The Best Coffee Machine With Milk Frother

If you like coffee with milk, you want the milk to be creamy, silky smooth and you want to produce bouncy, aerated froth that brews a cappuccino or latte that is better than any of the high street coffee shops then you’ll need a coffee brewing device with a milk frother of some type.

Not all milk frothers are the same and lots of will leave you wondering why you can’t produce the same thick froth that you see at your local Costa or Starbucks however the perfect coffee machines with milk frothers are more than capable of making milk texture that will make you wonder why you ever bothered paying through the nose for your favourite milk-based beverage at a coffee shop when you can replicate it yourself for 25p at home.

Before we get into the individual coffee machines with the perfect milk frothers you first need to decide what type of machine is best suited to your lifestyle due to the fact that if you want to grab a quick coffee in the morning there is no point in choosing an espresso machine that callsfor a separate grinding machine and will take you 10 minutes to make a coffee.

On the other hand, if you want to literally get into knowledge coffee and all the variables that make up producing a coffee cup that becomes a sensory experience rather just a caffeine guzzling habit then you’ll want to choose a machine that is capable of coffee heaven nevertheless takes a little more time to prepare.

There are three main forms of coffee brewing tool with milk frothers to consider and then within that you also have manual milk frothers and coffee machines that have integrated coffee containers or carafes which implies you don’t need to do a thing, just press one button and the machine does the rest.

Grasp the difference between manual milk frothing and automatic milk frothing is important because depending on how fussy you are with creating a cappuccino or latte or flat white will determine which choice you go for.

It may not seem like it at first glance but frothing milk can be a little of an art form and getting the right amount of air into the milk at the right time and controlling the temperature of the milk and the overall froth level all contribute to producing coffee shop quality coffee drinks.

If detail is important to you then go for a machine that has a manual milk frother. Also, within that you can get very different levels of power that will heat and froth the milk at different speeds.

If you choose a machine with a powerful milk frother then you get less time to prepare the milk so your procedure callsfor to be polished and accurate.

Ideally you want to get the milk temperature up to 60-65 degrees but no more because over that and the sugars in the milk or milk alternative will start to burn and the flavour will become impaired. Times vary wildly to get to the desired temperature with some frothers taking as little as 20 seconds and others taking more than a minute.

The quickest isn’t always the best though as you may want some time to get it just right. If you have a spare 17 minutes then you can check out this detailed video I brewed showing how to steam milk with the Gaggia Classic Pro.

There are three main forms of coffee makeking device to consider that all come with milk frothers. Stand alone espresso machines, bean to cup coffee machines, and pod coffee machines. Let’s take a look at each of them individually.

Stand alone espresso coffee machines

Stand alone espresso machines are in truth split into two main categories, which I refer to as domestic espresso machines, and home barista espresso machines.

Domestic espresso machines

Domestic espresso machines are consumer appliance degree espresso coffee machines, also discussed as “cheap espresso machines”, and these are primarily priced from around £100-£200, and usually feature:

  • Thermoblock water heater (except for the entry level Gaggia coffee machines which feature small brew boilers)
  • Pressurised filter baskets
  • 15 bar brew pressure
  • Panarello steam wand

If the above has just confused the heck out of you ;-), don’t fret. All you need to understand is that this sort of espresso machine is brewed differently from the home barista machines, to make them more affordable and to make them easy for the “normal” coffee drinker to utilize without any barista skills.

They’re likewise brewed to be used with pre-ground coffee beans, or with cheaper coffee grinders.

Home barista espresso coffee machines

Home barista espresso machines, also referred to as “prosumer” espresso coffee machines, are based on commercial espresso coffee machines that you’ll see being used by professional baristas in coffee shops, nevertheless smaller and (usually) more inexpensive.

These kind of machines tend to start at around £400 and up, and they tend to feature:

  • Brew boiler(s), though some do work with thermocoils, similar to thermoblocks however a little bit more modern and more reliable
  • Basic filter baskets
  • Overpressure valves set to ensure a shot pressure of 9 bars (although there are couple that don’t come set to 9 bar and need a slight mod)
  • Professional steam wand
  • Better temperature stability than domestic machines
  • Better steam power than domestic machines

Again, if the above is baffling to you, don’t worry. All the above mumbo jumbo implies is that these kind of machines are made for better effects in the cup, better coffee – but they require some skill.

Utilizing a machine like this suggests becoming a home barista, which is why I refer to them as home barista espresso coffee machines. Don’t be intimidated by this, even though, it’s not all that difficult, literally like anything else it’s just a matter of going through the learning curve.

Being a home barista isn’t for everyone even though, which is fine due to the reality that there are espresso coffee machines to suit everyone.

If learning barista skills and spending £400+ on an espresso coffee machine plus spending money on a capable espresso mill (at least another £150-£200, if not more – or spending around £500-£700 on an integrated mill espresso coffee machine) doesn’t float your boat, then you can go for a bean to cup machine, or a domestic espresso machine, for example.

Personally, although, even if you do decide to go for a domestic espresso machine, which can be used with pre-ground coffee, I wouldn’t. You’re always going to get the best impacts from the best quality coffee beans and also from grinding fresh.

To discover more about why you needs to utilize whole beans and not pre-ground, see:

How To Choose Coffee Beans

When it comes to coffee grinders, its perfect to stay away from the super cheap “blade” grinders due to the reality that they don’t in reality grind your beans at all, they literally chop them up into bits, leaving you with big chunks and likewise tiny flakes, so poor grinds consistency which will lead to bad tasting coffee.

The right degree of fineness and uniformity of grind important when it comes to producing wonderful tasting coffee, so if you decide to go for a stand alone mill it’s worth paying a bit more for a burr coffee mill that properly grinds your beans.

This post explains more about how to choose a coffee grinder:

Best Budget Burr Coffee Grinders

And I’ve likewise done this video on the best coffee grinders under £200:

When it comes to the milk side of things, stand-alone espresso coffee machines will always come with a steam wand of some description. The cheaper domestic espresso coffee machines usually come with a panarello wand, which is a steam pipe with a sheath around it with a hole on the side. The air is introduced automatically via this hole.

These sort of steam wands tend to produce thicker, spoonable foam, for what I usually refer to as “old school cappuccino foam”. If you like this type of foam, then fantastic.

If you’re looking for velvety microfoam, though, for better-distributed milk drinks, especially for flat white, you can still usually achieve this with these kinds of machines, just by pulling off the panarello and utilizing the steam pipe as a pro steam wand. It takes a little bit of getting used to, nevertheless it’s definitely possible.

Home barista or “prosumer” machines, although, usually come with a professional steam wand. These are a bit easier to utilize than using the steam pipe with the panarello removed, just due to the fact that they’re longer so it’s easier to reach the milk in the jug, and likewise the more premium machines tend to have multi-hole steam tips.

This is the reason I, personally, wouldn’t go for a bean to cup coffee machine with one touch milk, called “one touch cappuccino” machines, truly due to the fact that they utilize frothers to automatically create the foam, the majority of of them create old school cappuccino foam, and the user has either little or no control over the milk texture.

It’s the reason that you’ll still see the barista in your local coffee shop still manually heating and frothing the milk themselves due to the truth that that’s how you get the very best results.

If both types of stand alone espresso machine sounds like too much hard work, then the next type of coffee makeking tool with milk frother may be the solution you are looking for.

Bean to cup coffee machines

These have become incredibly popular in recent years due to the fact that as everyone’s lifestyle has become busier and time becomes even more premium than ever before we are increasingly looking for solutions that will save time without compromising on quality.

