Are Bean To Cup Machines Any Good? Detailed Analysis!

Are Bean To Cup Machines Any Good? main image
Are Bean To Cup Machines Any Good?

So you’re thinking of taking the plunge and getting yourself a shiny new bean to cup coffee machines. But you are wondering – are bean to cup machines any good? In this article, we are going to take a look at just that.

Bean to cup coffee machines are those take whole beans and grind them on-demand before brewing them to serve up your coffee. Many also come with integrated milk frothers whilst some have manual frothers that will allow you to make milk-based coffee as well as black coffee.

Are Bean To Cup Machines Any Good?: Pros

Are Bean To Cup Machines Any Good? Advantages and Disadvantages

So are these bean to cup machines any good? Let’s take a look at some of the main benefits first to try to understand this.

Fresh Coffee

One of the most significant benefits of bean to cup coffee machines above any other is the fact that they can provide freshly ground coffee whenever you need them to. Bean to cup machines will usually come fitted with an integrated bean grinder that will grind them down as the machine makes your desired drink. This results in coffee that is as fresh as it could probably be when you are making coffee at home with a machine.

This level of freshness cannot be matched by ground coffee machines or pod machines which are usually the two main alternatives when looking for automated and semi-automated coffee makers.

The shorter the time between grinding beans and drinking the coffee that is brewed from them, the fresher the aromas and quality. As soon as the beans are ground and become exposed to oxygen, their aroma starts to fade. This is why having a grinder in a coffee machine that can get them ready only at the point of use is such a critical factor in making bean to cup coffee machines so effective for home use.

With pre-ground coffee on the other hand you could be serving up espressos from bags that have sat on the supermarket shelf for a number of weeks and do not have the same level of intensity.

Of course, whether using whole beans in a bean to cup or ground coffee, the main factor in terms of freshness is the roast date for the beans. However, assuming the same roast date for coffee made from a bean to cup machine rather than ground coffee would typically be fresher.

Automatic Drinks With Wide Selection

For many when they buy a new appliance they want it to be able to do everything for them at the touch of a button or two. This is no different with coffee machines. For some, the appeal of a coffee machine is the fact it makes coffee far more accessible even for those who have no experience of making it other than watching a barista at their favourite coffee shop.

This is where bean to cup machines also shine. Many bean to cup coffee machines have fully automatic options for a wide range of coffee drinks from espressos through to lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. With the press of one button or two, some machines will dispense a fresh cup of cappuccino within a few minutes.

This means despite your level of experience, you are potentially able to get your favourite coffee beverage made to the same level of quality every time with just the touch of a button.

Save You Time and Effort

Of course, a kitchen appliance would not be worth anything if it didn’t offer some kind of saving in terms of time or effort.

Bean to cup coffee machines are able to offer potential savings in time as well as effort.

If you’ve ever watched a latte being made in a coffee shop you’ll know the number of steps needed to get from bean to cup. All this takes time and effort that most people do not wish to manually expend every time they want their favourite cup of coffee.

This is where bean to cup machines show their value as they can save the user the time and effort involved with making their desired coffee.

Rather than going through each stage manually, with a bean to cup coffee machine the user can press a button, prepare their cup and carry on about their business coming back when their drink is ready.

Some Take Pre-Ground Coffee As Well

An added bonus with many bean to cup coffee machines is the fact they can be used with pre-ground coffee as well as beans.

This provides additional flexibility and also variety in terms of the coffee choice.

It’s also a nice bonus effectively getting two types of machines in one unit.

Multiple Drinks

There are many bean to cup machines that will make other drinks such as hot chocolate and tea in addition to coffee.

This can be useful if you are in a home where others do not drink coffee but still like a hot beverage and also gives you some extra choices for those occasions when you want something different.

Hand-picked list of Premium Bean to Cup Coffee Machines

If, by now, you’ve made up your mind and decided to buy bean-to-cup-coffee-machine then we can help you providing list of hand picked 4 premium machines that are multi-functional and provide all brewing options. Here is the list of 4 Fully Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machines;

  • Delonghi Eletta (ECAM 44660B Black): A super-automatic MULTIFUNCTIONAL espresso coffee machine with an adjustable grinder, double boiler, milk frothermaker for brewing espresso, cappuccino, latte, macchiato & Flat white. This is Fully Automatic Bean to Cup Coffee Machine, Cappuccino and Espresso Maker.
  • Siemens EQ.500 (TQ505GB9 Black): Bean to Cup Fully Automatic Freestanding Coffee Machine.
  • De’Longhi (ECAM 22.360.B Black): Bean to Cup Coffee Machine, Plastic, 1450 W, 1.8 liters.
  • Sage Barista Pro Espresso Machine: Bean to Cup Coffee Machine, Espresso and Cuppuccino Maker, SES878BSS, Brushed Stainless Steel.

Are Bean To Cup Machines Any Good?: Cons

Like any appliance, bean to cup coffee machines can have their drawbacks. Let’s take a look at some of these now.

Can Be Expensive

Perhaps the most significant drawback of bean to cup coffee machines is that they tend to be quite expensive. Indeed they are typically the most expensive type of coffee machine when compared to pod and ground coffee makers.

This can often be because of the fully integrated coffee making process that is contained within the machine which also includes a bean grinder which is not present in any other type of machine.

Some of the best-rated bean to cup machines available on the market are priced between £500 – £800 though there are decent machines available for less whilst some of the most expensive can go beyond £2,000.

Though the upfront cost of a bean to cup coffee machine tends to be more than a pod machine, they are cheaper to run as you do not have expensive capsules to buy.

Typically Large

Another potential downside for some when it comes to bean to cup coffee machines is the fact they can often be on the larger side.

Given the number of functions they have to squeeze into a single unit, it’s perhaps no surprise some of them can end up looking large and bulky at times.

Increasingly, however, there are more machines that aim to be as compact as possible.

In any case, just as with any new appliance you’re looking to introduce into your kitchen be sure to check the space available against the dimensions of any machine you wish to go for.

Grinders Can Be Noisy

For some, a potential downside of bean to cup machines is the fact that the grinders can sometimes be noisy when in operation.

Though for any given cup of coffee it’s not a phase that will last too long for some individuals this could be a concern particularly if they want to make coffee in the early hours when others might be easily disturbed.

Having said that though it is not uncommon for various kitchen appliances to make some kind of noise but if this is a concern then it may be best to keep an eye out for other user’s commentary on the noise level.

Conclusion: Are Bean To Cup Machines Any Good?

So, are bean to cup machines any good? Overall despite some possible drawbacks such as the upfront cost and the potential for taking up significant counter space, bean to cup machines have a number of significant upsides that make them an attractive option when it comes to picking a coffee maker. With their ability to offer unrivaled freshness in the coffee they dispense, ground on demand, and the potential for extensive automatic menus, bean to cup machines offer some notable benefits to coffee lovers.

Coffee Machine vs Kettle

coffee machine vs kettle; main image

So you have a trusty old kettle to up your water to make your favourite coffee but quite like the idea of a shiny new coffee machine that will whip up a delicious latte at the touch of a button. Coffee machine vs kettle; a common kitchen battle. Perhaps rivaled only by the old toaster vs oven or microwave vs oven.

Let’s see how these two appliances stack up against each other when it comes to getting you the coffee you deserve every day.

Coffee Machine vs Kettle

Let’s now take a look at how things stack up between a coffee machine vs kettle on a range of different factors that you may want to consider.

Coffee Machine vs Kettle: Quality of Coffee

For some the real question when looking at a coffee machine vs kettle simply comes down to the quality of coffee that can be produced through each.

When using a kettle for most people it will be in aid of instant coffee. Some may then have a separate handheld milk frother or steamer to make their favourite milk-based drink. No matter how accomplished you are at making a cup of instant coffee, for many, this could never compare to the aroma and taste of a brew made from freshly ground beans in a bean to cup machine for example.

That encapsulates a major advantage of coffee machines over kettles; the quality of coffee on offer. With a bean to cup coffee machine, for example, your coffee beans are ground at the time you make your coffee which means they are as fresh as possible. Unlike with instant coffee made with hot water from a kettle, your beans are freshly ground and then brewed when you want them resulting in fuller aromas and higher-quality taste.

For many, there is no contest in terms of coffee quality between a cup made from a coffee machine vs kettle.

Coffee Machine vs Kettle: Time

Time spent or saved is a key consideration for many when it comes to selecting a kitchen appliance. Kitchen appliances are supposed to make our lives easier by cutting to the chase in a way that hopefully results in higher quality output than we otherwise would have been able to achieve ourselves manually.

A kettle saves you time by you not having to put a pan of water on the stove and wait for it to boil. You not only save some time but it’s also safer to have water boiling in a container at the back of the kitchen counter than having to boil it in a pan.

A coffee machine, however, not only saves you time when it comes to boiling water for your coffee but will also brew it for you as well. There are many people who of course use coffee machines to also heat hot water they need for tea and other drinks which does save time. But the biggest advantage for a coffee machine over a kettle in terms of time is that it doesn’t just stop at saving you some time and effort involved in boiling the water; it finishes the job entirely.

