Canstar Blue’s 2019 coffee machines review has seen ALDI Expressi, Nespresso, Breville, DeLonghi, Nescafe Dolce Gusto, Sunbeam and Caffitaly compared on their reliability, ease of use, taste quality, ease of cleaning, value for money, design and overall customer satisfaction.
See our Ratings Methodology.
There are typically two options when it comes to quality coffee – splash out around $5 at your local café every day, or invest in a coffee machine for your home so you can enjoy a cup as often as you like. If the second option sounds appetising to you then you’ve come to the right place, because our annual review compares coffee machine brands on customer satisfaction, so you can find out what other Aussies think about the compared brands before you go ahead with a purchase. Think of it as like asking hundreds of your closest mates what coffee machine they think is best!
There are various types of coffee machines out there, and if you’re a coffee snob like we are, you’ll want to make sure you’re not disappointed with the results of your home-made espresso. So, which brand do Australian consumers rate highest? To find out, we’ve once again surveyed more than 700 coffee-lovers across the country to get their opinions on the coffee machine they’ve most recently bought and used, based on factors like reliability, ease of use, quality of coffee, value for money and more. Seven leading brands received the minimum sample size to be included in our 2019 ratings, but only one earned five stars for overall customer satisfaction – ALDI Expressi.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 espresso coffee machines review saw seven major brands compared and rated in the following order for overall satisfaction:
Nespresso, Breville, DeLonghi and Nescafe Dolce Gusto all achieved four stars for overall satisfaction, while Sunbeam and Caffitaly had to settle for three stars in this year’s review. While ALDI claimed top spot overall, other brands had their strengths in other areas. Nescafe Dolce Gusto was the only brand to achieve five stars for ease of cleaning & maintenance, plus five stars on reliability and ease of use. There were also top marks for Nespresso and DeLonghi in some areas.
This report incorporates all types of coffee machines, including manual, capsule/pod and automatic. So, let’s review what each of the seven brands in this year’s review have to offer.
The ALDI Expressi espresso machine includes a 19 bar high pressure pump, automatic capsule ejection, cleaning function and automatic shut-off. It comes in either titanium or white exterior finishes, priced at $79.99. A milk frother can be purchased separately for $29.99. Spare parts can be purchased online at the Expressi Shop.
The capsule range includes coffees of diverse intensities from 5 to 13. The flavours range from caramel to fruity blueberry notes. Plus, there’s also a hot chocolate milk-based capsule drink. Capsules are priced at $5.99 for a box of 16.
ALDI Expressi’s espresso machine range includes:
ALDI’s coffee machine was rated five stars for overall customer satisfaction in this year’s review, as well as for reliability, ease of use, taste quality, value for money and design. It recorded four stars on ease of cleaning and maintenance.
Famous for its advertisements featuring George Clooney, Nespresso has established itself as a boutique coffee experience. Nespresso capsule machines cover a wide range of appliances from the Essenza Mini standalone capsule machine – priced at $159 – to the rather extravagant Lattissima Pro priced at $699.
Across the machine range, there’s a choice of capsule machines, separate frother appliances and for the most authentic experience, models with a fully-automatic steam wand! Unlike several capsule products, Nespresso’s capsules can be purchased individually so you can custom-create your very own assortment starting at 69c each. Visit a retail boutique, reseller, or the Nespresso online store to explore the range.
Nespresso’s espresso machine range includes:
Nespresso was rated four stars for overall satisfaction, ease of cleaning and value for money, but scored an outstanding five stars in all other categories, including design, ease of use and taste quality.
Breville produces both manual and capsule coffee machines, plus a drip coffee appliance. The manual machine range starts with the Compact Cafe with a 15-bar pressure Italian-made pump and steam wand for around $200. At the other end of the price spectrum is the Oracle Touch fully automated machine with a built-in grinder and automatic tamper, colour screen and digital temperature control, hands-free milk frother, and self-cleaning function, priced at $2,500!
Many models come in a choice of stainless steel, cranberry or black sesame exterior finishes. Breville also collaborates with Nespresso to create a significant proportion of the Nespresso capsule machine range.