Whilst bean to cup coffee machines with milk frothers won’t give you the exact same effects as you would get if you have a separate mill and a standalone espresso coffee machine, if you choose the right one, they can get very close and unless you are a coffee aficionado a lot of people won’t notice the difference anyway.

So if you don’t want to know about dose control and mastering grind fineness levels or shot extraction times (maybe that sounds like a different language to you) then a bean to cup coffee brewing device takes all that away and literally does it all for you.

The secret is in the name. These machines will turn coffee beans into coffee with the press of just one button.

You truly just add the beans to the container on top of the machine (called a “hopper”) and the machine will grind the beans for you, compress the ground coffee and force water through at high pressure and deliver a double espresso without you having to do a thing.

To convert the double espresso coffee into your favourite milk-based ingest such as cappuccino or latte you’ll then need to heat and froth up some milk.

Some come with manual milk frothers and others come with integrated coffee carafes so you can do it yourself or if you have better things to do with your time then go for a machine that does it all.

I have produced an exceptionally detailed article on everything you will ever need to find out about bean to cup coffee machines here:

Best Bean To Cup Coffee machine

Bean to cup coffee machines are split into two forms, standard or “semi automatic” bean to cup coffee machines, and fully automatic or “super automatic” machines which in the UK we tend to refer to as “one touch” machines, or “one touch cappuccino makers”.

Semi automatic / basic bean to cup machines

These sort of machines are only one touch in terms of the coffee, you literally press a button, the machine does everything else where the espresso coffee is worried.

They have a steam wand, usually a panarello – and the same is true as with the stand alone espresso machines with a panarello, you can pull them off and utilize the steam pipe as a steam wand to create in fact good microfoam for velvety milk texture capable of latte art.

Fully automatic “one touch cappuccino” machines.

These are split into two types, the more cost effective machines usually use what’s known as a “cappuccinatore” or “cap in up” system. You put the pipe into your milk bottle, and the milk is drawn up into the frother, heated and frothed and then delivered into your cup.

The more premium bean to cup machines usually have carafe systems, and these work more or less in the same way as the above, but they do it in one unit comprising of the milk carafe and the frother, and this slots into the machine.

As I spoken about earlier, these type of one touch milk machines don’t give you much (several don’t give you any) control over the milk texture, so you get what you’re given, which is usually old school cappuccino foam, which is fine if that’s the sort of milk foam you enjoy.

Pod coffee machines

If you are looking for the ultimate convenience and you don’t even want to touch the coffee before you start consuming it then a pod coffee brewing device with a milk frother is best for anyone with a super busy life that doesn’t want to think too much about coffee but still wants to enjoy something half decent.

The first thing that’s worth me getting across if you decide to go down this road is that in my opinion it’s perfect to stay away from any pod coffee makeking tool that offers milk pods as part of the range.

Milk pods are both extremely expensive and likewise don’t taste extremely good (not a good combination!) because they either contain milk powder (Dolce Gusto) or milk creamer (Tassimo).

Milky coffees (flat white, cappuccino, latte etc) always aromas perfect when using fresh milk, so stick with espresso coffee pods and add fresh milk, or your chosen milk alternative, to create your personal favourite

Nespresso don’t do milk pods of any kind because they are fully on board with the concept of fresh milk being perfect for milkies so they don’t try and sell you something inferior and to that end you’ll find a couple of recommendations from them below with both a manual milk frother and with an integrated milk carafe.

If you want to see all of the best Nespresso machines then this detailed article explains more:

Perfect Nespresso Machines

So now I’m going to list what I believe are the best coffee machines with milk frother, split up into the various forms of coffee machine:

Stand alone domestic espresso coffee machines

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Features:

  • Water tank: 1.2L
  • Various colour options
  • Thermometer 
  • Possibility to mod this  machine for use with basic baskets
  • Size & weight: 28.5 x 20 x 31.5 cm. 3.6Kg

My Observations:

The Swan Retro espresso coffee machine is a low cost, domestic espresso machine with milk frother (panarello steam wand), which is simply not a bad little machine for the really little price tag.

It’s a cheap machine, it’s crafted in China I believe, and sold all over the world under various different brand names including Kmart Anko in Australia and New Zealand, Aldi Ambiano, and more.

However for the price, this is a machine with not bad steam power at all, and the truth that it has a thermometer – quite a rare thing to find on an espresso machine, is in fact rather beneficial when it comes to getting the perfect shot quality from it.

The issue with these types of machines is that on top of the truth that they pull shots at 15 bars of pressure, they likewise tend to over heat. The fact that you have an idea of the brew temp, and you can do something about it by running a cooling flush, provides you some feed back and a level of control you wouldn’t usually have with a cheap machine like this.

It’s likewise fairly modest to mod this machine to make it a standard basket machine, with an exceptionally simple mod to the portafilter. Just be careful if doing this although, as I’ve had a few comments on my YouTube video to say that they’ve ended up having to replace rubber seals after doing this mod.

For my blog article review on this machine see:

Swan Retro Espresso coffee Machine Review

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Features:

  • Water tank: 1.2L
  • Thermometer
  • Really simple controls
  • Size & weight: 34.5 x 20.2 x 30.3 cm. 3.4Kg

My Observations:

I think (although I don’t understand for sure) that this is the same machine internally as the one sold under the brand name Swan Retro (and others), above. It has all the same or impressively similar features, including the thermometre, and it looks almost the same. 

So you may issue why I’m including this machine if it’s the same as the one above, and the humble reason is: option. If a machine like this or the Swan Retro look like a good match for you, given they’re so similar, you have a preference if one brand is out of stock or if one occurs to be available at a better price than the other, although they’re both usually a similar price.

Gran Gaggia - Perfect Cheap Espresso Machines

Gran Gaggia - Best Cheap Espresso Machines

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Features:

  • Water tank: 1L
  • Internal storage for other baskets etc
  • Aluminium brew boiler
  • Size & Weight 20 x 29.7 x 26.5 cm. 4.3 Kg

My Observations:

One of the major differences when it comes to the cheaper domestic espresso coffee machines Gaggia produce, and those from nearly all other brands, is that the Gaggia ones come with actual brew boilers, not thermoblocks. 

This is a fairly big and sometimes contentious topic, so I don’t want to get into it in too much detail, but in a nutshell –  thermoblock boilers are cheaper, and brew boilers can help with overall temperature stabilitiy and can be more durable in the long term.

Note that I say “can”, as there are several variables – and basically Gaggia’s flagship home barista espresso coffee machine, the Gaggia Classic, which I’ll discuss a bit later on. on, is known for poor temperature stability without learning to “temperature surf” (which doesn’t require a wetsuit) or fitting a PID (electronic temperature controller).

However nontheless I do think it’s interesting that the Gaggia lower cost espresso machines all have brew boilers, while a lot of of their bean to cup machines have thermoblocks.

I’ve used the Gran Gaggia, and as you’ll discover if you watch my video below, I was relatively impressed with it for the price. The only question for me is that it’s the basket itself which does the pressurizing, and it doesn’t appear to be simple to mod, so I don’t think the Gran Gaggia is the obvious preference if you were looking for a cheaper machine to mod to work with as a standard basket machine.

The only other thing I’ve found to be mildly annoying when utilizing this machine is that with the machine I’ve used, the drip tray is very easily nudged away from the machine. I’m uncertain if this is a common thing or just an question with the one I was sent. It’s not a huge deal, I just found it mildly irritating.  

If I were thinking of buying a cheaper espresso coffee machine at this type of price point, and if I wasn’t bothered about using it with standard baskets and I was more than happy to use it as intended with the pressurized portafilter, I do think I’d be persuaded to go for a Gaggia machine vs many the other brands available for the same sort of cost.

