You can do things like loading the portafilter, locking it, and frothing your milk.
- Automatic bean to-cup:Quite simply, after you select the drink that you like, the machine will do the rest.
What to look for from a bean-to-cup coffee machine
Adjustable grinding level: The size of the coffee’s grind affects its flavour and intensity. You can adjust the amount to suit your preference. Espressos are best made with finely ground coffee. Filter coffee needs a medium-coarse coffee.
Duo drip trays: This means that mugs and cups of different sizes can be accommodated. However, traditional espresso cups are also supported to capture the liquid without splashing it. This protects the important crema layer.
Milk frother. Not all bean-to–cup coffee machines have an integrated milk frother. If you prefer milky coffee classics, then look for either automatic frothers or milk steamer wands. We’ve tested and reviewed the best-selling milk frothers.
Ground coffee option If you don’t have whole beans, but do have some ground coffee on hand, it is very useful to have ground-coffee adaptability.
Effective grinders: Whether ceramic or burr, bean grinding machines should be efficient and quick. To get the best beans, you will need a separate grinder. Our coffee grinders are tried and true.
intuitive interface: because there are so many elements to adjust in an espresso, it is important that the functions and settings be simple and easy to use. Keep the experimentation fun!
Programmable drinks options: Once you have found the right combination of grind size, brew temperature, and aroma intensity, it is great to be able save presets to ensure that your favorite coffee can be easily returned.
Two bean compartments: Some machines have containers that can hold different bean intensities. It’s usually for dark and light roast beans. However, if you have a family member who drinks only decaf, the one space can be used for them.
Smeg BCC02 bean-to-cup coffee machine
Smeg is well-known for its large white goods and bold kitchen staples. They are also known for producing stylish and efficient appliances like the ECF01 espresso maker. This is the brand’s first ever bean to cup coffee machine. It features the same iconic design and curving lines, but doesn’t take up too much space in the kitchen. The smallest bean to cup we tested had four buttons and eight functions. It also has a steam wand instead of an internal milk tank, and a dial to adjust the coffee bean level. The steam wand is designed to be used in mugs, cups and glass jugs. The coffee was full of flavour. We would love one for our kitchens. Check out our complete review of the Smeg BCC02 coffee-to-cup machine.
Smarter Coffee Machine, £179
It is not an espresso machine. Instead, it brews four cups minimum. This quantity is equivalent to 500ml, which makes it enough for two large mugs. It is modern, sleek and simple. You can control the coffee strength, bean/filter, and start by pressing a button.
This model’s unique selling point is its modern technology. It can be used to control Smart 3.0 apps and smart-home devices such as Amazon Alexa. You can customize the design by adding three interchangeable front panels to your machine. They are available in grey, white, and black.
Sage Oracle Touch espresso machine, £1995.95
The Sage manual bean-to cup coffee machine is a high-end example. It combines sophisticated personalisation with automated pre-sets. There are 11 pre-sets available, and you can save your customized coffee presets. The machine automatically grinds and doses coffee depending on what filter basket you have loaded.
You can adjust the grind and amount of coffee per cup. This is done with a stainless steel jug. This machine is expensive, but it meets the basic requirements of making great coffee every time. You can also personalize the coffee with the jug made from stainless steel.
Gaggia Magenta Plus bean-to-cup coffee machine, £599
The Gaggia Magenta machine is a statement machine with a professional milk steamer and 250g bean hopper capacity. The espresso function allows you to adjust the coffee temperature, quantity, and grind-sizes.
Although the two-cup setting separated the espresso slightly between the two cups, quality-wise the espresso is richly flavoured and topped off with silky crema. The professional-grade milk steamer wand has a 45-degree movement range. You will also receive a 500g bag Gaggia Intenso coffee beans as an added bonus.
De’Longhi La Specialista Maestro bean to cup coffee machine, £999.99
Score: 5/5 Stars
The best mid-range bean to cup coffee machine
The De’Longhi is elegant and sophisticated, with a focus on counter-top storage. It can hold 19 bars of pressure in its stainless steel outer.
The filter basket that you use to grind the coffee is automatically determined. It also provides smart tamping, which helps you get the best possible compression. Its pre-infusion capabilities are what really made it stand out. This varies according to the coffee function chosen and the coffee dose. It produced a dark, moreish-colored coffee shot with a rich and flavorful crema. Read our full De’Longhi La Specialista Maestro review.
Breville Barista Max, £349
Score: 4.5/5 stars
Best affordable bean-to-cup espresso machine
This Breville espresso machine is priced at the lower end of the market for bean-to-cup machines. It is also compact and requires little setup beyond attaching the bean hopper.
It comes with all the trimmings of an espresso machine, including a stainless steel milk container and a variety of cleaning tools. It is simple to use the milk steaming wand. It’s a great value for money. Our Breville BaristaMax review is available.
How we tested bean-to-cup coffee machines
This review featured all the bean-to cup coffee machines that performed well out of a long list of 10. All machines were tested using whole roasted Columbian coffee beans and scored five out of five according to a standardised criterion including:
Performance The taste, aroma, and temperature of the coffee must be pleasant. Every coffee and espresso function was evaluated to determine this. Scores were given for bitterness, acidity and weakness.
Value for Money: Performance and versatility are key factors in this one. This is one of the most important investments you will make in your kitchen. The price should feel right.
Easy to use: All were scored at unboxing so they had to be easy to open and follow the instructions. The variety of settings can be overwhelming, so intuitive controls are key to making the experience enjoyable. All settings were considered, including adjustable drip trays, refillable water tanks and bean hoppers access.
Convenience. is a major selling point for a bean to cup espresso machine.
Materials: Flimsy materials don’t justify a high price and are difficult to clean. They can also impact the life expectancy of appliances.
Design and aesthetic to keep on the countertop. Bean-to-cup machines can be very deep and wide so it is important that they have a good design.