Breville’s espresso machine range includes:
In this year’s review, Breville was rated four stars for overall satisfaction and most other categories, except for ease of cleaning and value for money where it was rated three stars.
Italian kitchen appliances designer DeLonghi has one of the biggest coffee machine ranges on the market, covering manual espresso machines, fully automatic coffee machines, and capsule machines (collaborating with Nestle to produce the Nescafe Dolce Gusto range).
The manual coffee machine range covers a number of different colours and styles, from sleek modern designs to retro throwbacks. These are also compatible with ESE pods, thanks to the 2-in-1 filter holder. Some models also include an automatic milk frother and dispenser. Prices range from $299 to $629. The fully automatic coffee machine range stretches well into the high end of the market, with prices starting from $899 for an entry-level model, up to $4,998.99 for the Maestosa Epam unit.
DeLonghi’s espresso machine range includes:
Last year’s winner, DeLonghi saw a mixed bag of results in this year’s review, recording four stars for overall satisfaction, reliability, taste quality, and value for money. It got five stars for ease of use and design but just three stars on ease of cleaning and maintenance.
For coffee at home, at just the touch of a button, Nescafe Dolce Gusto offers a wide range of capsule machines, from the classic Piccolini priced from only $89, to the futuristic circular Majesto, for $399 (pictured). Its fully automatic Eclipse model is shaped as a loop, which opens up to reveal the coffee dispenser, while the Stelia design was apparently inspired by a drop of coffee.
All Dolce Gusto coffee machines operate at a maximum 15 bar pressure and can be used to brew both hot and cold drinks. Boxes of Nescafe capsules can be purchased from most major grocery and home supplies retailers, as well as online from the Dolce Gusto website. Flavours include classic coffees, plus the likes of chai, hot chocolate and even skinny cappuccino.
Nescafe Dolce Gusto’s espresso machine range includes:
Nescafe Dolce Gusto was rated a solid four stars for overall satisfaction, and for taste quality, value for money and design, with five stars in all other areas.
This Australian home appliance brand produces a range of manual coffee machines, choosing to stay clear of the capsule trend. The Sunbeam range covers all budgets, starting with the Piccolo Espresso single-cup espresso and steam wand appliance at $139.
At the highest end of the pricing spectrum, there’s the Sunbeam Torino Espresso Machine & Grinder for $1,999 with a one-touch grinder, LCD screen, pressure gauge, hot water dispenser, temperature-sensing steam wand and many more cool features that are said to produce a professional-tier barista experience at home. Sunbeam also produces a drip filter coffee machine and a number of different coffee grinders.
Sunbeam’s espresso machine range includes:
Sunbeam received three stars for overall satisfaction in 2019, and in most other categories, including reliability, ease of use, taste quality, ease of cleaning and design. It got four stars on value for money.
The Caffitaly one-touch system range includes espresso-only devices, ideal for small kitchen spaces, to fully automatic cappuccino machines with a fully automatic milk frother, giving coffee-mad households plenty to choose from. Prices for the various devices range from $159 to $399, with a standalone milk frother available for $55.
Caffitaly’s coffee machines can only use Caffitaly System capsules, but the company has partnered with a number of brands, including Gloria Jean’s, Grinders and Woolworths, to create a range of compatible coffee capsule flavours to choose from. Details are on the Caffitaly website.
Caffitaly’s espresso machine range includes:
Caffitaly was another brand to be rated three stars for overall satisfaction, with three stars for taste quality, ease of cleaning and value for money, but it also received four stars for reliability, ease of use and design.
As well as rating the coffee machines they have purchased in the last three years, respondents to our survey also helped to paint a picture of what to look for when buying a machine in the first place. Sure, we all want great-tasting coffee, but what other factors help determine overall customer satisfaction? Below are the key drivers of customer satisfaction identified from our research:
Let’s now delve a little more into each of these categories.
Our research identified reliability as the most important factor in shaping customer satisfaction with coffee machines – and it makes perfect sense! You can own the most sophisticated coffee machine in the world, but unless it works perfectly every time, you’re going to question its real value. Imagine the frustration of not being able to make that first coffee of the morning! We’ve all been there.