The reason for this isn’t the Gaggia badge as such. Don’t get me wrong – Gaggia is a brand with an exceptionally long history in espresso machines, truly the first Gaggia espresso coffee machine is the ancestor of all modern espresso machines.

Nevertheless, these are extremely cheap machines, and I think when you’re buying a well known brand name nevertheless at the very entry level, the brand name only in truth steeps a small difference.

Even though Gaggia are an Italian company and their more premium machines are Italian brewed, their cheapest machines are crafted in China, so I think to a certain level when you’re spending not much more than a hundred quid on a brand new machine, you’re going to get a extremely similar quality machine regardless of the brand name. 

So the reason I’d be inclined to go for a Gaggia machine if I were spending this type of money quite than a lesser known brand, is literally that they’re supplied and supported by Gaggia Direct, in Elland, near Halifax, who I find out to be an old fashioned, customer service oriented company who you can just pick up the phone and call if you have a problem.

These are the people who were Gaggia UK before the Philips take over, and they then continued as the UK re-seller for Gaggia, so they have a lot of history with Gaggia machines.

Gaggia Viva Coffee machine.

Gaggia Viva Coffee machine.

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Features.

  • 1 Litre Water Tank
  • Size & Weight 20cm wide x 26.5cm deep x 29.7cm tall
  • Single stainless steel boiler

My Observations:

The Viva range is the other low cost range of espresso machines from Gaggia. They’re similarly priced and have similar features, the only noticeable difference other than more colour options being available, is that there’s one dial to switch between espresso and steam, instead of buttons. 

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Features:

  • 1.5L Water Tank
  • Simple controls
  • Removable Panarello
  • Size & Weight 34 x 33 x 25.6 cm. 3.9Kg

My Observations:

This is another preference at a similar price to the Swan Retro and Cooks espresso sub one hundred quid machines, and it doesn’t have a thermometre, but it does have a bigger 1.5L water tank.

With cheap machines like this you simply can’t expect a lot – I’ve read some comments in the reviews saying this machine looks a bit cheap, however it is! ;-).

One of the positive things about this machine when it comes to steaming milk, is that the pipe which is revealed if you decide to pull off the panarello sheath and utilize it as a pro steam wand, is a little bit longer than on some machines, so you’ll be able to get it comfortably into your milk jug, which is a bit of an matter with some machines.

DeLonghi Dedica Style EC685M

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Features:

  •  1 L water tank
  • Only 150 mm wide
  • Size & Weight 14.9 x 33 x 30.3 cm. 4.2 Kg
  • Control over brew temperature
  • Automatic pre-infusion
  • Fantastic milk texture possible even with the panarello

My Observations:

We’re at the higher end of the cheaper domestic espresso machines now, and the Dedica is possibly the best ever selling espresso machine of this category, it’s undoubtedly up there.

It’s a little more money than the others I’ve pointed out so far, but you’re getting more machine for more money, you’re not actually paying for looks or name.

It’s noticeably better than the other cheaper machines in terms of build quality, being a fairly solid little machine, and technically speaking it’s rather a little bit ahead of a lot of of the cheaper machines I’ve explained. 

You have three brew temperatures to choose from, and control over brew temp is extremely rare one of cheaper coffee machines. 

There’s automatic preinfusion, which indicates water is introduced to the puck of coffee in the basket first before the shot is pulled, and assists to reduce the chances of channeling, which is what takes place when the water finds paths of lesser resistance through the coffee, and leads to reduced shot quality. 

Likewise, it’s quite humble to utilize this machine as a standard basket, home barista machine.

OK, you can’t get away from the 15 bars, there’s no way I’m aware of to reduce the pressure, but you can simply just work with a basic basket, by either getting a naked portafilter with basket included, such as this one which I bought for work with in my video, below – or basically buying a 51mm fundamental basket and putting it in your delonghi portafilter. 

If you opt to get a standard basket, you’ll need to remove the screw at the bottom of the portafilter, and you’ll need to bend the lips of the basket around the portafilter.

Unlike nearly all other cheaper espresso coffee machines, the panarello on the Dedica EC685 has two settings, cappuccino and hot milk – and this simply allows you to produce great microfoam with the panarello, by beginning off at the cappuccino setting to aerate, and then switchin it to the hot milk setting to literally heat and distribute the bubbles, as I demonstrate in the video below.

Even though as I talk about in my video below, the panarello wand (specifically with the newer version, the EC685) is capable of fantastic milk texture, or you can remove the wand and utilize the steam pipe below as a steam wand, as long as you secure it with a tie wrap.

For more on the DeLonghi Dedica, see:

DeLonghi Dedica Espresso coffee Machine Review

Stand-alone home barista espresso coffee machines

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Features:

  • 1.9L water tank
  • PID (digital temperature control)
  • Newer “Thermojet” thermocoil for fast heat up and steam ready 
  • Stainless steel 
  • Best milk texture both manually and automatically
  • Self-cleaning steam wand
  • Automatic and manual preinfusion
  • Size & Weight 31 x 32 x 31 cm. 6.6 Kg

My Observations:

For the past couple of years now, the Sage Bambino plus has been one of the a lot of popular choices for entry extent home barista machines. 

By the way, if you’re wondering why the heck I’m wearing a gas mask at the starting of my video review above, my kids dared me ;-). This was a tongue-in-cheek nod to the situation we were basically entering at the time of this video, as I filmed it truly as we were going into the first UK wide lockdown.

But forgetting my daft sense of humour and going back to this machine, I’m a fan of this little espresso machine. I’ve had it for a couple of years, I sometimes use it as my home espresso coffee machine, I’ve taken it on holiday (as it’s such a small machine, doesn’t take up much room in the car), and personally I think it’s among the perfect choices at this kind of price. 

In reality at this price point there’s only in truth one or two other options that come close. 

The Sage Duo Temp pro is mildly bigger, has the older slightly slower thermocoil so steam isn’t ready as quickly, and it’s not shot ready as quickly after steaming. If this machine was a lot cheaper then I’d be more likely to advise it, but given the fairly small price difference I’d suggest the Bambino plus.

The Gaggia Classic pro, which I’ll discuss shortly is another preference – and I’m just as impressed with this machine but for entirely different reasons, and these machines are poles apart, which I’ll talk about in a minute.

I won’t go into too much detail here as I’ve put so much detail in my main review of this machine, but in a nutshell – the espresso quality this machine is capable of, the quality of the microfoam it produces both via automatic steaming and manual steaming, and the control you have over the milk with the auto steaming feature, and the beginner friendliness of this machine, are incredible for such a low cost machine.

You might not think it’s low cost, to the uninitiated around the four hundred quid mark probably seems a lot, particularly given that you’ll need to buy a coffee grinder too, but as you’ll soon discover, this is very cheap, relatively speaking, for a home barista setup.

It’s not cheap to build espresso machines capable of decent espresso, there are a number of components that go into it and they all add up. The same is true of espresso capable coffee grinders, even the burrs alone can cost anything from £30-£150 or even more, before we consider the cost of things like the motor, gearing system, hopper, controls and so on.

For my full detailed article on the Bambino Plus see:

Sage Bambino Plus Review

Gaggia Classic Pro.

Gaggia Classic Pro.

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Features.

  • 2.1 Litre Water Tank
  • Pro steam wand
  • 80ml boiler (Aluminium)
  • Chromed brass brew group
  • Stainless steel body
  • 58mm commercial sized portafilter
  • Size & Weight 23cm wide x 24cm deep x 38cm tall. 7.3Kg

My Observations:

The Gaggia classic was released back in 1991, and quickly became one of the best selling home espresso coffee machines. It became a go-to machine for home baristas too, with lots of new home baristas beginning out with a traditional.

