10 best pod coffee machines
Whether it’s a lungo or latte, get a great-tasting drink in seconds with one of these machines
Can’t function without your morning dose of cupped lightning? You’re not alone. Just like all the rest of us who can’t see straight in the morning, the last thing you need is a complicated coffee brewer. Some of these things are so complex you’ve got to watch a video guide – and even then the consistency’s always a gamble.
Capsule coffee machines are a godsend. Not only do they offer the fastest route to your favourite cup of coffee, but they’re able to do it without making a mess. What’s more, the pod systems take the guesswork out of brewing and give you the same consistent quality every time. Sure, bean connoisseurs might even call us pod lovers cheats, but there’s no refuting the capsule appeal if you’re short on both time and barista skills. You just pop in a capsule, press a button and enjoy the perfect cup in seconds – no faffing around.
One more benefit that people seem to overlook is the fact that most capsule machines are designed to work with specific proprietary systems like Tassimo, Dolce Gusto, and Nespresso. Even the manufacturers are big brand names like Delonghi, so you can rest easy knowing both your machine and coffee capsules are of the highest quality possible. Speaking of machines, we’ve compiled the most highly ranked capsule coffee makers in the UK.
Sage Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Machine: £360, John Lewis
Standing out with its high end, stainless steel design and inclusive barista style milk jug, you don’t need to look at this beauty twice to know you’re dealing with royalty. The Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Machine lets you easily create fully authentic, top tier latte art coffee without even leaving your kitchen.
The pump power says it all. Thanks to a 19 bar high performance pump, this coffee maker is able to extract a barista style cup every time; with all the premium aromas and delicate flavours intact. The interface itself is as intuitive and user friendly as it comes. It includes a high resolution display that guides you on all settings, preparations and even maintenance. In addition to the usual espresso/lungo settings, milk lovers have been taken care of with multiple settings for controlling milk temperature, froth quality and even texture levels. The Creatista truly is a dedicated workhorse with a durable, elegant design.
Krups Nespresso Vertuo XN901840 Coffee Machine: £199.99, Currys
Nespresso has been at the forefront of trying to give its customers new and revolutionary ways to brew coffee. And the Krups Nespresso Vertuo Coffee Machine is among their best units yet. The Vertuo makes use of Nespresso’s patented extraction tech called Centrifusion. Once you insert your capsule, the technology spins it at speeds of up to 7000 rpm to blend the coffee and water for a rich crema brew.
But the automatic blend recognition has to be where the machine excels. Thanks to this intelligent system that uses barcodes on the capsules, each coffee type is easily recognised and the brewing parameters automatically change for the best results. The interface offers simple, one touch brewing for up to four different cup sizes namely the 414ml full brew, the 230ml mug, the 150ml Lungo and the infamous 40 espresso.
Lavazza Jolie Coffee Machine: £73.29, Amazon
The Lavazza Jolie is arguably the smallest and quietest out of the entire A Modo Mia range. But even though it’s small enough to hide in the kitchen, its colourful, bright Italian design definitely catches the eye.
For such a small machine, the Jolie Coffee maker from Lavazza is quite powerful. It’s 10 bar pressure pump allows for decent extraction of flavours and aromas. What’s more, the single push button operation makes preparing your favourite cup a very easy affair. And since the machine incorporates Thermoblock technology, it should take about 35 seconds to heat up the water.
Delonghi EN750MB Nespresso Lattissima Pro: £299, John Lewis
If you're meticulous about the way you take your latte macchiatos and cappuccinos, then why not get one of the best capsule coffee machines in the UK built precisely for milky drinks? The Delonghi Nespresso Lattissima Pro is an easy to use high end machine that offers coffee lovers plenty of versatility.
Thanks to the patented Delonghi milk system that includes a 0.5 litre milk carafe, users can create heavenly lattes as well as a large assortment of milk-based coffee beverages. As expected, the EN750MB makes use of a slick touch screen interface that gives users their choice of drink in a few simple touches. There’s also a drip tray to prevent messes and an automated wash cycle once you’re done brewing.
Dualit 85180 Cafe Cino Coffee Machine: £171.99, Amazon
Coffee makers never looked so sleek and elegant until Dualit did something about it. The Dualit 85180 Cafe Cino might just be the most sophisticated model on this list thanks to a stylish glossy black finish and chrome trim. But apart from looks, the machine focuses on making a very accurate cuppa.
