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Bean to Cup Espresso machine recomendations please


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I have a work award payment of £500 I need to spend fairly swiftly. Taking it as cash isn't an option. I could do something practical with it - like buy the Cordek for the garage foundations or another pallet of plasterboard - but I think I would like to have something I wouldn't normally think about buying.   My Aeropress is good at work and my 25 year old stove top pot still works... but I would like a decent milk steamer and I never usually have time to make coffee at home on a work/school run morning so I would like something that can do most of the work for me, maybe apart from steaming the milk - I don't mind doing this because it won't be a feature used every day. (Instant is not an option. Ever. Just NO.)

 

Any suggestions or recomendations as to which machines are worth having? I don't think the boss at home will allow much budget creep, so please avoid £1000+ machines... I would like to live long enough to see the house finished!

 

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You'll not go far wrong with a Delonghi IMHO.  We've a Perfecta for a number of years now and it does everything we need. The previous Magnifica was good but ended up having an appetite for elements.

 

Something to watch out for is that the spout adjust enough in height for whatever cups you're using...

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I had my first Jura for over 10 years (probably 15) it broke just as we went into the first lockdown. The repair office is in Colne Lancashire, they sent a flight safe box for it to be transported in, fixed and sent back in box for me to send back empty to them. All very professional for a fixed service charge of £200. Unfortunately in lockdown 3 it broke again an unserviceable part but by now it’s out of service guarantee.  I bit the bullet and purchased another Jura selling my old one on for parts/repair.   I love it it makes two coffees every day for in bed, one at lunch and another before evening.  I downgraded on my second one as didn’t use the steamer much but it holds more beans and water now so very happy. If it breaks again at same age I wouldn’t bother with a repair now I know I can sell on for a good price Brocken. Makes many types of coffee and all adjustable by volume and grind. 
simply wouldn’t be within it. 

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I have a DeLonghi Prima Donna that I bought back in 2008 after getting a windfall from work also (rest went into the build fund).

 

When we started the build it moved into the site office (too big for the caravan) and was lovingly tended to by one of the Romanian concrete workers who had the same machine at home :)

 

Moved back into the new house and soldiered on but a couple of years ago started to struggle to make decent coffee.

 

I called DeLonghi, expecting nothing (it was about 11 years old at that point) , but they have an excellent fixed price repair service. Sent a courier to collect it and within a few days identified the work out bits (grinder, pump and a few sensors) and gave a very reasonable quote to fix - less than £200 from memory. Arrived back by courier and has worked flawlessly since. 

 

Based on the customer service alone, never mind the very decent coffee, I'd recommend them!

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I will add, I rarely use the frothy milk options - while they are good, the cleaning etc after is a pain.

 

We bought a Hotel Chocolate Velveitiser (which is awesome) and realised that if you just put cold milk in it, it makes excellent frothy hot milk for cappuccinos, latte etc..

 

So if I was buying again I'd follow @Susie's lead and prioritise the coffee making.

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1 hour ago, dpmiller said:

You'll not go far wrong with a Delonghi IMHO.

I am another coffee lover and for years I had a Delonghi caffe corso but left it with my partner when we went our separate ways, it’s still working and now is 8 years old. I moved into a small space and went with a compact BEKO but would not recommend this…. I will be upgrading to a Delonghi magnifica but have yet to decide which model so will be following this thread ! - just to add I am also a black coffee drinker and would prioritise the quality of the coffee and the crema it produces over a fancy milk frother. 

Edited by Cpd
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2 hours ago, Bitpipe said:

 

We bought a Hotel Chocolate Velveitiser

Yes. We have one too. While it makes excellent hot chocolate I find it a bit hit and miss for the frothy milk. And ours is getting old now so it takes its time...

 

Agreed coffee is the priority. I do like a morning cappuccino.

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On our second delonghi Magnifica. the first lasted 5 years , this one 4 so far.

