The best bean-to-cup coffee machines are the finest way to enjoy at-home hot drinks without the need to visit a barista. In a minute, you can craft the perfect, fresh coffee at the touch of a button, with these appliances automating almost every aspect of the brewing process from grinding and compressing the beans to distributing the precise amount of water needed and steaming the milk.
The ground beans are compressed using what is known as a puck, and the milk is prepared using either a steam wand or as part of the machine's process. Many of the bean-to-cup options in this guide have also been included in our ranking of the best coffee makers, and if you're unsure whether this is the best type for you, take a look at our article on how a bean-to-cup coffee machine works.
Admittedly, these machines are some of the most expensive on the market, so if you're on more of a budget, you may consider the best espresso machines. However, these require a little more input rather than relying on automation, and if you want a comparison, you can read our guide to espresso machines vs bean-to-cup coffee machines.
Even within the range of the best bean-to-cup coffee machines, there are many choices, with big brands like Gaggia, De'Longhi, Smeg, and Sage (known as Breville in the US and Australia) all offering their own models. We have tested the most popular models, reviewing them based on the quality of their espressos and cappuccinos as well as elements such as noise. Keep reading to see what we thought.
Best bean-to-cup coffee machine 2022
This top-of-the-range coffee machine comes with an eye-watering price tag. But it has a sleek industrial coffee shop style and a range of customizable settings that’ll give you barista-style drinks with minimal effort and is the best bean-to-cup machine you can buy right now. It’s not entirely hands-off, though. You’ll have to move the portafilter into position once the ground coffee has been automatically added and tamped.
Meanwhile, it looks like a manual machine with a professional-looking steam wand and stainless-steel milk jug. Still, the milk heating and texturizing are fully automated. Just pop the jug of milk under the wand and let the machine take care of creating the perfect microfoam.
On test, it produced great coffee, and the simple touch screen walks you through every process. So despite needing next to no barista skills, you’ll be able to make excellent quality barista-style coffees, so long as you can stretch to the budget-busting price tag.
Read our full review: Sage The Oracle Touch (opens in new tab)
This bean-to-cup coffee machine is so hands-off that you can even control it from an app on your phone. Admittedly, it’s an expensive machine that’ll take up a good chunk of your counter space, but for one-touch coffees, it offers a hassle-free and hands-off solution to get your favorite caffeine fix.
With most coffee shop favorites available on the touch screen menu, it’s simple to use. Every drink is fully customizable, and you can fine-tune elements such as temperature, strength, and amount of foam. So while it’s fully automated, there are plenty of scopes to personalize drinks to your preferences. It will even texturize the milk once added to the plastic carafe.
However, it is a large appliance, and you will need to experiment to get the perfect coffee. If you love barista-style coffee but don’t want to learn how to make it, this is the machine for you.
Read our full review: De’Longhi Dinamica Plus (opens in new tab)
The Gaggia Magenta Plus is an excellent bean-to-cup coffee machine for those who want more input into the finished drink. It'll still take care of grinding fresh coffee beans and pouring coffee. But for milky drinks, you'll need to become familiar with the steam wand and master the correct technique for texturizing milk. However, it's not too tricky once you get the hang of it, plus you can impress your friends with your pro barista skills.
We were impressed with the espresso's robust crema and rich flavor on the test. We also liked that the drinks can be customized regarding strength, aroma, drink size, and temperature.
It's loud, though, mainly when grinding beans and steaming milk, so it's not one for early risers who want to make a coffee without disturbing the rest of the household. This sleek black machine looks great on your counter, and it's more affordable than most bean-to-cup machines, but it's not tiny, so make sure you have space to accommodate it.
Read our full review: Gaggia Magenta Plus (opens in new tab)
Can’t make your mind up about which coffee is your favorite? The De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul is the machine for you. It offers virtually every coffee shop drink you can think of. And it’s fully automated, so you’ll barely have to lift a finger, let alone learn how to create each drink.
It performed well on test, producing excellent drinks at the touch of a button every time. We particularly enjoyed the espresso, which had a thick crema. It’ll even fine-tune its settings depending on the variety of coffee beans you load in. Though it also has customizable settings, you can make extra adjustments to suit your preferences.
