The 6 Best Coffee and Espresso Machine Combos of 2022, Tested and Reviewed

the fir tree eats / vicky wasik

how we test

The coffee makers and espresso machines featured in this article were tested first-hand in the lab using our standardized methodology. we tested them for ease of use, heat-up time, brew quality, and cleanliness.

Reading: Best home coffee bar machine

the fir tree eats/ vicky wasik

We put these machines to the test with tasks like quantifying heating times, measuring beverage temperatures, identifying crema, and testing flavor, mouthfeel, and texture. Throughout our testing, we called in an on-site coffee expert to offer technical and mechanical insights (and barista skills) while churning out over 100 shots of espresso, cups of coffee, cappuccinos, and more for our panel of coffee testers. taste. if a manufacturer came equipped with a milk frother, we played around with it using whole and oat milks. After analyzing the data, reviewing the ideas, and determining the ratings, we used our findings to finalize the list you see above.

the fir tree eats/ vicky wasik

other options we tried

  • mr coffee all-in-one occasion coffee maker: This coffee maker had a lot of potential due to its awesome tasting coffee, but it had too many internal issues. while testing with it, water consecutively spilled out the back of the maker, making it an unreliable option. we also didn’t love its dimly lit led interface.
  • jura a1 piano: the other super-automatic coffee and espresso machine that we tested along with the miele was the jura a1. While both showed off in their sleek designs, quick recovery times, and effortless coffee experience, when it came to taste tests, Jura’s drinks tasted very watery. we inevitably opted for the honey, which had a well-rounded texture and bold flavor.
  • nescafe sweet taste coffee machine: while the nescafe has convenience on its side for a streamlined way to get to your morning coffee, it didn’t beat the nespresso vertuo, a similar concept . while this product might be reconsidered in future tests due to its impressive foam, it did not score high enough in our blind taste tests to be added to the current list.
  • keurig k-cafe single cup coffee, latte, and cappuccino machine: An earlier version of this list included the keurig k-cafe, but after testing it alongside this group of Espresso and combo coffee makers, didn’t work on flavor. When we sat down with our taste testers, Keurig drinks scored a little lower than most on the list, and while it scores a 5 for ease of use, there’s not enough else to back it up.
  • what to look for in a combination coffee and espresso machine

    automation level

    Coffee and espresso machines can be classified into categories based on their level of automation: manual, semi-automatic, fully automatic, and super-automatic. with manual machines, you have to pull a lever to create pressure; it’s a difficult process, so you won’t see any on this list. semi-automatic machines involve packing the portafilter by hand and deciding when to stop pulling, giving you the most control over your coffee. however, they are also more complicated and time consuming.

    With a fully automatic machine, you still have to pack the portafilter by hand, but the water flow stops automatically when the espresso is finished to prevent over extraction. finally, super-automatic machines prepare every drink at the touch of a button, from regular coffee to cappuccinos, they can even froth milk for you. they tend to be the most compact, but they are also the most expensive.

    the fir tree eats/ vicky wasik

    temperature and pressure control

    Some machines allow users to control the key factors of the espresso, such as the pressure and temperature of the water. Just like drip coffee, espresso tastes best when the water is between 195 and 204 degrees Fahrenheit. less than that and it’s hard for the espresso to reach the proper extraction percentage, which means it will be weak and watery. pressure is a more complicated matter. Brands love to advertise that a product can reach 20+ bar pressure, but all you really need is 15 bar. anything higher is superfluous. a 15 bar machine can create the perfect amount of pressure in the brew head, which is nine bar.

    compatibility with terrains or pods

    Some machines are compatible with both coffee pods and ground coffee, but you usually have to choose between the two. freshly ground coffee beans usually have more flavor than pods and can be adjusted to make the coffee stronger or weaker. grounds are also more affordable than pods over time and can be purchased in a wider range of flavors and blends. capsule-based machines offer convenience by speeding up the brewing process, making cleaning easier, and eliminating the hassle of packing the filter by hand. these are predominantly single-serving, while brewers using ground coffee can often brew multiple servings at once.

    types of coffee maker and espresso combos

    semi-automatic

    semi-automatic offers the most practical type of coffee maker and espresso machine. users have to do a lot of work themselves, such as filling the filter for drip coffee, preparing a shot of espresso, and steaming milk. Although more complicated, many customers prefer this type of machine because it provides a lot of control over the coffee, as well as a barista-like experience. semi-automatic machines are also cheaper than the other two types: automatic and super-automatic. Those new to coffee or espresso may be intimidated by the many parts, knobs, and meters, but after learning the ropes, it’s easy to create cafe-worthy drinks from home.

