The Best Home Coffee Machine in Australia: Breville, Sunbeam

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Home coffee machines can be the best way to get your caffeine fix from the comfort of your own home. Not only do they offer convenience, they also can save you money over the long term if you use them to replace your cafe coffees. However, with so many varied options on the market, it’s easy to get confused about which coffee makers are great and which are not so great.

In this article, we list the best coffee machines on the market in Australia. After our home coffee machine reviews, we discuss the key things you’ll want to watch out for when choosing one to ensure you select the best product for your needs.


1. Breville The Oracle Auto Manual Espresso Machine (Top Pick)


No matter what type of coffee you drink, you can make it at home with The Oracle from Breville. This machine allows you to automate the more difficult parts of making an espresso while still offering the benefits of a manual. It’s ideal for all coffee lovers.

The Oracle has a built-in filter that removes impurities from your water and a 15-bar pressure pump that extracts as much flavour as possible from your beans. The integrated burr grinder grinds beans to the perfect consistency, while the auto-tamp takes the guesswork out of tamping and ensures you get the perfect consistency, every time.

The 2.5 litre capacity and dual stainless steel boiler allows you to make cup after cup of delicious espresso coffee. An integrated steam wand features programmable milk temperature and texture, allowing you to create cafe-quality coffees at home with ease. You can pre-infuse the coffee and the Oracle allows you to extract good coffee and froth milk at the same time.


What We Like:

  • 15-bar pressure pump
  • 2.5-litre water tank
  • Steam wand milk frother
  • Integrated burr grinder

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • May be harder to clean than other options

2. Sunbeam Mini Barista Espresso Machine (Best Value)


This affordable Sunbeam coffee maker will help you make the perfect cup of coffee to kick-start your day.

The machine holds two litres of water and has a thermoblock system that lets it heat up faster. This machine is built for efficiency and will allow you to get on your way faster. With one turn of a button, you can make two cups too.

This model has a steam wand allowing you to foam milk to create cappuccinos. This manual machine takes the guesswork out of making espresso coffee. It offers great value for money and won’t take up much bench space either.


What We Like:

  • Thermoblock heating system for fast and efficient heating
  • Commercial design
  • Makes one or two cups of coffee
  • 2-litre water tank

What We Don’t Like:

  • Difficult to clean vs other options
  • Only makes enough coffee for one to two people

3. De’Longhi Magnifica S Automatic Coffee Machine


De'Longhi Automatic Coffee Machine Automatic Coffee Machine, Silver, ECAM22110SB

The Magnifica S from De’Longhi is a 2 cup fully automatic machine that focusses on producing fresh coffee with easy cleanup and maintenance.

It can make one or two cups at a time and is customizable to allow for a variety of coffee cup heights and sizes.

An integrated grinder means beans are always freshly ground, maximising flavour in each cup. The grind settings can be altered and saved based on your beans and personal preferences. A tubeless system means minimal grounds are used from the previous coffee, meaning each espresso is created with only freshly ground beans.

The Delonghi coffee machine includes a manual milk frother that can be used to make your favourite milk-based coffees.

This coffee machine has a small footprint meaning you should be able to find space for it on most benchtops. The sleek brushed stainless steel finish will complement existing appliances.


What We Like:

  • Consistent, great tasting coffee
  • Double or single cup
  • Compact design
  • Tubeless grind system

What We Don’t Like:

  • Milk frother may take some practice

4. Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine


A great mid-range option from industry leaders Breville, the Barista Express delivers high-quality coffee at a reasonable price point.

Beans are ground just before extraction, using an integrated conical burr grinder. The ground coffee is delivered directly into the portafilter, using either automatic or manual dosing.

A digital temperature control ensures hot water is delivered at exactly the right temperature, meaning your espresso is the perfect balance of rich, bold, and bitter.

The integrated steam wand allows milk frothing and the creation of micro-foam for flat whites and lattes. With its sleek modern design, the Barista Express will look right at home on your kitchen bench.


What We Like:

  • Great mid-range coffee machine
  • Consistent rich, flavoursome espresso
  • Adjustable conical burr grinder

What We Don’t Like:

  • Less automation and features than high end options

5. Breville Bambino Plus Espresso Machine


Breville appears again on our list with this super popular coffee machine. Coming in a compact size that fits in any kitchen and on any counter, the Bambino Plus lets you make all your favourite types of coffee in seconds.