It’s an investment-level coffee machine that’ll require a hefty amount of counter space, and we found the app tricky to configure, but the pay-off is having a menu of barista-style coffees delivered from bean-to-cup in just one touch.
Read our full review: De’Longhi PrimaDonna Soul (opens in new tab)
Coffee machines can be ugly, but this Smeg bean-to-cup machine is the exception to the rule. It’s sleek and won’t look out of place in even the most designer kitchen. It even comes in an array of colors to suit every style, but it is bulky so that it will take up a chunk of counter space.
In comparison to other bean-to-cup machines, this is a budget-friendly option, but it’s not exactly inexpensive. It makes an enjoyably smooth espresso with a thick crema, but disappointingly you can’t customize drinks other than by adjusting the volume dispensed.
The manual steam wand means you’ll get to play barista and create the perfect level of foam for your chosen drink. And with a limited selection of drinks, it’s easy to operate even though there’s no screen to display menus.
Read our full review: Smeg bean-to-cup Machine BCC02 (opens in new tab)
How we test bean-to-cup coffee machines
When we test coffee machines, there’s more to it than drinking too much coffee and spending the day high on a caffeine buzz. It starts with the setup. We evaluate how easy it is to configure all the settings and get the coffee machine up and running.
Next, we assess its ability to make espresso. This includes noting how quickly it pours the drink and the temperature and amount of liquid dispensed. We’re also looking at the quality of the crema, its thickness, color, and how well it reforms when cut with a spoon. Then, of course, we taste it. Again, we’re looking for a balanced, rich flavor, not excessively bitter, burnt, or weak.
Cappuccino is one of the most popular frothy, milk-based coffees, so this is the drink we make when trying out milk texturizing. For machines with manual steam wands, we steam the milk and evaluate how easily the steam wand creates fine microfoam and whether it’s noisy. If the milk texturizing is fully automatic, we dispense a cappuccino and check the quality of foam as well as the temperature of the milk, giving it a go with both dairy and non-dairy milk.
While using the coffee machine, we’re continually assessing general ease of use and checking what settings are customizable. We also try out different cup sizes to see what can fit under the dispenser, and if it can take two cups, we check to see if it fills both evenly. Finally, we clean it after use, hoping for easy-to-clean parts that aren’t too tricky to disassemble.
How to choose the best bean-to-cup coffee machine for you
What to consider when buying a bean-to-cup coffee machine
Bean-to-cup coffee machines are some of the most expensive home coffee machines you can buy, so if you’re considering investing in one of these pricey appliances, it’s worth getting it right.
First up, work out how hands-on you want to be. For example, if you need milky coffee delivered at the touch of a button while you butter your toast, then you should look for a fully automatic bean-to-cup coffee machine with texturized milk in your cup. But if you fancy playing barista and learning to steam milk and perfect the art of creating a smooth microfoam, then a machine with a manual steam wand is the way to go.
Consider how many different drinks you want to be able to create. All fully automatic bean-to-cup machines can deliver a basic espresso, cappuccino, and latte. Still, if you’re looking for more niche coffee shop favorites like a cortado or macchiato, you’ll need to check what drink options come on the standard menu.
If you’re very particular about things like coffee temperature and size of drink dispensed, it’s worth checking out what customizable settings are available. For example, some machines allow you to fine-tune things like grind size, aroma, strength, and temperature. These settings will enable you to personalize the machine to produce bespoke drinks.
Another critical factor is the size. Due to the additional grinding function, these machines can be bigger than other coffee makers, such as espresso machines. So work out what space you have available on your counter and carefully check the dimensions of each coffee machine. Likewise, they all come equipped with different size water tanks, bean hoppers, and milk carafes, so if you need a big water tank, for example, check the specifications before buying.
What coffee machine does Brad Pitt advertise?
If you've seen a clip on TV of Brad Pitt driving a motorcycle along a stunning-looking coastline, you'd be forgiven for thinking it's a trailer for his latest movie. Instead, however, it's an advert for a coffee machine.
Pitt is now a brand ambassador for Delonghi and, in the advert, can be seen enjoying a cup of coffee brewed using the Delonghi Dinamica Plus bean-to-cup coffee machine, which currently tops this list.