I’m not sure if this is something Gaggia were aiming for. I think possibly not given the panarello steam wand, but everything else about the machine screamed home barista, including the truth that you could easily mod the pressure, the 3 way solenoid valve, and how close to commercial machines it was internally in the way it was built.

It’s a very modest machine inside, any espresso engineer or just someone with a little of confidence twiddling with electronics and so on would have no problem opening up an original classic and doing a little bit of maintenance or a repair. 

This changed to a certain degree sometime after 2009 when Philips bought Gaggia, and they started messing with it, including moving manufacture out of Italy, doing away with the 3 way solenoid, adding bits of plastic, changing the boiler, and so on.

This continued until what’s known as the 2015 model (not all of which were crafted in 2015, I think they were crafted for a few years from about 2013/14) which is about as far removed from the original classic as you can get. 

Nevertheless then Gaggia surprised everyone (well, I was surprised anyway) by going back to extremely close to the original classic, and appeared to acknowledge the home barista appeal of the classic, by adding a professional steam wand. 

The new “Gaggia Classic Pro” likewise discussed as the Gaggia Classic 2019, features the 3 way solenoid valve, the small 80ml Aluminium boiler, the old rocker switches (though the on/off button looks like a rocker however is extremely a more modern push button switch due I think to EU regulations concerning auto shut off times).

Most people were impressed with the new classic pro, even the a lot of hard core classic fans weren’t utterly disgusted ;-), even though there was a few moans and groans, for example the fact that it comes with the over pressure valve set to around 13/14 bars while a lot of home baristas would want that at 9 bars. 

It’s extremely modest to mod this though, you can literally swap out the spring in the over pressure valve, or simply get a new valve, an very quick and cheap mod. 

You’d also need to fit a PID to the classic to tame this little beast when it comes to temperature stability. As with the Rancilio Silvia which I’ll discuss shortly, the sort of group used and the reality that there is no PID (electronic temperature control) suggests that the temperature will go up and down over rather a range, requiring the work with of a skill called temperature surfing. 

This is the only matter with machines such as the classic and the Rancilio silvia at the entry level when it comes to prosumer or home barista machines, they’re not in reality ready to work with out of the box, and require a bit more time and money being invested to get them to home barista standards. 

This is why, personally, although I actually do like the classic (I have one, mine is from 2003) if I were literally getting into the home barista hobby again, I might bypass these machines and throw a few hundred more at something like the ECM Casa V, which I’ll speak about shortly – which is going to deliver the impacts I’m after straight out of the box, home barista skills permitting of course.

For more on the  Gaggia Classic Pro see:

Gaggia Classic Pro Review

 

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Features.

  • 2.5 Litre Water Tank
  • Pro steam wand (insulated, cool to touch)
  • 300ml brass & chrome alloy boiler
  • Chromed brass brew group
  • Stainless steel body
  • 58mm commercial sized portafilter
  • Size & Weight 23.5 x 29.0 x 34.0 cm 14Kg

My Observations:

The Rancilio silvia has been an incredibly popular machine among home baristas since its release in the late 90s. 

Rancilio are traditionally a manufacturer of commercial espresso machines, used in coffee shops etc., and they crafted what was originally known as “Miss Silvia” purely as a thank you gift for its distributors, but later were persuaded to release the machine as a home espresso machine.

For a good while there was a bigger price gap in between the Classic and the Silvia, which saw a lot more beginner home baristas going for the classic – now, even though, there’s not quite as much in it, given that the latest version of the Silvia has come down a little bit in price and the opposite is the case with the Gaggia Classic, so there’s only £100 price difference now.

As with the Gaggia Classic, the Rancilio Silvia is known for being a big of a bugger when it comes to temperature stability, but fitting a PID will resolve that – or getting into the knack of temperature surfing. 

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Features.

  • 3 Litre Water Tank
  • Pro steam wand (insulated, no-burn)
  • 400ml brass boiler
  • Saturated brew group for high temperature stability
  • Pressure Gauge
  • Polished stainless steel body
  • 58mm commercial sized portafilter
  • Easily accessed brew pressure adjustment
  • Size & Weight 21 x 37 x 38 cm 14Kg

My Observations:

This is a really well designed and built (German engineered) espresso coffee machine from ECM, one of the leading German espresso coffee machine manufacturers. 

OK, this is nearly £400 more than the Gaggia Classic and nearly £300 more than the Rancilio Silvia, but I think you do need to keep in mind that you’d need to spend a little of cash modding both of these machines to get them up to the same fundamental as this machine in terms of temperature stability – and likewise the in reality high build quality of this machine.

The Casa V has a nice big 3L water tank, a slightly bigger boiler than the Silvia at 400ml vs 300ml, and likewise a bigger aspect at 1200W vs 993W for the Rancilio Silvia. There’s a shot pressure gauged, and if you want to tweak the brew pressure, this is very simple to do on this machine as the OPV valve has an adjustment screw which is extremely easy to get to.

For more options when it comes to home barista espresso machines see: 

Espresso coffee Machines at Shop Coffee

Semi automatic bean to cup coffee machines

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Features:

  • Front loading easy access water tank: 1.2 litres
  • 13 grind settings
  • Large dishwasher safe drip tray
  • Good steam power
  • Adjustable group hight
  • Max cup height 10.5 cm
  • Size & Weight ‎37.5 x 28.5 x 36 cm, 10.52 Kg

My Observations:

Best Bean to Cup Coffee makeking device? Latte Art.
As you can see, with the panarello frother removed, the steam wand produces latte art quality micro foam.

Given the truth that this is one of the cheapest bean to cup espresso coffee machines you’ll get your hands on, it in reality is rather an impressive machine for the dosh.

It’s a bit bit noisier than some of the slightly more expensive options, and the volume and strength dials don’t have any settings on them which I’ve always found a little odd, nevertheless other than that – this is most machine considering the very little price tag. 

It’s a relatively compact machine, it’s very quite straight forward to utilize, the front-loading water tank is easy to access, the drip tray isn’t a bad size, it’s capable of as good a shot of espresso coffee as you’re going to get with the majority of bean to cup machines including probably some at two to three times the cost, and it’s capable of decent milk texture with the panarello removed. 

For my detailed blog post on this machine see:

How To Choose Coffee Beans

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Features:

  • Easy access front loading water tank: 1.8L
  • Adjustable brew group height for different sized cups
  • Max cup height 13 cm
  • Size & Weight 23.8 x 43 x 35.1 cm, 9 Kg

My Observations:

This is a mildly newer machine from DeLonghi with some additional features and refinements compared to the Esam 4200, and given that it’s only roughly fifty to sixty quid more, I can see why it’s also become an really popular machine over the past couple of years. 

As its mildly older sibling does, it has a crazy number of reviews online which offers a clue to just how lots of of these have sold, and the bulk of them are positive. 

It has a larger water tank than the older model, bigger max cup size, and for me the controls are a little more straight forward.

In terms of the milk frother side of things, you’ll be able to produce literally as good microfoam with this, with the panarello removed, as is possible with the ESAM 4200, or if you like spoonable milk froth, extremely work with the panarello frother.

Gaggia anima bean to cup espresso machine.

Gaggia anima bean to cup espresso machine.

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Features.