This espresso coffee machine is easy to use with precise dose-capacity and a 54mm porta-filter that ensures you get the best coffee with just the right amount of ground coffee. It also has a pre-infusion setting to help draw out flavours evenly for a balanced cup.

With the steam wand, you can use an automatic setting that heats and froths your milk quickly too. The control panel is user-friendly so you can easily select between 1 cup, 2 cups or the steam function. The Bambino Plus also has an automatic purge system that makes cleaning easy because it pushes out the dried coffee grinds from inside the machine.


What We Like:

  • Comes up to temperature in just three seconds
  • 1.9-litre water tank
  • Auto purge system
  • Milk steamer perfect for flat whites and cappuccinos

What We Don’t Like:

  • Small size limits the number of coffees you can make
  • Steam wand can be a little tricky to use

6. The Little Guy Espresso Maker


Approved by some of the top baristas in Australia, The Little Guys Espresso Maker is one of the ultimate choices for your home. This espresso machine is durable, portable and easy to use.

It has a unique design that might become a focal point in your kitchen and uses stainless steel, which is easy to clean. The portable filter lets you brew coffee at home or work. You also get a tamper for packing the beans inside the machine and a mat that catches any of the coffee grounds that fall out.

This espresso maker creates intense espressos like you would enjoy from a moka pot. You can brew 3-9 coffees with this pot and you can make silky steamed milk too. The pressure gauge helps you brew a balanced shot with ease.


What We Like:

  • Lets you create custom coffee drinks at home
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Comes with a tamper, tamping mat and filter
  • Brews delicious coffee

What We Don’t Like:

  • A little complicated to use
  • May require the use of an induction top

7. Nespresso Delonghi Lattissima Pro Capsule Machine


If you want a coffee maker that uses capsules and pods, consider this Nespresso model. It brews one cup of coffee at a time and lets you select different settings based on how strong you want the cup and whether you need milk. The intuitive touch screen has pre-programmed buttons to make it easy to make your favourite coffee.

It has automatic settings that both rinse the inside and clean the machine and a 1.3-litre tank. This machine also has an extra cup that collects the pods you use. It can hold up to 15 before you need to empty it.

If the efficiency and consistency of a pod coffee machine appeals to you, it’s hard to look past the Lattissima Pro from Delonghi.


What We Like:

  • Fast and efficient
  • No need to grind beans for each coffee
  • Froths milk instantly as it brews coffee
  • Automatic clean and rinse functions
  • 19-bar pressure pump

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Less personalisable than full espresso machine

8. Gaggia Classic Coffee Maker


For brewing professional cups of coffee at home, you can’t go wrong with the Classic from Gaggia.

The three included filters remove impurities from your water source and add more flavour to each cup. Made in Italy using the traditional techniques developed by Gaggia, the machine has two steam wands and works in both commercial and residential settings.

The Gaggia offers excellent temperature stability and has a 15 bar pump to provide great tasting espressos. It even has a built-in cup holder that lets you set your mugs on the top of the machine to keep them hot before you pour.


What We Like:

  • Professional design
  • 15-bar pump with a boiler system
  • Two steam options
  • Three filters

What We Don’t Like:

  • Can be confusing and difficult to use
  • Expensive

9. Sunbeam Barista Max


If you’re looking for an affordable all-in-one machine that has a built-in burr grinder, the Sunbeam Barista Max is worth a closer look.

With Temp IQ shot control, this Sunbeam machine lets you select the temperature for each shot of coffee that you pour. It has an auto shot setting and other settings that let you brew one to two cups at a time.

The large group head matches those found on commercial machines and spreads the coffee out to get more flavour in each cup. Thanks to the integrated grinder, you can grind fresh beans every morning with one press of a button.


What We Like:

  • 2.8-Litre water tank
  • Temp IQ shot control
  • Integrated grinder
  • Large group head

What We Don’t Like:

  • Takes up a lot of space
  • Some settings are difficult to use

Home Coffee Machine Buyer’s Guide


Australians love coffee and home coffee machines make it easy to enjoy cafe-quality coffee without leaving the house. There are so many options available from a fully automatic coffee machine to a manual espresso coffee machine, each one offering different features and benefits. This buyer’s guide can help you find the best coffee maker for you.