Coffee Machine vs Kettle: Versatility

When it comes to appliances, the more jobs one can do the better for you. It will usually mean that you will have to spend less overall on multiple appliances that cover different jobs.

For example, if you consider getting a blender for soup, a food processor to cut up your vegetables, and a smoothie maker for your favourite breakfast recipes that could be a lot of money and counter space taken up by machines doing similar jobs that could be combined. In that instance, you could just get one multi-purpose food processor and blender that could potentially do all 3 or 2 of the jobs. This is the same with looking at the versatility involved in the coffee machine vs kettle battle. A kettle will only boil your water – that’s it.

A coffee machine, on the other hand, depending on what you choose, could boil your water, brew an espresso, make a milk-based coffee drink as well as hot chocolate in some cases. Some coffee machines could make drinks such as cappuccinos or lattes at the touch of a button from start to finish including grinding your beans, brewing the coffee, frothing the milk, and dispensing it all into a cup.

This versatility could potentially mean you don’t actually need a separate kettle as well as a coffee machine. It also means with a coffee machine you could have an appliance that caters to multiple needs and tastes.

Coffee Machine vs Kettle: Cost

It’s difficult to talk about the merits of a coffee machine vs kettle without talking about the cost of each.

You can pick up a nice quality kettle from around £25 – £40 without much fuss though some can go for well over £100. Thereafter there are no substantial running costs with only electricity and water needed for it to fulfill its purposes as well as of course your choice in instant coffee. Perhaps the more significant challenge cost-wise is finding a reliable kettle that can be used multiple times a day and last a good number of years.

When it comes to the cost of coffee machines, on the other hand, they typically cost more if you are after one of the main three types of automatic/semi-automatic coffee machines (pod/capsule; bean to cup; ground). A pod/capsule type of coffee machine could be around £40/50 at the lower end and go well above £100 on the other end. Although pod machines are relatively cheap upfront when compared to the other two main types, they tend to be far more expensive in the long-run in terms of running costs due to the cost of the pods needed to make the coffee.

Bean to cup machines tend to be the most expensive of the 3 types but also make the freshest coffee and can be fully automatic from end to end. These can range from around £200 all the way to £2000 and beyond though £500 – £800 will typically get you a very well rated machine. The ongoing cost of bean to cup machines then predominantly come from the inputs for the coffee most significantly the whole beans as well as milk and water depending on your level of consumption.

With ground coffee machines you can typically find units available from around £100 – £400 with the ongoing running costs then largely attributable to obtaining ground coffee as well as your milk and water supply.

All in all, when it comes to the cost in the coffee machine vs kettle stakes, it is clear that coffee machines regardless of the type will end up costing more than using the humble kettle to make your coffees.

Coffee Machine vs Kettle: Styles and Colour Available

For many people buying a new kitchen appliance is more than just a search for the best functionality, quality, and price. There are many who will not add a new kitchen appliance to their countertop unless it matches the theme and style of their kitchen and existing appliances. Whether it’s a dazzling red or glossy silver finish, they’ll try and ensure that each new appliance complements the rest and the design of the kitchen. For these individuals, the style and colour that appliances are available in becomes critical to the purchasing decision.

When looking at the availability of different styles and colours of coffee machines vs kettles, kettles come out very well though coffee machines do also offer some possibilities.

Russell Hobbs Legacy Quiet Boil

Russell Hobbs Legacy Quiet Boil

Russell Hobbs Legacy Quiet Boil

Black

Cream

Red

Look in any store for kettles and you can typically find several different styles whether it’s a retro look with one or two buttons or a modern stainless steel and simple finish all the way through to those with transparent bodies that allow you to see the water boiling and monitor the build-up of limescale more closely. Then when it comes to the availability of different colours it is quite common to see one model of kettle available in multiple colours. There are also many kettles that can be purchased as part of a set with a toaster with the same style and colour.

Increasingly, however, coffee machines can also offer a range of possibilities in terms of colours available. Pod/capsule coffee machines which can come in a range of different styles depending on the brand and also can sometimes be found in multiple colours.

Melitta Solo

Melitta Solo

Melitta Solo

Red

Black

Silver

There are also a number of bean to cup coffee machines that are available typically in black or silver colours. There are also some that come in black, silver as well as red.

Overall though, when it comes to the range of different styles and choice in colours between coffee makers and kettles, kettles have the edge.

Coffee Machine vs Kettle: Space Taken Up

Regardless of how big or small, your kitchen is, space is always valued. This is why making sure that any appliance you go for will fit well into your space requirements is important.

In terms of space, there can be significant differences in terms of footprint between a coffee machine vs kettle depending on the type of coffee machine you opt for.

Kettles do not typically take up too much space and can often have one of the smallest footprints on the kitchen counter when compared to other everyday appliances such as toasters and microwaves. They are also usually compact with typically two separate parts; the heating base and water jug.

Coffee machines on the other hand can vary in terms of their footprint depending on the type of machine. Pod/capsule machines would typically have the closest footprint and size to most kettles. They are also usually relatively compact.

Bean to cup and ground coffee machines on the other hand are much larger in size than your typical kettle. This is can be particularly the case with bean to cup machines which also include an integrated bean grinder.

Though pod coffee machines compare well to kettles in terms of size, if you are after a bean to cup or ground coffee machine, they’ll take up more space than a typical kettle.

Conclusion: Coffee Machine Vs Kettle

So coffee machine vs kettle, which appliance wins? Ultimately this will depend largely on your preferences, your upfront budget as well as how much you want to spend going forward and how important high-quality coffee made at home is to you. Both coffee machines and kettles have their respective merits but when it comes down to it if you are simply interested in making the best cup of coffee possible at home, then a coffee machine will probably be the way you lean.

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica: Main title
Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica: Which is best for you?

Can’t decide between the Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica? Well, let’s delve into the respective differences between these two highly regarded bean to cup coffee makers.

Note: As an Amazon Associate we earn a commission from qualifying purchases you may make through one of the links on this article. This does not affect how much you pay for the product.

Name

Eletta
Autentica

Display

Shop Now

Model Number

ECAM44.660.B

ETAM 29.510.B

Milk Frother

Automatic

Manual

Coffee Type

Bean or Pre-Ground

Bean or Pre-Ground

Size

26cm(L) x 46cm (D) x 36cm (H)

19.5cm(L) x 48cm (D) x 34cm (H)

Capacity

400g bean container; 2 litre water tank

200g bean container; 1.4 litre water tank

Colour

Black

Black

Digital Display

Yes

No

What Users Think

Excellent machine; milk temperature could be warmer

Fantastic machine; water tank could be bigger

When it comes to picking a coffee machine from Delonghi, there’s plenty of choice. Two particular machines you may be considering are the Delonghi Eletta and the Delonghi Autentica.

In this article we are going to take a look at how they compare in terms of:

  • Choice of Coffee
  • Milk Frother
  • Type of Coffee It Takes
  • Customisation
  • Size & Capacity
  • Ease of Use
  • What Users Think

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica

Let’s start by taking a brief look at each model.

Delonghi Eletta (ECAM 44.660.B, Black – Capuccino)

When we are referring to the Delonghi Eletta in this article we are specifically referring to the Delonghi Eletta ECAM 44.660.B, black (“Cappucino”). Note that there are few variations of the Eletta available so be sure to check before purchasing that you are looking at the one you want.

Delonghi Autentica (ETAM 29.510.B, Black)

When talking about the Delonghi Autentica we specifically mean the Delonghi Autentica (ETAM 29.510.B, Black). Once more be sure to verify you are dealing with the correct model when it comes to making your selection.

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica: Choice of Coffee

For a lot of people, the variety in choices of coffee from a machine is a critical factor in how they make their decision. This is particularly important if you are specifically looking for those bean to cup machines that can produce your favoured choice of coffee at the touch of a button in automatic fashion.

When it comes to choice of coffee the Delonghi Eletta firstly offers a range of espressos as well as milk based choices with automatic operation:

  • single/double espresso;
  • ristretto;
  • single/double long coffee;
  • espresso machiato
  • Cafelatte or latte
  • Capuccino
  • Latte Macchiato

Outside of the automatic setting you can also whip up a flat white or Americano when you want to.

With the Delonghi Autentica, you also get a number of drinks with automatic operation:

  • Single/double espresso
  • Ristretto
  • single/double long coffee
  • Doppio plus (an extra large double shot espresso with extra caffeine)

Aside from the auto choices, you can also make:

  • Caffelatte/Latte
  • Capuccino
  • Flat White
  • Americano
  • Latte Machiato
  • Espresso Macchiato

When it comes to the choices of coffee you can make with the Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica both have a number of automatic selections though the Eletta has more options including several milk-based drinks.

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica: Milk Frother

If you’re a fan of milk-based drinks such as a cappuccino, latte, or macchiato then a milk frother will be something you want to look out for in any coffee machine you go for. These are typically either automatic or manually operated (sometimes with a steam wand).