  • 1.8 Litre Water Tank
  • Top filling water tank for uninterrupted shots
  • Panarello steam wand
  • 5 grind settings
  • 5 strength settings
  • Size & Weight: 22.1cm wide x 43cm deep x 34cm tall, 12 Kg
  • Maximum Cup Height: 15 cm
  • Ability to program descale frequency based on water hardness
  • Adjustable brew temperature

My Observations:

The Anima is among Gaggia’s best selling bean to cup machines, and it packs a punch in terms of features for a relatively low price for such a capable bean to cup coffee machine. 

It has a fairly good sized water tank at 1.8L and a bigger waste coffee drawer capacity than a lot of the others, too. You can add more water to the tank as you’re pulling a shot due to the top filling water tank, which is handy if you notice the water tank is nearly empty while making coffee. 

You can input your water hardness (after doing a water hardness test) too, and then the machine will give you descale reminders at an appropriate frequency given how hard or soft your water is. 

Being able to tweak the brew temperature is another feature that you don’t often find on bean to cup machines at this type of price, it’s something I’d usually expect on more expensive machines. 

For more on the Anima see: 

Gaggia Anima Review

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Features:

  • 1.8 Litre Water Tank
  • Top filling water tank for uninterrupted shots
  • 250g Bean Hopper Capacity
  • 5 grind settings
  • 5 strength settings
  • 4 fully customisable touch button coffee selections
  • Extremely simple memory option
  • Full colour user interface
  • Hot water choice for Tea
  • Size & Weight: 22.4cm wide x 43.5cm deep x 35.7cm tall.
  • Maximum Cup Height: 15.5 cm
  • Ability to program descale frequency based on water hardness
  • One Touch Americano
  • Adjustable brew temperature
  • Double cup selection prompts double grind, not two cups from the same amount of ground coffee
  • Professional Steam Wand

My Observations

If you’re mainly into milkies, and if milk texture is of supreme importance to you nevertheless you still want the decent bean to cup features, the Gaggia Magenta may be your wonderful match.

There aren’t lots of bean to cup coffee machines which have a pro steam wand, and the other ones I’m aware of that do, cost around three times the price of the Gaggia Magenta, or more.

The pro steam wand isn’t the only thing going for the Magenta, although – as you can see from just some of the main features I’ve listed above, this is a feature packed machine from Gaggia, with a touch screen display with coffee selections which you can customise extremely just, by basically selecting “yes”, when you’re asked if you want to save the setting, which you’ll be asked when ever you make a change.

As milk texture is important to me, if I were going for a bean to cup machine, and if I didn’t have the budget to go for something like the Sage oracle touch, I’d probably go for the Magenta Plus. 

One touch bean to cup coffee machines

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Features:

  • Auto pre-infusion (for enhanced shot quality).
  • Compact & stylish
  • Easy cleaning
  • Cappuccinatore system for one touch milk
  • Modest to work with

My Observations:

Among the lowest priced one touch bean to cup coffee machines or “cappuccino makers”, this is an impressive machine from German company Melitta. 

Melitta is an exceptionally well established coffee brand, in fact among the oldest. A lady by the name of Melitta Bentz invented the paper coffee filter in the early 1900s when she came up with the idea to put holes in the bottom of a brass pot & cover the holes with blotting paper.

Naturally Melitta has more of a history in filter coffee than espresso coffee, but they have been producing espresso coffee machines for a while now, and they’ve built up a good reputation one of their customers particularly with bean to cup machines. 

So we’re talking about one touch machines now, press a button and the machine does everything including frothing the milk, and the Solo does this for you with a cappuccinatore. There’s a pipe, you stick this in your milk bottle, and then the machine will froth the milk and deliver it into your cup. 

As I said earlier, you don’t get much control over milk texture or milk temperature with many one touch machines, unless you spend quite a little more, but if you’re not too fussed about that and if you’re on a budget, I think this machine is well worth a look.

Gaggia Naviglio Deluxe Coffee machine.

Gaggia Naviglio Deluxe Coffee machine.

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Features:

  • 1.5 Litre Water Tank
  • Cappuccinatore system for one touch milk
  • 5 grind settings
  • Size & Weight: 25.6cm wide x 44cm deep x 34cm tall, 8Kg
  • Programmable Espresso coffee and Lungo Buttons
  • 3 strength settings
  • Maximum Cup Height: 11.5 cm
  • Double shot capability

My Observations

Another cappuccinatore or “capp in cup system” as they’ve started to call them more recently, this one is from Gaggia, and we’re still in reasonably inexpensive territory here, you’ll get some change out of four hundred quid, which is truly at the entry extent as far as one touch machines go.

The Naviglio is a humble machine to work with, it’s not full of bells and whistles but it does have some basic however helpful features including a 1.8L water tank, three strength settings for producing shots from 7, 9 and 11 grams of coffee, espresso coffee and lungo buttons which are programable, and the ability to create a double shot from 14 – 22 grams of coffee beans.

Most of the Gaggia bean to cup machines are good in this way, by the way, when it comes to “double shots”. Some machines will give you longer coffees by just pushing more water through the same amount of ground coffee beans, but with this machine if you select a double shot and you’re at the 11 gram strength setting for example, it’ll grind 11g of coffee, pull the shot – and then do the same again.

The Naviglio doesn’t have a bypass chute for pre-ground coffee, which is something to bear in mind if this is something you want, as most bean to cup machines do have this feature.

It’s due to the fact that several people will have a bag of pre-ground decaffeinated for the occasion that the user or a guest wants a decaf, and it means you can basically load some through the bipass chute.

I don’t quite know this choice, to be honest, when it comes to decaffeinated. You can get some actually high quality wholebean decaf, such as the caramelised biscuit decaf I sell at my coffee website The Coffeeworks, and whole beans retain their freshness (and therefore their taste) for much longer.

So I think it makes a lot more sense to keep a bag of wholebean decaf in the cupboard, and don’t fill up your bean hopper, just put in there what you’re about to work with whether it’s full caffeine or decaf.

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Features:

  • 1.4 Litre Water Tank
  • Carafe system for one touch milk
  • Auto cleaning milk system
  • One touch hot water button for tea 
  • LED display
  • 13 grind settings
  • Size & Weight: 19.5cm x 34.0cm x 47.7cm, 9.7 Kg
  • Programmable coffee presets  & “my coffee” role
  • 3 strength settings
  • 3 milk froth settings
  • 4 brew temp settings
  • Ability to program descale frequency based on water hardness
  • Maximum Cup Height: 11.5 cm
  • Double shot capability

My Observations

This is a carafe one touch machine from DeLonghi, which means that you just put milk in the carafe, slot it in – and then press a button, the machine handles everything for you. 

De’Longhi do rather a range of bean to cup machines, including some much more expensive one touch systems, comparatively speaking this is priced at the low to mid price bracket, and it’s a capable machine for the money.

You do truly have some control over the milk texture with this machine, even though to be fair it’s not much, you have “no froth” which I’m fairly certain will still produce froth ;-), min froth, and max froth. Still, I suppose some option is better than none, however like I’ve said, if you wan’t control over your milk texture you’ll be much better off going for a coffee makeking tool with a steam wand.

Among the issues with one touch systems is you actually do need to keep on top of cleaning the milk system, otherwise you can end up with off milk in the gubbins (technical term) of your machine, and that’s rank (another technical term). Nevertheless this is one of the machines which features automatic cleaning of the milk frother after each use, which is a helpful thing.

There’s a one touch hot water button, so if you’re creating a brew and the coffee machine is on and you can’t be bothered putting the kettle on, you can actually slot the hot water spout part on, and press that button, that’ll probably come in handy.

