Here at the Strategist UK, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve covered all sorts of kitchen tech before — including the best toasters, the best microwaves, and the best kettles — here, we’ve rounded up the best coffee machines, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated overall coffee machine
Not only does the Melitta have the highest number of five-star reviews (85 percent) on this list, it also has the highest average rating (4.7 out of 5). The machine features a stainless-steel insulated jug, and holds enough liquid for 10 large or 15 smaller cups of coffee. The timer feature was highlighted in 73 reviews, including by one customer who likes to set it to brew before they hop in the shower. Another reviewer said this timer function was so good, it was the sole reason they chose this model. Sixty reviews also commended the insulated jug, which keeps the coffee warm for up to three hours but crucially, according to one reviewer, avoids the “stewed coffee” taste that can occur in machines that use a hot plate to keep the liquid warm. One self-professed coffee snob, who bought this model after an argument with his wife, conceded that the resulting brew was just as good as his pour-over and Aeropress coffees. The machine is easy to clean, according to 109 reviewers, including one woman who used to frequently break the glass jugs in other models.
Best-rated (less expensive) coffee machine
This simpler model by Russell Hobbs still features a timer function, though it stays warm with a hot plate rather than insulation. In total, 73 percent of reviewers were five stars, with 470 reviews specifically saying the coffee quality was excellent. People who bought this model didn’t mind the hot plate — 42 customers spoke highly of it, although several were disappointed it only stayed on for 40 minutes. One reviewer, while giving it a five-star review, mentioned that they were impressed at the lack of “plastic taste” given the water-delivery system was made out of plastic.
Best-rated small coffee machine
This machine by Swan has a modest capacity of 750ml, perfect for two people (or, according to one reviewer, one person with a serious coffee habit). Seventy percent of the reviews were five stars, including one from a woman who had this set by her bedside so she could wake up to fresh coffee every morning, and another who said the small size was perfect for their studio flat. The heating capabilities were mentioned in 19 reviews. One person said they drank their first coffee at 6. a.m. every day, and by 6:45 a.m. when they went for a top-up the coffee was still piping hot. Though several reviews noted a plastic taste after first using this, one customer said this was likely due to the machine being tightly wrapped during shipping, and suggested washing the parts several times in hot water to get rid of the smell. This model uses a nylon filter in place of disposable paper ones, which divided reviewers on its effectiveness; some found washing the filter cumbersome, while many others found an extra paper filter just as effective.
Best-rated travel coffee machine
This Morphy Richards coffee machine comes with an insulated travel mug and is designed for on-the-go use. In one five-star review, a customer who bought this for her husband says it’s a game-changer for their morning routine, while another said it was the best thing they bought last year after finding cafetieres too messy. The insulated mug has a heatproof band around the top, making it easy to hold, which reviewers agree is the best way to enjoy coffee with this machine; several attempts to use a regular mug in its place proved unsuccessful. One reviewer said the machine just has two buttons, making it easy to use, adding that their coffee was ready in three minutes.
Best-rated programmable coffee machine
Customers who bought this Melitta coffee maker liked the variety of timer options. According to one five-star review, it can be programmed at 30, 60, 90, and 120 minutes, and it also remembers your preference for next time (another reviewer used this to have coffee ready for when they got home from the gym). The hot plate can keep coffee warm for up to two hours; 10 reviewers highlighted this in their reviews as being particularly useful. One customer, who lives in London, said they were particularly impressed with the machine’s “calc-level” warning system, in which a light comes on when too much hard water is in the water tank. The machine has a descaling mode, which can be activated with a button. Another customer, whose warning light came on after 17 days, said it was the most advanced coffee machine they’d used.
Best bean-to-cup coffee machine
Though there are a lot of bean-to-cup devices on the market, this was the highest rated, with 75 percent of the reviews being five stars. One hundred thirteen reviewers highly recommended it, including someone who found it much less of a hassle than an espresso machine, but far better quality than a pod-based machine. In fact, 20 percent (or one in five) of all reviews mentioned the quality of the coffee, which is due to the grinder, which has a dial so you can adjust the coarseness of the beans to suit the coffee you’re making. One five-star reviewer, who said this was their favourite appliance in the world, said the usually messy process of grinding was made easier with this all-in-one machine. Many reviewers spoke highly of the milk frother, including a dad who made his kids’ favourite hot chocolate with it, and a woman who saved money by making her own flat white in the morning. And in case it sounds complicated, 577 reviewers agreed it was easy to use.
Best-rated pod/capsule coffee maker
With an average rating of 4.6 out of 5, and 74 percent of the reviews being five stars, this is the best rated pod (or capsule) coffee maker. Nearly 500 reviewers said it was easy to use, including someone who said it was the most hassle-free kitchen appliance they’d ever used. Though customers were generally complimentary about the neat size (50 people spoke positively about its compactness), one reviewer highlighted that the design’s curved back makes it hard to get tall latte glasses in without removing the drip tray. More than 100 reviewers mentioned how easy it was to clean, but one recurring negative comment was the machine’s red cable, which some people said was ‘unsightly’, ‘awful’ and ‘sticks out like a bad rash’. According to customers, this machine takes Nescafe and Starbucks coffee pods, but not Tassimo’s, which are too large.
Some other Strategist-recommended coffee machines
Should you be interested in making a flat white at home, contributor Sirin Kale uses this espresso machine every day. “I love this coffee machine on a sort of desperate level,” she writes. “So much so that it’s ruined the experience of going to coffee shops for me — I’ve barely bought takeaway coffees in the past year.”
The Aeropress is a perennial Strategist favourite and was endorsed by three coffee experts in our report on the best at-home coffee machines. “Probably the go-to brewer for most aspiring home brewers,” says Colin Harmon, owner of Dublin’s 3fe Coffee, four-time Irish Barista Champion and author of What I Know About Running Coffee Shops. “The Aeropress is a cheap, easy-to-use, and dynamic brewer that can brew coffee in many different ways with a multitude of flavour profiles.”
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