Best Pod Coffee Machines
If you love barista style coffees and want to be able to make these at home without the hassle, pod coffee machines are a go to option. Pod coffee machines are a hit with households who prioritise convenience but also want a decent cup of coffee. This is our round up of the best pod coffee machines in the market today.
It is possible to get authentic and better coffee drinks at home with other coffee makers. But the pod machines score for creating consistent coffees that even a child can operate.
Since the time when we first stumbled into a shop seduced by adverts (or was that by George Clooney?!), felt overwhelmed by the range of machines there, got persuaded by the smooth sales talk, we've come a long way and learned a lot. We've tried to summarise these learnings by providing you with this guide to finding the best pod coffee machine for your needs.
What are pod coffee machines?
Pod coffee machines are those into which you put in a coffee pod or capsule that holds the coffee. The machine then makes the coffee by passing hot water under pressure through these pods. This pressure is like the commercial barista machines, which results in the creation of a crema on top of an espresso.
The pods are single use. In under half a minute typically, you can create a respectable and reliable cup of coffee for one person from one pod.
How do I choose a capsule coffee machine?
1. Types of drink
Some machines can make only coffee. The option is to choose a small or large coffee and if it has a milk frother as part of the machine, then whether you want to add milk and/or froth to the coffee. There are machines that can make a range of drinks including great hot chocolates or even teas. You then have one machine that makes all the drinks in your home.
Do you have expectations to the life of the pod coffee machine? It is a function of how much you use it, but some last about 12 months and others go on for several years.
Barista style machines are complex and need careful cleaning and regular descaling. One of the advantages of the pod coffee machines is that they are easy to clean and maintain including doing the descaling.
As a kitchen appliance that will probably sit on your counter all the time, the colour and style might matter considerably to you. If this is the case, you can look at the specific styles that interest you the most.
Flavour of the coffee does vary across machines. If you are keen about the flavour, then look at brands of machine which gives you the maximum options you can choose from. The options where you can have coffees from various brands might be better than being locked into the same brand of coffee as your machine.
6. Price Point
When you look at the price, do factor in the cost of not just the machine, but also the pods. There are budget options if you want to try out and see if you get on with these machines. We’d suggest you make sure that what you want is convenience when you look at the top price range. At that price, you can certainly get a barista style machine at home along with a grinder and make a fresh bean to cup coffee daily.
We don’t rate the machines we’ve reviewed on how large or small they are, but this maybe something you want to factor in, if you are short of space on the counter.
The main pod machine brands
The main pod coffee machine brands you’ll come across are Nespresso, Dolce Gusto and Tassimo.
The single serve capsule coffee machine was pioneered by Nestle when Eric Favre created the first Nespresso system in 1976. Since then, with the interest of householders to have convenient decent tasting espresso based coffee drinks, they also added a budget end pod or capsule coffee machines branded as the Dolce Gusto machines.
Kraft Foods created the Tassimo series in 2004. These are now manufactured by Bosch and branded as the Bosch Tassimo machines.
Price range of pod coffee machines
The price range of pod coffee machines that we’ve reviewed here varies from around £35-£250. There are more expensive Nespresso machines that go into the £400-500 price bracket.
There are costs of the pods to factor into the running costs of your machine. The typical price for coffee pods vary from £0.25-0.4 per pod. This works out to about £20-32 a month if you make about 20 coffees a week.
If you are stepping into the expensive price bracket for the machine, you may want to consider whether what you really want is the convenience or the best coffee. If it’s the latter, there are options to get great espresso and espresso based coffees at home for a much lower price.
Best Pod Coffee Machines
This is our list of the best 5 pod coffee machines.
Your First Pod Coffee Machine with Budget Constraints
1. If this is your first pod coffee machine, the Tassimo Vivy is a best seller in this category because it’s easy to use, reliable with a budget price.
2. If the looks and style matter as much, the Dolce Gusto Mini Me is one to consider.
3. If looks and style matter as well as the flavour of coffee, then the Nespresso Inissia is the option to consider
4. If looks and style matter, you like Nescafe instant, but you are on a tight budget, Dolce Gusto Melody is one to consider but you must manage the water flow to create the right coffee for you.
Best Flavoured Coffee With a Fresh Milk Frother
5. The Nespresso Latissima is the best option to get the nicest flavoured consistent coffee with an integrated fresh milk frother. It is also an upgrade path from a lower budget pod machine.
Bosch Tassimo Vivy
Read the complete review of the Bosch Tassimo Vivy here.
Dolce Gusto Mini Me
Read the full review here.
You can read the complete review here.
To read the full review of the Nespresso Inissia click here.
Dolce Gusto Melody
To read the full review, click here.
Like many things in life, starting simple and on a budget so that you can get your head around the basics of a new gadget, especially if what you've had at home is instant coffee is a sensible approach. And pod coffee machines help you begin your journey into the world of coffee by letting you have good consistent barista style coffees at home.
Need to know about the best pods for these machines? Then why not read our article on the best coffee pods.