Who doesn’t love the smell of a freshly ground, brewed coffee in the morning? The popularity of the coffee shop has grown exponentially over the past twenty years and part of that appeal is the fresh coffee aroma that hits us as we walk in through the doors.
Machines that grind and brew have traditionally cost a small fortune, but thankfully, grind and brew has become a more affordable luxury.
We think that these are the best “Grind & Brew” machines on the market.
Why fresh ground?
Grinding from the bean releases essential oils from the coffee that dry out pretty quickly with pre-ground coffee. Freshly ground coffee has complex aroma components, so you want to capture as much of that in your cup as you can. If you grind your own beans, you have better control over grind size and thus the strength of your cup of Joe.
The machines featured in this article all have a conical-burr grinder. A conical grinder uses rotating teeth to crush the bean, creating maximum surface area for the hot water and the coffee grind to interact. Most grinders can be adjusted to produce a coarser or finer ground. A fine ground is required for espresso with a crema.
Straight-to-cup machines tend to have more options if you enjoy your coffee on the more exotic side. They often make a basic espresso and come with a milk frother wand so that you can make a cappuccino, latte etc. Most straight-to-cup machines use a high pressure water system that creates a crema – a thin layer of dark foam at the top of an espresso which gives the drink a luxurious feel.
A carafe machine dispenses the coffee into a glass or thermally-insulated stainless steel jug (or carafe). These machines are better if you’re making more than one cup at a time. Carafe machines are usually percolators (or drip machines) that use gravity to slowly draw water through the grinds. In general carafe machines have fewer removable parts so require less cleaning. You wouldn’t normally get a crema with a percolator.
These are our choices for the Best Coffee Grind & Brew Machines on the market
1. Cuisinart DGB-550BK
The DGB-550BK is a sleek, Italian-style, carafe coffee-maker with a 24-hour programmable clock. You can set everything up just before you go to bed, set the timer and wake up to a freshly ground and brewed coffee.
This model comes with a 60 ounce, 12 cup, glass carafe with an ergonomic handle and a pour spout that won’t drip everywhere. With a permanent gold-tone coffee filter, you’ll never have to fashion a filter out of paper towels ever again!
This machine grinds the whole bean just before the brewing process so your coffee couldn’t be any fresher. You can, however, add pre-ground coffee by switching off the grinder, but, let’s face it, why would you have tin when you can have gold?!
This machine features a 1-4 cup brew option for a stronger cup of coffee – some reviewers on Amazon have suggested that the coffee is too weak if you go for the full 12 cup brew.
If you can’t wait for your coffee, there’s a handy “brew-pause” function that gets you your first cup before the whole brewing process has completed.
With dimensions of 12 x 10 x 17 inches (Width x Depth x Height) this machine won’t take up too much valuable worktop space.
- 24-hour programmable clock
- Brew-pause function allowing you to sneak a cup before the full brew is complete
- Charcoal filter ensuring the best quality water for your brew.
- Gold-tone permanent coffee filter
- Comes with a 3 year limited warranty
- Auto-shut off feature to prevent the carafe burning dry
- There are lots of parts which require washing. Some are dishwasher proof, but this model takes a while to clean.
- The 1-4 cup setting makes a good strong coffee. The coffee is weaker if made for 12 cups.
2. DeLonghi ESAM3300 Magnifica
The ESAM3300 Magnifica Super-Automatic Espresso Coffee maker looks super impressive – the type of thing you’d find in a coffee shop. However, you need quite a high budget for this machine. But, as the saying goes – you get what you pay for.
You get a cappuccino system, with an electronic steam and coffee thermostat, steam wand frother, a professional-quality conical burr grinder, and the ability to adjust the level of the grind from coarse to super-fine for espresso.
Incorporating a stainless-steel double boiler, this machine ensures that your espresso will be at a consistent ideal temperature, cup after cup.
You can also use pre-ground coffee in this machine, but why would you do that when the “direct-to-brew” system grinds the beans instantly just before brewing? You can customise your perfect coffee strength (from long to short and strong to weak), which is a great feature and not available in most of the cheaper machines.
It’s easy to clean, with a “rinse” and “decalcification” setting and an extractable brew unit. The removable water tank holds 60 ounces of water and the bean container holds an impressive 7 ounces of coffee beans.
