That’s far from the truth, and what you see for mass sale tend to be blends designed to taste the same all year around. There’s a lot more choice out there and coffee should be thought of like fine wine, with almost infinite variety between beans, depending on the type of coffee and where it’s grown.
There’s one type of coffee bean, the Old Brown Java, where the beans are aged in a way that mimics how coffee was inadvertently aged in ships travelling to Europe. As a result, the Old Brown Java coffee has a brown colour before it’s roasted, where most coffees start green.
In short, if you start in the supermarket aisles, you’ll find some half decent coffee beans, but if you really want to experience the world of coffee, you need to spread your wings a bit further and try an independent coffee roaster, either online or in a shop. Here, you’ll find a far wider range of coffee beans to choose from and more choice than you get with pod machines.
That’s not to say that pod machines are a bad choice. The main benefit, other than convenience, is that you change the type of coffee from cup-to-cup; with coffee beans, you really need to finish one variety before moving onto the next one. How we choose the best coffee machines Testing coffee machines is all about getting the best-quality coffee out of them, ensuring that each one can produce the best-tasting cup of the black stuff.
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For any that use ground coffee or whole beans, we roast our own batch of Peruvian beans. We use a medium roast, a little lighter than you’d probably use at home so that we maintain the beans’ origin flavours. By controlling the roast and beans used, we can compare the machines that we review, taste-testing each one.
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All coffee dispensed is tested for temperature (around 65C is right for espresso). Where milk’s involved, we manually froth where available and use automatic options otherwise. We’ll adjust technique and settings until we’re satisfied that we’re producing the best steamed milk that the coffee maker can deliver. You can read more in our how we test coffee machines article.
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This machine has 10 user profiles, so everyone in your house can customise their favourite recipes. The “smart” part of the name refers to the Bluetooth app, which makes it easy to program your favourite drinks using your phone. Read our full Melitta Caffeo Barista TS Smart review Our favourite manual espresso machine We continually check thousands of prices to show you the best deals.
You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy. If you’re a hardcore home barista with high expectations of your espresso machine, look no further than the speedy, feature-packed and 1950s design-inspired Smeg ECF01. Its Thermoblock tech helps it reach the optimal temperature in a staggering 40 seconds, and it has a clever knack for remembering exactly how much water you like in your coffee every time.
Other notable perks include a cup-warming surface on the machine’s top that’s large enough for two cups. There’s also a de-calc alarm to let you know when it needs a clean to keep the coffee flowing smoothly. This is manual coffee making at its fastest, most practical, and certainly its most attractive.
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If you buy a product through our site we will earn a small commission from the retailer – a sort of automated referral fee – but our reviewers are always kept separate from this process. You can read more about how we make money in our Ethics Policy.
The Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno changes that, with a machine that gives you the ease that you’d expect from a pod machine, but the ability to free-pour milk to make your own creations like a professional barista. Taking a standard milk jug, the Creatista Uno can steam milk automatically; the pouring is up to you.
Best of all, the coffee machine is excellent value and won’t take up much room on your worktop. Read our full Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno review Our favourite filter coffee machine Filter coffee machines are best when used with freshly ground coffee, and the Melitta AromaFresh Grind and Brew makes that easy by including a grinder.