Remember the 90s? Remember Nescafé Gold Blend? Remember those awful adverts about Giles from Buffy’s slow burning romance? Well, times have changed, and so have our tastes. If you’re still sipping freeze dried coffee in the morning, it’s time for a major upgrade to a coffee pod machine.
The price of coffee machines has really come down in the past few years and there are now three major types of coffee machine you can buy.
Pod coffee machines use Espresso Pods, also called ESE pods (which stands for Easy Serving Espresso). These are just a predefined amount of coffee in a round pod. They tend to be interchangeable, so you can pick the brand you like the most.
Capsule coffee machines are similar, but the coffee comes in cartridge type containers that tend to be specific to certain manufacturers and so are a bit more restrictive.
Bean to cup coffee machines actually grind and make the coffee directly from the raw bean. They are no doubt the best quality, but you will have to shell out at least 350 big ones just to get a good entry-level model.
Tassimo Vivy 2 by Bosch
The Vivy 2 is a simple, no fuss coffee machine. At this price, you are not getting all the bells and whistles, but this also makes it really simple to use – one press of a button and you get your coffee, that’s it. It’s pretty tiny so can fit anywhere in your kitchen and, for those of you who tend to only have a few minutes to spare in the morning, heat up time is the shortest of all those on our list. You have to use Tassimo’s T-Discs, but they do tie-ups with brands like Oreo and Costa that give quite a depth to the range available. We tried the latter and it was streets ahead of a standard filter coffee (but not what you get in store) and the Cadbury’s hot chocolate pod was excellent. The drawback is the water tank will only stretch to two medium cups.
Nescafé Dolce Gusto Piccolo
With a name meaning small in Italian, The Piccolo proves you can still get great coffee without splashing out on a huge machine. However, it does suffer from a small water tank which, like the Vivy, will give you a maximum of 2 cups. It’s also only compatible with Nescafé’s Dolce Gusto Pods, though with 30 varieties available we didn’t find this to be too much of a hardship.
Bosch TAS4502GB Tassimo Joy 2
Super easy to use, 60 second prep time and a BRITA filter system thrown in makes the TAS4502GB an excellent little machine. It also comes with an INTELLIBREW system that scans the barcode on your pod to find the best brewing temperature, timing etc for that particular drink. Again it only works with the T-Disc system, but it does deliver consistently good results.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus by Krups
The Vertuo Plus is a very good mid-range machine and introduction to Nespresso. You will need to use the Vertuo pods rather than anything generic so that will need to be considered when thinking about running costs, but this machine produces consistently good coffee with no fuss.
Nescafé Dolce Gusto Melody III by DeLonghi
This model has really come down in price since it was first launched, and now that it sits around the £65 mark it is most definitely a bargain. Its design is eye-catching and it makes a mean coffee (as well as hot chocolates and other drinks) from the Dolce Gusto pods and can make several before the tank needs refilling. We reckon this is probably the best buy on the market.
Nespresso Lattissima Pro by Delonghi
If you are super serious about your coffee (and you have some money to burn), then the Larrissima Pro could be for you. It’s far larger than any other machine on the list at 274 x 194 x 332mm, but the quality of the coffee (and the milk it produces!) are right up there with any coffee shop standard.