The top 20 coffee machine makers you should know about.
Capsule and Pod Machines we know, Italian coffee we love, major coffee shops we frequent.
but which brands do we turn to when we need a great mug of coffee or a beautifully crafted espresso at home or in the office ?
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We know the brand names of popular coffee shops like Starbucks, but we’re not so familiar with the brands of the machines they use… which are made are for commercial use of course. ( One of our readers tells us that Starbucks machines are Swiss.)
But is it the same brands that make the best espresso machines for domestic use ?
Let’s presume we’re all thinking ‘espresso’ as the best base for a good coffee.
We also know that when in Italy, the coffee feels like it’s the best in the world. Likewise, when in France the croissant or ‘pain au chocolat ‘ has to be the best in the world. We’d be in heaven, personally, if we could get the two experiences at the same time for breakfast !
We’re dreaming …. back to coffee machine companies.We also presume that any coffee shop in Italy would use anything but an Italian machine ! When we want to re-create as near as possible to that experience in our home, does making your very own perfect espresso mean it has to come from a hand-made Italian coffee machine ?
Hmmmm, the short answer is NO, not at all. You will find a lot of the really good ones still are Italian of course, particularly the barista style manual machines – which quite often are the commercial machines adapted for home use. However some of the top machines may not be Italian (look out for the Swiss!).
The serious espresso coffee lover brands
For the serious coffee lover, the most popular brands for anything from the best manual to most automatic machine, have been either Italian (Gaggia, La Pavoni, De ‘Longhi) or the Swiss ( Nespresso, Jura). However, coming up the outside are the high quality kitchen appliance brands like Sage and Breville, as well as start up designer specialists like Flair, Rok, and the very high end Streitman.
So read on, pick your style of Brand, then jump to the best and most popular ones on the market today. We’ll show you our favourites from each brand.
Want to know our top 3 current favourite machines ?
1. The super sophisticated Swiss Jura machines
2. The shiny barista style machines from Breville / Sage
3. The many reliable workhorses from De’Longhi.
The best domestic coffee machine brands fall into three categories.
In doing our research and reviews, we found three main categories of coffee machine brands for you to consider so you can find your favourite from whichever way you like to look at it.
Type 1… Kitchen appliance companies
Type 2… Serious coffee maker brands
We could argue a fourth category of commercial style brands but there are sooo many ( try checking out all the espresso machine brands you see in your own coffee shop ). Rocket, Santos, Macan are a few more commercial type brands that we bought and loved ourselves.
In fact there are so many ways to cut and slice the best coffee machine makers, But before we go to into the detail of each section, let’s show you the best machine we think each brand sells today.
Last but not least
After simplifying our life – we still ( I mean Paul !) had to keep one Italian machine – our beloved Rocket manual espresso coffee machine, and hopefully we will get it installed again to use in our future life somewhere – it’s our 20th brand !
20 great brands – but which coffee machines do they make ?
There are essentially four types of coffee machines… pod or capsule coffee machines, manual espresso machines, semi and fully automatic bean-to-cup machines, and electric filter coffee machines. There are more types of filter coffee machines and brands to match, but we are not covering all these in this article.
The most popular coffee machine from each top brand
To see our favourite, and the most revered, from each brand, click on the brand name below to take you through to Amazon in your country where you can see details about what you get, how the buyers rate it, and check supplier prices today.
9. De ‘Longhi
12. La Pavoni
1… Kitchen appliance coffee machine brands
Breville / Sage
Breville is an award winning Australian company we know and love for many years. It takes care of the Breville products in the U.S, Canada, and pretty much everywhere else except the UK and Europe.
Sage is Breville – the Sage by Heston Blumingthall is the more recent Breville re-brand for kitchen appliances, but this brand takes care of the UK and Europe. So they have the same machines, mostly with the same model names.
Breville / Sage as we will refer to them, are currently dominating the top spots for bean to cup espresso machines simply because they have tackled all the users needs in one evolving range.
They have a very intuitive machines that allows you the satisfaction of doing the manual work to learn the craft of making the best espresso, whilst also having the option to use automatic features to help you along.
On top of that, their machines look like coffee shop machines so you really do get to play the barista ! So this brand made it into all our categories of best coffee machines – manual, best semi-automatic bean to cup machine, and best Nespresso machine.
