The coffee maker has been a ubiquitous home appliance for a long time. But tastes have broadened over the years as people started to want brew options, like being able to make a quick cup of pick-me-up espresso in the afternoon or after entertaining friends at a dinner party.
Traditional coffee makers and espresso machines take up a lot of counter space, however. It’s predictable that someone would invent a machine that can do both.
We looked at some of the available models and wrote reviews about them. If you like our reviews but want a little more info, there’s a buyers’ guide to help guide your purchase.
|Keurig K-Cafe Coffee & Espresso Combo Machine|
|AICOOK Espresso and Coffee Machine 3 in 1 Combination||2 Years||4.5/5|
|Nespresso Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine|
|Miele CM 6110 Coffee System||2 Years||4.2/5|
|DELONGHI BCO330T and Espresso Machine||2 Years||3.9/5|
The Keurig K-Cafe isn’t the lock-down best combination coffee maker and espresso machine for a cup of joe that will have you feeling ecstasy. It’s not the fastest pod coffee maker. It’s our Top Pick because it does a lot of things really well. If you’re looking for a combination machine that brews great coffee in the morning and makes a good cup of espresso after dinner, this is it.
The K-Cafe excels in frothing milk for lattes and cappuccinos. The built-in frother is great with animal milk or milk synthesized from plants. Not only is it easy to clean, it’s dishwasher safe, too. The versatility is a big reason why the K-Cafe gets our Top Pick.
One significant drawback is the price. If you’ve got a strict budget, this one might be outside your range. But this is still one of the best combo coffee makers that comes with a frother.
We like the AICOOK Espresso and Coffee Machine 3 in 1 for all the same reasons we like the K-Cafe. It does a lot of things pretty well, and the price is a little better. You can brew regular coffee, make espresso, and froth milk for advanced drinks and even Chais.
It doesn’t use pods, so while it doesn’t offer quite the convenience, it also doesn’t create the long-term environmental waste problem.
We didn’t give it our top rank because, while it’s more affordable, it’s also a little more difficult to use. The milk frothing feature wasn’t as good as the K-Cafe. That’s a big deal if you’re into lattes.
If you’re looking for a pod machine that is a great deal and can brew both coffee and espresso, the Nespresso Vertuo is a great option to check out. It’s much more affordable than the K-Cafe and AICOOK models, and it’s one of the smallest machines we looked at.
Beyond value, it brews a great cup of coffee. Nespresso’s reputation for having a pod system that’s second to none is well deserved and reflected in this coffee-espresso combination machine.
That said, it’s not a great choice if you want to brew multiple cups. It’s designed for a single serving, even if it’s got some flexibility in what that means. But that also limits what you can use it for. If you’ve got a group of friends stopping by for dinner, you’re probably not going to end the meal with a pot of coffee.
We don’t have a lot of pros and cons for the Miele CM 6110, because the one issue is a really significant one. This machine is super expensive compared to the other ones we looked at. Just calling it super expensive is underselling how much more money this will cost you than even the next most expensive model. In fact, based on average prices, it’s as expensive as the five other machines we reviewed put together.
If it produced coffee superior to the other coffee makers to that magnitude, we’d have to respect that and maybe give it a shot at our Top Pick or Runner-Up. But it didn’t, so we dropped it down in our rankings. The coffee is the best in our field, just not by that much.
The things that the DELONGHI BCO330T does well would make the difference between a good coffee machine and a great one, if only it hit a couple of important notes that good coffee machines have in common.
It’s versatile. It’ll do whatever you want in a coffee machine, from making drip coffee to frothing milk. In fact, it’s got a great frothing action. It’s also pretty easy to clean. If you don’t have a lot of time to keep house, this is a good one to have.
However, the price is high, and it has a habit of not working when you need it to. That’s a bad combination that negates what it does well. What’s the point of having well-frothed milk if the machine won’t make the coffee that it goes into?
Part of the point of these combination coffee machines is what they’ll save you versus buying coffee at a shop. Even the coffee machines that cost a lot, like the Krups XP160050, will produce savings versus buying coffee every day at a cafe.
That’s what we like about this machine, too. You’ll save money making it at home in this as opposed to going out. The coffee is pretty good, too.