When it comes to milk frothers both the Delonghi Eletta and Delonghi Autentica come equipped with one.

The Delonghi Eletta comes with an automatic milk frother built into the unit. This system can create both frothed and steamed milk for your choice of drink. The froth level can also be adjusted depending on the amount of froth you’d like for a particular drink allowing for no froth, a minimum amount, and a large quantity.

Quite helpfully the milk frother also has an auto cleaning function to help you maintain it.

With a compact rectangular shape, the milk carafe (container) is relatively straightforward to store in the fridge if necessary.

To help you keep track of how much milk is left in the carafe, it is transparent so you’ll never be surprised with an empty container when making a milk-based drink.

The Autentica on the other hand comes with a traditional manual milk frother that you can use to warm up your milk or prepare it for a foamy or creamy texture to go into your choice of beverage.

If you are looking for a machine with a hands-off approach to milk frothing for your favourite drinks then the Delonghi Eletta would make a better choice of the two as the Autentica will require you to manually froth the milk. If you don’t mind getting more hands-on and learning how to make barista-style milk-based drinks then the Autentica may be the better option.

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica: Type of Coffee It Takes

Both the Delonghi Eletta and Delonghi Autentica are bean to cup coffee machines.

For many coffee lovers, there’s no other type of coffee machine they would consider outside of a bean to cup machine. These give you the freshest coffee possible out of the various types of coffee making machines available for the home.

There are many though who also quite like the quick convenience of pre-ground coffee machines.

The Delonghi Eletta will take whole beans to be ground and brewed into your desired drink. However, quite usefully the Eletta can also take pre-ground coffee giving you additional flexibility in terms of the varieties of coffee you can use.

This could be particularly handy if there’s a type of bean you like that you can only source in pre-ground supply. It also means if you’re ever keen to avoid the noise from the grinder you have that option. Do note though that you’ll only be able to make one cup at a time when using pre-ground coffee.

The Autentica can also quite helpfully take pre-ground coffee though once again you’ll only be able to make one cup at a time.

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica: Customisation

With customisation features available a coffee machine will sometimes allow the user to choose the strength of their coffee, as well as quantity and in the case of bean to cup machines, grind level. In addition, there are some that will allow a user to create a program with specific preferences so that they do not have to keep re-entering the same combination each time they want that specific coffee.

The Delonghi Eletta has a range of 5 options for the strength in taste of its coffee ranging from “extra mild” through to “extra strong”. This setting regulates the number of beans that are ground for any given drink; the more beans per cup, the stronger the taste.

When it comes to the quantity it will allow you to choose between a short, standard, long, and extra-long coffee.

It is also equipped with a “my coffee” setting which will allow you to select the desired amount of coffee you want and then save it for repeated use. The setting will allow you to adjust the volume to your liking up to a maximum of 180ml in a cup.

The Eletta will also allow you to choose the temperature of the water used to make your coffee.

In terms of strength selection, the Autentica comes with a dial that will let you go from minimum strength (extra mild) through to maximum (extra strong). In terms of quantity of coffee in a cup, the Autentica has the option of changing the standard amount delivered in a short or long coffee.

In addition, the Autentica also has a function that will allow you to choose the temperature of the water used to brew your coffee.

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica: Size & Capacity

The size of any appliance to be added to the kitchen counter is always important particularly if you are tight on space. This is the same with coffee machines and bean to cup makers can sometimes be on the larger side due to the functions they can incorporate into their unit and the addition of a grinder in comparison to pod and ground machines.

The Delonghi Eletta in question has a footprint of 26cm(L) x 46cm (D) x 36cm (H). The Autentica discussed on the other hand sits at 19.5cm(L) x 48cm (D) x 34cm (H). As we can see the Eletta has a longer length and height but slightly shorter depth.

The Eletta comes with a 1.75m cable length whilst the Autentica is supplied with a 1.05m plug cable length.

The Eletta comes with a 400g bean container and 2 litre water tank whilst the Autentica is equipped with a 200g whole bean container and a 1.4 litre water tank.

The water tank on the Eletta quite helpfully is positioned on the side of the machine which makes it relatively straightforward to take out and fill up. With the Autentica on the other hand, the tank is positioned at the back of the machine.

Both machines allow you to make two drinks at once. Both macIn terms of pressure, both machines come equipped with 15bars.

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica: Ease of Use

In terms of ease of use typically users will want a machine that they can get used to without too much difficulty. A large part of this will come down to the control panel and the level of automation involved. Generally speaking, the more automatic features involved, the easier it will be to make the most out of the machine particularly for those who have little or no desire to get too hands-on.

The Delonghi Eletta comes with a touch-controlled panel and a one-touch operation for a number of drinks including milk-based options such as cappuccinos and lattes. The various functions of the buttons on the control panel are detailed in the instruction manual as you would expect.

The Autentica has a soft-touch control panel as well as dials for selecting the strength and another for steam/hot water. Quite helpfully the instruction manual also covers the operation of the touch panel.

Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica: What Users Think

When it comes to how users feel about the Delonghi Eletta, it appears to receive fairly universal praise. Many users mention how easy the machine is to use, noting the simplicity of the panel as well as setup instructions. Several users also note easy it is to clean the machine and maintain it though some users do note that the drip tray does not provide a level notification when it’s full so you’ll need to keep a careful watch.

Something else that seems to impress a significant number of users is how well put together the pre-set drinks are though some do note that the flat whites do not always come out as well as the other milk-based drinks.

A number of users do note some concerns with the temperature of the milk, though not a universal complaint, this is still something to pay attention to if you like your coffee on the hotter side. Many users also note that they can get their desired temperature by heating up their glass or cup beforehand for milk-based drinks.

The Autentica appears to get generally universally excellent ratings from users with many noting how well it makes their coffee. Several users like the compact nature of the Autentica and its style.

The main complaint amongst otherwise very good feedback appears to be that some feel the water tank is too small and will require regular topping up. This they note is partly due to the fact the machine flushes the system on startup and shutdown. The water tank is at the back of the machine which means if you have your machine under your kitchen cupboards on the counter, you are likely to have to move it to access the tank lid which for some is a nuisance.

Conclusion – Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica

Overall when looking at the Delonghi Eletta vs Autentica there are lots of features to like with both machines. These are both stylish bean to cup coffee makers that also double up as pre-ground machines.

The Eletta will take up more space on your kitchen counter than the Autentica but you’ll get more water and bean capacity for it meaning you’ll need to intervene less. Quite helpfully the Eletta also has its water container on the side of the machine as opposed to the Autentica’s rear placement.

When it comes to the choices of coffee available with automatic operation, the Eletta has more options with several milk-based drinks available thanks to its automatic milk frother.

Generally, the Eletta takes less manual intervention than the Autentica, as you would expect with an automatic milk frother.

Both machines seem to get generally very good user reviews though the Autentica appears to have more consistent praise with only really the water tank capacity standing out in terms of drawbacks highlighted by customers.

Ultimately if an automatic milk frother and the options that offers as well as capacity is important to you then the Eletta may be the way to go between the two. However, if you have no particular need for the automatic milk frother and can live with fewer automatic drinks choices as well as the smaller water tank, then the Autentica appears to be a genuine crowd-pleaser. The choice is ultimately yours depending on what your budget and preferences are.


Delonghi Eletta (ECAM 44.660.B, Black – Capuccino)


Delonghi Autentica (ETAM 29.510.B, Black)

Bean To Cup vs Ground

Bean To Cup vs Ground; main image
Bean To Cup Vs Ground

When it comes to coffee makers two of the most common types available are bean to cup and ground coffee machines. But when it comes bean to cup vs ground, what the actual differences in terms of how they operate and their respective advantages? There are some key features as well as advantages and potential disadvantages of both that could be important when making your decision.

Below we’ll take a look at each type of coffee maker and delve into some of these key differences between bean to cup vs ground.

What Are Bean To Cup Machines?

Bean to cup coffee machines are those that use whole coffee beans to brew your coffee. The machines are fed who beans that are then passed through a grinder before being brewed and fashioned into your desired choice of beverage.

What Are Ground Coffee Machines?

Ground coffee machines are those that use already ground coffee to brew your espressos and help you make your favourite beverage. Unlike the bean to cup machines, they do not have a grinder and can take any

Bean To Cup vs Ground: Bean To Cup Coffee Makers

Bean To Cup Vs Ground: Two Cups

Let’s delve into bean to cup coffee makers first by looking at their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Bean To Cup Coffee Makers

Fresh Coffee

Perhaps the biggest advantage of using bean to cup coffee makers is the fact that you get fresh coffee that is ground at the point of use. This makes a significant difference when it comes to enjoying coffee that is as fresh as possible. Rather than using ground coffee that may have been sat in an opened bag for weeks before, you can get your coffee brewed from beans that are ground at the time you actually want to make it.

This is critical in terms of freshness as coffee begins to lose its potency in terms of flavour and aroma relatively quickly after it is ground. The more oxygen it comes into contact with the more this process is accelerated.