Automatic Vs Manual Coffee Machines

With a manual coffee machine, you have more control over how much water and coffee you want to use. You also have full control over the grind size and dosing. Manual machines are certainly the best option if you are looking to replicate the coffees you get in your local cafe. The downside to choosing a fully manual coffee machine is that it can take a lot of practice before you perfect the settings needed to get your cup of coffee just right.

An automatic machine will automatically use coffee and water based on the settings that you chose. These can make perfectly acceptable coffee for some people although are often quite expensive if you want one of high quality. This type of machine is very easy to use and is popular for offices and other high traffic areas. The downside to a fully automatic model is that they are not as customisable as a manual or semi-automatic machine.

Many of the coffee machines on this list are semi-automatic meaning they are part manual, part automatic. A semi-automatic machine gives you control over certain aspects such as the amount of water used in each shot of coffee. You can enjoy a combination of control and convenience as these machines take the best of both worlds for a great at-home coffee-making experience. While this takes away a lot of the learning curve required to operate a manual machine you still may have some things to learn at first.

Grinder

The grinder is an important part of a coffee machine. Some machines come with a built-in grinder that grinds coffee beans for you. Freshly ground coffee beans provide a fuller extraction of aromas and flavours, giving you the best coffee. Machines with a coffee bean grinder will usually still let you choose from different consistencies. This is important as the consistency plays a vital role in the overall flavour and intensity of the coffee.

If the machine does not come with a built-in grinder you will need to purchase one separately (either a hand grinder or electric). If you want to buy the best grinder go for a conical burr grinder. This type of grinder is low heat, low noise and offers a selection of grind options giving you full control over the grind consistency. Alternatively, you can buy your coffee pre-ground. Just remember different coffee will provide different flavours and grinding the beans at home is best.

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Single Serve Designs

If you are the only one in your home who drinks coffee, you might consider a single-serve machine. These coffee makers brew one cup of coffee at a time. This is often a more practical and convenient option. Choosing a single serve design will also help you save money and reduce waste compared to using larger coffee machines.

Some of these models even come with a reusable travel cup that you slide inside. This is a good option for those who work because you can wash out the cup and place it in the machine when you get home and have it ready and waiting for the next morning. Once your coffee is ready you can take the travel cup and start your day.

Dual Boiler Vs Heat Exchanger

On a manual machine and a semi-automatic coffee machine a dual boiler lets you make coffee and froth milk at the same time. This feature can be useful, particularly if you are short on time or you need to make multiple coffees at once. However, espresso machines with a dual boiler will cost more so are only worth it if you will utilise the feature. A dual boiler is best if you will be regularly making coffee for a group of people.

A heat exchanger is used by coffee machines that have one boiler. The boiler keeps water at the right temperature for steaming milk. When you make coffee fresh water flows through a metal tube inside the heat exchanger to warm it to the right temperature for brewing coffee. This means you cannot brew coffee and steam milk at the same time. A heat exchanger is best if you will be regularly making coffee for one or two people.

Price

The cost of new coffee makers is all over the board. Don’t think that you can’t get a good machine on a budget though. There are plenty of cheap models that come with a frother and other tools that let you make lattes, flat whites, and more. Though you can get a basic machine for a few hundred dollars, you may want to spend a bit more to achieve a level of quality that can replace your cafe coffees.

Size

One of the downsides to many espresso machines is the size. They can look bulky and take up a lot of counter space which is fine for cafes but not ideal for a home kitchen. When choosing the best coffee machine for your home consider the size. The best options are sleek and offer all the features in a compact package.

Key Features

When choosing a coffee maker, think about the features it offers and whether or not you will make use of them. Below are some of the features you can expect to see on the best home coffee machines:

Easy To Use Controls

Even a fully automatic coffee machine can be confusing if the display is not well designed and user-friendly. The best coffee machine will be easy to set up and have straightforward (properly labelled) controls. The controls vary from buttons and dials to digital screens.

On the larger, fully automatic espresso machines a digital display tends to be a lot easier to use and understand than indicator lights. However, this comes down to personal preference. In addition to being easy to use, the machine should be easy to clean after use too.