Very simple to use. So much better than the identical beans pre-ground, which I bought once by mistake.

It amazes me that it does what it does, when I push one button.

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+1 to the Delonghi Magnifica

 

Bought one for my mum 10 years ago which lasted 9 years and bought one for myself 3 years ago which has been at my work ever since making about 20-25 cups a day. Still works fine, just sounds pretty rough. Did however break the steam knob off. 

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55 minutes ago, AdamSee said:

+1 to the Delonghi Magnifica

 

Bought one for my mum 10 years ago which lasted 9 years and bought one for myself 3 years ago which has been at my work ever since making about 20-25 cups a day. Still works fine, just sounds pretty rough. Did however break the steam knob off. 

+2 to the Delonghi

You can buy it from Costco too if you are a member

Had mine for 3-4 years and services a family with 10 cups or so a day. 

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I've been looking at bean-to-cup machines and keep seeing the same recommendations and positive reviews of the Delonghi Magnifica, and the Magnifica S Smart in particular due to its extra features (don't worry - it's not 'smart' as in Internet/app-enabled or anything daft like that!).

 

Edit: Noting there are a few users here, have any of you moved from a capsule machine to something like this? We first started looking at capsule machines but someone somewhere suggested suggested spending more on a bean-to-cup machine as not only does it make better coffee by the extra cost will eventually be offset by the cheaper running costs compared to capsules (particularly those still protected by patents). Would you agree? Are they still 'convenient' to use once the novelty wears off?

Edited by MJNewton
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15 hours ago, Bitpipe said:

I called DeLonghi, expecting nothing (it was about 11 years old at that point) , but they have an excellent fixed price repair service. Sent a courier to collect it and within a few days identified the work out bits (grinder, pump and a few sensors) and gave a very reasonable quote to fix - less than £200 from memory. Arrived back by courier and has worked flawlessly since. 

 

I have a Prima Donna which worked flawlessly until until it packed up.  I'm pretty sure it was because I didn't always use the descaler went it told me to though!

 

The courier fixed-price repair service is interesting though, I'll have to give them a call on Monday.  I've had it in a box the garage for a couple of years and have been drinking Bodum coffee instead, it's not the same though!

 

Edited by Dan F
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9 hours ago, MJNewton said:

the Magnifica S Smart in particular due to its extra features

Looks really good….. got it sitting in my Amazon shopping basket next to https://www.delonghi.com/en-gb/ecam22-110-b-magnifica-s-automatic-coffee-maker/p/ECAM22.110.B

However this one first came out in 2011 and the one you linked came out in 2021 so probably benefits from more modern  improvements. 

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10 hours ago, MJNewton said:

I've been looking at bean-to-cup machines and keep seeing the same recommendations and positive reviews of the Delonghi Magnifica, and the Magnifica S Smart in particular due to its extra features (don't worry - it's not 'smart' as in Internet/app-enabled or anything daft like that!).

 

Edit: Noting there are a few users here, have any of you moved from a capsule machine to something like this? We first started looking at capsule machines but someone somewhere suggested suggested spending more on a bean-to-cup machine as not only does it make better coffee by the extra cost will eventually be offset by the cheaper running costs compared to capsules (particularly those still protected by patents). Would you agree? Are they still 'convenient' to use once the novelty wears off?

 

Not sure why I made the switch to a bean to cup machine. My parents had a Nespresso machine before, and it made good coffee but not great In comparison to a freshly ground cup. My biggest gripe with the capsules is the waste. I hate the idea of something that can't be recycled or composted without work. Atleast the "biscuits" of used/compressed coffee grounds compost well. (Keep the dog away from the compost though)

I never considered the cost saving as a factor of purchasing the machine. 