Out of the main three types of coffee makers built for convenience (pod; bean to cup; ground), the bean to cup variety delivers the freshest coffee as it is the only one that can take whole beans that are ground at the time they’re needed.

If fresh coffee is very important to you, a bean to cup coffee machine may be the way to go.

Wide Choice of Coffee

Another advantage of having a bean to cup coffee machine is the fact it allows you a wide range of choices in terms of the variety of coffee you can use.

As you are not bound by the type of preground coffee available like in the case of a ground machine, you can go as wide as your taste buds desire as long as you can find suitable beans for brewing.

In addition, there are some bean to cup coffee machines that can also take ground coffee giving you even more flexibility in terms of variety and how your coffee is made.

Take The Hassle Out With Automated Process

Typically bean to cup coffee machines available on the market will help you with automating the coffee-making process. Within a bean to cup machine you will typically find a grinder to turn the beans into the fine ground coffee needed.

These can often have a variety of settings to allow you to choose the coarseness of the beans. This will then be accompanied by a boiler of sorts to heat up the water before a brewing unit gets to work and in many cases automatically tamps your coffee. Many have built-in milk frothing machines to give you a wide range of drinks.

All of these functions are typically packaged within a bean to cup coffee maker and easily accessible at the press or touch of a few buttons in many cases. Increasingly bean to cup coffee machine manufacturers are producing units that require limited intervention aside from making your selection on the type of drink you want. There are also some that can save your favourite settings for future use.

Variety of Drinks

As well as your favourite espresso many bean to cup coffee machines can also turn out your favourite latte and cappuccino style coffees. With many coming with either an automated milk frother or a manual frother, you have a wide range of options in terms of the type of drink you would like.

There are some machines that can also brew tea as well as hot chocolate helping you to get the most out of your appliance at home.

Make Two Drinks At Once

As well as allowing you to make a variety of drinks, many bean to cup coffee machines also allow you to make two drinks at a time. This works well if you have guests over or have two of you in the home who both enjoy a morning espresso. s

Disadvantages of Bean To Cup Coffee Makers

Can Be Large

Due to the number of built-in functions bean to cup coffee machines can sometimes be relatively large. This is also often driven by the grinders which can take up some space within the unit.

The size of the unit is something to consider if you have a particular place on your kitchen counter where you would like the machine to go. Some can also tend to look bulky so if style is a key consideration you’ll need to be discerning when making your selection though there are plenty of models available that could potentially fit the bill.

Can Be Expensive

One potential downside when it comes to bean to cup machines is that they can often be relatively expensive. Prices can vary significantly with models available from around £200 all the way up to £2000 and beyond with some of the best being around £500 – £800. A higher price though doesn’t of course always equate to better quality coffee and performance so keep that in mind when making your selection.

Sometimes Difficult To Clean

A potential disadvantage of bean to cup coffee machines is that they may sometimes be difficult to clean. This, however, is increasingly being negated with many machines that come with one-touch self-cleaning operations. It’s still worth keeping an eye out for any mention of maintenance and cleaning in customer reviews.

Noisey Grinders

Something else to look out for when it comes to bean to cup coffee machines is that the grinders can sometimes be noisey. This is of course a particular disadvantage when compared to ground coffee machines.

Bean To Cup vs Ground: Ground Coffee Makers

Ground coffee makers have several advantages as well as some disadvantages. Let’s delve into these below.

Bean To Cup Vs Ground: Multiple Espressos

Advantages of Ground Coffee Makers

Choice of Any Ground Coffee

A major advantage of ground coffee machines is the wide choice of coffee you get as you can use any ground coffee so long as it is the right grind level.

This opens up many possibilities in a similar fashion to bean to cup machines do.

More Control Over How Your Drink Is Made

Ground coffee machines typically allow you more control over how your drink is made than bean to cup and certainly pod machines. This is because you can control how much coffee goes into your drink as well as how it is tampered. You also then have control over how your milk is frothed which is particularly useful when making milk-based drinks such as cappuccinos and lattes.

Tend To Be Cheaper Than Bean To Cup

A significant advantage of ground coffee machines is that they are typically cheaper than bean to cup machines. With more manual controls and no grinder to contend with, ground coffee models can usually be found for far less than automatic bean to cup varieties.

Can Be Used With ESE Pods

To help make life even easier, ground coffee machines can also be used with Easy Serving Espresso (ESE) pods. The term “pod” may be a tad confusing as it can evoke thoughts of the coffee pods/capsules needed for Nespresso and other similar machines. These ESE pods though are more like tea bags but with coffee.

They can be used to help avoid some of the mess involved with crafting your own espresso. Rather than having to use the correct amount and then tamping it, ESE pods come with a pre-served amount of coffee (usually up to 7grams) and act like teabags. These will help to ensure you get your espresso but less hassle and less cleaning up to do afterward.

Despite the convenience, there are those who question the quality of taste with ESE pods. There is also the question of how much they will cost.

Disadvantages of Ground Coffee Machines

Not As Fresh As Bean To Cup

When it comes to freshness, a particular disadvantage of ground coffee machines when compared to bean to cup machines is the fact they will not produce coffee that is as fresh. This is simply because they cannot, of course, match the freshly ground coffee that bean to cup machines do.

Once coffee is ground is starts to lose its freshness as well as quality and aroma. Although ground coffee is packaged once it is ready by the time a bag is opened and finished it will have lost a certain amount of its freshness regardless.

Involves More Manual Preparation and Operation Than Bean To Cup

A potential downside for some is that ground coffee machines involve more manual preparation than bean to cup machines. With ground coffee machines there is a need to decide on the amount of coffee and then do the tampering which is a critical part of making a quality espresso.

Depending on the type of coffee you’re making you may then need to do the milk frothing if it’s a milk-based drink such as a cappuccino or a latte.

For some, of course, having to learn and use this skill is part of the fun of making your own coffee, however, others may not have the time nor inclination to hone these skills at home.

May End Up With Inconsistent Results

As a result of the more hands-on approach required with a ground coffee machine, you are more likely to end up with inconsistencies between one cup to the next.

As there is more manual intervention as opposed to an automated drink from a bean to cup machine, there’s also more room for inconsistent results in taste from one cup to the next.

Bean To Cup vs Ground: Conclusion

So, now that we’ve taken a look at the various merits between a bean to cup vs ground coffee machine and gotten a better idea of their respective strengths; what works best for you? That will really come down to how hands-on you want to get when making your coffee as well as other considerations such as how important freshness is to you and how much you want to spend.

Pod Coffee Machine vs Ground

Pod Coffee Machine vs Ground: Title image
Pod Coffee Machine vs Ground
  • Pod coffee machines are becoming ever more popular as coffee lovers look for premium quality brews that can be made with real ease. But when it comes to comparing a pod coffee machine vs ground, how do they stack up? In this article we’re going to take a look at just that by delving into several key factors covering:
    • Ease of Use
    • Milk Frothing
    • Variety of Coffee
    • Typical Features
    • Size
    • Environmental Impact
    • Freshness of Coffee
    • Price & Ongoing Cost
  • Note: As an Amazon Associate we earn a commission from qualifying purchases you may make through one of the links on this article. This does not affect how much you pay for the product.

How Do Pod Coffee Machines Work?

Let’s start by taking a look at how do pod coffee machines work. Pod coffee machines are those designed to brew coffee from small pods or capsules. These capsules are filled with pre-ground coffee usually to make single-serve coffee.

To use the machine, the pod is placed into the machine whereupon the press of a button it is then perforated and hot water is run through the ground coffee to make your drink of choice.

How Do Ground Coffee Machines Work?

Ground coffee machines work by taking ground coffee beans rather than pods or fresh beans to make your brew. They look like similar but smaller versions of the espresso machines you might see in a coffee shop.

Pod Coffee Machine vs Ground

Let’s now delve into the key differences as well as advantages and disadvantages of pod coffee machines vs ground coffee machines.

Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use pod coffee machines are on one end of the spectrum for their simplicity whilst ground coffee machines are probably on the other end.

With pod coffee machines you typically only have a few steps to get your brew; step 1 – select your choice of pod and insert into the machine, step 2 – press the start button, and wait for your brew. There’s really not much to it and goes a long way to explaining why pod coffee sales grew some 53% in 2019 alone.

Even if you’ve never made coffee before with a pod machine, the process is simplified making high-quality coffee accessible to more people even without the usual skill normally associated with making quality coffee.

Ground machines on the other hand do require some getting used to as there are a number of variables to factor in when making your desired drink. With ground coffee machines you need to ensure you are using the right amount of coffee. The other key aspect and skill required is ensuring that you are tamping correctly therefore helping to evenly distribute the coffee and compressing it sufficiently.

When it comes to ease of use and comparing a pod coffee machine vs ground your preference may depend on how much time you want to spend actually making your coffee and learning the necessary skills you need to operate a ground coffee machine to get the most out of it.