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Features:

  • 2 Litre water tank
  • 9 one touch buttons including flat white.
  • Complete control over each coffee including coffee temperature & strength
  • Adjustable brew group height for different sized cups
  • Intuitive touch control panel
  • 2 litre water tank
  • Size & Weight ‎26.01 x 35.99 x 46 cm, 10.97 Kg

My Observations:

Another popular one touch machine from DeLonghi, this machine has a tonne of reviews online, and overall they’re pretty impressive. 

There are some moans and groans of course, no manufacturer is going to please everyone with every machine, and to be fair it’s not a surprise there are unmanaged expectations at times when you look at some of the daft claims and statements in marketing blurb ;-).

One of the complaints you will see if you have a look through the reviews is that the one-touch flat white button doesn’t produce a flat white. 

While I’d agree with that, I’d go further and say that unless you’re spending thousands on a commercial bean to cup coffee machine, you’re not going to get anything close to flat white from a bean to cup coffee machine. Nevertheless, then again, you’re not going to get proper flat white from many coffee shops anyway, and who actually knows what a “proper” flat white is? This is an incredibly contentious issue among baristas. 

In my humble opinion, though, flat white is brewed from a double shot of either espresso coffee or ristretto, its a small, bold ingest, 5 or 6 ounces, and it’s crafted with a slightly wetter foam than latte, but the important thing is that the milk texture must be super velvety, and the majority of of it requires to be distributed within the coffee, not sitting on top as floating foam. 

If you can show me a domestic one touch bean to cup machine capable of exactly the above, I’d be really impressed – I think more than likely with bean to cup machines giving one touch flatties, you’re going to get a stronger latte, which isn’t quite a flat white, but you’ll get the same at many coffee shops too.

Gaggia Accademia One Touch.

Gaggia Accademia One Touch.

Check Price – Gaggia Direct

Features.

  • 1.6 Litre Water Tank
  • Dual Boilers
  • Top filling water tank for uninterrupted shots
  • Carafe milk frother + manual steam wand
  • One Touch Cappuccino
  • One Touch Latte Macchiato
  • Self cleaning milk carafe
  • 15 grind settings
  • 3 strength settings
  • 3 taste settings – delicate, balanced, full-bodied
  • 3 brew temperature settings
  • 3 Froth density settings
  • Flow rate knob
  • Size & Weight: 28.2cm wide x 42.8cm deep x 38.5cm tall, 17 Kg
  • Maximum Cup Height: 16.5 cm
  • Ability to program descale frequency based on water hardness
  • Adjustable standby time

My Observations:

This is one of Gaggia’s two main flagship one-touch machines, the other is the Babila. 

These truly are feature packed bean to cup machines from Gaggia, like no other really. They’re the only true bean to cup machines with some of these features including the two milk frothing options, dual boiler and the control over the coffee side of things.

Both of these machines are dual boiler, meaning there’s a boiler to handle coffee, and a separate boiler to handle steam.

There’s a carafe system to froth the milk, and three froth density settings on the Accademia (this is among the few areas that the Babila differs, as there’s no variable foam with the Babila), nevertheless there’s also a pro steam wand, so you can swap and change in between steaming your own and letting the machine do it for you. 

This is clever feature, in my simple opinion, due to the fact that it opens the machine up to being used by different people in the household or workplace, with different requirements.

For example if you’re utilizing the machine at home and you’re working on latte art skills, someone else using the machine might extremely want to press a button, so these machines are versatile enough to be more things to more people.

The Accademia and Babila are machines are quite unique in how much focus has gone into the espresso side of things, too, with 15 grind settings, flow rate controls and three preinfusion options.

In my modest opinion these machines are about as good as you’re going to get from bean to cup coffee machines both when it comes to the milk and the coffee, except for the Sage Oracle and Oracle touch, which I’ll get to next, and we’re jumping price range rather dramatically now.

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Features: 

  • Dual Boiler – pull shots and steam milk at the same time for faster coffees
  • 2.5L water tank
  • Low-pressure pre-infusion for increased shot quality
  • Adjustable PID control – stability of, and control over brew temperature
  • Auto on and off – set it to be ready to utilize when you wake up needing coffee
  • Full sized commercial 58mm portafilter 
  • Auto Dosing & Auto Tamping for as close to wonderful extraction each time
  • Auto milk steaming with full control over milk temp and texture
  • Auto steam wand purging
  • One touch Americano / long black – water delivered via a separate water tap, not dispensed through the coffee grounds.

My Observations:

As I’ve just spoken about, we’re jumping in price rather a little now from the likes of the Gaggia Babila and Accademia, so simply keep that in mind when I’m raving about these machines from Sage, due to the truth that yes I do think they’re amazing, but they ought to be for the money ;-).

Though to be fair to the Sage machines, too, they’re not the a lot of expensive bean to cup machines on the market, despite the reality that in my simple opinion, they’re the perfect.

The Oracle machines have far more grind settings than other bean to cup coffee machines, 45 to be exact.

Thanks to this control over the grind, combined with the way the coffee is dosed and tamped, the traditional basic filter baskets used, the pre-infusion, 9 bars of pressure vs the usual 15 bars of pressure you’d usually expect – you are likely to get much better quality espresso from the Oracle machines than you’d get from other bean to cup machines.

Sage’s approached the bean to cup quandary from a different angle to other manufacturers. The way bean to cup machines are made usually ends up putting a lot more emphasis on ease of utilize and all things other than quality.

This isn’t intended as a put down at all. Bean to cup coffee machines are extremely rather a feat of engineering and electronics, and they’re not cheap things to make, even just to deal with the basics.

To allow the machine to be able to expel the used coffee grounds internally for example, and to not allow the user to let the container overfill, just the mundane basics like this will take up a big chunk of the manufacturing budget.

But the market demands ease of utilize, and it demands low prices. To produce the extent of practicality necessary and to likewise take coffee quality into the realms of home barista machines, just isn’t possible for a machine retailing at five or six hundred quid.

But Sage (Breville Australia, referred to as Sage in the UK as the brand name was sold here in the 80s) took a different approach. They decided there was a market consisting of people who demanded both the convenience and the home barista quality, and who were prepared to pay the price for such a machine – and it seems they were right! 

I think one of the reasons the Oracle range has done so well, although, was in fact a byproduct of their plans to maximize the build budget and allow them to pack more into the machines.

One of the mundane basics I just explained, dealing with expelling the coffee grounds internally and getting the machine to acknowledge the truth that the grounds bin must be full and to then alert the user – they cleverly did away with the need for any of this, by basically putting this task in the hands of the user. 

So the user handles a portafilter as they would with a traditional espresso machine, puts this into the grinding area where the coffee is ground into the basket and then tamped. The user then moves the portafilter from the grinding cradle and locks it into the group head, and then unlocks the portafilter and knocks it into the knock out box.

While this move may have been made purely from a build cost perspective, allowing them to put more money into other areas of the build, what it does is brings more of an authentic home espresso creating experience to these machines, and I think this is the key to the success of the Sage Oracle and the newer Sage Oracle Touch. 

It’s a similar thing with the milk aspect. While many of the other premium one touch bean to cup machines have carafes – with everything that comes with that including the carafe, the frother, the cleaning system and so on, Sage decided to put this in the hands of the user.

But not with a standard steam wand, instead they put some of that build budget they saved on the carafe etc., into producing an auto frothing steam wand with a thermomstat, which allows the user to just put the milk jug in place and then select the exact froth volume and milk temperature needed. 

So again the user gets to feel like a home barista, even learning to pour latte art, but without the same kind of learning curve usually associated – and I can tell you from personal experience, there truly is a learning curve to creating excellent milk texture with a pro steam wand.

