Your guide to buying a coffee machines at Argos

The Coffee Machine Guide

Finding the right coffee machine for you can be confusing; our guide easily explains the different features of each type of machine and how they work. Once you've made your decision and have your machine at home, we've also included some step-by-step guides, tips and recipes to help get you started.

The Coffee Machine Guide

From coffee lovers who like their regular caffeine hit to entertainers who enjoy an after-dinner coffee, investing in a coffee machine at home is a great idea.

There's a wide variety of models on the market, so before buying a coffee machine think about what type of coffee you prefer, how many cups you want to make at a time, and how often you intend to use your machine. Our coffee machine buying guide will give you the information you need to make the right purchase.

Filter coffee machines

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Filter coffee machines are perfect for making large quantities of freshly brewed coffee. The water slowly drips through a container holding the ground coffee, using either a paper or permanent reusable filter. As the water flows through, it absorbs the flavours and aromas. The filter coffee is then ready to serve from the pot or carafe and is usually kept warm on a hot plate making it a quick and easy option for re-fills.

Coffee machines with a permanent filter require more cleaning but can save money in the long term. Removable paper filters are usually the easier option as they can be thrown away. Filter coffee machines come in different cup volumes depending on the number of cups you want to make in one sitting.

Coffee: ground
Ease of use: fairly easy

Pod & capsule coffee machines

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These coffee machines use disposable pods or capsules filled with coffee sealed inside. The coffee is blended, roasted, ground and then sealed within the pod. Once you put the coffee capsule into the machine, water is heated and forced through the coffee, releasing the full flavour into the cup. It's fast and convenient without messy filter holders to clean.

There's a wide variety of pods and capsule systems available from different brands, each incompatible with the other. Tassimo and Nescafe Dolce Gusto machines use plastic pods to create barista-style coffee drinks. Nespresso use infinitely recyclable aluminium capsules, filled with their signature Grand Cru coffee. Nespresso coffee machines also have a high 19 bar pressure to create premium espresso and some Nespresso machines use fresh milk for the perfect cappuccino and latte coffee drinks.

Coffee: capsules
Ease of use: extremely easy

Espresso coffee machines

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An espresso coffee maker is a popular way to make barista-style espresso at home using a filter holder and pre-ground coffee. Pump machines have a separate water tank and a fast Thermoblock heating system which heats the water to the optimum temperature for the perfect espresso crema.

The water is then pushed through the coffee filter holder at the correct bar pressure to produce a rich, smooth espresso. Some pump espresso machines have a steam arm that is used to steam and froth milk for cappuccino and latte drinks. Many machines can also be used with coffee pods for added convenience.

Coffee: pre-ground
Ease of use: more difficult

Bean-to-cup coffee machines

Shop bean-to-cup coffee machines

A bean-to-cup coffee machine is just as the name suggests - delivering coffee from freshly ground beans straight into your cup. At the touch of a button, a bean-to-cup coffee machine grinds the whole bean coffee with the built-in grinder, tightly packs the ground coffee together and pushes water through the filter at a suitable pressure.

The espresso is then delivered straight into your cup and the used coffee grinds are ejected into a tray. Some machines include a steam arm, using steam to heat and froth milk. Using the steamed milk, espresso can be transformed into your favourite milk based drinks. Bean-to-cup machines are easy for the ultimate enthusiast, taking care of everything for you at the touch of a button.

Coffee: beans
Ease of use: fairly easy

Things to consider

Size and weight If you're looking to store your coffee machine away when you're not using it, make sure it's small enough to fit into a kitchen cupboard and light enough to manoeuvre. Larger coffee machines are ideal if you're keeping them on display on a worktop.
Ease of use Think about how much effort and time you're willing to put in for your cup of coffee. If you're strapped for time, look for easy pod or capsule machines and user-friendly programmable cup size options.
Wattage The higher the wattage of your coffee machine, the faster the water will boil. Choose a high wattage machine if you're looking to make large quantities of coffee or in a hurry for your daily espresso.
Bar pressure Between 9 and 15 bars is the ideal pressure for creating a perfectly smooth crema on top of your espresso. Having a powerful enough bar pressure is important for extracting the full flavour of your coffee.
Heating element Thermoblock heating systems heat water to the optimum temperature (around 90°) needed for a rich espresso. Thermoblock machines are fast and efficient and also avoid overheating the coffee which leaves behind a bitter taste.
Automatic shut-off Coffee machines with an auto shut down function automatically switch off after a set amount of time which saves energy and also helps to keep your machine in great working order.
Steam arm If you enjoy a cappuccino, latte or macchiato, look for a coffee machine with a steam arm or built-in milk frothing function. This will allow you to create a range of milk-based coffee drinks.
Water tank & capacity A removable water tank makes cleaning easy. Coffee machines with a transparent water tank allow you to easily see how much water you've got left to make your coffee. Choose a higher water capacity if you're looking to make several cups of coffee in one sitting. Machines with a high water volume are ideal for large families and entertaining.

