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
Let’s delve into bean to cup coffee makers first by looking at their advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of Bean To Cup Coffee Makers
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.
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.
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.