Milk Frother

If you are planning to enjoy milky coffees such as lattes or cappuccinos, it will be best to choose a coffee machine that has a milk frothing option. There are usually a few options to choose from including:

  • Steam wand – this tends to be the most common option. You can froth milk in a jug using the steam wand and add it to your drink. Many people find being able to steam the milk yourself with the steam wand gives you more control over the consistency and makes it easier to produce cafe-quality silky smooth milk.
  • Automatic frother – some automatic coffee machines have an automatic milk frother that does all the work for you. Just make sure you add milk to the necessary container and the machine will froth the milk and add it to your cup automatically.
  • Stand-alone frother – some coffee machines have a standalone milk frothing accessory which will whisk and heat the milk ready for you to add it to your coffee. This is similar to an automatic milk frother but it is separate from the machine.
  • Pods – if you are using a pod coffee machine you can buy milk pods that dispense directly into your cup of coffee.

Variable Coffee Strength

An espresso machine may also have a variable coffee strength setting. This lets you easily adjust the intensity of the coffee to best suit your preferences. Adjusting the strength is basically adjusting the concentration of dissolved coffee in the cup, the higher the concentration the stronger the cup of coffee will be.

Capacity

The capacity is how much water the coffee machine can hold at a time. Consider how many coffees you plan to make each time you turn the machine on.

If you are going to be making multiple cups of coffee, look for a machine that has a larger capacity. If the machine you choose has a tank that is too small you will be constantly topping it up which can be annoying, especially if the coffee machine isn’t close to a tap.

You may think it is more convenient to choose an option with a large tank but if you won’t be making multiple cups of coffee it’s not worth it. The water will sit in the machine for too long and will need to be changed otherwise it will impact the taste of the drinks. Not to mention a bigger capacity means a bigger machine.

Grinding Level

This is where you can adjust the grind gradient to suit your preferences. Finding the right grind size is important for extracting the right amount of flavour from the coffee. An under-extracted coffee is when the coffee is ground too coarse and an over-extracted coffee is when the coffee is ground too fine. The best grind size will also depend on the brewing method meaning there is no hard and fast rule to the grinding level.

It’s very useful to have the grinding level feature on machines. Coffee can then be made to suit the beans and your preferences. As a general guideline, a finer grind tends to be more flavourful but if it tastes bitter try to make the grinding level slightly coarser.

Pre-Infusion

Pre-Infusion, also sometimes called pre-brew, is a setting seen on some manual, semi automatic and automatic espresso machines. It means the ground coffee will be slowly saturated with water before extracting the coffee. This gives the aromas and flavours a chance to develop before the coffee is extracted. This simple setting can give your coffee experience a boost.

Double Shot

If you want to make more than one espresso at a time take a look at the double shot settings. It’s best if the espresso machine makes two espressos in quick succession rather than making two simultaneously with the same shot of coffee (this leads to a much weaker espresso coffee).

Personalisation/ Saved Settings

Your morning caffeine hit starts the day right but you don’t want to have to mess around with the coffee machine settings every single morning. Some of the best coffee machines actually remember your favourite settings so you don’t have to adjust the settings every time you use the machine. This ability to program in your preferences means you can enjoy your favourite coffee at the push of a button.

Warm Up Time

This is the amount of time it takes the coffee machine to warm up so you can make your coffee. The warm up time varies a lot between models. Most manual machines can take a couple of minutes to warm up while pod machines take around 30 seconds. For example, the Barista Express has a start up time of 30 seconds while the Breville Oracle warms up in 5 minutes and the larger Oracle Touch warms up in 10 minutes.

Smart Controls

There are even some newer coffee machines that can be controlled via a smartphone app. The app can also provide maintenance alerts and help with troubleshooting if you are experiencing an issue with the machine. Having an espresso machine with smart controls lets you automate the coffee-making process. You can turn the machine on and have your coffee made while you are still in bed! The level of convenience smart controls can bring to automatic espresso machines is amazing.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The best coffee machine will make sure maintenance is easy. Machines with automatic cleaning programmes take the fuss out of cleaning the machine. The cleaning programme will flush out the whole system for you but the amount of time this takes depends on the model. Not all espresso machines have automatic cleaning features and even those that do still need some occasional TLC.

