Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Mary has been dealing with coffee almost all her life long: in her teenage years, she worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing her knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after graduation, she managed to open her own small coffee bar.
Last updated: May 24, 2021
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When shopping for a combination coffee maker for the first time, it is easy to feel confused by the many models on sale. You may even be discouraged about finding a unit that meets your expectations. This shouldn’t be the case. We have insight on hybrid coffee makers, understand how the different varieties work, and we’re here to help you identify the best coffee and espresso maker for your lifestyle
So far, we’ve reviewed 42 products, and we apply the same meticulous routine when analyzing how each item works. This has led us to identify the DeLonghi Magnifica XS, our Editor’s Choice, as the best performing unit in its class. Dual chambers that allow it to take both whole beans and ground coffee and a diverse range of settings all contribute to its stellar performance. Read more on this and other products in the Product Reviews section.
We base the results of our research on how different features come together to make the coffee maker what it is. These include things like the coffee maker’s dimensions, water tank capacity, bean hopper capacity, type of drinks it makes, and warranty. In the Buying Guide segment of the review, we’ll look at each feature in detail and explain why it matters. This may sound like a lot of information, and it is, but we’ve presented it in an easy-to-follow format. We’ve added a comparison table that lists how the products rank, in-detail reviews of each product, a comprehensive buying guide, and FAQs.
When you buy a combo coffee maker, at the very least, you hope to get a high level of customization and some flexibility. The DeLonghi Magnifica XS delivers both in a myriad of ways. Among the most thoughtful features are dual chambers that give you the freedom to grind your coffee beans on the machine or use pre-ground coffee. If you choose the former, you’ll have burr grinders converting your beans to extra fine espresso-quality grind or any other desired grind size. There are 13 settings on the grinder, which you can manipulate to brew a cappuccino, latte, Americano, or single/double espresso. The main drawback is that oily coffee beans tend to clump up, so you have to push them into the grinder.
From adjusting the steam and milk mix to changing the temperature and coffee strength, there is a whole range of settings that allow you to brew your coffee exactly how you like it. The Rapid Cappuccino System maintains the temperature so you can brew multiple cups in a row with zero wait time.
With the height adjustable coffee spout, you can brew your coffee into a coffee mug of any size. Simply lower the height if using a small mug or raise the spout higher if using a bigger mug.
The brew unit is removable and well-designed for easy cleaning.
The 63-oz 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center allows you to brew 6 different specialty coffee drinks: cappuccino, single and double espresso, single and double coffee, and milk foam. There is also a setting for hot water. And with 8 coffee intensity levels to choose from, you’ll be making coffee in your desired strength in no time. In considerate fashion, all control buttons are positioned at the front for easy operation.
This combination coffee maker uses an AromaG3 burr grinder, which not only operates smoothly but also minimizes leftover ground coffee by up to 60%. Jura uses an exclusive pulse extraction process to optimize extraction time and deliver optimal aroma and flavor for all coffee drink types. Fast heat-up time and a speedy brewing process gets your cup of coffee ready in about 60 seconds.
The E6 is designed in such a way that you can brew 2 different types of coffee at a go so you spend less time making coffee when entertaining. Or if your partner prefers a different specialty drink than what you like, you can both get your preferred drinks in the time it gets to make one cup of coffee. If making a cappuccino, the milk and coffee spouts will effectively mix your drink without you having to move the cup. The spout isn’t adjustable, and this limits you to using coffee cups that are no taller than 41/2 inches.
The polished stainless-steel exterior of the Breville Nespresso Creatista is not just easy to clean, it’s also complementary to any interior and will add to the elegant feel of your kitchen. The non-steel parts of the machine are made using BPA-free material, so you’re assured of its safety.
A fast heat-up time of less than 3 seconds means you’ll not stand around waiting for you coffee to be ready. It has a capacity of 12 capsules, which is more than enough to experiment with for different intensity levels. Hands down the best coffee latte and espresso maker at its price point, it would seem lots of thought went into designing the milk-based features of this machine, making them as good as the black coffee options, which include ristretto, espresso, and lungo (long). At the other end of the spectrum, you get options for caffe latte, cappuccino, latte macchiato, and flat white. The crema is thick and the milk froth is fantastic at all temperatures and settings. Breville throws in a barista-style jug that will help you perfect your latte art skill.
Settings are everything when it comes to designing the perfect cup of coffee, and this machine has plenty of them, including adjustments for coffee volume, 4 settings for froth quality (milk texture), and 5 settings for milk temperature, with a supported temperature range of 55 °C (133 °F) to 76 °C (169 °F).
