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Bean vs capsule coffee machine: Which is better?


It's the question on every coffee addict's lips: Are bean-to-cup or capsule coffee machines superior?

Australia is known as a coffee-loving nation, consuming 37 million kilograms of the delicious bean every year. We all love going to our favourite cafe for a cup, but many Australians have chosen to purchase a coffee machine of their own.

Once you've made that decision, you have a significant choice to make. Will you opt for an automatic or semi-automatic bean-to-cup machine? Or the much simpler pod, or capsule, machine? It's not an easy call to make, which is why we've put the 2 products head-to-head to see which one comes out on top.

If you want more information, check out our guide to the best coffee machines in Australia.

Bean vs pod: Taste

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Whenever you sit down to drink a cup of coffee, the most important factor (apart from the sweet, sweet caffeine hit) is the deliciously bitter taste. No matter where you sit on the coffee snob spectrum, it's tough to argue that bean-based machines don't win out here.

As any foodie will tell you, freshness is key to taste. While coffee capsules are tightly-sealed to retain as much freshness as possible, they simply aren't the same as beans that are ground and then instantly made into coffee.

Depending on if you have an automatic, semi-automatic or manual bean coffee machine, you can exercise varying levels of control over your coffee experience. So if you fancy yourself a barista, you can put that skill to use for your friends and family and deliver even more delicious coffee. Hopefully.

With that said, pod coffee machines are more consistent, as you know exactly how much coffee is in each capsule. This means there will be less variance between each cup you make in terms of taste and caffeine hit. Both pod and bean-to-cup machines can come with milk frothing functionality for the latte lovers out there.

Bean vs pod: Convenience

Once again, there's a clear winner in this category. Pod coffee machines work upon the simple insertion of a capsule and the delivery of fresh coffee in seconds.

There's a broad spectrum of how much effort goes into using a bean-to-cup coffee machine. Manual machines require user input on factors like extraction time, and many have steam wands to be used to heat your milk to your preferred temperature and consistency.

Automatic bean-to-cup machines, meanwhile, can take care of all of that at the touch of a button. But you'll still need to wrangle coffee beans rather than a single pod, and sit through a lengthier process compared to a pod machine. The noise of grinding beans can also be rather irritating.

Capsule machines also have a smaller kitchen footprint than their bean counterparts. With that said, pod machines do produce significantly more waste, which is environmentally-harmful on top of being inconvenient.

Bean vs pod: Cleaning

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Pod coffee machines naturally also require much less clean-up. Bean-to-cup machines are at a much greater risk of getting blocked, and many of them will instruct you to completely disassemble the machine in order to clean it. This could include 6 or more components.

This isn't necessary for capsule-based machines, in which the drip tray and capsule holder are the only individual components to require regular cleaning. In both cases, you should descale your product at least every few months with vinegar or a similar liquid. Both capsule and bean machines should contain mostly dishwasher-safe components, but be sure to double check this is true for your machine.

Bean vs pod: Price

Capsule coffee machines are available around the $100 mark, and can range all the way up to $600 for a truly premium offering. Bean-to-cup machines, meanwhile, have a much greater variance. You can enter the market for around $400, but you can go all the way up to $2,500 if you really want to splurge.

The other factor to consider when it comes to pricing is purchasing coffee pods vs coffee beans. Capsules are almost always more expensive than beans, so you might find your savings margin decreasing as your machine use goes on.

The verdict

In the end, bean-to-cup machines clearly beat out pod machines in the area of brewing authentic, delicious coffee. You'll have to decide for yourself whether the greater ease-of-use and smaller upfront cost of a pod machine is enough to overcome this disparity.

Best bean-to-cup coffee machines deals

32% off Sunbeam Barista Max coffee machine
32% off Sunbeam Barista Max coffee machine

You'll never want to go to a cafe again once you have this exceptional machine in your kitchen, complete with everything you need for barista-quality coffee.

Buy now for $509 (was $749)

$100 off Philips 2200 classic coffee machine
$100 off Philips 2200 classic coffee machine

This immensely-customisable machine includes 12 grinder levels and the ability to make 5,000 cups without descaling thanks to AquaClean technology.

Buy now for $699 (was $799)

$110 off Philips LatteGo fully automatic coffee machine
$110 off Philips LatteGo fully automatic coffee machine

This brilliant offering from Philips will take all the guesswork out of your coffee routine.

Buy now for $789 (was $899)

Best capsule coffee machine deals

46% off Illy portable espresso pod machine
46% off Illy portable espresso pod machine

You'll be thrilled with this purchase the next time you're out on the open road desperately craving a fresh cup of espresso.

Buy now for $79.95 (was $149)

19% off Nespresso Essenza Mini Solo coffee machine
19% off Nespresso Essenza Mini Solo coffee machine

This machine is ultra-compact and boasts a speedy heat-up time of 25 seconds.

Buy now for $159 (was $196.90)

18% off Lavazza A Modo Mio Capsule coffee machine
18% off Lavazza A Modo Mio Capsule coffee machine

Leave it to Italy to provide the perfect machine for all your coffee pod needs. This stylish appliance will fit perfectly into your kitchen decor.

Buy now for $97.84 (was $119)

Want even more savings? Head over to Sales Finder or check out today's top daily deals.

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