Milk Frothing

When it comes to milk frothing to allow you to make you favourite latte or cappuccino, both pod machines and ground coffee machines have some options.

There pod machines available that come equipped with automatic milk frothers that are built into the machine. These will take milk from a dedicated container froth it accordingly and then add it directly into your cup.

Whilst there are other pod machines that are available with milk frothing accessories that will allow you to froth the milk independently and then add it to your drink. There are also milk pods that can be used with some specific models of pod coffee machines to dispense froth directly into your cup of coffee.

Ground coffee machines can also be fitted with automatic milk frothing functions. There are also plenty of ground coffee machines that come with steam wands. These will use steam to create the froth in your milk.

Variety of Coffee

When it comes to the variety available in terms of coffee beans, there are distinct differences between pod coffee machines and ground coffee machines.

With a pod coffee machine, you are restricted to the varieties available from the manufacturer of the machine or pods made to fit it from others.

There are of course now a myriad of different varieties of coffees available from pods but in many cases you are still limited to what you can buy and in some instances where you can buy as some are only available to order online. This ultimately can limit your choice of beverage.

Ground coffee machines on the other hand do not have such restrictions and can take pretty much any coffee bean as long as it ground to the right level required. This opens up all types of ground coffee variety and provides you with much more choice.

Typical Features

When it comes to features within the machines, ground coffee makers provide more versatility when compared to pod machines.

As well as the milk frothing features and accessories covered above, there are some ground coffee makers that will also allow you to use beans that are then put through a grinder as well as pre-ground coffee. These are effectively 2-in-1 (bean to cup and ground coffee) machines but it is versatility you cannot find in a pod coffee machine.

In addition there also ground coffee machines available that will take both ground coffee as well as pods .

There are some ground coffee machines that will also allow you to make other types of drinks such as tea and hot chocolate.

With pod coffee machines in addition to milk frothers, there are also some that can make other drinks such as hot chocolate and tea.

Size

Like a lot of appliances when it comes to coffee machines you also need to factor in the space you have available.

If kitchen counter space is a primary concern and you don’t mind how you get your coffee then a pod coffee machine may be the way to go. Pod coffee machines tend to be fairly compact and with a relatively small footprint when compared to ground coffee machines as well as bean to cup machines.

As they have fairly limited functions with no need for a grinder as well as a large water tank, their footprint tends to be small.

Ground coffee machines on the other hand have much more to fit into their systems and tend to be larger than pod coffee machines. Typically these can come with more components including a larger water tank, built-in tamper, and milk frother.

Environmental Impact

When it comes to the impact on the environment between a pod coffee machine vs ground, typically the debate hones on the impact of the consumption of pods. These can be difficult to recycle and many simply can’t be recycled with many ending up in landfill sites.

This causes concern when you consider that in the UK alone 95 million cups of coffee are consumed every day and a growing proportion of these are from single-serve pods. However, manufacturers have been focused for some time on trying to find ways to make it easier to recycle their pods with some offering dedicated recycling services.

Generally speaking though when it comes to environmental impact, the focus should be on the whole life-cycle as most of the energy is consumed in growing the coffee beans. This then means that what could make the difference is how efficiently those beans are then used when brewing coffee.

When it comes to pods, it is a fixed and limited amount for each cup whereas with ground coffee there can be variability depending on how it is made. The second-biggest energy consumer is the actual process of brewing the coffee. With a pod coffee machine, you only need to heat up a small amount of water for a single serving whilst with a ground coffee machine you could end up heating far more than you need.

Thus although pod coffee machines may make consumers feel bad when they think about the level of waste involved, in the long-run they can turn out to be more environmentally friendly than ground machines.

Freshness of Coffee

It is said that coffee beans start to lose their potency very soon after they are ground. The fresher the coffee beans at the point of use the better the coffee. Thus how ground coffee is stored becomes critical in helping to keep it fresh.

Coffee pods help with delivering relatively fresh coffee as the ground coffee is packed and kept airtight inside the pod until it is ready to be brewed. These may work particularly well for those who only drink coffee occasionally as they can buy the pods and use them as and when they need to and they’ll keep the coffee fresh.

With ground coffee, it is not typically stored in the same way i.e. compact single servings that can be kept fresh. The more oxygen coffee is exposed to the less fresh and potent it will be. Oxygen causes the breakdown of the coffee cells as well as eliminating flavour and aromatic oils. To reduce the impact of this effect, you can store ground coffee in an airtight container once opened.

Price & Ongoing Cost

In terms of cost, pod coffee machines do relatively well upfront as they can be some of the cheapest coffee makers around. From as low as around £40 you can find some very highly rated pod coffee machines.

The cost of the pods, however, can mean you end up spending much more in the long-run than the low upfront cost of buying the machine might suggest. These can typically cost between 20p to 60p depending on the type and brand. Thus if you like to enjoy two cups a day of your favourite latte, you could end up spending £1 each day to feed your habit. This of course still works out cheaper than a typical cup of coffee from a cafe but worth noting if you were hoping to save money with your own coffee maker at home.

Indeed if you were hoping to save as much money as possible on buying coffee from a cafe by making your own at home with a machine, a ground coffee machine could work out cheaper than a pod machine in the long run. This is because out of the three main types of machines for home brewing (pod; bean to cup; ground), ground coffee machines tend to be the cheapest per cup. Though the machines themselves can range from anywhere between £100 to £400 and beyond, the relatively low cost of ground coffee means your costs per cup end up some way lower than with pod machines.

Pod Coffee Machine vs Ground: Conclusion

We’ve seen there a distinct difference between a pod coffee machine vs ground. If you’re looking for high-quality coffee but want it quickly and as hassle-free as possible then a pod coffee machine may be the way to go if you don’t mind paying the extra per cup than you would for a ground machine. If on the other hand you want more freedom in terms of coffee variety as well as flexibility in how your drinks are made, then a ground coffee machine may be a better choice than a pod. Either way you have plenty of options with both types of machines.


Pod Coffee Machine vs Ground: Tell Us Your Thoughts

Bean To Cup vs Pod Coffee Machine

When it comes to coffee machines that make espresso like beverages there are generally three main options; pod/capsules machines, bean to cup as well as ground. In this article, we’ll be covering the main differences between a bean to cup vs pod coffee machine.

There are plenty of options on the market today when it comes to picking a coffee maker at home and for many people the choice comes down to a bean to cup vs pod coffee machine.

We’ll then delve into some of the best options around for each type of machine.

Bean To Cup MachinesPod Coffee Machines
AdvantagesAdvantages
+ Saves you time+ Consistency in taste
+ Make fresh tasting coffee+Easy to use
+ Use a variety of beans+ Great if you want variety without skill
+ Easy to use+ Wide range of prices
DisadvantagesDisadvantages
– Can be large– Taste is not as fresh
– Sometimes more expensive than pod machines– Pods can make them costly
– More complicated to use than pod machines– Pods can be environmentally challenging

Bean To Cup vs Pod Coffee Machine: Bean To Cup

Let’s start by looking at the bean to cup machines first.

What Is a Bean To Cup Coffee Machine

Bean to cup machines work by allowing you to choose a type of whole coffee bean to be fed into the coffee maker to be ground and turned into your desired type of beverage at the press of a button. They are equipped with a bean grinder that will process the beans, they’ll then heat the water in the machine and produce your fresh coffee by releasing the hot water through the ground beans.

Most models will allow you to adjust the strength of your coffee as well as the amount you want produced.

Depending on the type of bean to cup machine you opt for, it may also be equipped with a milk frother to make more interesting beverages.

As many bean to cup machines combine a bean grinder, as well as an espressor maker and milk frother they are able to usually produce esperessors, lattes and cappucino.

Advantages of Bean To Cup Coffee Machines

Let’s take a look at some of the main advantages of a bean to cup coffee machine.

Easy To Use

The name of this type of coffee machine gives a pretty good indication of how easy it to use; bean to cup. One of the main advantages of using a bean to cup is how easy it is to turn your favourite coffee beans into a fresh cup of coffee. At just the press of a button or few, you can get a batch of coffee made just as you like in your own kitchen. They tend to be far less complicated to operate than ground coffee machines and filters.

Make Fresh Coffee

Another significant advantage of bean to cup machines for a lot of coffee lovers is the fact they allow you to make truly fresh coffee as the beans are ground when you need them. Rather than coming in a premade pod or being ground already, the beans in your bean to cup machine stay whole and fresh until they are fed into your machine. This helps produce arguably the freshest coffee of any of the main types of coffee makers at home.

The main reason why this is the case is due to the fact that beans start to lose some of their flavour once they are ground and left to sit.

If you value freshness above anything else then a bean to cup may be the way to go.

Produce A Varierty of Types of Coffees

bean to cup vs pod machine: coffee beans

As bean to cup machines rely on whole beans rather than specific pods, for example, you are able to use a variety of different beans for your coffee giving you a wide range of choices.

There are some machines that will also allow you to select the level of coarseness you want in your ground beans.

In some instances depending on the model, some machines will also handle ground beans as well.