No espresso coffee machine should be overly difficult to use, but our ratings suggest that some are easier to operate than others – and that’s to be expected. It stands to reason that the harder a coffee machine is to use, the less likely you will be to use it! Keep this in mind when picking the best machine for your home. The most sophisticated coffee machines may deliver the best coffee, but unless you can operate the machine properly, you won’t get to enjoy it. A fifth (18%) of survey respondents said they don’t use their coffee machine as much as they thought they would, with ease of use potentially playing a part.
What’s worse? A coffee machine that’s prone to breaking down, or a bad cup of coffee? With a good cup of coffee on the go, you might be able to overlook some things not going to plan. But if the coffee isn’t up to the standards you expect, it might affect the rest of your morning.
You might be surprised to learn that coffee machines – even espresso machines – will require a fair bit of love and care in order to keep them working effectively. So, considering how easy a coffee machine is to clean is important before splashing out hundreds of dollars. Like ease of use, if your coffee machine is hard to clean, you’ll probably be less likely to actually use it.
When it comes to buying a coffee machine, you certainly have some cheap options out there, but ‘cheap’ doesn’t always mean the ‘best’ value. For your purchase to represent good value for money, it will likely need to deliver on coffee taste and reliability, which ALDI was able to impress with despite its low-cost model. Value for money is very subjective, but our customer ratings offer a helpful guide as to where you will find it.
After all the functional factors mentioned above, you’ll also want a coffee machine that is easy on the eye – and impresses your guests when they pop round for drinks. Some espresso machines more closely resemble alien spacecraft than traditional coffee makers, but perhaps that’s the look you’re going for? Whatever your (design) tastes, you might be better advised to concentrate on the above points rather than the appearance of your coffee machine.
There are three main types of espresso coffee machines you can buy, including:
You’ll find these domestic coffee machines above in all shapes and sizes to help suit whatever your expectations or expertise are.
Typically, espresso coffee machines can cost anywhere between $80 and $6,000. As a general guide, expect the following figures for each type:
|Coffee Machine Type||Price Range|
|Manual machine||$200 – $3,400|
|Capsule/pod machine||$80 – $999|
|Automatic machine||$500 – $5,950|
General Guide Only
On average, respondents to our survey spent $372 on their espresso coffee machines, meaning you don’t need to splash out a fortune on one of these bad boys, especially considering that some can cost as much as $5,950. However, spending over $300 on one isn’t necessarily a cheap buy either, so doing your research prior to your purchase is a wise idea.
Apart from considering the key drivers of customer satisfaction, types of machines and price, our 2019 survey also revealed the following insights:
Picking the best coffee machine for your home is clearly a challenge, but our customer ratings offer a helpful guide. Ultimately though, it all comes down to your personal preferences – and your budget of course! Consider how often you are likely to use your coffee machine. Our research found that more than half of respondents (56%) use theirs every day, but a sizeable proportion (18%) said they don’t use their coffee machine as much as they thought they would, down from 32% last year. If you’re not sure, it’s probably a smart move to go for a relatively cheap option in the first instance so that you’re not left brewing over your purchase.
Also consider how much you spend on coffee away from home. Those takeaway coffees on the way to work quickly add up, so work out how much you want and stand to save by making your drinks at home instead. This could be a good guide as to how much it’s worth spending on your home coffee maker. Our survey found that almost two in five adults (38%) are spending less on takeaway coffee since purchasing their own appliance, down from 73% last year. However, one in four (25%) prefer the taste of their homemade brew, down from 55% in 2018, leaving the remainder with a preference for café taste.
You’ll also have to consider things like:
When all is said and done, coffee machines can be a great addition to your kitchen, provided that you get adequate value from them. For many consumers, they probably fall into the category of impulse purchase, so give it some thought before diving in.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Melica/shutterstock.com, Igor Kardasov/shutterstock.com, rawf8/shutterstock.com
*Prices taken from retailer websites, correct as of January 2020.
Our latest customer satisfaction research on espresso coffee machines saw a number of brands rated best in different categories:
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and used an espresso coffee machine in the last 3 years (note: this includes manual, automatic and pod machines, not stovetop espresso pots or plungers) – in this case, 732 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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*Prices correct as of publication date.