The best capsule coffee machines

The best capsule coffee machines

The best capsule coffee machines

coffee machines: A pod coffee maker is the best choice for busy households who want their coffee quickly and easily. It’s as easy as inserting a capsule, pressing a button, to get your caffeine fix. That’s all anyone needs to do first thing in the day.

It’s not easy to choose the right pod coffee maker for you. After you purchase, your machine is tied to the capsules of the brand. Cross-compatibility is rare for pods. Different brands offer different pods and different coffee flavors.

Nescafe’s Dolce Gusto capsules include milk capsules so that you can make cappuccinos and lattes right from your machine. Nespresso Vertuo capsules can be used for black coffee, but you can also make a large mug of coffee with them.

Lavazza A Mode Mio capsules are a great choice for a good espresso. They can also be industrially compostable so you can toss them with your food scraps, instead of putting them in for recycling.

There are many differences between machines. Some machines are fully automatic while others allow you to customize your coffee. Others have milk frothers built in, while others are only espresso-only. A few machines have smart features.

Our buying guide is available below the chart to help you choose the right brand of capsules. We’ve reviewed the top machines on the market and we have our recommendations.

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1. Lavazza Desea is the best all-round capsule coffee maker

Pros

  • There are four options for length of coffee
  • Heating and milk frothing

Cons

  • More complicated control panel than machines in competition

The Desea machine is a shiny, attractive design with a chrome lever that opens the capsule container slot. There are three options for colour: cream, brown, and black. This is the most complete pod espresso maker Lavazza has to offer. It can be used to make espresso, long espresso or long coffee.

It has more functionality than other pod machines, so it can be a little more difficult to use. However, it can also make lattes, cappuccinos and many other beverages, which is a rare feature among pod machines. It is quiet when in use.

2. Nespresso Vertuo Next – Best machine for long black coffees

Pros

  • Easy to use and enjoyable
  • A wide range of capsules available, including long-term options

Cons

  • There are very few options to customize your coffee
  • Only black coffee

It’s a beautiful machine, and it’s very easy to use. The capsule head will be released by turning the chrome-effect, chunky lever. It is a very enjoyable mechanism. There are three models available with tiered prices: the VertuoNext, VertuoNext Premium, and VertuoNext Deluxe.

It is fully automated, so the pluses and minuses are really one thing. Inside, a barcode reader analyzes the capsule to determine the right volume and pre-wets, infuses, and dispensates the correct amount. There are no controls to adjust the coffee’s flavor. You can stop it from flowing or add water, but you won’t be able to control its flow. Others prefer the automated, hands-off, hassle-free process.

The coffee is dispensed in a variety of lengths, from espresso to carafe. However, it all depends on the pods used.

Smart features are also available on the Vertuo Next, but they are focused on ordering and recycling capsules rather than remote operation or setting settings. This will make them more useful to busy people who need to automate deliveries or receive reminders when they run low on capsules.

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3. Morning Coffee Machine – The best independent capsule machine

Pros

  • Cup detection
  • Can you save your personal settings?
  • Pre-programmed recipes
  • Manual and app control

Cons

  • It doesn’t foam milk
  • Expensive

This machine is for you if you are looking to customize your coffee without the hassle of an espresso maker. Independently made, the Morning Machine offers more options than other brands. It offers more than the usual ristretto and espresso options. The Morning Machine also has a brand-new Bloom & Brew setting. This allows for stronger cups, higher temperatures and varying bar pressures (upto 20).

It is a beautiful machine, too: simple and minimalist in its simplicity, but with matching features such as an OLED screen and a scale under the cup stand to weigh out coffee, it’s also very well-built. Smart features are also included, such as the ability to fine tune the coffee’s flavor.

However, it’s not perfect. Navigating the menus can be difficult and the automatic cup detection was a little slow during our testing.

4. Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio S Plus – Best for tailored Dolce Gusto coffee machine

Pros

  • Customisation of temperature, volume, and strength
  • Easy-to-read display
  • Automated dispensing

Cons

  • It is difficult to access the water tank at the back.
  • Dolce Gusto capsules may not be for everyone

Dolce Gusto is the best way to enjoy hot chocolate and sweet or milky coffees. Dolce Gusto pods can be mixed, which is unusual. For example, a box of cappuccino capsules will contain half a cup of milk and half a cup of coffee. This means you don’t need a separate milk frother.

The Dolce Gusto Genio S Plus coffee maker is the best. It is compact (27.1×27.2x11cm), simple to use, and offers more customization options than any other machine.

You can adjust the water temperature and add an espresso boost. There are also seven volume options. You can also choose to make your coffee automatically.

5. Lavazza A Modo Mio Voicy – Best smart features

Pros

  • Built-in Amazon Alexa speaker
  • Capsules for industrial compostable coffee
  • Impressive espresso

Cons

  • No milk tank, no frother
  • Full price is too expensive
  • There are still few smart coffee options

Lavazza A Modo Mio can be used as a dual-purpose device. It is a pod espresso maker and also has an Amazon Alexa smart speaker.

You insert a pod, then you choose between an espresso or long drink. There are also two cup tray positions. A Modo Mio capsules can only be used for coffee and there is no milk frothing. Simple.

Smart features aren’t complicated either. Alexa can make you a cup of coffee, but only after you have added the pod and water to your IRL coffee maker. You can also use the app to monitor your coffee consumption, check your capsule stock, or order more.