You can do better, however. This one is not only priced higher than almost everything else we ranked, it’s just not well constructed. The danger with any combo machine is that a lot of attention is paid to the guts and little to the casing, which is what happened here. The casing is easy to damage and the internal machinery is easy to break. That’s kind of an outrage, considering the price.
A combination coffee maker and espresso machine might seem like a really obvious innovation, but the two use different processes to make beverages. It’s understandable that you might want a little more information on how to tell different models apart before you buy. Although you probably like both kinds of coffee, there is probably one that you prefer. It’s helpful to know how to spot which combination maker will do a better job of delivering the results you want.
By its very nature, the combination coffee maker and espresso machine is a feature-driven gadget. You’re buying it because you want some versatility in what it can do. Searching for the right one starts with knowing what features you want. If you want to make cappuccino, you’ll need to find one with a frothing arm, for instance. Espresso tends to be a one-cup-at-a-time brew, whereas a traditional drip maker can give you a whole pot. You’ll want to see how the maker works.
If you’re a real coffee snob, chances are you want really good beans ground fresh for the strongest, tastiest coffee. If you’re just after a cup of something warm and soothing in the morning, you might be okay not putting in the effort or spending the money on beans and a way to grind them. Make sure you get a combination set that makes drip coffee the way you like it.
There’s a tradeoff in those two basic kinds of coffee makers, which is…
Maintaining a properly working coffee maker requires that you keep it clean. Having a bunch of coffee grounds all over everything is also unsightly and attracts ants. Find a combination set that is easy to clean.
One advantage of pod coffee makers is that they’re easier to keep clean. The mess is usually confined within the pod itself, which you pitch after using. That creates landfill mess, of course. As for the espresso maker, if you’re concerned about keeping it clean, consider how you add the very fine grounds. The bright spot is that when you’re done with it, the grounds will be compressed into a hardened little puck that’s usually knocked out of the basket.
You aren’t going to give your coffee maker to a gorilla to throw around a room and see if it’ll smash, as you might with luggage. But there are a couple of parts you’ll want to keep in mind while buying it. The first is the decanter. If you get a cheap one that’ll shatter if you accidentally knock it against the side of the sink, that’s the same thing as not having a coffee maker.
One thing few people pay attention to is the pump. It gets the most wear and tear of anything because it lifts water, which is surprisingly heavy. The coffee maker pump is usually the part that goes bad and requires replacement of the entire machine. Take a look at the pump’s reputation for reliable, consistent service.
One reason for buying a combination coffee maker and espresso machine is that having two similar gadgets can take up a lot of room. If you combine the two into the same central frame, you can save space on your counter or whatever you use as a coffee service. That will make a little room for either a really smashing new blender or that French press you’ve always wanted to try.
It’s not always true, but the more you pay, the more you usually get. For something like a combination coffee maker and espresso machine, there’s a range in price from a few bucks to more than a grand. Price is significant in figuring out which is the right model for you. If you want really good coffee and lots of options, prepare to spend more. If you’re just looking for something to make coffee for friends, you don’t need to spend as much.
Start by figuring out what you need, and then consider what you really want, what you’d like, and what you can do without. Then, find the best model within your budget.
Keurig’s K-Cafe got our Top Pick not because it’s the best coffee maker or best espresso maker, but because it’s versatile and good at everything. AICOOK’s Espresso and Coffee Machine 3 in 1 Combination was pretty good, too, and a little more affordable. We just thought it was harder to use and didn’t do as good a job frothing milk. Nespresso’s Vertuo is a great budget option, although it’s a little limited in what it can do. The Miele CM 6110 poses a simple question: do you want to take out a second mortgage on your home for really good coffee? If you buy the DELONGHI BCO330T, make sure you get the warranty, because it might stop working for no apparent reason. Despite the reputation KRUPS has for good stuff, the XP160050 just wasn’t up to snuff.
We hope you found our reviews of value, and if they were just tips on how to shop for a combination coffee maker and espresso machine, that you also read through our buyers’ guide for additional tips. We hope you can find exactly the machine you’re looking for. Happy brewing!
Table of Contents
What’s the Best Kind of Water for Coffee? (It Makes a BIG Difference!)
3 Tips & Tricks For Switching To Black Coffee
32 Great Gifts for Coffee Lovers (Updated in 2020)
7 Gift Basket Ideas for the Coffee Lover
How to Reduce Bitterness in Your Coffee