    auto

    See also: 8 Quán cà phê ăn sáng ở Sài Gòn đồ ngon view đẹp – HaloTravel

    This category is unfortunately quite vague at times. it’s easy to assume that a coffee maker and espresso machine labeled “automatic” would do every step of the process for you. In reality, automatic machines are very similar to semi-automatic ones. for both, users have to grind and tamp the coffee by hand. the main difference is that an automatic machine stops itself when the coffee is ready. it’s only a slight improvement over semi-automatic machines, but it makes the brewing process much easier. these are often priced similarly to semi-automatic machines or slightly more expensive.

    super auto

    super automatic is the top level of coffee makers and espresso machines. Virtually every aspect of the brewing process is controlled by the machine. While features vary, a super-automatic machine usually has a built-in grinder to start your coffee with fresh beans. then all you have to do is touch a button on the machine’s digital display, and you can create a number of drinks in seconds. super-automatic machines often even steam the milk for you, so you can have a latte or cappuccino without having to deal with espresso filters or frothing rods. sometimes you can adjust a number of details, such as the temperature of the water, the strength of the coffee and the size of the drink.

    the fir tree eats/ vicky wasik

    brands/manufacturers

    bialetti

    Italian manufacturer Bialetti has a number of coffee makers to offer, but we single out the company specifically for its popular stovetop coffee maker, the Moka Express. it stands out compared to other coffee makers and coffee makers because, well, it’s not exactly a coffee maker and coffee maker. the moka express brews a cross between drip coffee and espresso. you can drink the coffee straight (it will taste like an americano) or mix it with milk for a latte. Other benefits of the unique brewing device include its compact size and affordable price, both of which far outshine most options in the coffee and espresso category.

    coffee maker

    with its signature k-cups, keurig is a beloved brand already found in many homes. The company is primarily known for quick-drip coffee, but also makes a small number of coffee makers and espresso machines. two that are worth visiting are the k-café and the k-latte. Unsurprisingly, Keurig’s main advantage is ease of use. As an added bonus, their products tend to be more affordable than the competition in this category. Just keep in mind that Keurig machines don’t make real espresso. They use a bolder, condensed form of coffee known as coffee concentrate, and while it’s great for ease of use, Keurig didn’t pass our lab tests.

    nespresso

    Nespresso has long been known for its high-quality espresso machines. the Swiss company was founded in 1986 and, for many years, espresso was its main focus. That changed in 2014 when Nespresso launched its Vertuoline machines, designed to brew multiple sizes of coffee alongside its classic espresso. The brand often adds and discontinues different models, but between its original and Vertuo machines, there are always plenty of great options to choose from. several are affordably priced around $200, but others move quickly to higher price levels. And of course, the company’s defining feature is its proprietary coffee pods, which are quick, easy to use, and available in dozens of varieties.

    frequently asked questions

    what is a coffee and espresso machine combo?

    “Each of the coffee makers and espresso machines have their specialty,” says Chris Hallowell, our on-site coffee expert and owner of Turning Point Coffee Roasters. Depending on what type of coffee drinker you are, there is one that best suits your needs depending on the features you benefit from, such as fast steamers, an impressive portafilter, automatic presets or a built-in coffee grinder. “For some, the routine of grinding coffee, tamping it, brewing espresso, and steaming your own milk can be meditative,” Hallowell says. “Others might want to push a button and get almost immediate caffeine gratification from a super-automated machine.”

    how do you clean a combination coffee and espresso machine?

    The proper routine for maintaining a coffee maker and espresso machine is similar to that of a standard coffee maker. both machines require regular descaling, which is a more thorough and rigorous process than normal hand washing (more on this below). those who own a more advanced product may have a separate (and simpler) maintenance routine. some machines have a light sensor that notifies users when it’s time to clean. others may even have an automatic cleaning feature that eliminates the hassle altogether.

    Traditional espresso group head machines also require a cleaning process known as backwashing. start by rinsing all the ground coffee out of your portafilter and then brush under the group head to remove any loose grounds as well. after that, all you have to do is lock the portafilter in place and run the brew cycle a few times. coffee shops clean the machines at the end of each day, but home users only need to do it weekly. Various products are available to make the process easier, from cleaning solutions to single-use tablets.

    what coffee beans do you use for an espresso machine combo?

    While espresso can be made from any type of coffee bean, certain characteristics produce a much more flavorful result. first, the roast. Espresso is generally best with dark roast coffee because the darker beans are sweeter, more balanced, and less acidic than the lighter ones. When you come across bags of coffee labeled “espresso roast,” it’s mainly because the beans have been roasted at high temperatures for a long time. Another detail to keep in mind, especially for those who buy pre-ground coffee, is that espresso requires a very fine grind. if it’s too thick, your espresso will be weak, watery, and devoid of crema. There’s a chance your favorite coffee beans can brew both drip and espresso, especially if it’s a French or Italian roast, but when in doubt, see what brewing method the brand recommends.

    what is descaling?