I think that the type of person who’s willing to pay the price tag of a machine like the Oracle is often the type of person who’s into coffee enough that they also love looking and sensation more like a barista, handling the portafilter, pouring the milk from the jug & so on, nevertheless without having to develop the same degree of barista skill that they’d have to without the “onboard Barista” – so it’s no surprise to me that these machines have done so well.

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There’s no need to go into detail on the Oracle touch, it’s actually the exact same machine nevertheless with touch screen controls – although don’t be fooled by that, there’s more to the touch screen controls than might meet the eye.

What it implies is that instead of manually creating your milk based drinks by producing the espresso coffee and then selecting the required froth volume and milk temp, you have them all programmed in so you can actually simply swipe, touch, and then assist the machine when it comes to handling the portafilter, putting the jug in place and then pouring.

Not only this, nevertheless you can edit the drinks to your heart’s content when it comes to strength, milk texture and temperature.

You can even create up to 8 coffees with your own name, for example maybe I want a flat white which is slightly different, so I create a flat white exactly how I want it and then save it as “KevFW”, and just keep altering that setting until it’s wonderful, so I’m not forcing anyone else utilizing the machine to have their flat white the way I have it.

Pod Machines

OK so if you extremely favour convenience, you might be thinking of a pod machine – which is fine, there’s nothing wrong with pod machines – in particular, there’s nothing wrong with Nespresso machines, and Lavazza machines, in my simple opinion. 

When it comes to coffee machines with milk frother, there’s no point in me discussing the likes of Tassimo and Nescafé Dolce Gusto, as I spoken about earlier they deal with the “milk” in pods, and it’s either powdered or it’s creamer. If you’re looking for a coffee machine with a milk frother, you’re wanting proper fresh milk or fresh milk alternatives, not some weird white stuff from a pod.

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Features: 

  • 1.8 L water tank
  • 5 coffee sizes
  • One touch brewing
  • Aeroccino milk frother
  • Size & Weight 32 x 42 x 14 cm, 4.7 Kg.

My Observations:

This is the newer Newer vertuo machine from Nespresso, not the original Nespresso machine. The vertuo system has a much bigger range of coffee pods available, quite than just the ristretto, espresso coffee and lungo pods available for the Nespresso original – which makes it a better option if prefer bigger cups of black coffee – Americano / long black. 

It’s an preference for milkies too even though, coming with the Aeroccino, Nespresso’s electric milk frother – and it’s a low cost option.

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Features: 

  • 0.6L water tank
  • Integrated milk frother
  • Size & Weight 36 x 25 x 25 cm. 4.6 Kg

My Observations:

The Lavazza A Modo Mio system is very similar to Nespresso Original, it was even invented by the same guy, the fella who invented the Nespresso machine. Interesting story that, by the way, I’m surprised a movie hasn’t been brewed about it. The guy came up with the idea, and then played the long game to sell it to Nescafe, even getting himself a job there and working his way up to the point that he could pitch the CEO.

The pitch fell flat, but no bother, he continued with Nestle, ended up becoming among their food scientists, was sent to Nestle Japan to work on something, pitched the Japanese CEO while he was there, and finally Nespresso was born.

Anyway,  he then invented what we know as the Lavazza A Modio Mio machine, which is used on license – or whatever – by Lavazza.

Generally speaking the Lavazza machine creates an very similar coffee to the Nespresso original, only in the tests I’ve done I’ve found it to be mildly hotter and slightly stronger than Nespresso. 

This system has an integrated milk frother, Lavazza’s address to the Aeroccino – and the integrated bit, actually means that it fits on the base which comes with this machine.

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Features: 

  • 0.9L water tank
  • Milk carafe system
  • Size & Weight 17 x 32 x 25.8 cm. 4.5 Kg
  • One touch milkies (cappuccino, latte, latte macchiato + hot milk)
  • Milk froth density dial

My Observations:

This is a one touch pod machine, so it’s similar to the one touch bean to cup machines, nevertheless via pods vs integrated grinder.

It uses a carafe system, and it’ll do one touch cappuccino, latte, latte macchiato as well as hot milk for hot chocolate and so on, and it does have froth level selection which offers you a little of control over the milk froth. You don’t have control over the milk temperature though. 

Overall, I think this is a pretty decent choice if you want milkies via a pod machine, if you’re on a tight budget, as this is usually available at under £200.

The one thing I think that would put me off, personally, is that you do need to keep on top of the cleaning of the milk system on machines like this, and this machine has no auto milk cleaning, you have to do it manually by pressing and holding the milk cleaning button until it’s finished cleaning, which looks like something which would “do my head in” if I’m honest. 

If it were a single button press to clean the milk system whenever, while I go & do something else for a minute, no problem – but to require my continuous presence and effort each time the system requires cleaning (which is literally whenever you work with the machine, even if you don’t clean it after each time you’ve used it to deliver steamed milk) that would be a deal-breaker for me, I have better things to do that to stand there with my finger on a button.

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Features:

  • Pro steam wand with auto milk texturing
  • 3 second warm up time
  • Programmable water hardness
  • 3 milk texture selections
  • 3 milk temperature selections
  • Auto cleaning steam wand
  • 1.5L water tank
  • Size & Weight 16.8 x 41.4 x 31 cm. 5.2 Kg

My Observations:

In a nutshell, the creatista range of Nespresso machines from Sage are to other Nespresso machines what the Oracle range is to other bean to cup coffee machines.

These machines feature the same milk steaming technology as with the stand alone home barista espresso machine the Sage Bambino Plus, and they’re going to provide better milk texture than you’re going to get with any other pod machine on the market, that I’m aware of.

Read my Sage Bambino Plus Review

All three creatista machines have the same newer “thermojet” thermocoil from Sage, which provides crazy fast 3 second ready time, and really fast steam ready time.

What this implies, is that with the creatista machines you’ll have your coffee faster, as the whole procedure of steaming your milk is likely to take less than the majority of other options when it comes to pod machines.

The Uno is the cheapest in the range, it features more plastic in the build and less stainless steel, and although it’s capable of the same milkies, the user has to fix the settings manually via an incredibly clever quick procedure card which tells you what to alter the settings to for each beverage – while the more expensive plus and pro have the drinks programmed in for you to just select and tweak if necessary.

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Features 

  • Pro steam wand with auto milk texturing
  • 3 second warm up time
  • 7 pre-programmed and adjustable coffee selections
  • 8 milk texture selections
  • 11 milk temperature selections
  • Auto cleaning steam wand
  • 1.5L water tank
  • Size & Weight 16.8 x 41.4 x 31 cm. 5.2 Kg

My Observations:

This is the same machine as the Creatista Uno nevertheless with these differences: 

  • Less plastic & more stainless steel
  • Colour screen display
  • 11 temperature settings 
  • 8 milk texture settings
  • Drinks are pre-programmed

So the main reason I’d go for the plus over the Uno, is the ingest selections and the enhanced fine-tuning for each drink.

Re the selections, this allows you to very just scroll through the beverage selections on the colour screen with the dial, and choose your drink – so far more convenient than having to look at the technique card and do this yourself each time.

Re the fine tuning, instead of 3 temp settings and 3 froth options, with the plus you have 8 texture settings and 11 temp settings, allowing you to finely adjust each coffee to your liking, and you can then save your drinks once you have them exactly how you prefer them, so from then on in you can basically select & walk off with your coffee.

I’m amazed by what they’ve manages to do with this Nespresso machine to be honest, this extent of control over your milkies, and this type of quality milk texture, with the extent of convenience that pod machines bring, is just genius. 