The best Sage / Breville Coffee machine
We could easily say the Oracle Touch is the best, it is after all the top of the range – and we love it. Or we could say the Creatista Plus is the best and it certainly is the best capsule machine we know of. But neither of these are our personal favourite. Check out which one we think is the best – we’ve even written a whole article dedicated toit !
Krups is another familiar name like Moulinex or All-Clad for small domestic appliances, as they all belong to the French group SEB. We include Krups here for its Nespresso pod machine.
Look for the label, you may not have noticed, but Krups is everywhere !
“I’m just on my travels visiting family at the moment, and stayed over with my cousin last night – noticed she has had a white Krups Nespresso Inissia for a while – and she didn’t even know I was recommending it ! Arrived home to my parents house, and realise now that their Nespresso machine is Krups too ! My dad was always ‘gadget man’ when we were young – being one of the first to get a microwave in the ’70s at the annual Ideal Home exhibition ( and still using it today !). He was bought one of the first Nespresso machines in Spain. It still looks really classy and I just had a coffee from it. Lo and behold its a Krups !”
Not everyone (including me till a few months ago! ) realises that Nespresso produces the pods but actually the Nespresso based machines are in fact made by other manufacturers. Both Krups and De ‘Longhi make a pretty identical great Nespresso Insissia machine. Magimix are also really popular in the U.S. for this machine.
So Krups has been around for a long time in the coffee machine business. To be fair, we have only got the Nespresso Inissia in our top machine winners, even though they do have a super automatic 2 in 1 touch machine for cappuccino and espresso coffee. They also make so many filter machines which we haven’t yet investigated. We’re more espresso coffee drinkers !
Philips is a Dutch company and we include it here for a few reasons.
What coffee machines do Phillips make ?
Well, quite a lot because it now owns Saeco, which in turn owns Gaggia, and it’s so good at marketing it’s Senseo coffee pad machine.
We have one in our houseboat for 6 months last year, and since then we find the Senseo is provided in most AirBnB apartments we book in Europe.
There is no doubt then that it’s popular, and very well marketed ! So we know it well now. And, we’ll tell you what we really think of it in our reviews on filter coffee makers – where we cover coffee pods vs coffee pads !
KitchenAid covers everything from a cold brew to one touch drip style brewing into a carafe, artisan siphon to carafe style, a one cup travel mug version, the full espresso with manual milk frothing machine, and even an artisan version of the pod Nespresso machine.
We know and love the KitchenAid for it’s quality and design, and the coffee machines are mostly made in the professional Artisan range style. Their main espresso machine didn’t quite make it into our list though as it appeared to be more style than exceptional coffee making substance ! But this one did make it into the filter coffee machine category.
As usual, Cuisinart have an enormous number of coffee makers on offer, mostly drip style into an external, or sometimes internal glass or thermal carafe. They range from fully manual to programmable and also offer some grinders.Cuisinart is as popular as ever especially in the U.S. and, as with their hand blenders, they have a few specific filter coffee models that beat the competition in the UK. We’ll point them out in our post on filter coffee makers.
Miele… a German domestic appliance company that is hitting the headlines in the UK. Why, in the Independant (Dec 2019) they reported that the the consumer group WHICH rated Miele the best in seven of nine categories for which it could be judged: upright vacuum cleaners; cylinder vacuum cleaners; washing machines; tumble driers; washer dryers; built-in oven; and fridge-freezers. We’ve included them here for their amazing built in super duper automatic coffee machine. They hit our headlines for being the most expensive counter-top machine we found in the US, but their ratings were under 4 star !
Italian, classy, vintage retro … and expensive, but worth it, is what springs to mind with this company. However, their espresso machine isn’t just all about style – being Italian I imagine they couldn’t live it down if they didn’t produce a great espresso machine. So, the Smeg ECF01 coffee machine made our top 20 list, but you might be surprised however how they got there ( but the next paragraph will tell all )!
De ‘Longhi is an Italian company also, known for its domestic appliances as well as coffee makers, and it now has Kenwood and Braun amongst others, as subsidiaries. In fact, Delonghi is the reason Smeg made it onto the list. The Smeg machine is based on a Delonghi model… who else should the great Italian kitchen appliance company get to make their espresso machine but another great Italian company. Until I did all this research, I didn’t realise how involved De ‘Longhi was in the coffee machine manufacturing, In fact de ‘Longhi coffee machines are some of the absolute best and most popular in the world ! So they should also be in category 2.
