We've previously looked at Manual espresso machines and Bean-to-cup machines and so the final machines are Capsule coffee machines and Filter coffee machines.
Capsule coffee machines
These machines, take coffee capsules pre-packed to brew the perfect espresso, which are inserted into the machine. They are incredibly neat and tidy, as you don't have to worry about disposing of used coffee grounds.
There are many different types of coffee capsule systems around, each of which is incompatible with the others. These include the Nescafe Dolce Gusto, Tassimo, A Modo Mio and, the best-known, Nespresso. Of these, Nespresso is the most convenient choice, as it has the widest range of coffee to choose from. All the coffees are rated from one to 10, based on intensity, so it's easy to pick the coffees that you like.
Capsule machines are the best from a simplicity point of view as you don't require any coffee knowledge to make a decent cup, plus there is a lot of variety. However, there are quite a few downsides. Firstly, branded capsules are generally quite expensive, compared to beans and the secondly you are limited to the blends they offer. Blended coffee is chosen and picked, based on the producing company being able to keep the same flavours all year round. If you choose a manual or beans-to-cup machine, you can go to a coffee specialist to pick single-origin specialist beans and experience different flavours.
Finally, a lot of capsule machines don't have the ability to froth and steam milk, with only the more expensive models providing this option.
Capsule machines are a no-fuss way of making decent coffee and of having a wide-choice of flavours. However, the cost and limitations of capsules mean they're best for people who don't drink a lot of coffee and who don’t wish to experiment with real beans.
The best pod and capsule coffee machines to buy
1. De'Longhi Lattissima Pro: The best Nespresso machine.
Price when reviewed: £429
The De'Longhi Lattissima Pro is the best counter-top Nespresso machine tested. It's also one of the most versatile, capable of making simple espresso and milk-based drinks automatically. It looks fantastic and produces great-tasting coffee.
Key specs - Dimensions: 274H x 194W x 332D mm, Water capacity: 1.3L, Cup warmer: No, Milk frothing: Yes (automatic).
2. Krups Inissia: The best Nespresso machine under £100.
Price when reviewed: £90
The Krups Inissia is the new entry-level Nespresso machine. It doesn't steam milk automatically, although you can buy an Aeroccino 3 frother separately. At this price, this is a great introduction to real coffee.
Key specs – Dimensions: 230H x 120WD x 310mm, Water capacity: 0.7L, Cup warmer: No, Milk frothing: No
Filter coffee machines
Filter coffee machines are simple to use and make regular black coffee. When buying you need to decide if you want a machine with a washable filter or one that takes paper filters. Washable filters are easy to deal with, as you can take them out and clean them before re-using them. However, they can taint the flavour of coffee over time. Paper filters are one-use only, so are a little more hassle, but they're cheap and you can try many different types to alter the flavour of your coffee.
Next, you need to work out if you want a glass or thermal jug. A glass jug is standard and sits on a hotplate to keep the coffee warm. Hotplates have two problems. First, EU law says that they can only operate for a maximum of 40 minutes. Second, constantly heating coffee makes it turn bitter. A thermal jug just uses insulation to keep coffee warm, so you get the same-quality coffee from start to finish.
Look for a machine that will make enough coffee for you. Machines are usually marked by the number of small (around 85ml) or large (around 125ml) cups they'll make. A 10-large-cup machine will do for most people, but go bigger if you drink a lot or have a lot of people to entertain. Finally, do you want hot coffee waiting when you wake up? If so you should buy a filter coffee machine with a clock and a timer in it, so you can set it the night before and have hot coffee waiting for you in the morning.
The best filter coffee machines to buy
1. Melitta Aroma Elegance Therm Deluxe: The best filter coffee machine under £100.
Price when reviewed: £90
The Melitta Aroma Elegance Therm Deluxe is extremely easy to use, has a removable water reservoir for easy filling and produces excellent coffee with no hassle. Thanks to its use of paper filters, you get the best quality and can tweak the flavour by changing papers. This machine dispenses coffee into a thermal jug, which keeps your coffee hot without constantly heating it and ruining the taste. Clock and timer controls on the front mean you can quickly set your coffee to start brewing at a time that suits you.
Key specs – Dimensions: 335H x 265W x 270D mm, Water capacity: 1.25L, Machine type: Filter, Stay warm: Yes (thermal flask), Warranty: Five years RTB.
2. Melitta Look Timer.
Price when reviewed: £90
Despite its reasonable price, this Melitta Look Timer is one of the best filter machines that you can buy.
It takes paper filters, which ensures fresh-tasting coffee, while giving you the opportunity to adjust the taste by using different types of filter. It's also solidly built, delivering excellent-tasting coffee: there's even a dial to adjust the strength and flavour of your coffee. A glass jug takes the coffee, while a hotplate keeps it warm.
Key specs – Dimensions: 330H x 240W x 225D mm, Water capacity: 1.5L, Machine type: Filter, Stay warm: Yes (hot plate), Warranty: One-year RTB.