    Descaling is when you remove mineral residue that builds up in a machine over time. some manufacturers recommend descaling once a month, but you can probably do it every three months. The easiest way to descale is to clean all bits and pieces with a combination of vinegar and warm soapy water. If your coffee and espresso machine has a percolator, pour the vinegar solution into the water reservoir, run the brew setting, and let it sit in the percolator for 30 minutes. just check your product manual beforehand, as some manufacturers advise against using vinegar. many brands even sell specialized descaling solutions to make the process easier. If you don’t descale regularly, the machine is likely to face a number of problems, such as clogging, altering the taste of the coffee, not heating up enough, or not working at all.

    what is the best water for coffee?

    See also: The Best Thermal Coffee Carafe In 2022

    One factor that determines mineral buildup is the type of water you use. Hard water contains a lot of dissolved minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, so it will speed up mineral buildup in your coffee maker. soft or filtered water, on the other hand, is easier on your machine and will reduce how often you need to descale. but keep in mind that minerals are also an important factor in the flavor of your coffee, and a moderate amount is needed for proper extraction. many minerals will dominate the coffee; too few and you’ll get a weaker cup of joe, even salty. experiment with different types of water to see which one suits your taste buds.

    what is coffee concentrate?

    many machines prepare a drink called “coffee concentrate” instead of an actual espresso. the key difference between the two is pressure. To make espresso, high-pressure water is rapidly forced through finely ground coffee beans, resulting in the delicious shots we know and love. coffee concentrate (not to be confused with cold brew concentrate, which is a condensed form of cold brew that needs to be diluted with milk or water) is more like standard drip coffee, as the water slowly percolates through of coarse and loose coffee. gardens. think of it as a cross between coffee and espresso.

    Brands are usually transparent about the difference in product descriptions, but it’s worth keeping an eye out because all machines in this category are called coffeemakers and espresso machines, regardless of whether they make espresso or concentrate. If you want the most flavor and control of your coffee, go for espresso. after all, nothing beats the real thing. For those who prefer convenience, want to save some money, and don’t mind a slightly weaker flavor, coffee concentrate may be your best bet.

    Are steamed milk and frothed milk different?

    There is not a big difference between foaming and steaming. the former provides more aeration, while the latter always uses heat, so don’t get bogged down by that when buying. what is more important is to understand how the machines incorporate foam/foam capabilities. A vaporizer/vaporizer comes in two forms. First, it can be built into the machine itself, usually in the form of a smoking wand. second, it may be a completely separate device included with your purchase; This is frequently seen with Keurig products.

    These separate devices come in three varieties: manual, portable, and electric. expect handheld and manual skimmers to be smaller, cheaper, and a bit less powerful. conversely, electric vaporizers can lead to cafeteria-quality drinks, but are more expensive. if you buy a machine that doesn’t come with a frother/frother, it’s easy to buy one separately if you change your mind.

    what is a portafilter?

    The term “portafilter” often comes up when searching for coffee makers and espresso machines, but may be unfamiliar to those who have never owned an espresso machine before. A portafilter, also known as a “group handle,” is simply the handheld basket that connects to the espresso machine to brew coffee. You’ll probably recognize the little stainless steel appliances from coffee shops. It is important to note that the quality of a portafilter affects the quality of the espresso. portafilters can be purchased in two varieties: pressurized, which is great for beginners, and non-pressurized, which is great for those who want more hands-on control over their espresso.

    what are the essential accessories for my coffee and espresso machine combo?

    There are many wonderful tools and accessories to go with a coffee pot and espresso machine, but one of the most useful is a coffee grinder. some machines have built-in grinders, but most do not. buying one separately ensures the freshest possible roast and subsequently the tastiest cup of coffee. There are two varieties of coffee grinders: strawberry and leaf. burr is the best option, it offers maximum uniformity and consistency, although it is also much more expensive. grinders can also be manual (often based on a crank) or electric. Hario is a go-to brand for reliable hand grinders, while Breville and Bodum make top-tier electric grinders.

    the fir tree eats/ vicky wasik

    why trust the spruce eats?

    the author of this article, reviews editor collier sutter, personally tested each combination coffee and espresso machine in our lab to determine the best selections to recommend, replicating the same recipes and measuring specific data points. he also included insights from our independent reviewers to get the home cook’s perspective.

    This article contains additional reporting from derek rose, the coffee and tea expert at spruce eats. Use the Bialetti Moka Express to switch up your daily coffee routine and make café-style beverages, like lattes and americanos, right from home. It is the perfect partner for his main coffee maker, the Bodum Brasil French Press.

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    Chris Hallowell, founder of Turning Point Coffee Roasters, was our on-site expert for lab testing and helped identify the best machines on this list. When he’s not making espresso shots and running his coffee shops, he’s fine-tuning his own coffee line. While the Espressione was his favorite machine during testing, he currently has the Miele in his family’s kitchen.

    allie caran, product manager for baristavalet, was interviewed for this article. She previously worked as Director of Education at Partners Coffee. allie has been in the coffee industry for over 15 years.

    See also: We Reviewed The Blue Bottle Coffee Club, this is what happened

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