The world of bean to cup coffee machines has come a long way in recent years. Once restricted to barista bars in proper coffee shops, these machines are now proving hugely popular at home.
But before you invest in one, it’s worth understanding what goes into making great coffee. This article takes you on a tour of the epic journey your morning pick-me-up makes.
Coffee lovers are familiar with the brew and the drink, but few know about the fascinating journey of this humble bean. From the seed to your cup, coffee is a beverage that has shaped cultures and connected people worldwide. It has also faced opposition and attempts at prohibition, but is now widely enjoyed in countless forms by millions of people.
The story of your morning pick-me-up begins on a farm. The seeds that eventually become beans resemble little more than cherries and can take up to five years to produce (Arabica trees can actually take seven). This is when the true magic happens. At this point, the soil, climate, and altitude will begin to influence the bean’s flavor profile and what type of coffee it will become once roasted. Coffee beans made in Singapore are on another level and I suggest that you try it yourself.
Once the beans are ready, they are shipped to a coffee roaster. It’s at this stage that they’re seasoned with the spices, oils and aromas that will give your cup of coffee its unique flavor. The beans are then roasted, ground and packed for distribution.
Before they make it to your mug, however, your beans must undergo a final step that polishes off any remaining skin and pulp, ensuring you’re getting the highest-quality, most flavorful coffee beans available. This is the process that makes a difference between a cup of coffee that leaves you with a gritty mouthfeel and one that’s smooth as silk.
It’s worth noting that while the best bean-to-cup machines can produce an impressive range of drinks, it’s important to think about what you’re going to be using them for. If you want a full-on espresso that you can enjoy alongside your breakfast, for instance, it’s worth looking for one with a portafilter and a high level of customization over factors like coffee temperature and volume dispensed. Similarly, if you’re planning on using your machine for lattes, cappuccinos or flat whites, it’s a good idea to look out for one with manual steam wand functionality. This gives you the ability to experiment with different texturing techniques and create the barista-quality foam that will really elevate your brew.
As any discerning coffee drinker knows, your best cup of joe is made from freshly ground beans. That’s why the best bean-to-cup machines are such a popular alternative to pod coffee makers. These clever, counter-top machines crush the beans for each individual serving and grind them fresh in-house, ensuring your brew is as tasty and aromatic as possible.
Unlike traditional espresso and pour over machines, many of these are a lot more hands-off and will let you control the process via an app on your phone or a touch screen menu. They can also dispense milk, texturize it and then froth it up into the perfect cappuccino or flat white.
For those who like a little more interaction with the process, there are models that let you control the grind size yourself. Depending on what kind of coffee you’re after, this can impact how fine or coarse the beans are ground, and you may have to do a little trial-and-error before you find your preference. If you’re interested in experimenting with different grind sizes, check out our guide to the best coffee grinders for more information.
In fact, the best bean-to-cup coffee machines are usually designed with this in mind, so you can adjust your brewing to suit your preferences. Some even come with a built-in grinder, so you can skip the extra step of having to buy a separate device.
Another great thing about this type of machine is that it helps reduce waste by creating made-to-order coffee. It’s estimated that the amount of pods dumped in landfills could circle the Earth 14 times, and that’s definitely not a good thing for our environment. By grinding the exact amount of beans needed for each individual cup, can help you cut out your pod waste by up to 30%.
The water that you use to make your coffee will have a major impact on the final flavour. Ensure it’s fresh, clean and filtered or softened. This helps to prevent bitterness and will also improve taste and health.
The best bean-to-cup machines have a built-in water filter and will automatically soften your tap water before brewing. Filtered water is also healthier for you and the environment.
Once restricted to the barista bars of proper coffee shops, bean-to-cup machines have been growing ever more popular for their convenience. These machines crush, brew and dispense whole beans or pre-packaged pods to make a great cup of coffee at the push of a button.
We test all the models in our bean-to-cup range to find the best, and this guide is regularly updated with machines that have earned their spot based on their performance in rigorous product testing . Each machine in our bean-to-cup range has a full review that will tell you what to look out for, including whether it’s easy to set up and use, what type of drinks it can make and how much it costs.
One of our favourite bean machine is a chunky appliance that will require some trial and error to dial in but, with its settings and clever touchscreen, it makes an outstanding cup of coffee that rivals the cafe.
You can even choose how hands-on you want to be and opt for a fully automatic model that will serve up a milky espresso at the touch of a button while you butter your toast or a semi-automatic model with a manual steam wand, perfect for making smooth microfoam.
The amount of disposable pods thrown away every year is enough to circle the planet 14 times, so look for a greener alternative that lets you preset recipes for your favourite drinks and reduces staff labor costs by automating the production of made-to-order beverages.
As the name suggests, these machines combine an espresso machine, coffee grinder and milk frother into a single unit. They are like the high-end pod equivalent, offering exceptional coffee with minimal effort on your part (other than handing over quite a lot of cash).
We have a whole range of fully automatic bean to cup machines available, from budget options through to top-rated models that make the best coffee in the world at the touch of a button. We only ever feature machines that consistently perform well and that we feel offer excellent value for money.
Some bean to cup machines are now so smart that they actually do all the clever stuff a barista would – tamping, dosing, extraction, milk texturing – for you. This makes them a bit more expensive than traditional espresso machines, but we think the end results are worth it.
These fully automatic bean-to-cup machines are ideal if you want to make your own speciality coffees but don’t have the time or the space for an espresso machine with separate grinder. They produce a black coffee using compacted grounds brewed under pressure with hot water and topped with a velvety crema.
A few of the best bean to cup coffee machines in our collection also have the ability to dispense iced drinks, perfect for those warmer summer days.
Many of the commercial bean-to-cup coffee machines we have in our range are available on a lease scheme so that you don’t need to invest upfront, while having the security of knowing that you will have a professional quality machine for years to come. We can help you choose the right machine to suit your needs, whether that’s a single catering bean to cup with fresh milk machine for a busy office or multiple commercial coffee machines for a hotel or hospitality establishment.