If you are tired of simple one-switch coffee machines, you probably want something more functional.
And something that works fast, am I right?
That’s when the best all-in-one coffee makers come into play.
How to Pick the Best All-in-One Coffee Maker
Coffee remains the most popular beverage in the US among different age categories.
No wonder people buy more and more coffee machines for home use.
And while some coffee lovers prefer simpler one-button devices, others want a bit more and try to find the best all-in-one coffee maker.
Here’s where it gets tricky:
To pick something that works for you specifically, you need to consider the most important factors before making a purchase:
- Bean grinder. Many all-in-one models include a built-in grinder, which allows users to enjoy the freshest coffee. Such machines deliver a bean-to-cup operation. All you have to do is add the beans and press a button. You may also buy a grinder separately, but this will make brewing a bit longer as you will have to constantly transfer the grounds into your machine. If a built-in grinder is something you think you will appreciate, check out these.
- Milk frother. If, in your opinion, the best all-in-one coffee machine is the one you can use to make milk-based coffee beverages, a milk frother is a must. You can consider a model with either a steaming wand or an automatic frother. If you’re going with a steaming wand, keep in mind that such coffee makers need to have a good pressure system for the wand to work properly (and fast). However, if you prefer your coffee black, this feature is probably not worth the money.
- Portability. If you are a camper (traveler, hiker, and so on) who can’t live without coffee, a small portable machine would be a great idea. Keep in mind that such models are typically suited for espressos and black coffee only. However, these devices are small and easy to use. They may also come in handy if you are moving between homes and don’t have the time to set up a countertop coffee machine.
- Maintenance. I think it’s safe to assume that you don’t want to waste your time on cleaning. Therefore, the best all-in-one coffee machine should be something that’s easy to maintain. Since you have to clean the brew basket, carafe, and the lids after each use (1), it’s better if those parts are dishwasher safe. Some models have a self-cleaning mode that would descale the system, preventing calcium buildup.
- Beverage versatility. As you know, there are many different types of coffee, each of which is a bit more than just a regular cup of joe (2). If you want your machine to be able to make them, you may need to invest in a more expensive model. Some capsule coffee makers can brew multiple types of coffee depending on the pod that you choose. You may also choose a machine suitable for both hot and cold brew. Or, as mentioned before, pick a model with a built-in steaming wand for cappuccinos and lattes. And if you are interested in cold brew the most, you can check some of the top-notch Japanese coffee machines that are ideal for a delicious cold brew.
- Cup quantity. Are you going to be the only person using your coffee machine? Then a single-serve model should be enough. Are you a family of coffee drinkers? Then investing in a larger model (10- or 12-cup) would be better. There are also convenient dual coffee makers that can brew both: a full carafe and a single cup. This option may be handy when you have friends or relatives visiting but use the single-cup mode on a regular basis.
- Tank capacity. This aspect is important if you drink a lot of coffee daily. In this case, you might want a coffee machine with a large tank so that you don’t have to constantly refill it. Most standard coffee makers have a 40-ounce water reservoir. However, you can find larger 60-ounce models, but bear in mind that they require more counter space. Another option is a coffee maker with a water line. You can connect it to your house water supply and it will automatically use as much water as needed for each brewing cycle. This eliminates the need to refill the tank.
- Programmability. Programmable coffee machines are more expensive, but allow users to set the timer for automatic brewing. This feature may be helpful if you typically have hasty mornings and don’t want to waste your time making coffee. You can set everything up the night before and wake up to a freshly brewed beverage.
- Price. Typically, average coffee makers vary between $100 and $300. These can be regular drip coffee makers, capsule models, or basic espresso machines. Usually, good coffee makers under $100 don’t allow for that much versatility (even though they can still brew delicious coffee). Some of the most expensive options include super-automatic models and the best SCAA certified coffee makers, as they can support the optimal temperature and meet the highest brewing standards. Now, if you don’t want any bells and whistles, you can save a few bucks, but make sure that you invest in a quality product. Try to avoid models that use cheap plastic in their construction or don’t allow for any customization.