Saves You Time

As bean to cup machines combine and automate the process of grinding, brewing, and sometimes frothing into one machine, they can save you time spent on bringing together your coffee. It can also mean you avoid buying different appliances to make your favourite style of coffee.

At the touch of a button, you can set the process in motion whilst you wait or go ahead and make the rest of your breakfast or whatever it is you need to do.

What Are The Disadvantages of Bean To Cup Coffee Machines

Can Be Large

As bean to cup coffee machines typically combine three different appliances into one unit, they tend to be quite large.

This will mean they can take up significant counter space on your kitchen worktop so this is something to keep in mind when making your selection.

Of course on the other hand, having one larger unit may be better than having 2 or 3 individual appliances to do the same job but it is nonetheless something to consider.

They are also usually far larger than pod coffee machines.

Can Sometimes Be Louder Than Pod Coffee Machines

As the bean to cup coffee machines need to actually grind coffee beans to make a batch they can tend to be noisy and noticeably more so than pod machines.

More Complicated Than Pod Coffee Machines

Another potential drawback with bean to cup coffee machines depending on what you are looking for is that they typically tend to be more complicated to use than pod machines. With a pod coffee machine, you simply pop in the pod and get the coffee you need without having to deal with too many variables.

With a bean to cup coffee machine on the other hand there are more choices and variables to deal with. Whilst this of course provides you with more choice and versatility in your drinks, it does also mean they can be more complicated to operate than the pod-style coffee machines. If ease of use is a big factor for you, then this something to certainly consider.

Can Be More Expensive Than Pod Coffee Machines

A potential drawback of bean to cup coffee machines when compared to pod coffee machines is the fact they tend to be more expensive.

As you are dealing with a type of coffee machine that has more sophisticated features, they usually draw higher prices as you would expect. However, this typically only applies to the upfront cost as pod machines although cheaper up front, tend to be more expensive to run due to the cost of the pods.

Bean To Cup vs Pod Coffee Machine: Pod Coffee Machine

Let’s now switch focus to the pod coffee machine and take a look at how they operate as well as their pros and cons particularly in relation to bean to cup coffee machines.

What Are Pod Coffee Machines?

Pod coffee machines are those that use pods or capsules of pre-ground coffee to make single-serve beverages.

Once the pod is inserted into the machine it is then pierced and hot water is then run through the ground coffee to brew your desired drink.

Some pod machines are also equipped with a milk frother or steam wand which can help with making lattes, cappuccinos, or other styles of beverages.

What Are The Advantages of Pod Coffee Machines?

Now we know what pod coffee machines are and how they work, let’s delve into their main advantages.

Easy To Use

Pod coffee machines are probably the easiest of the main coffee makers to use. You simply pop the pod into your coffee maker and with the press of a button or two you’ll be served your desired coffee.

Although bean to cup machines are relatively easy to operate, pod coffee machines are typically even easier as they have fewer options and variables for you to contend with.

If you do not want the hassle of figuring out various options every time you make your espresso then a pod-style coffee machine may be the way to go.

Consistency In Taste

A major advantage of pod coffee machines and one of the reasons why they are so popular is because they produce consistent results.

With just your choice of pod and typically few options (many have a single button), there’s not much that can vary from one cup of coffee to the next. This means once you find your favourite brew you’ll have good confidence that you can carry on replicating the taste time and again.

Saves Time

A major advantage of pod-style coffee machines is the amount of time they save when compared to other types including bean to cup varieties.

With only a pod to choose to get your machine started you save a lot of time, especially if you brew coffee regularly, even when compared to bean to cup as you do not have further choices to make on bean type, coarseness level as well as keeping track of the level of milk and water in your system.

There is also the time saved when it comes to cleaning the machines which can sometimes put some people off with more complicated machines and the amount of work sometimes needed.

With pod machines, you are typically dealing with smaller appliances and in some cases with parts that are dishwasher safe.

Great If You Want Variety Without Skill

Though some purests like to lament the decline of the barista as a result of home-use coffee machines and pod machines in particular, if you are a regular coffee drinker who just wants their favourite hit without much fuss, then pod machines are great.

With single-serve coffee pods becoming increasingly popular it is clear that there are plenty of people out there who simply want a great cup of their favourite coffee without worrying about all the intricate steps that may be required to brew one with a more complex machine.

It means that great quality coffee at home has become a lot more accessible to the general population as a major barrier (skill required) has been removed.

Wide Range of Price Points

Another significant advantage of pod coffee machines is the fact that they have a wide range of choice when it comes to pricing.

There are some highly-rated pod machines from some of the most well-known brands in this sector like Nespresso and Nescafe Dolce Gusto available from around £40. Whilst there are also bean to cup machines available for well under £100, it may be difficult to find one that can compare in terms of quality of output at that kind of price point.

However, with pod coffee machines although the upfront cost can be relatively inexpensive when compared to other types including bean to cups, the on-going costs can be much higher (more on that below).

What Are The Disdavantages of Pod Coffee Machines?

Here are some of the main drawbacks of pod coffee machines.

Lack Of Freshness

Coffee quickly starts to lose it potency and freshness once the beans are ground and exposed to oxygen. The finer the beans are ground, the more air they are exposed to due to their increased surface area. This is of course a general issue with making coffee but clearly affects pod and also machines that take ground coffee.

Thus the longer ground coffee beans remain unused after being ground the more freshness they lose. For this reason one of the downsides of using coffee pods is that the beans would have been ground some time ago by the point you come to use them. Though they will have been preserved in their pod, there level of freshness cannot compare to a bean to cup variety for example as their beans are not ground at the time of use.

Pods Can Be Costly

Although the upfront cost of a pod coffee machine can be relatively low, the ongoing cost to your pocket can build up. This is mainly due to the cost of the pods. These can range between £0.20 to £0.60 meaning if you could easily end up paying £1 per day if you like two cups of coffee every day. And that’s before you factor in the cost of the machine. Though this still works out cheaper than buying your coffee of course from a cafe, it’s still worth noting.

Environmental Cost?

Another major cost of using pod machines is the impact they have on the environment. The pods themselves are quite often non-biodegradable and difficult to recycle. Increasingly though, companies are developing degradable pods as consumers are conscious of this.

However, although single-serve coffee pods can be problematic to recycle, when looked at, on the whole, using pod coffee machines can actually turn out to be the most environmentally conscious way to make your coffee. This is because the main source of energy use when it comes to making your coffee is the amount spent on growing it. Thus it will then come down to how those beans are used and typically pod coffee machines will encourage better consumption as they have a set amount per cup.

The other main use of energy comes down to how the coffee is brewed. With pod style coffee machines, typically only the amount of water needed for a single serving is heated up unlike a bean to cup or ground or filter machine that could heat up the equivalent of 12 cups even though the user may only end up consuming a few.

Conclusion: Bean To Cup vs Pod Coffee Machine

So, bean to cup vs pod machine – which one is best for you? This will depend entirely on what type of coffee you want, how fresh you want it to be, how much you want to spend as well as a host of other factors. One of the key differentiators between the two though is the freshness of the coffee. If you cannot do without beans ground and brewed right when you are ready to consume them then a bean to cup machine is the way to go. If on the other hand, you value convenience and simplicity above anything else, then the pod coffee machine maybe your best bet.

Is It Worth Getting A Coffee Maker?

Is It Worth Getting A Coffee Maker? Main Image
Is It Worth Getting A Coffee Maker?

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages around. If you’re an avid fan you may be tempted to grab a coffee maker to do it yourself at home. But is it worth getting a coffee maker? In this article we’re going to take a look at some of the reasons why it may be worth you considering getting your own coffee maker and also some reasons why you might not want to.

Is It Worth Getting A Coffee Maker?: Reasons To Get One

Let’s start by taking a look at some reasons why it may be worth getting a coffee maker.

Saves You Money (In The Long-Run)

If you are regular coffee drinker and would consider making it yourself rather than buying it from a cafe every time then a coffee maker could definitely save you money.

Although you have to shell out for the upfront cost of a coffee maker, which depending on the type and model you go for can range from anywhere £30 – £900/£1,000, and the pods/capsules, beans or ground coffee, you are still likely to end up with cheaper cups of coffee than buying it in a shop.

There’s plenty of support that suggests that making your own coffee at home rather than buying it in your favourite coffee shop regularly could save you a significant amount of money every year.

If you’re someone who likes to have an espresso just as you get into your office or as you sit on the train, then you can find plenty of portable coffee mugs that will keep your brew nice and hot until you are ready to actually drink it.

Consistency

One of the main reasons many like the idea of getting a coffee maker is that it offers them more consistent results when it comes to their favourite brew.

Coffee makers help you to remove some of the variability involved with making your favourite style of coffee and offer a consistent way to do so. This is particularly the case with pod or capsule style coffee makers.

Coffee When You Want It

A major reason why getting a coffee maker may be worth it for you is that you’ll be able to have shop quality coffee whenever you want it.