For a powerful machine, it won’t take up too much surface space in your kitchen, with dimensions of 17x13x18 inches.
- Capable of making cappuccino, latte and espresso
- Adjustable coffee grind consistency
- Adjustable strength and length of drink
- Double boiler unit that ensures consistent ideal water temperature
- Low-pitch burr grinder, often seen in professional machines for a quiet grind.
- Self-clean functions
- Operation is simple, via tactile buttons and turn-switches.
- Expensive machine. For total coffee fanatics only!
3. Antiya Sweet Alice Travel Coffee Marker With Grinder Set
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This is something altogether different. It’s not a coffee machine as we know it, but this makes a mean brew that’s not to be sniffed at. This is a portable solution to those who need to grind and brew on the move.
This is a two piece set. You get a stainless steel conical burr hand grinder that resembles a traditional pepper mill that will grind the beans to the consistency of your preference. You transfer your freshly ground coffee to the Sweet Alice coffee maker, add hot water, and manually pump the button until you reach 8 bars of pressure. Then you pour out your espresso, complete with the all-important crema.
Requiring no batteries or electricity (other than the means of heating up your water, of course) this is the perfect travel companion. Weighing just 2 pounds for the whole set, it won’t add much weight to your back-pack.
- Portable and small enough to carry in your backpack
- Adjustable grind consistency
- No frills grinder and coffee maker
- Creates a coffee with a crema
- Requires electricity / heat source to get your water up to temperature
- Hand grinders require quite a lot of effort
- In two pieces – perhaps a bit clunky if you’re doing this in a windy environment
4. Xshuai Haier Retro Velocity Brew 4 Cup Automatic
This retro model looks like it could have been picked up from the set of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. A funky 4-cup machine that would be perfect for a student, the office or for someone living alone. With a comfort-grip glass carafe and hot plate that sits snugly in the open shelf unit situated in the front of the machine, there are settings for 1-2 cup, or 2-4. The keep-warm function means that going back for another cup won’t need a blast in the microwave.
It contains a permanent filter which can be used with coffee from the on-board grinder, or pre-ground coffee from a packet.
Easy to clean, with a swing-out filter basket and removable grinding plate, this could be a great choice for those of us who value style as well as quality.
At just 13x15x12 (Length x Width x Height) this won’t take up much space on your work-surface so is great for compact city-living.
- Perfect size for the office, dorm or a small kitchen
- Brews small quantities
- Permanent filter so you don’t need to worry about running out of paper filters
- Easy to clean
- This is only useful for small coffee quantities
5. De’Longhi ECAM22110B
This is the deceptively smaller cousin of the ESAM3300 but it still packs in plenty of features. Containing a 60 ounce water tank, a cappuccino steam wand, and a coffee grinder with a cover that’s been designed to maintain the aroma of the beans. There’s an internal dial inside the grinder cover that allows you to adjust the consistency of the grind and a central funnel for pre-ground coffee. The top of the unit comes with a warmer plate for storing and warming your cups.
With an adjustable spout height, this straight-to-cup machine is suitable for cups of varying shapes and sizes. This machine makes barely any noise in comparison to some grinders, so it will ensure that your teeth will not be set on edge whilst you wait for your morning brew!
You can control the strength of individual cups of coffee with a handy turn-switch on the front of the machine that controls how much coffee bean is required and grinds just the right amount.
- Stylish design, with simple but powerful control interface
- Makes coffee from bean or from pre-ground
- Warmer plate for warming your cups prior to use
- Large water tank
- Steam / frother wand
- Expensive machine.
It’s tricky to reach a decision about which is the best grind & brew choice because it depends upon what you want from a machine.
If you just want great coffee without all the paraphernalia associated with the cappuccino (frothers, crema, latte settings) then you would be hard pushed to do better than the Cuisinart DGB-550BK – affordable, stylish and produces great, freshly ground coffee. If you want a machine that is capable of making more that one cup at a time, this is your model, we think.
If you’re more of the espresso connoisseur, then I’d recommend the DELONGHI ESAM3300 Super Automatic Espresso. This model is the show-off of the coffee world that will certainly impress your friends whilst providing great coffee, one cup at a time.
You’ll need fairly deep pockets, however, so this is really only an option for the total coffee fanatic. But for your money, you get an amazingly robust and versatile machine that will produce your ideal brew every time.