You’ll notice plenty of precise dosing controls that allow users to extract the perfect measure of espresso or tea. And as a bonus, the manufacturer included temperature boosts to achieve a hotter brew. For more experienced tea drinkers, the dosing memory function lets you alter the extraction rate for custom drinks. The final touch is a built in milk frother that offers a wider array of drinks.
Krups Nespresso Essenza Mini Coffee Machine: £69, Argos
Are you low on both cash and kitchen space, but don’t want to give up on your dreams of homemade barista style coffee? Then you’ll love the Nespresso Essenza Mini Coffee Machine. As the name suggests, the Mini is Nespresso’s most compact machine yet. At only 2.3 kilograms, it’s effortlessly portable and will barely take up any space in the kitchen.
But don’t mistake the small size for weakness. With a powerful 19 bar high pressure pump, the Essenza Mini can brawl with the best of them. So even if you’ll wait for a while when making multiple cups, each cup will take under 30 seconds. With programmable one touch buttons for lungo and espresso, the Essenza is as intuitive and user friendly as capsule machines get.
Krups Nespresso Inissia XN100140 Coffee Machine: £89.99, Currys
Here’s another compact coffee machine that closely rivals the Essenza mini in terms of size and price. Nespresso is known for making the best range of home coffee machines, and so the Nespresso Inissia is right up their alley. This particular model stands out from the other smaller ones due to its folding tray that accommodates larger glasses.
Like Nespresso’s other larger models, there’s virtually no waiting around for the water to heat up. Just one press of the button and the water reaches the ideal temperature to make nine coffees in just 25 seconds. The Inissia also uses a 19 bar pressure pump for barista style cups of coffee every time.
Delonghi Genio EDG466S Nescafe Dolce Gusto Coffee Maker: £142.69, Amazon
The DeLonghi Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio not only looks great, but it also boasts of one of the highest pump pressures in this entire list. With a whopping 15 bar pressure pump, the Genio is able to effortlessly create coffee with full bodied flavours, intricate aromas and a rich velvety crema finish.
This coffee maker also refreshes with its unique joystick controls that let you tailor the length of your beverage to your exact preference. The LED display also shows you what you’re doing clearly while the massive one litre water tank lets you brew a lot more cups before having to refill. With seven different drink levels to choose from, event hose who love mega cups are well taken care of.
KitchenAid Nespresso Artisan Coffee Machine: £309.95, John Lewis
If we’re talking about classic style, there’s no other brand that can beat KitchenAid. Their high quality Nespresso Artisan boasts of a gorgeous retro-chic look that evokes a classic Sixties coffee shop feel. But while the looks may be retro, the performance is definitely as modern and as powerful as it gets.
The tough, sturdy varnished metal exterior complete with a retro loading hand lever actually hides a ton of technology under there. This includes a high powered pressure pump and a simple dial that controls up to six pre-programmed settings for different coffee sizes. However, the machine is only compatible with Nespresso capsules.
Nescafé Dolce Gusto Oblo Cofee Machine: £90, Debenhams
Introducing a unit which arguably has the most unique design here, the Nescafé Dolce Gusto Oblo Coffee Machine looks more like a tiny metal detector than a kitchen appliance. Only instead of detecting metal, it’ll just detect an empty cup that needs to be filled. The Oblo packs quite a punch with its 15 bar pressure pump that delivers drinks worthy of a coffee shop menu.
The unique design lets users handle everything conveniently at the top of the machine. This includes loading the capsules as well as programming the settings to your preference. From caffe Americanos all the way to steamy hot chai teas, the Oblo gives you over 30 different drink varieties to choose from. And to save energy, the machine automatically goes into standby after five minutes of inactivity.
The Verdict: Best pod coffee machines
People with very minimal coffee needs might be more at home with a smaller, lighter duty machine such as the Nespresso Vertuo. If you’re on a really tight budget and want the most affordable unit, then we’d recommend the Nespresso Essenza Mini or Lavazza Jolie.
But if you’re a true capsule coffee connoisseur who wants the best of the best and doesn’t mind spending a bit extra for it, then the Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee Machine’s got your name written all over it. It’s a great all-rounder that excels in all the different aspects of coffee brewing that really matter.
Sam Ellis is editor-in-chief of Coffee Tea Club
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