The Plus is around £120 more than the uno at RRP, and while I would pay this for the additional ease of work with and control, if you shop around, you’ll sometimes find the Plus for a similar price to the Uno, either on Amazon or on the Sage Appliances website. 

It’s always worth dropping me an email if you’re considering buying a Sage machine, by the way, as I sometimes have discount codes from Sage Appliances to give to readers. 

Sage Creatista Pro Nespresso Machine.

Sage Creatista Pro Nespresso Machine.

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Features 

  • Pro steam wand with auto milk texturing
  • 3 second warm up time
  • 7 pre-programmed and adjustable coffee selections
  • 8 milk texture selections
  • 11 milk temperature selections
  • 7 hot water volume selections
  • Touch screen coffee selections
  • Dedicated hot water spout
  • Auto cleaning steam wand
  • 2L water tank
  • Size & Weight 19.7 x 42.9 x 32.8 cm. 6.5 Kg

My Observations:

This is the same machine as the Creatista Plus nevertheless with these differences: 

  • Colour touch screen display with swipe and touch coffee selection
  • Dedicated hot water spout for one touch Americano / long black, with water delivered via its own pathway separate to coffee
  • Bigger 2L water tank

While the touch screen is cool, personally I wouldn’t pay the extra cash for that alone, as I think the dial selection with the colour screen on the Plus is just as convenient. 

What would prompt me to chuck the extra cash at this machine would be the water spout situation, if I were going to be creating many Americano, or what Nespresso call Long Black. The Pro has a dedicated hot water spout, and a one touch long black button.

This implies that the water being delivered into your cup is always fresh hot water, as it doesn’t share the channel with coffee. This isn’t that much of a big deal simply, nevertheless the one touch long black button will be a big deal for anyone who is primarily going to be downing long black / Americano.

It likewise has a nice big 2L water tank, which is handy as it indicates re-filling the tank less.

This machine is two hundred quid more than the plus, although – so it basically depends if you like your long blacks enough to pay that much more ;-). Having said that, you’ll occasionally find them on offer, so it’s worth having a shop around. You can also get them at times on eBay either reconditioned or used “box returns” via a Sage-approved retailer, from around four hundred pounds.

Sage Creatista Plus on eBay

A quick tip on buying Sage machines on eBay – in my opinion, if you can buy a pre-owned or reconditioned machine from a Sage approved reseller, and they clearly explain the warranty terms in the listing, it’s worth considering to get a Sage machine for less.

New machines being sold on eBay although, just be wary. Sage only honour the manufactures warranty on new machines sold by themselves or approved resellers, and they don’t allow any reseller to sell new machines on eBay, only recons or pre-owned.

Perfect coffee brewing tool with milk frother – conclusion

So if you came here with a vague idea of wanting a coffee brewing device which also froths milk nevertheless wondering which might be the best option, hopefully by now you understand a lot more about coffee machines in general, and I very hope this article guides you in the direction of the excellent coffee makeking device for you. Cheers. 

Finally I’ll really end by answering some of the the majority of commonly asked questions.

What is the best coffee machine for home work with?

There are many different ways to brew a wonderful cup of coffee and your lifestyle and budget will pretty much determine how to make the right option.

If you want to spend less than £50 then you can make a perfectly good coffee with something as simple as a cafetiere or a American coffee machine.

Whilst these brewing methods won’t deliver coffee shop favourites such as cappuccino, latte or flat white they will produce coffee that is far superior to instant coffee so if you just want to drink something better than the nasty coffee granules that occupy the supermarket shelves and you want to experiment with something low cost then going down the road of a cafetiere or a American coffee makeking device is a good place to start.

This post goes into a lot more detail:

Perfect Filter coffee Machines

If you are looking to get into espresso and all the milky favourites that you find in your local Costa or Starbucks then you’ll find these beginning at about £100 or maybe slightly lower.

At these lower prices you need to be really careful because they often don’t have the capability to produce good quality espresso coffee for a variety of reasons however if you are literally starting out on your home barista journey and you don’t have the budget or you want to experiment with the concept before shelling out more then this post will help:

Best Cheap Espresso Machines

Which is the best brand of coffee brewing device?

This is an incredibly common question, and a difficult one to respond to in reality as it does depend on the kind of coffee makeking tool you’re thinking of buying. Generally speaking, the coffee makeking device brands which are commonly though of as one of the perfect, and who undoubtedly make some of the most popular coffee machines are: 

DeLonghi Sage Gaggia

Which is the best coffee brewing equipment with milk frother under £100?

If your budget is £100, realistically speaking you don’t have the majority of options. Among the low cost domestic espresso machines explained above such as the Swan Retro espresso coffee machine – or a pod machine with milk frother, although you’ll struggle to get something like a Nespresso machine with an Aeroccino for that sort of cash – but you could get a nespresso or Lavazza machine and another option for frothing milk. For more on milk frothers see:

Perfect Milk Frothers

Are expensive coffee makers worth it?

I hate to use this phrase but it basically does depend. If you normally consume instant coffee, and you’re fairly happy with how that flavors, then spending several hundred pounds on a coffee machine in order to troubleshoot what isn’t broken, seems like a waste of money in fact.

What I’d suggest if you’re finding yourself on a journey with coffee, is to simply take the next logical step wherever you are, there’s no need to make huge leaps. So if you currently primarily consume instant coffee, start out with an Aeropress, or another manual coffee maker, warm your milk in the microwave and utilize a super cheap hand frother – take it from there.

You can even make something similar to espresso coffee with nothing more than a seive or strainer, see my video below for more on that.

If you’re at a point in your coffee journey, but, where you’re valuing the coffee itself and the coffee-making experience to the extent that you feel like investing more significant amounts of monty into it would make sense, then I’d say go for it – but just be as certain as you can be that you’re going down the right route, and hopefully, this article will have helped you in that regard.

For example if you’re sensation that you want to get into the home barista hobby, you want to invest time, energy and money into honing your skills and continually improving the coffee that you and those around you are enjoying, then you’ll want to make sure you’re investing in a suitable machine to begin or continue your home barista journey.

If, however, you literally want better coffee – and you want the machine to take care of everything for you, then buying a home barista setup is likely to cause frustration, and a bean to cup coffee brewing equipment is more likely to be a better option for you. 

Its not so much a question of “is an expensive espresso coffee machine worth it” really, it’s more a issue of “am I investing in exactly the right sort of machine for my needs” – and if you are, then I think whatever you decide to invest, is likely to end up being worth it.

If you’re on a tight budget and you think a domestic, consumer-level espresso machine would be right for you see:

Perfect Cheap Esprsso Machines

If your budget isn’t quite as tight, and you’re a little more open-minded about which sort of coffee makeking device you should go for, I’d suggest offering this article a read: 

Perfect Coffee Machines Under £500

Or if you’re set on an espresso machine, but you’re uncertain what type of espresso coffee machine is right for you, have a read of this post: 

Perfect Espresso coffee Machines

If you’ve decided on going down the bean to cup coffee machine route, this would be the best place to learn which might be the best bean to cup coffee makeking device to go for: 

Perfect Bean to Cup Coffee Machines

Life is like a box of chocolates, so join my Brew Time list, subscribe to my YouTube Channel, become an accredited coffee botherer (Patreon supporter), try my coffee at The Coffeeworks (work with discount code coffeebotherers), follow me on Twitter & Instagram, follow the coffeeblog FaceBook page, and that’s all I have to say about that. 

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This post first off appeared at Coffee Blog – The UK Specialty Coffee Blog – For Lovers of GENUINE Coffee!