Regular maintenance

Even the best coffee machine needs some ongoing maintenance to ensure it is working at its best coffee after coffee. Below are simple steps you can take to keep your espresso machine in top condition.

  • Each day, empty the coffee grounds, flush the coffee machine with water (most have a cleaning setting to do this) and empty the drip tray. This will stop anything from sitting dirty overnight and will ensure you have a clean machine that is ready to use in the morning.
  • After each use, clean the steam wand well by flushing it with steam and cleaning it with a cloth. The steaming wand tends to have several grooves where milk can get caught so giving it a good clean is important.
  • Make sure the water has not been left to sit for too long in between making coffees. It’s best to use fresh, filtered water as if it is older it will impact the taste. Pay particular attention to this if you have a larger capacity machine.
  • Descale the machine as needed. The frequency of this will depend on the hardness of the water in the area you live in. People in hard water areas will need to descale the machine more often. Some models have a descaling feature to make this process easier.

Understanding Coffee Machine Jargon

There are a lot of words you may only see or hear when talking about coffee and coffee machines. This is a summary of the most frequently used words so you will know exactly what the machine specifications and coffee connoisseurs are talking about.

  • Bar Pressure – this is the amount of pressure needed to push hot water through the coffee ground to extract the coffee. Making good coffee is about finding the balance between the temperature and the bar pressure. 15 bars of pressure (also listed as 15 bar pump or 15 bar pressure pump) is the best option.
  • Crema – the presence of crema (a layer of froth on the top of a freshly brewed coffee) indicates a good quality, well extracted coffee.
  • Portafilter – a portafilter is seen on an espresso maker and some other coffee machines. This is simply a handle that contains the filter basket. The coffee grounds are held in the filter basket and hot water is pushed through the coffee. Portafilters are what you often see being used in cafes.
  • Tamper – the tamper is a small tool that pushes the coffee grinds down into the portafilter.
  • Thermoblock – the thermoblock is sometimes also known as the thermocoil. It is the heating element that ensures the water is extracted at the right temperature. It rapidly heats up only the amount of water needed for the coffee so you can have your coffee (at the perfect temperature) in next to no time. The best temperature for coffee is between 90-96 degrees C.
  • Single heating system – these machines are able to perform one task at a time so if you are making multiple cups for a group of coffee lovers, you need to wait between each task.
  • Double heating system – a machine with a double heating system allows you to make coffee or froth milk without needing to wait between tasks.

Other Home Coffee Making Options


Pod / Capsule Coffee Machines

Convenient and consistent, pod coffee machines are the favoured option for many households. Utilising pod coffee capsules (such as Nespresso), these machines take a lot of the guesswork out of coffee making at home. They also have the added benefit of taking a lot less bench space than a full home coffee machine. The downside to capsule machines is that they cost more in the long run and the capsule coffee may lack depth or intensity to coffee enthusiasts.

Espresso Machine

If you think you would like a bit more control over your coffee making, an espresso machine may be the best option for you. A manual espresso machine gives you complete control so you can make coffee exactly as you like it. A manual espresso offers a depth of flavour you may not get from a fully automatic machine. However, you’ll need to spend quite a bit if you want a good quality machine, and the learning curve is quite steep, but they are the best way to ensure you can produce cafe-quality coffee at home.

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French Press/Plunger Coffee

Popular in offices and homes across the country, french press coffee is easy and reliable. While it lacks the bitterness and richness found in espresso, many people are perfectly happy to drink plunger coffee at home and save the latte and cappuccinos for the cafe.

Moka Pot / Stove Top Coffee Maker

Often touted as the only way to create crema without an espresso machine, the moka pot is a very popular home coffee maker, particularly in Europe. Water in the bottom chamber is heated and turned to steam, before rising through ground coffee before settling in the upper chamber.

Drip Filter Coffee

Filter coffee made from these coffee makers is a common sight in offices. A drip filter coffee maker is very easy to use and provides a large amount of coffee in just a few minutes. The downside is that you have much less control over the brew. They are best for quickly making a number of cups of coffee suitable for a large gathering or an office of people.




This article was written by Jennifer Blair

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