Maintenance

Knowing how to take care of your coffee machine is important if you're using it frequently. Cleaning the machine and regular maintenance checks will prolong its lifespan and ensure your coffee tastes as good as can.

  • 1 Before you clean your machine, always make sure it has cooled down and is unplugged.
  • 2 Clean your steam arm regularly. Blast it with steam after you've used it to clean away any unused milk and wipe clean. Be careful not to use abrasive pads which could damage the arm.
  • 3 The coffee pot or carafe, filter, accessories and inside elements of the coffee machine should be cleaned thoroughly weekly or monthly with fresh water - check the manufacturer's user manual for more information on how and when to clean your machine.
  • 4 Turn off your coffee machine when you're not using it to make sure it's always in great working condition.
  • 5 Capsule coffee machines will need descaling two to three times a year. Check the manufacturer's user manual for more information on how to descale your machine.
  • 6 Don't leave water in the tank for long periods of time and always use fresh water for boiling.
Maintenance

Making your choice and getting it delivered

If you're ready to make your choice, then it's time to shop.

But before you buy, consider our range of delivery options, so you can collect all your items at a place and time that's convenient.

Collection
In-store collection

You can reserve many of our items online and collect them in store. Subject to availability.

Collection
Home delivery

Receive your order within 3 - 5 days for as little as £3.95 P&P. Click here for more information.

Collection
Express delivery

Have your new items delivered within 2 days and at a time that suits you for £19.99. Selected items only.

Collection
Buy now, pay later

You can pay up to 3 months later when you use an Argos credit card. Click here for more information.

Recipes, tips and inspiration

Italian biscuit recipes - 1) Lemon and Pistachio Biscotti
Lemon and Pistachio Biscotti

Biscotti meaning 'cooked twice' are traditional Italian biscuits that are characteristically very crunchy. They are perfect when dunked into your favourite Italian coffee. Makes approx. 15 biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 150g plain flour, plus a bit extra for dusting
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Zest of one unwaxed lemon
  • 100g unsalted pistachios, shelled

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/356F/Gas 4 and line a baking tray with greaseproof or silicone paper, lightly greased with butter.
  2. In a large bowl use a wooden spoon to thoroughly mix together the flour, sugar, egg and baking powder, until a soft dough is formed. Add more flour if necessary if the dough is too sticky.
  3. Once you have a soft dough, flour your hands well and lightly knead the dough, mixing in the lemon zest and pistachios. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and roll it into a thick log shape. Press down lightly on top of the log to flatten it slightly. Place the biscotti log onto the greased baking tray, and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
  4. Remove the biscotti log from the oven, and leave to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.
  5. When the biscotti log is cool enough to touch, slice it into diagonal slices about 2cm wide and rearrange the slices onto the baking tray. Return to the oven and leave to dry out for around 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. They will continue to harden as they cool.
  6. Your biscotti will now be very crunchy, ideal for dipping in a strong espresso to soak up all of the wonderful coffee flavour.
Italian biscuit recipes - 2) Chocolate, ginger and almond biscotti
Chocolate, ginger and almond biscotti

A delicious twist on the classic biscotti recipe, try this chocolate and almond option when you're entertaining.