Rather than having to time it into your commute or pop out to your nearest coffee shop, with a coffee maker at home you’ll be able to cater to your own needs whenever you want to.

For many this is reason enough to grab a coffee machine for home use as they spend enough time queuing up for coffee every morning when they could just press a button in their own kitchen and have theirs made within a few minutes.

Saves You Effort

As with any machine in your kitchen, having a coffee maker offers you a great deal of convenience and saves you on effort. Rather than having to manually put together your favourite style of coffee every morning, with the touch of a button you can get straight to your desired style of coffee.

As well as making things easier for you, it will also likely save you time from manually putting together your favourite beverage.

Better Quality Coffee

If you already make your own instant coffee at home without a machine, you are likely to find that you make better quality coffee with a dedicated machine.

Having a machine do it for you will also likely mean you are less interested in going into a cafe and buying an expensive cup.

More Control

One of the best things about having your own coffee machine at home is that it will give you more control over how your coffee is made and what goes into it. As great as it can be to get your favourite concotion from a major coffee shop, some of these beverages can sometimes be loaded with more sugar for example than you may want to consume, especially if you are doing so daily.

Making your own cups at home mean you’ll get to decide exactly what goes into your beverage from start to finish and control your calorie intake more effectively.

Great For Guests

If you’ve ever had to make a ton of coffee without a machine for guests at home then you may quickly appreciate why a coffee maker may be worth your while. With many machines available that can provide up to as many as 10 – 12 cups of coffee, catering to your guests with high quality coffee is made a lot easier with your own machine.

Regardless of the capacity of a machine, your guests are likely to enjoy the higher quality of coffee on offer from your kitchen.

Flexibility

As well as making coffee, some machines can also brew up a cup of tea and hot chocolate. Though this may not be your primary driver for acquiring a machine as a coffee lover, if you’re looking for a way to justify an expensive option in your home, a wider appeal doesn’t hurt.

By going for a coffee maker that can also make different types of beverages, you are more likely to get more consistent use out of it and making it worth your while.

Is It Worth Getting A Coffee Maker?: Reasons Not To

Let’s also consider why it may not be worth getting a coffee maker.

Occasional Drinker

If you only drink coffee very occasionally and know that your coffee maker is likely to sit in the corner and collect dust, then getting a coffee maker may not necessarily make sense.

Unless you are quite happy to have yet another appliance that goes unused then you may be better off with the occasional coffee from your favourite cafe or making it manually.

If You’re Short On Space

If you are short on counter space in the kitchen then it may not be worth you getting a coffee machine. Depending on the type of coffee maker you choose, they can take up a decent amount of space on your counter. This is especially true of bean-to-cup stlyle machines.

Having said that if you opt for a capsule or pod style machine you could end up witha fairly compact footprint that would be easy to store on your counter or in the cupboards should you need to.

Conclusion: Is It Worth Getting A Coffee Maker?

So, is it worth getting a coffee maker? It appears that if you are a regular coffee drinker, then it may well be worth getting yourself a coffee maker. When you consider the convenience, time and effort saved and perhaps most of all the money, then getting a coffee maker seems to make perfect sense.


Is It Worth Getting A Coffee Maker?: Tell Us Your Thoughts

What Kitchen Appliances Do You Really Need?

When it comes to kitchen appliances the choice can seem virtually endless. But what kitchen appliances do you really need? In this article we’re going to take a look at just that and see which of the myriad of appliances could help make a real difference in your kitchen.

From fridge freezers to blenders and food processors, it could be quite easy to fill your kitchen with an appliance for every single job but there are some that are more impactful then others. And then there are some that you could simply do with out.

What Kitchen Appliances Do You Really Need?

Let’s now take a detailed look at what kitchne appliances could be deemed essential if you were planning out your kitchen from scratch.

Cooker

What Kitchen Appliances Do You Really Need?

It probably goes without saying that you need a cooker of some description in the kitchen. With a stove top cooker you actually potentially remove the need for a whole load of other kitchen appliances for example a kettle for making tea, if you really wanted to.

Whether it’s making something from scratch or warming up premade food, a cooker does neatly fall into the essential kitchen appliance category as your kitchen’s main job is to keep you fed and it would be difficult, though not impossible of course, to do so without a cooker.

Fridge Freezer

At the top of the list surely it has to be a fridge freezer. There’s not much you would be able to preserve for a substantial period of time in the kitchen without a fridge freezer unit in there. In fact a number of other kitchen appliances on this list rely heavily on items from your fridge freezer for them to fully do their job.

It would be difficult to do much in the kitchen without it.

Microwave

This may be a slightly contentious appliance do add to the list because as long as you have a cooker, you can get away without a microwave. But if you have a cooker but no oven then a microwave may well be something you do really need.

The majority of microwave users have them for reheating food. Using a microwave rather than the stove or oven to reheat your food can save you a lot of time. If you’ve ever had to wait for the oven to heat up to warm up some leftover lasgna then you’ll know exactly why.

Blender

If you like to make nice and smooth soup or have a taste for smoothies then a blender is a must for your kitchen.

Having a blender is a great way to mix lots of vegetables into one bowl of soup for example or tons of fruit into a hearty smoothie.

You can definitely survive without a blender but once you get one you may quickly find it’s something you cannot live without.

Kettle

A kettle is another appliance that exists to illustrate just how useful kitchen appliances are. The way we see kitchen appliances is that they should make your life noticeably easier either by saving you time or effort or both whilst enhancing your experience. A kettle most definitely saves you time and arguably effort.

For example we spent a few weeks without a kettle when our old one broke and we certainly noticed it. Whether it’s a cup of tea or water to get your pasta boiling, it’s easier and quicker with a kettle then without.

Strictly speaking you can more than survive without a kettle but if you value your time then it’s definitely worth considering.

Something to consider when it comes to kettles is the fact they help avoid having large volumes of hot water sitting boiling on the stove.

Toaster

This is a simple one; if you or anyone in your home likes toast then a toaster is clearly a must. Can you survive without one? Most definitely but if you like to eat bread and make it more interesting then toasting it is one of the best ways.

Whether it’s straight toast with butter or a toasted sandwich of some kind, a toaster offers you excellent versatility.

What Kitchen Appliances Do You Really Need?: Honourable Mentions

In this section we’ve included a few appliances that are due worthy consideration even if they don’t make the list of essentials.

Dishwasher

Do you really need a dishwasher? The short answer is no, you do not. You could easily survive without one and simply handwash all of your dishes. However, having one in the kitchen is really a game-changer. A dishwasher helps to save you oodles of time and can also help keep your kitchen tidy when you don’t have the time to wash up; you can place dirty dishes directly into the machine until it is full keeping your counters clear.

Rice Cooker

Rice cookers make it onto the honourable mentions list as you can definitely survive without one. But when you do have one they can make life a lot easier when it comes to making rice.

Though they may not necessarily save you any more time than cooking rice on the stove (or microwave) they will more than likely mean you recover more of your rice grains as they won’t stick to the pan as much.

If you are also like some of us, you may struggle with producing rice that’s too soft or maybe not soft enough. A rice cooker can typically help you with this issue as, so long as you get the water amount right, it will help make near perfect rice every time.

Slow Cooker

We are deep into “is this really necessary” territory here but we’re big fans of slow cookers here . It may be the fact that you can simply chuck a whole bunch of ingredients into a slow cooker and come back hours later to find it’s magically softened into a delicious meal. Or perhaps the way it can help to elevate a roasted meat dish. Whatever it is, a slow cooker is definitely an appliance to consider if you like variety in the way your meals are made.

Conclusion: What Kitchen Appliances Do You Really Need?

So, what kitchen appliances do you really need? Once you’ve got a cooker and fridge freezer out of the way, everything else is pretty much debateable as to whether you really need it or not. Often it comes down to how much time and effort it can save you relative to the costs. The great thing today is that with pretty much any job in the kitchen, you can find an appliance to make it easier.


What Kitchen Appliances Do You Really Need?: Tell Us What You Think

Blender Or Food Processor

So you’re looking for that new appliance to help deal with your fruit and vegetables. But with so many choices which way do you turn; blender or food processor?

Blenders or Food Processor: Blender

Blenders are most suited for making liquid mixes like smoothies and soups.

They operate with a relatively dull but effective blade that typically afixes to the bottom of a jug. The jug is shaped almost like a cone which encourages the ingredients to head downwards towards the blades to be cut up and blended together.

Best For

  • Blenders are typically best suited to making:
  • Smoothies
  • Purees
  • Soups

They can also sometimes be put to use to try make dips as well as helping with mixing dough for baking but they are not really designed for these tasks so results can be mixed at best.

When it comes down to getting a blending, it really depends on what you think you’ll be using it for the most. If you’ll rely on it to make smoothies on a regular basis and the occasional soup, then a good blender is probably all you need.

If you intend on using it for more intricate tasks like chopping up vegetables then you may want to look at a food processor. Having said that though, there are many models out there that now come with various attachments meaning you could get blender that can handle a lot more than just smoothies and soups. The highly rated Vitamix 065860 for example can do a whole host of jobs in addition to blending smoothies including grinding nuts and coffee as well as mixing batter and dough.