The real benefit of the hybrid appliance is its ability to save space and bring a smart speaker to your kitchen without needing to place it in a designated spot. You can listen to music, set timers, and check the weather all while enjoying a cup of espresso.

6. Nespresso Vertuo Plus – Easiest capsule machine to use

Pros

  • Auto dispense
  • Auto open and auto close
  • Auto capsule ejection

Cons

  • There is no option for a carafe
  • It is not easy to move
  • No milk tank

The Vertuo Plus is a compact and easy way to enjoy Nespresso. The machine is small at 14 x 32x 43cm. It has a 1.8-litre water tank which pivots out from its back. This allows you to refill it quickly. This means that you don’t need as much countertop space.

Unlike classic Nespresso capsules, Vertuo pods aren’t just espresso-based. Although you can choose to have a large mug of coffee, you won’t be able to fill a cup as much with the Vertuo Next. It all happens automatically. The machine reads a barcode on your pod and automatically pre-wettes, infuses, and dispenses the right amount of water. This limits customization.

It also opens and closes automatically when you touch the chrome lever. This is a pleasant feature to use.

It doesn’t come with a milk frother. However, you can purchase the pint-sized Aeroccino separately.

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7. Lavazza A Modo Mio Jolie – Best small capsule coffee maker

Pros

  • Compact
  • Fashionable
  • Capsules that can be industrially composted

Cons

  • 600ml tank limit
  • Small disposal drawer
  • No pre-set dispensing volume

This machine measures 33cm by 13cm wide and 21cm long, making it a great choice if space is limited. It’s also very stylish with a chrome lever that allows you to operate the machine and three options for the front plate – black, white, and red – if your kitchen is looking for a pop of colour. There are two height options for driptrays: cup and espresso.

Its space-saving features come at a price: the water tank is only 600ml, and there aren’t pre-sets for volume. You need to be able to stop the flow whenever you feel it’s sufficient. If you are a coffee drinker, this machine can be placed on a desk or table. It’s easy to use and will make your life easier.

8. Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolo XS – Best budget Dolce Gusto machine

Pros

  • Very small footprint
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • Volume dispensing is not automatic. You will have to guess volumes
  • Quite noisy

Piccolo XS, the smallest and most affordable Dolce Gusto machine, is also the simplest. It has a lower price than we reviewed, which makes it a great option for students and anyone with limited space or cash.

Piccolo XS has one problem. It doesn’t have automatic volume dispensing. This means that you must control the volume of water with a lever. You can’t leave your coffee brewing while it is being brewed.

Dolce Gusto’s system means that you have to make a cappuccino, or latte twice. Once with a coffee capsule, and once with milk capsules. It’s faster than frothing the milk separately.

Piccolo XS is capable of making both hot and chilled drinks.

9. Lavazza Idola – Best value machine

Pros

  • High quality feeling
  • Four length options & temperature boost
  • Fast, quiet operation

Cons

  • Only black coffee

The Desea is the same machine, but without the milk heating or frothing options. The design is very similar, with a chrome lever opening the capsule compartment and a shiny outer shell. It comes with a 1.1-litre water tank, two height settings for drip tray, one to accommodate an espresso cup and the other for a larger one.

It’s one the best pod coffee machines for black beans. You have four options: espresso, long espresso and long coffee. There is also a free-pour option. You can also use the temperature boost button. It takes approximately 35 seconds for the machine to heat up. The machine is also quiet in operation.

It is a robust, well-made coffee machine. It’s durable and will perform well, according to us.

10. Nescafe Dolce Gusto Infinissima Touch – Eye-catching design

Pros

  • Eye-catching design
  • Good size tank
  • Automatic volume dispense

Cons

  • No tank max line
  • Fiddly drip tray
  • The pod drawer can become stuck

If you are looking for an attractive design, the Infinissima Touch machine is your best choice. The tank is unusually shaped and can hold 1.2 litres water. There’s a touchscreen on the front that allows you to adjust the volume of your coffee from 40ml up to 300ml. You can also switch between hot or cold beverages by using the lever.

The cup tray can be adjusted in three levels: the base level for long latte glasses, the middle-level for regular cups and the high end for espresso cups. However, it can be difficult to adjust the height. The pod drawer can also get stuck. We are concerned about its longevity.

Coffee machine buying tips

You’re bound to the brand of pods you purchase once you have purchased a pod coffee maker. It’s a good idea that you start by choosing the type of coffee that you like, as capsules from different brands can differ greatly. These are the pros and cons of each brand.

Lavazza A Modo Mio

Pros:

  • Espressos of high quality
  • You can recycle or compost industrially compostable pods in your food waste
  • There are 36 varieties

Cons:

  • There are fewer options than Nespresso/ Nescafe
  • Only espresso-based drinks

Nespresso Vertuo

Pros:

  • Long drinks and espressos
  • More than 40 varieties

Cons:

  • Only black coffee
  • To recycle the capsules, you must return them

Nescafe Dolce Guisto

Pros:

  • Milk capsules for mixed drinks
  • Many compatible and cheaper capsules readily available
  • 45 official varieties
  • Hot chocolate, tea, and Starbucks coffee are also available

Cons:

  • Very sweet
  • To recycle the capsules, you must return them

Independent brands

Although independent brands may offer high-quality, new options, they are more expensive and less readily available than capsules sold by big brands.

We have recommendations for all types of coffee makers, including espresso machines and bean-to-cup machine, so take a look at our roundup of the top coffee machines we’ve tested.