The best bean-to-cup coffee machines

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The best bean-to-cup coffee machines
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6 of the best bean-to-cup coffee machines to buy

If you want the real flavour of fresh espresso and milk-based drinks like cappuccino without the hassle of having to do everything yourself, you need a bean-to-cup coffee machine. David Ludlow, editor of Expert Reviews, rounds up the 6 best.
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Panasonic NC-ZA1

Panasonic NC-ZA1

eBay loves: Great size, low price and this machine will froth milk automatically
Watch out for: The milk hose looks a little ungainly
RRP: £500

The  Panasonic NC-ZA1 is a coffee machine that will do everything for you, including frothing milk and adding it to a shot of espresso. All you have to do is use the simple colour screen to choose the type of drink you want, from espresso to cappuccino and everything in-between, and sit back. Quality is excellent and you can tweak your drink settings, saving them for instant recall later. The milk hose, which you place into a jug of milk for automatic frothing, looks a little ungainly hanging outside the machine, but that’s a small complaint. Considering the quality of the coffee, the ease of the use and the price, it’s hard to beat this compact machine.
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Miele CM6300

Miele CM6300

eBay loves: Great looks, great coffee and a milk flask
Watch out for: Automatic rinsing requires the drop tray to be emptied frequently
RRP: £1,299

The  Miele CM6300 is another bean-to-cup machine that will do absolutely everything, including frothing milk and adding it automatically to a shot of an espresso to make a cappuccino or latte. It looks fantastic and a simple control panel makes it incredibly easy to use. Performance is top-notch, too, pouring excellent espresso and milk-based drinks alike. Miele also includes a milk flask that keeps milk cool for up to 12 hours, so you can fill it up in the morning and use it all day. The CM6300 will clean itself automatically by flushing water through the machine, too, but that means that you have to empty the drip tray quite often.
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Gaggia Brera

Gaggia Brera

eBay loves: Great looks, great espresso, dual boilers
Watch out for: Coffee waste can be a little messy
RRP: £500

The  Gaggia Brera is one gorgeous-looking coffee machine, thanks to its stainless steel exterior. A simple selector on the front lets you pick the strength of coffee you want and then you choose between a shot of espresso or filling up a mug. There’s no automatic milk frothing, but there is a steam wand on the front so you can make your own. Dual boilers mean steam is ready to be dispensed at any point without the machine having to heat up further. Both coffee grounds and the water container are accessed through the front, although the coffee waste can be a bit sloppy and the container is messy to empty. If you don’t want or need automatic milk steaming, this is a great machine that produces brilliant espresso.
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Philips Saeco XSmall

Philips Saeco XSmall

eBay loves: Good size, simple operation
Watch out for: Water reservoir is a little small
RRP: £370

It might not be the prettiest bean-to-cup machine around, but the  Philips Saeco XSmall is small, easy to use and makes decent coffee. All you have to do is choose whether you want a shot of espresso or a mug’s worth of coffee, then sit back and let the machine do the hard work. It won’t froth milk automatically, but you can do the job manually thanks to the steam wand. This is only a single boiler machine, so you have to wait a little while for it to heat to the right temperature. There’s plenty of room in the output bin for spent coffee grounds, so you don’t have to empty this too often. The 1-litre water reservoir is a little on the small side, though, so this will need to be topped quite often.
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Philips Saeco HD8750/18 Intuita

Philips Saeco HD8750/18 Intuita

eBay loves: Great price, simple to use
Watch out for: You get better coffee if you spend more
RRP: £175

Who said that bean-to-cup machines have to be expensive? The  Philips Saeco HD8750/18 Intuita is an absolute bargain. At this kind of price, you can’t expect it to do everything, so there’s no automatic milk frothing and so you have to froth milk yourself using the steam wand. What this machine is good for is dispensing shots of espresso or longer coffee. There’s a simple control panel for selecting coffee strength and the volume, then you sit back and let the Intuita do everything else. At this price you can’t expect the best coffee, but what you get is still far superior to a jar of instant.
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De’Longhi Magnifica ECAM22.320.S

De’Longhi Magnifica ECAM22.320.S

eBay loves: Great looks and great-tasting coffee
Watch out for: Relative expensive
RRP: £550

If you want great coffee quickly and simply, you could do a lot worse than buy the  De’Longhi Magnifica ECAM22.320.S. It warms up quickly, is simple to use and delivers great espresso long coffee drinks. With control over the flavour, you can even tweak the settings to deliver the type of coffee that you like drinking. There’s no automatic milk frothing, which is a shame, although the steam wand lets you do the same job manually. 
There’s no denying that this machine produces excellent coffee, but it’s relatively expensive and you can buy machines that will froth milk as well for less. The taste may just mean you think it’s worth it, though.

Comparison table

Manufacturer Miele Panasonic De'Longhi Gaggia Philips Saeco Philips Saeco
Model CM6300 NC-ZA1 Magnifica ECAM22.
320.S
Brera Xsmall HD8750
/18 Intuita
Price £1,299 £500 £550 £500 £370 £175
Size 359 x
251 x 427mm
335 x
195 x 410mm
350 x
240 x 430mm
315 x 255 x 45mm 295 x 325 x 420mm 340 x
256 x 440mm
Milk frothing Yes (automatic) Yes (automatic) Yes
(steam wand)
Yes
(steam wand)
Yes
(steam wand)
Yes
(steam wand)
Cup warmer Yes No Yes Yes No No
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