Blenders typically come with a jug that can sometimes also be used for storing the mixture in the fridge once you’re done. However, this very much depends on size as some units may be too large and tall to fit comfortably in your fridge.

There are other models like the Kenwood Smoothie 2 Go models that have jugs that are designed for being taken on the go and being drunk directly out of the same jug.

When it comes to choosing a blender though there are plenty of inexpensive options, if you know you’ll be making frequent use of it, it pays to go for something that will likely last. If you’re for example going to be packing in fruit every day for breakfast smoothies then you want something durable and capable of blending lots of ingredients without too much bother. The last thing you want is for the motor to be overwhelmed when trying to mix your favourite breakfast smoothie.

It’s a tough question especially when from the outside they seem so similar. But in this article we will try take a look at each one in turn and help you to decide which one would be most suited to yoru needs. So blender or food processor; let’s take a look.

Blenders: Potential Options

Vitamix 065860 E310 Explorian Blender

Vitamix is a household name in the world of blenders reportedly used in restaurants and smoothie spots. Though expensive the Vitamix 065860 E310 Explorian Blender comes with a 5 year warranty which bodes well if you intend to use this daily.

Philips HR3652/01 Blender

When it comes to reliable kitchen appliances there not too many more well renowned names than Philips and their Philips HR3652/01 Blender fits the bill. With a hefty 1400 watt motor and a significant 2 litre glass jug, the Philips HR3652/01 Blender is also equipped with parts that are dishwasher safe.

NUTRiBULLET 600 Series 

It seems difficult to talk about blenders or smoothie makers these days without mentioning NUTRiBULLET. The NUTRiBULLET 600 Series is said to be the original in the line and one of the best selling ones.

Blenders or Food Processor: Food Processor

Food processors may look similar to blenders in many respects but they perform different roles.

Food processors are more typically geared towards chopping up fruit and vegetables as well as shredding produce and mixing dough for baking. They are designed to make tasks that would usually require a bit more effort in the kitchen easier and quicker.

Food processors are typically equipped with large flat bowls designed to hold fruit and veg once it has been processed.

In many instances food processors will come equipped with various attachments to help you make the most of the appliance. They can also come with various speeds to help you get through different types of fruit and vegetables.

Food Processors are typically best for:

  • Chopping fruit and vegetables
  • Slicing fruit and vegetables
  • Grating and shredding fruit and vegetables
  • Kneading dough
  • Mixing ingredients (without completely “blending” them)

As food processors can also mix ingredients, the temptation may be to try use them to make smoothies. If you let a food processor run long enough it may well result in a smoothie like consistency however, it is unlikely to have the same smooth finish to it.

Food Processor: Potential Options

Let’s take a look at some of the best potential options if you’re after a food processor.

Ninja 3-in-1 Food Processor

The Ninja 3-in-1 Food Processor comes with high ratings from users and provides a food processor, multi-serve blender and personal blender all in one machine. With multiple attachments to help you get the most out of each setting, this Ninja comes with a powerful 1200Watt motor.

Kenwood KE-FDP301W Food Processor with Blender

Kenwood have a long history of making great kitchen appliances and their KE-FDP301W Food processor with blender appears to follow that line. Equipped with an ample 2.1 litre food processor bowl and a 1.2 litre blender jug, the KE-FDP301W is well suited to getting various types of jobs done in the kitchen.

Sage the Kitchen Wizz Pro Food Processor

Sage have a track record of producing high quality build products and the Kitchen Wizz Pro (BFP800UK) appears to follow that tradition. With an extra wide chute and 4 way chopping blades, the Kitchen Wizz Pro is well equipped to tackle the jobs you need in the kitchen. Quite helpfully the Sage Kitchen Wizz Pro comes with a stylish and useful accessories storage box to help maintain a clean and tidy feel for this high-end model.

KitchenAid 5KFC3516 Classic Mini Food Processor

If you need a food processor for everyday tasks but don’t want it too take up too much counterspace then the compact but impressive KitchenAid 5KFC3516 Classic Mini Food Processor may be one to look at. With an 830ml bowl with pour spout the KitchenAid Classic Mini Food Processor is well equipped to deal with the needs of a kitchen serving a smaller household.

Blender or Food Processor: Can’t Decide?

If you can’t quite decide between a blender or food processor as you’ll have seen above there are options that allow you to get the best of both with combined food processor and blender combinations.

Conclusion: Blender or Food Processor

When it comes to deciding between a blender or food processor there’s plenty of choice on the market. If you need something that will regularly help you turn your fruit and vegetables into smoothies and soups then you may be best placed to go for a reliable blender. Remember to keep in mind how often you’ll be using it when deciding on the type and quality you want to shell out on.

If on the other hand you need an appliance to help you through some of the heavy lifting involved with making bread dough, slicing and chopping as well as a host of other actions then a food processor may be the way to go.

Of course, if you can’t decide then you have plenty of options available that cater to both sets of needs with combined machines also available.


Food Processor or Blender: Tell Us Your Thoughts.

How To Bake a Potato In The Microwave

How To Bake a Potato In The Microwave - main image

How to bake a potato in the microwave? As with most things in the microwave, it’s pretty straightforward. Potatoes are one of those foods that seem to be particularly well suited to being cooked in a microwave.

Indeed once you’ve figured out how to bake a potato in the microwave you may find yourself opting for this method rather than the oven a lot more frequently than you otherwise would. This is mostly because when it comes to a baked (jacket potato – i.e. potato with the skin left on) it can be genuinely difficult to tell whether it’s been done in the microwave or in a conventional oven in terms of taste.

How To Bake a Potato In The Microwave

So let’s get to work on how to bake a potato in the microwave.

Firstly let’s quickly cover what you’ll need in terms of ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1x Potato
  • Your choice of seasoning
    • Pepper
    • Salt
    • Grated Cheese

Method

  1. As with any cooking method, the first thing you want to do with your potato is make sure it is clean. So give it a good wash and scrub it down.
  2. After cleaning, be sure to dry it well – this will help to avoid it steaming up too much in the microwave.
  3. Next you’ll want to poke the potato with a fork.
  4. Place it on a microwave safe open dish and place in the microwave on high power for 5 minutes.
  5. At this stage you may want to turn over the potato. Be careful when opening the door and dealing with the potato as it will be very hot. Use some microwave safe tongs or wooden cooking spoon to turn it over. If you need to remove the dish from the microwave, be sure to use suitable oven gloves.
  6. Microwave for another two minutes and then check to see if it is soft enough in the middle. You’ll know if it is soft enough as the middle should be piereced quite easily with a fork or knife. Be sure to use suitable goven gloves when removing the microwave safe dish out of of the microwave.
  7. If you find it is not soft enough, pop it back in the microwave for another 45 seconds to 1 minute at a time until it is soft enough for your liking. Be sure to use suitable goven gloves when removing the microwave safe dish out of of the microwave.
  8. Once you are happy with it, leave it to rest and cool down. You can then split it down the middle and add your choice of toppings e.g. salt, pepper, grated cheese or butter. Be sure to use suitable goven gloves when removing the microwave safe dish out of of the microwave.
How To Bake a Potato In The Microwave - sub image

More Than One

The great thing with the steps above for how to bake a potato in the microwave, is that you can use the same method whether making one or more potatoes in the microwave.

You’ll just find that it will take longer of course to bake them as you need to in the microwave.

Baked Feel

One thing you may of course notice is that when it comes to potatoes baked in the microwave, they will not have that crispy and golden brown feel you’ll get from a conventional oven. If you want that golden brown look then you’ll need you oven handy for that.

One method that could still work well for you especially if you are in a rush but still want the traditional oven look is to cook your potatoes in the microwave and then finish them off in the oven or grill. This works particularly well if you split them after they’re cooked and then add your favourite toppings like grated cheese and paprika over the top and then place them in the grill or oven for a few minutes.

With this method, you get the convenience of the microwave but the look and feel of an oven made potato dish.

Poke Them Well

It may seem odd, but poking your potato before putting it into the microwave does help to make sure it cooks as you want it. It will allow steam buidling up inside the potato to escape during cooking. It also helps to avoid the potato popping in the microwave and leaving your appliance in very messy state.

Poke the potato all around with a fork for the best results.

Let Your Toppings Do The Talking

Just because your potato has been conveniently and quickly baked in the microwave, doesn’t mean its flavour has to be lacking. One of the best ways to jazz things up with a baked potato is to let loose with your favourite toppings. These could be:

  • Grated cheese (cheddar works well)
  • Melted butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Chilli
  • Crispy bacon or pancetta

What Are The Best Potatoes For Jacket Potatoes?

What are the best potatoes for jacket potatoes? The best types of potatoes for jacket potatoes are usually those labelled as “baking potatoes”. These tend to be reasonably sized and come with a floury but moist like texture. In terms of specific types King Edward and Desiree potatoes are said to work quite well for baked potatoes.