Jura, is a Swiss company well known for its outstanding quality. Although they have been known for other kitchen and laundry appliances, they only seem to focus on the coffee machines these days ( outside their native Switzerland anyway). So perhaps this company should also fall into category 2.
2… Serious coffee maker brands ( the Italians and the Swiss… and Breville / Sage )
Again… De ‘Longhi and Jura
They are both so serious that we think they should be in Both Brand type 1 and type 2. See above in category 1 for more detail!
Gaggia and La Pavonni are classic Italian coffee machine companies with some very distinctive machines – mostly for espresso and cappucino making. Owning one of these comes with a certain caché. Gaggia, now 80 years old, even has it’s own gaggia owners club, should you need to feel you’ve made it ! Did you know though, that Gaggia is actually now owned by a branch of the dutch company Philips !
La Pavoni probably make the most distinctive machines with their unique lever design. These are the ultimate machines that pretty much make you feel you have created a piece of art when you learn how to pull it to make a perfectly formed espresso. We’ve had the Europiccola, and the Professional version. Although the Europiccola is a cleaner looking piece of art, the professional version is more practical with the pressure gauge attached.
We’ve had both versions, and, when we simplified our life for this adventure, we sold them. Now I wish we had kept one to take on our travels. Paul used to take it in his hand – luggage for goodness sake ! They are simply beautiful as well as being simple yet amazingly sturdy. I would have said they are unique, but there’s a new elegant competing product from Flair (a new American company I believe).
Lavazza, Nespresso, Melitta, Nescafé
These brands have been more well known for the coffee products they make. However they have either joined forces or bought out coffee machine manufacturers to create their own coffee machines too.
Melitta is a German company and we personally have known it for decades for its paper filters and ground coffee ! Now they are making some of the most popular bean to cup automatic machines ! They are more popular in the UK with their TS Smart machine, but are not found consistently globally.
Some of the top coffee pod or capsule machines use Nespresso or Lavazza coffee – the machines are usually made by a third party, even if they are referred to as a Nespresso or Lavazza machine. Which coffee do you like more… Lavazza or Nespresso? And are there other reasons to go with one or other… read more here.
What about Tassimo and Illy?
Tassimo, owned by the Dutch company Jacob Douwe Egberts, also competes i the pod machine arena but they didn’t make it into our top list. Illy has also now joined the ranks of domestic machine maker with its take-over of Francis-Francis ( and their iconic, colourful, vintage looking machines). Whilst we rate Illy coffee highly, we haven’t yet found a domestic machine rated highly enough to recommend to you.
Rocket espresso, and Rancilio coffee machines
These two are for the serious barista. As well as being renowned for their quality, we were amazed to also the models we wanted to show you as available on Amazon ! After training and maintaining on manual espresso machines, Paul realised that these two manufacturers lovingly make machines for the prosumer too – but use their commercial machine parts. So they are real winning machines – we can’t believe the hand-made Italian coffee machine we own is now so easy to buy on Amazon !
3… Entrepreneurial gadget style coffee machine brands
Ok, we’re talking about a new portable way of making an espresso here. Although it’s heavily debated whether these portable machines are producing a ‘real’ espresso here, because the pressure you can exert by hand may not be quite high enough to reach a purist’s level. So, in some ways it might look like a bit of fun in the serious coffee world, but the world over really does rate Aeropress for its wee ‘espresso’ maker – even if it seems impossible that you could get the best espresso from applying that pressure. Ooomph are one of it’s many competitors to look out for.
Flair espresso maker
Whilst being new, stylish, and portable, this totally hand powered coffee maker has a large lever handle that allows you to exert more pressure, so this model is also competing with the counter-top electric manual espresso machines.
Which brand & which type of machine would you choose to make your perfect coffee ?
Now let’s look at the best machines these brands produce. This will allow you to see the size of their ranges, their expertise… what they specialise in, and how many from each brand we would recommend as the best to buy now in 2020.
…I’m just writing this section up for you so bear with me as it fills in !…
Our Breville and Sage best buys for 2020
Note: they are essentially the same company products serving different parts of the world. The product codes may vary slightly.
Best barista quality capsule machine & frother
Best manual espresso machine for entertaining at home
Best semi-automatic bean-to-cup coffee machine to learn the craft
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