The 6-capsule Keurig K-Cafe uses K-Cup pods to make coffee and creamy lattes. You can use any K-Cup pod with your K-Cafe machine, and with a 60 oz reservoir, you can make up to 6 large cups before you have to refill the water tank. The reservoir is removable, and this makes refilling and cleaning easy.
By using the Smart Start mechanism, this coffee maker heats and brews in one seamless process, eliminating any wait time to get your coffee ready in seconds. You can then set your desired single cup coffee size from 6, 8, 10, and 12 oz size options. To guarantee strong, concentrated coffee each time, Keurig has designed this machine to brew 2 oz shots, with this becoming the base for any drink you choose to make. The coffee maker will fit many travel mugs. With the drip tray in place, you can slot in a 6-inch cup. When you remove the tray, you can fit in a 7.2-inch cup.
The milk frother is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning and works with all kinds of fresh milk, including almond and soy. The 2-step process of brewing and frothing is straightforward, and the control buttons are all located at the top of the coffee maker. Press to choose the specialty drink you’d like to make, choose your beverage strength, and the machine does the rest.
An automatic shutoff feature turns off the machine after 2 hours.
The KRUPS XP3208 is the best combination espresso and drip coffee maker you can get for $100. While it isn’t the most beautifully designed or pumped full of advanced tech features, it does brew a perfectly good cup of coffee, and for most people, that’s all that matters. To give it some credit as far as looks are concerned, the all-black exterior with a few patches of silver is actually easy on the eye and fits in well if you’d like to maintain a laid-back look in your kitchen.
It has a 50-ounce removable reservoir for easy refilling and cleaning. The coffee holder is small, though, and only fits about 2 scoops of ground coffee. So you would need to refill it if you’re hoping to make the equivalent of the reservoir’s volume in coffee. Adjustable manual settings give you full control over the taste and strength of your coffee. The machine uses 15-bar pressure for optimal extraction, delivering coffee that is flavorful and full of aroma. Your cup options include single-cup and two-cup filter holders for single and double espresso respectively. Other drink options you can brew are coffee and cappuccinos. The steam nozzle delivers a rich crema for a rich cappuccino.
A cup warmer gives a barista experience, and a tamper accessory is added to seal the coffee and extract maximum flavor. The funnel-like tube blends your coffee to enhance its taste.
From the product reviews above, you should be able to single out which combination coffee makers would be right for you going by their capacity, the coffee types they take, and the specialty drinks they can brew. But there is a lot more that goes into identifying a good espresso and coffee maker, and especially one that matches your coffee requirements. This next section will address the importance of a hybrid coffee maker and how to choose one.
Why should you choose a combo coffee maker
Combo coffee makers allow you to brew either coffee or espresso. Overall, you can make up to 6 or 7 specialty drinks with this kind of machine, which makes them a good choice in homes where different folks like different types of coffee. What makes them attractive is the fact that you get to brew your preferred coffee drinks at the price of one coffee maker.
Other advantages are:
It’s cheaper to buy a combo coffee maker than to buy an espresso machine and a coffee maker.
A combo machine will take up less counter space than two separate machines. In most cases, these appliances are the same size as regular coffee makers.
Coffee and espresso – what’s the difference
The difference is in how each is brewed. To make espresso, you pass hot water through fine, tightly packed ground coffee at high pressure and over a short time. This allows for maximum extraction of flavor and yields what’s referred to as espresso layers, with the coffee at the bottom of the mug and some foam at the top.
To make coffee, you allow thicker-sized grind to interact with water longer, and this can be via immersion, drip, or pour-over brewing method. The coffee drink that results from this process has a milder taste compared to espresso. Also, coffee tends to have more caffeine than espresso, with a shot of espresso (1 oz) containing 40-75mg of caffeine versus 85-185mg of caffeine for an 8 oz cup of coffee.
The best coffee and espresso maker can be found by the following features
Let’s now address the specific features that separate one coffee and espresso maker from the other. We’ll look at the importance of each feature and define its role in the coffee maker.
Coffee type it takes
Coffee and espresso coffee makers can take whole beans, ground coffee, or capsules depending on how they’re designed. If your preference is to use freshly ground coffee for all your coffee drinks, your best choice would be a machine that takes whole beans. Good choices include DeLonghi Magnifica XS and Jura 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center.
High-end prices are way above the $1,000 mark. Most of the coffee makers in this range tend to be fully automatic and come with more diverse features and customizable settings. The Jura 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center is one such machine.
