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Best coffee machines 2020: A cyclist's best friend

Cyclist magazine
19 Mar 2020

Quick & easy to barista-quality, our guide to the best coffee machines on any budget: capsule, bean-to-cup, manual espresso, filter & pod

With group cycing and cafe stops advised against and many of us looking at the prospect of an indoor training-only approach for the foreseeable future, that doesn't mean we have to miss out on a decent cup of coffee - and that's where our guide to the best coffee machines for cyclists comes in.

Coffee and cycling are like Ant & Dec, you cannot imagine one without the other. The bitter coffee bean has been keeping us cyclists spinning since day dot thanks to its caffeine-filled goodness.

Whether it be a cappuccino, espresso, latte or macchiato, us bike riders consume coffee by the gallon both on the cafe ride and when we are in the comfort of our own home.

Like most cyclists, plenty within the editorial belly of Cyclist consider themselves coffee connoisseurs who have drunk the stuff in all four corners of the globe. We have also, collectively, gone through our fair share of coffee machines, too.

And with that in mind, we thought it high time to give you the lowdown on what machines we rate, what you should be looking for and how much you should be looking to spend.

If you're unsure which type of coffee machine is best for you, jump ahead to our tips on the types of coffee machine to consider.

The 10 best coffee machines for cyclists

1. Krups Calvi espresso machine: Entry-level espresso machine

John Lewis | £139

At less than £200, the Krups Calvi espresso machine is one of the most affordable in its category, with a stylish, compact finish compatible for every kitchen, great and small.

The Compact Thermoblock System ensures water is to temperature in 40 seconds and contains a two-cup filter to allow two shots to be made at once. There’s a steam nozzle for your milky coffees and a temperature regulator, too.

However, the best thing is how easy the Krups Calvi is to use with it all being controlled by one knob.

2. Sage Barista Pro: Mid-range espresso machine

John Lewis | £549

Another fully manual espresso machine, this is the best manual machine you can probably buy in this price range.

The burr grinder is precise at giving the same amount of coffee for each shot while a volumetric sensor will see you pour the same amount of water time after time, too.

Its thermojet tech sees it get to temperature faster than you can say thermojet tech while the 15-bar milk frother will have you feeling like a professional barista.

The tank can also hold 2 litres of water, which is very generous.

3. Rocket R58: Money no object option

See more at Rocket Espresso

The dream of every self-respecting cyclist worldwide is to one day own a Rocket Espresso machine. So shiny, so exciting, so expensive.

The R58 leads the way with its dual-boiler allowing you to create hot water and steam simultaneously at the optimum temperature thanks to four separate sensors ensuring stability with every shot. Its quiet pump calmy pulls water for the internal reservoir and it also has an excellent foamer.

Also, it is terribly stylish and would be the talk of any kitchen.

4. Sage the Dual Boiler: Best dual-boiler option

John Lewis | £1,139

Again, two boilers allowing you to create steam and coffee together, just like the pros do. It’s much better than doing one then the other.

The overall outcome will be of commercial quality thanks to the industrial-quality components that offer durability with expertly brewed coffee every time.

It’s expensive, yes, but coffee is worth it!

5. Lavazza Jolie: Capsule for under £50

Currys | £79.99

An excellent machine for those wanting a quick shot of espresso each morning without breaking the bank or taking up too much time.

The Lavazza Jolie can produce a lovely single or double espresso via one of Lavazza’s own capsules in under two minutes, drawing water from its 600ml tank using its 10-bar pressure pump.

It’s fairly quiet and won’t wake the kids up while the capsules themselves do not cost too much either.

6. Nespresso Expert Magimix: Best Nespresso machine

John Lewis | £299.99

A machine to make you go ooo, a machine to make you go ahhh, this option from Magimix is expensive at £299.99 but has all a Nespresso drinker will need.

LED alerts to warn you when you’re low on capsules, three temperature settings, a schedule for morning coffees and a system to save preferential recipes.

And if you buy it from John Lewis, it will also throw in 100 free capsules.

7. Krups Inissia: Nespresso under £100

It comes in three colours, it’s tiny and it serves up Nespresso coffee for under £100. What more could you possibly want?

It’s the best option you will find for budget Nespresso coffee and even then, its 700ml tank can produce nine shots worth of coffee before being refilled.

8. De’Longhi PrimaDonna: Best bean-to-cup machine

Six pre-set drink choices and seven further recipes all behind a 3.5in screen with the added bonus of being able to tailor coffee to your taste with its profile settings to produce the same coffee every time.

There’s a tea function if you’re from the north and even an app that can let you create new recipes from your phone for your machine.

Quick, easy and under £1,000, unlike many of its competitors.

9. Cuisinart Grind and brew: Good filter at a decent price

This little machine packs a punch with its ability to make a mighty 12 cups in just eight minutes of either pre-ground or bean coffee.

There’s no need for filter papers - it has its own - and its internal charcoal filter keeps the water pure and your teeth clean (the last bit's not true).

Filter machines often get a bad wrap but if you use good quality coffee, there’s nothing wrong with this option from Cuisinart.

10. Aeropress: On-the-go alternative

Buy now from Amazon for £24

We love the Aeropress for many reasons. It cleans itself, it makes a great cup of coffee, it’s small enough to go on holiday with you and the lettering is gold.

It’s cheap at under £30 and is incredibly robust, no matter how many times you drop it.

Read our Aeropress review here

Buy now from Amazon for £24

  

Types of coffee machine to consider

Why should you buy a manual espresso machine?

Pros: Best-tasting coffee • Flexibility | Cons: Time-consuming • Messy

If you’re something of a coffee connoisseur and want a machine that will allow you to make a wide variety of styles, from ristrettoo to macchiato, then a manual espresso is the machine for you.

The downside is there’s a learning curve to using one, you’ll need to grind and tamp the coffee yourself, steam the milk, clean the machine and then repeat the whole ordeal for every cup, but those who take their caffeine drinks seriously will relish the (somewhat) finicky process.

Why should you buy a bean-to-cup machine?

Pros: Easy to use • Great coffee | Cons: Expensive • Requires daily cleaning

If just reading about all the work that goes into using a manual espresso machine wore you out, but you still want the freedom of using coffee beans, then a bean-to-cup machine is your perfect match. Simply add water and beans to the machine and you have fresh coffee at the touch of a button - and without the need to clean in between every single cup.

More expensive machines have fancy extra features like an integrated milk frother, but even a mid-range model will be pricey and the end product will rarely match the quality you’ll get from a manual espresso machine.

Why should you buy a coffee pod or capsule machine?

Pros: Quick, consistent results • Mess-free | Cons: Coffee pods are pricey are create landfill

If you’re looking for the best value when it comes to cost per cup then a pod/capsule machine won’t be for you, however, if simplicity is what you crave then you can’t get easier than just popping a capsule into a machine.

Simply purchase the pod/capsule in the strength and favour of your preference and you’ll have hassle and mess-free coffee in moments, plus it’ll always taste consistently good as well. Of course the cons, aside from costly capsules, is that you don’t get the freshness or quality of coffee brewed directly from the beans in an espresso or bean-to-cup machine.

Why should you buy a filter coffee machine?

Pros: Cheap • Quick • Easy | Cons: Versatility

If you just want coffee without the fuss, or you want to make coffee for the whole house, then a filter coffee machine is the ideal choice. Generally, these will require the use of ground coffee, but some models do have integrated grinders, but when it comes to making a reliable black coffee without hassle then a filter machine fits the bill.

All cyclists love coffee, but can caffeine actually make you ride faster? We investigate here.

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