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Having been inside a few now, I think Delonghi add "improvements" per model step-up rather than time. The infusers are all the same, the pumps are the same, the transmission is the same. But the top spec machines can have quieter grinders, silencers on the pump outlet, better temperature control etc

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9 hours ago, Dan F said:

 

I have a Prima Donna which worked flawlessly until until it packed up.  I'm pretty sure it was because I didn't always use the descaler went it told me to though!

 

The courier fixed-price repair service is interesting though, I'll have to give them a call on Monday.  I've had it in a box the garage for a couple of years and have been drinking Bodum coffee instead, it's not the same though!

 

From memory theres no (or minimal charge) to get it inspected, you can then take or leave the quoted repair fee and they just keep the unit.

 

Mine came back with a logbook detailing the number of coffees made, descaling cycles etc.

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16 hours ago, MJNewton said:

I've been looking at bean-to-cup machines and keep seeing the same recommendations and positive reviews of the Delonghi Magnifica, and the Magnifica S Smart in particular due to its extra features (don't worry - it's not 'smart' as in Internet/app-enabled or anything daft like that!).

 

Edit: Noting there are a few users here, have any of you moved from a capsule machine to something like this? We first started looking at capsule machines but someone somewhere suggested suggested spending more on a bean-to-cup machine as not only does it make better coffee by the extra cost will eventually be offset by the cheaper running costs compared to capsules (particularly those still protected by patents). Would you agree? Are they still 'convenient' to use once the novelty wears off?

Bean to cup is definitely cheaper to run. I buy my beans in 5kg bags which I share with my parents, and at that size  it works out about £13.60 a kilo for very high grade beans, like Monsoon Malabar that normally cost £19 a kilo.

Bean to cup is also more environmentally friendly.

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Plus 0.5 for the Delonghi Magnifica. We’ve had ours since 2013. About 3 years ago it broke and we paid about £160 for Delonghi to fix it and service it. They replaced the infuser and got it working again. They were also meant to clean it al but didn’t, so we complained and got most of our £160 back, which meant that they effectively fixed it for free.

 That is not the reason why I’m not fully recommending it. We are generally happy with it and we use it a lot (at least 6 cups a day), but I think there is one compromise and one drawback.


The compromise between the Magnifica and the slightly better bean to cup machines is that although it does yield a good crema and makes reasonable coffee, it’s just no real comparison to a barrista made coffee. It just doesn’t have the pressure to be able to yield all the taste and punch a coffee bean has to offer. My parents use exactly the same beans that I do with a Rancilio (which I accept is not a bean to cup, it’s a proper espresso machine) and I am always impressed by how much fuller and more robust their coffee tastes, even though it is the same bean and the same amount of coffee. My mum, who is a little more sensitive to caffeine, had to switch down to single shots after using the Rancilio because it just delivered much more bang for the buck. The comparison to a Rancilio is probably not that apt (although you can get a fairly good deal at the moment if you pair with a separate grinder: https://www.coffeeitalia.co.uk/rancilio-silvia-v6-e-2020-last-edition-de-longhi-kg79.html), but the comparison to a Sage is. My understanding is that even the £600 Sages (not the entry level one but the next model up) pass the steam through the coffee with 15 bars of pressure, which means it will give a much more robust coffee. In turn, that means you can use less coffee than you would in a Delonghi Magnifica, which means the slight premium for a Sage over a Delonghi Magnifica will pay for itself within a few hundred coffees.

 

The drawback is that it is quite difficult to clean. The inside of our Magnifica had some mould in it which we didn’t realise about for a while because it was so well hidden. But all coffee machines need regular cleaning, so maybe this isn’t such a drawback.

 

Interested to read about the Prima Dona and the Melita, not brands I had come across, so will read up on them before our next purchase. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have a sage machine and absolutely love it. The critical thing is getting the temperature of the water under pressure correct, less than 100 degrees, we run ours at 93. Not all machines can do this and push steam or boiling water through, which scorches the coffee. The sage machines have 2 boilers to manage the coffee extraction and to produce steam.

costs a bit more, but very much worth it.

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