How many specialty drinks can the coffee maker brew? The brewing programs incorporated into the machine determine the answer to this question. A good combo machine will give you a wide choice of drinks and can thus meet the taste preferences of a diverse group of people. Going by the coffee makers we’ve reviewed, the best in this regard is Breville Nespresso Creatista, which can brew 7 different drinks. Following closely is Jura 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center with 6 specialty drinks, then DeLonghi Magnifica XS with 5, KRUPS XP3208 with 4, and Keurig K-Cafe with 3.
When investing in a hybrid coffee maker, you expect to use it for some years before it becomes inoperable. A warranty will ensure that you can get a replacement if the coffee maker malfunctions within a specified period of time. The average warranty period for hybrid coffee makers is 1-2 years. Jura 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center and Breville Nespresso Creatista come with a 2-year warranty each. DeLonghi Magnifica XS, Keurig K-Cafe, and KRUPS XP3208 all have a 1-year warranty. However, it’s not unusual for coffee makers to remain usable for up to 10 years or more.
Water tank capacity
The water tank capacity of the coffee maker matters a lot, especially if you’ll be making several cups of coffee consecutively. This applies if you have a medium or large family, if you plan to use the machine in the office, or if you host regularly. Choose a model with a large water tank, such as the DeLonghi Magnifica XS or Jura 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center, and you can comfortably brew 6 or more cups before refilling the reservoir.
You’ll have to clean your coffee and espresso maker regularly to maintain its good condition and keep your drinks tasting fresh. But for this to happen, the machine needs to be well-designed with some removable components. For example, the DeLonghi Magnifica XS has a removable brew unit, and KRUPS XP3208 and Keurig K-Cafe are both coffee makers with removable water reservoirs. The latter also has a dishwasher safe frother. All these make cleaning the unit quick and easy.
The build quality is a good indication of how strong and durable your coffee maker is. Look for solid materials, excellent joinery, and sound workmanship, all which point to a unit that’s been carefully put together. Where possible, pick a model that is made using stainless steel or similar materials, like the Breville Nespresso Creatista.
Size and design
Before choosing a hybrid coffee maker, ensure that you have adequate storage space for it. This usually means sufficient counter space, given that the kitchen counter is where most of us keep our coffee makers. Choose a size that matches the available space so that you don’t strain when using the appliance. DeLonghi Magnifica XS, Breville Nespresso Creatista, and KRUPS XP3208 are compact enough and won’t take up too much space.
Coffee machine recipes you will love
Cashew Nutty Coffee
Brew 1-2 cups of coffee
Measure ¼ roasted cashew nuts
Measure 1 tablespoon of honey
A pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients in a high-powered blender for 45 seconds.
Pour into a cup and enjoy.
You can also use almonds to make almond creamer for your coffee. To do so:
Soak raw almonds for 2 days. Remember to change the water every 12 hours.
Drain the water and rinse.
Add 11/2 cups of water in a blender, add your almonds, and puree for 30 seconds.
Strain using a nut milk bag.
Add a dash of maple syrup and vanilla extract.
Add to your coffee and enjoy.
¼ teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon
Brew your favorite cappuccino or latte, or any milk-based coffee drink really.
Sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes for the cinnamon to soak in.
Watch the following video for the one more recipe to follow:
No, but a coffee and espresso machine will. While you can top up your espresso shot with hot water to make an Americano, you’ll get better tasting coffee when you use a combo coffee maker that has settings for brewing espresso or coffee, like the DeLonghi Magnifica XS or Jura 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center. If you’re shopping for an espresso machine and would like something that is versatile enough to brew coffee when you need it, consider one of the many combination coffee makers available.
If by this you mean keeping it in the office kitchen to make coffee for employees and visitors, then yes. The demand for coffee in such a business setup can be met by a combination coffee maker. Plus, the ability to brew a variety of specialty drinks makes it perfect for the diverse beverage preferences in a workplace setting.
DeLonghi Magnifica XS, our number one choice, stands out for its user-friendly design. Top features include a wide range of customizable settings, a height-adjustable sprout, the flexibility to brew using whole beans or pre-ground coffee, and the versatility to make up to 5 types of coffee.
Our second favorite, the Jura 15070 E6 Automatic Coffee Center, has plenty of good features. For one, it’s fully automatic, which means all the processes are streamlined and flawless. We like the high-performance grinder used here, the extraction mechanism, the large reservoir, and the range of settings. We also like that you can make 2 different drinks at once.
Our third best coffee and espresso maker is the Breville Nespresso Creatista, a well-designed, perfectly built machine. You can brew 7 specialty drinks with this coffee maker, and there are many adjustable settings to customize each drink as you like. Fast heat-up time, rich crema, and a barista-style jug are other major attractions.