- Size. Every kitchen has limitations in terms of counter space, and they should be taken into account when shopping for a coffee machine. The rule here is simple: the less counter space you’ve got, the smaller capacity your coffee maker should be. If you want a good compromise between space and capacity, you can check among the best 4-cup coffee makers, as they are compact but can brew a sufficient amount of coffee at once.
- Extra features. Now, this aspect depends solely on your budget because extra features cost more. For instance, you can get a machine with an automatic shut-off feature or a cup warmer, for example. You may also consider a good automatic pour-over coffee maker if you are interested in even coffee absorption and improved flavor. Some models come with preset brewing options for different beverages, which can be helpful for beginners. Another feature you may want to pay more for is a water filter as it can make your coffee taste smoother.
- Usability. Some models (like semi-automatic espresso machines) require a learning curve, which may be difficult for beginners. So, depending on your experience level, you need to consider how simplistic your machine should be. Simple drip models are more suited for those who don’t want to play with knobs and adjustments.
Super-automatic espresso machines are another type of bean-to-cup coffee makers. They grind the beans, tamp the grounds, and brew espressos on their own (3). Some of them come with automatic milk frothers, which means you can use a super-automatic coffee maker for multiple types of beverages.
Types of All-in-One Coffee Machines
As coffee houses become less crowded, people choose to buy their beans online and brew coffee at home.
Luckily, there is a variety of coffee makers to choose from, including cheaper non-electric makers, filter coffee machines, and even cold brew coffee makers (4).
But when it comes to finding the best all-in-one coffee maker, here’s what you may come across:
- Drip coffee makers. To be considered a good all-in-one model, a drip coffee maker should include a built-in grinder. These machines work by soaking the coffee grounds in hot water and letting the brewed coffee drip down into a carafe or straight into your mug, deepening on the beverage size. You may come across models with either thermal or glass carafes. The best thermal carafe coffee makers keep beverages warm without affecting their flavor, while glass models rely on the hotplate that can sometimes make your coffee taste burnt.
- Espresso machines. Espresso makers can be either semi-automatic or super-automatic. Semi-automatic models require you to grind the beans, tamp them, insert the portafilter and press the button to brew. Super-automatic espresso makers do all of the above on their own. The latter are more expensive but don’t require a learning curve, unlike the former. Some espresso machines come with a milk frother, so you can make more than one beverage type.
- Pod coffee makers. As the name suggests, these coffee machines brew using coffee capsules (pods). Typically, they make only one cup at a time. However, you can find variations among the best single-serve coffee makers, as some of them offer multiple beverage sizes. Pod models are extremely easy to use and can be quite small, which is ideal for limited kitchen spaces. However, those coffee capsules can be rather expensive.
- Portable. These coffee makers are small and typically battery operated. You can also find some manual models, but they are hard to consider all-in-one coffee makers. Now, some portable machines have built-in grinders or even milk frothers. They can usually make a single cup of coffee at once, which is the result of their extremely compact design. This type is perfect for avid campers or hikers who want to enjoy a fresh cup of joe on the go.
- Laura Denby (n.d.). How to Clean and Care for a Coffee Maker. Retrieved from https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/how-to-clean-a-coffee-maker/
- Taylor Rock (2020, February 24). Latte, Cappuccino, Macchiato: Different Coffee Drinks Explained. Retrieved from https://www.thedailymeal.com/drink/coffee-types-explained
- Jeffrey Van Camp (2019, July 21). Are Super Automatic Espresso Machines Worth It? Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/story/automatic-espresso-machines/
- Donna Currie (2019, March 26). Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Coffee Maker. Retrieved from https://www.thespruceeats.com/coffee-maker-buying-guide-4175074
My name is Yurii Brown. I am a passionate coffee geek and, concurrently, a certified coffee specialist.
I’ve been learning about coffee for a long time, testing various devices and practicing in home coffee brewing. I like to share my experience and insights with fellow coffee lovers so that my readers could enjoy the real taste of quality-brewed beverages.