Ingredients

  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 455g plain flour
  • 115g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 230g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 230g shelled pistachio nuts
  • 115g chocolate chips

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Grease and flour a baking sheet and set aside.
  2. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs to the cream and sugar mixture and beat until well combined, scraping down sides of the bowl if necessary. Add the flour mixture and stir to form a stiff dough. Stir in the pistachios and chocolate chips.
  3. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet; form into a slightly flattened log, about 20x15cm. Bake for about 25 minutes until slightly firm. Cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes until cool enough to safely touch. Reduce oven temperature to 150°C.
  4. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log diagonally into 2cm biscotti slices. Return to the oven and bake until crisp but still slightly soft in the center (about 8 minutes).
Italian biscuit recipes - 3) Amaretti biscuits
Amaretti biscuits

These delicious crumbly almond biscuits are very famous and are often found in Italian coffee bars individually wrapped in beautiful coloured paper. Makes approx. 30 biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs, whites only
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 400g ground almonds
  • 2 tbs amaretto liqueur
  • Handful of flaked almonds to decorate (optional)
  • Icing sugar to decorate (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325F/Gas 3 and line a baking tray with edible rice paper, lightly greased with some butter.
  2. Whisk the egg whites in a large clean bowl until firm and then gently fold in the sugar and ground almonds.
  3. Fold in the amaretto liqueur until everything is thoroughly mixed together (don't worry if it looks lumpy) and then use a teaspoon to place small heaps onto the baking tray, making sure to leave an inch around the mixture as they will increase in size whilst baking. Press a flaked almond onto each amaretti heap.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown and then remove from the oven and leave to cool. Once cool enough to handle, peel the biscuits away from the rice paper. It's normal for some rice paper to be stuck to the bottom of the biscuits; this is fine as rice paper is edible. Lightly dust with sifted icing sugar if desired.
Italian biscuit recipes - 4) Cinnamon and hazelnut biscotti
Cinnamon and hazelnut biscotti

Combining cinnamon and hazelnut flavours with the distinctive texture of biscotti, these biscuits are an ideal treat when dipped into your espresso. Makes approx. 15 biscuits.

Ingredients

  • 150g plain flour, plus a bit extra for dusting
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g toasted hazelnuts, chopped

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/356F/Gas 4 and line a baking tray with greaseproof or silicone paper, lightly greased with butter.
  2. In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to thoroughly mix together the flour, sugar, egg, baking powder, and cinnamon until a soft dough is formed. Add more flour if necessary if the dough is too sticky.
  3. Once you have a soft dough, flour your hands well and lightly knead the dough, mixing in the hazelnuts. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and roll it into a thick log shape. Press down lightly on top of the log to flatten it slightly. Place the biscotti log onto the greased baking tray, and bake for 25 minutes or until golden.
  4. Remove the biscotti log from the oven, and leave to cool slightly. Leave the oven on.
  5. When the biscotti log is cool enough to touch, slice it into diagonal slices about 2cm wide and rearrange the slices onto the baking tray. Return to the oven and leave to dry out for around 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. They will continue to harden as they cool.

The perfect milk froth topping

Milk Froth Topping

Many of the most popular coffee drinks are finished with frothed milk on top for a truly authentic touch. To get the perfect velvety soft milk froth for your daily coffee, follow our guide to milk frothing using the steam arm of your espresso machine.

Method

  1. Start with fresh, cold milk in a stainless steel jug.
  2. Position the steam wand just below the surface of the milk, around 1-2cm.
  3. Create a vortex by holding the steam arm close to the side of the jug to incorporate air into the milk.
  4. Move the steam wand around the jug to reduce the size of bubbles.
  5. Remove the arm once the milk has doubled in size.
  6. Tap the jug on a surface a couple of times to remove larger bubbles.
  7. Gently top cappuccino with froth.

Whisk it up

If you don't have a steam arm on your espresso machine you can still froth milk by heating it in a saucepan and using an electric milk frother. Take a look at some of our top milk frothers below

Get creative with latte art

Get creative with latte art

From hearts and leaves to even animals, latte art is a great way to achieve a barista-style coffee at home and to impress your family and friends. Try our step-by-step guide to creating the Rosetta leaf below. But remember, it takes practice!

Method

  1. Ensure you have steamed the milk and made the espresso with an adequate crema.
  2. Pour the milk as soon as possible.
  3. Hold the cup at a slight angle.
  4. Pour from high above the cup and lower once the cup is half full.
  5. Bring the pitcher to the cup and increase the amount of milk you pour into the cup.
  6. Steadily move the pitcher from side to side in one spot, using your wrist, not arm!
  7. Continue the rocking motion and start to move the pitcher towards the back of the cup.
  8. Pour a little less milk into the cup.
  9. Lift the pitcher from the cup and move the stream of milk forward.
  10. You've created the Rosetta leaf!

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