1. Jura A1 Bean-To-Cup Coffee Machine: £644.99, Lakeland
We could blind you with the science of this coffee grinder – a pulse extraction process and 15-bar pressure water pump – but the bottom line is that this Swiss-made machine makes barista-style espresso with golden crema quickly and efficiently. There’s also plenty of choice of strengths, cup sizes and coffee types. It’s compact, with an easy-to-use touch-screen panel.
2. De’Longhi Dedica Chrome Espresso Coffee Machine: £219.99, Lakeland
This is the slimmest machine we came across that can make espresso from ground coffee or pods, making it ideal for small kitchens. The smooth aroma of the espresso (which you can turn into a cappuccino using the milk-frothing arm) is enough to lure even the sleepiest head out of bed in the morning. And you can set preferences with ease, although we did find it’s easy to press the wrong button by mistake.
3. Lavazza A Modo Mio Minu Plus Coffee Machine: £45, Lakeland
Here’s another great option for those whose counter space is limited. Using capsules only, it’s also a breeze to use and most importantly, it makes espressos that smell divine and taste rich, with lots of golden crema. It takes very little effort getting to know how to use it and you can operate it practically with your eyes closed – good for those who take a bit of time waking up in the mornings.
4. Francis Francis for Illy X.7: £165.26, Amazon
The capsules don’t come cheap, but this retro-looking machine (that comes in red, black or white) makes an exceptional cup of coffee, with a tempting aroma, great quality of crema and smooth taste with a good kick, all in less than half-a-minute. The steam pipe works a treat for frothing milk and the controls are simple to use. The only downside is the water tank, which can be tricky to remove for refilling.
5. Morphy Richards Accents Pebble Espresso Coffee Maker: £109.99, Morphy Richards
If you like your espresso intense, but not bitter, then this machine – which uses ground coffee or pods – is a winner, especially at this price. The steamer makes decent hot frothy milk in case you want to turn your coffee into a cappuccino, and it’s the easiest machine to set up of all the ones we tried, although the milk frother can feel a bit rigid and the coffee could be ever so slightly hotter.
6. Smeg ECF01 Coffee Machine: £279.95, John Lewis
This vintage-looking machine will take pride of place on any worktop, although be warned it’s big. It doesn’t take long to get going and the espresso – which is made from pods or ground coffee – is so hard to fault that even the most discerning coffee connoisseur should be impressed. The milk steamer turns it into delicious cappuccino, although the machine can look messy after use.