Our Top 6 Best Drip Coffee and Espresso Maker Combos

Combination coffee and espresso makers add variety to your morning routine, allowing you to make drip coffee, espresso shots, and even froth milk for lattes and cappuccinos. 

We tested a dozen of the top-rated combination coffee and espresso makers side-by-side in our dedicated Lab and rated them on ease of use, heat-up time, brew quality, and cleanup. A panel of testers judged the mouthfeel, texture, and clarity of each machine’s coffee and espresso drinks. We pulled more than 100 shots of espresso and coffee for them to judge.

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10 Best Drip Coffee and Espresso Maker Combo Reviews

These are our lab-tested winners for coffee and espresso machine combos that offer the best of both worlds.

1. De’Longhi All-in-One Coffee and Espresso Maker

De'Longhi All-in-One Coffee and Espresso Maker

The split design of the De’Longhi All-in-One Coffee and Espresso Maker makes it an excellent option for anyone who is interested in trying out barista-style coffee.

The system comes with an espresso portafilter and milk frother on one side, and a 10-cup glass carafe for drip coffee on the other. In addition, espresso and drip coffee can even be brewed simultaneously, so nothing will slow down your morning routine. It is an intuitive setup that visually guides new users to their preferred beverage.

It is also clearly labeled to alternate between a denser, finer foam (for lattes) and a lighter, more voluminous foam (for cappuccinos) during our lab testing.

While the Espressione model produced a superior espresso shot on its own, if you are a cappuccino drinker, this is the clear choice among the group. Its coffee also received top ratings from our taste testers. Even though the De’Longhi didn’t brew the strongest espresso, three different testers described it as coffee they looked forward to waking up to every day.

This machine was relatively easy to clean, with only a small amount of coffee grinds remaining in its crevices. As soon as the drip tray was full, water overflow started leaking out (without warning), so we had to be vigilant about cleaning it regularly while using the machine. For easier filling and cleaning, the espresso side has a removable water reservoir, while the coffee side has a front-loading reservoir.

A newer version of the De’Longhi COM532M coffee and espresso maker, the COM532M features a touchscreen display. Overall, this machine was one of the best machines because of its versatility, superiority on drip coffee, and ability to produce cappuccinos and lattes with the desired milk texture. This product is also recommended by Delish, and 77% of 900+ Amazon users have given it a 4-star rating.

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2. Miele CM5300 Countertop Coffee System

Miele CM5300 Countertop Coffee System

You can opt for a super-automatic machine or one that grinds everything on its own if you don’t want to think in the morning. With intuitive touch controls, a sleek design, and rich, barista-worthy coffee, the Miele CM5300 Countertop Coffee Machine packs luxury into every sip. 

While customers should expect to pay a steep price, we found the product to be an excellent value: it delivers a high-quality cup in about 45 seconds with minimal effort, as well as the ability to do back-to-back espresso shots.

Due to Miele’s design, the water is heated by a metal block rather than the entire reservoir.

CM5300 has nine pre-programmed drink options, covering both essential drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos and more creative drinks with ristrettos and macchiatos.

In addition to grinding beans with its burr grinder, the Miele CM5300 froths and pours milk for your drinks as well, which sets it apart from most coffee and espresso machines. One of our at-home tester’s favorite features was frothing, especially when it comes to coffee-to-milk ratios.

The final espresso isn’t on the level of a manual espresso machine, possibly because it doesn’t apply the same amount of pressure. Meanwhile, our lab testers found that the final coffee was more like an Americano than an American drip.

It is nice to have the automatic cleaning system while pulling back-to-back shots during testing, but regular cleaning still has to be done and can be somewhat time-consuming.

In our easy-to-clean category, this model scored slightly lower because it requires periodic cleaning of the drip tray, drip tray cover, coffee grounds container and water container as well as once a week cleaning of the brew unit and main dispenser.

As our coffee expert pointed out, the maintenance prompts might be irritating, but they will also allow users not to ignore their superautomatic machines and keep their investment running smoothly.

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3. Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker

Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker

With its mesh filter, the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker has the characteristics of a French press without the cleanup. In our Lab, we put the Ninja through its paces to determine if it produces a full-bodied cup of coffee. Although there were some grounds in its pours, fans of French presses and coffee beans’ oils will appreciate this machine.

It offers a variety of drinks (from frothy lattes to standard coffees) and six different brew sizes (from a single cup to a carafe). You can also make iced coffee drinks with the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, which makes it different from other coffee makers.

In our blind taste tests, the Ninja machine’s intense, full-bodied coffee taste was the only machine that truly had split results, and it was entirely personal preference. It was praised for its richness by some, but it was criticized for being too muddy by others.

It also does not produce true espresso, but our testers noted that it produces a thick coffee that is useful for making specialty drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and macchiatos. The Ninja’s fold-away compact frother produced silky smooth froth while testing it out with milk-based drinks.

Ninja was efficient from start to finish in its testing. It heated up a carafe of coffee one full minute faster than Delonghi.

The machine offers a wide range of features, and with the right target audience of coffee drinkers, it definitely ranks in at a fair price.

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4. Espressione Stainless Steel Machine Espresso and Coffee Maker

Espressione Stainless Steel Machine Espresso and Coffee Maker

In our testing, we found this stainless steel combination maker to be among the top performers, especially for drip or espresso coffee. The coffee expert told us that since this machine has a paper drip filter, it’s no surprise that it produces the cleanest coffee throughout the course of our testing.

It can make up to 10 cups of coffee at a time, so if you prefer light roasts, this is the machine for you.

If you’re looking to sip espressos at home without having to go to a coffee shop, the Espressione could also be your top pick for that reason. As we pulled many espresso shots during our Lab tests, the aptly named Espressione overperformed due to its fast heat-up time and memorable taste.

Aside from having longer espresso shots than its competitors, like the De’Longhi, it also had gentler extractions (espresso that was not bitter or sour). While we compared drinks side-by-side, we noticed that the De’Longhi produced a nicer foam quality than the Espressione.

You might prefer the Espressione if you like being more involved in your daily espresso ritual than automatic machines like the Miele or Jura.

With its 19-bar pump, Espressione earned a clear 5 rating and proved to be closer to the full flavor and body of real espresso than most home espresso machines.

Espresso isn’t a button-press affair. The grounds need to be manually added to the portafilter and tamped properly.

In my opinion, the Espressione is the closest you can get to a professional-looking appliance in your kitchen with its removable frontal water tank and drip tray.

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5. Bialetti Moka Express

Bialetti Moka Express

The Bialetti Moka Express was invented in 1933 and has been a beloved source of espresso-like coffee ever since. However, the final product is still close to espresso in taste and consistency, even though it does not produce real espresso because it brews with less pressure than commercial espresso makers. Moka pots are often referred to as stovetop espresso makers. 

The device’s biggest appeal is its ability to make espresso-like cups or lighter cups similar to drip coffee by changing the grind size. For a heavier body and stronger flavor, BaristaValet’s product manager Allie Caran recommends a fine to medium grind.

The brew time was only 3 minutes when using high heat on a coil burner with medium-ground coffee. This model took just over 10 minutes to brew on medium heat with a fine grind, but the brew was very strong. When removing it from the stovetop, be sure to grab the handle with a towel or oven mitt as it gets very hot.

In our ease of use category, we awarded the Moka Express a 5 since it is sturdy, hard to break, and exceptionally easy to operate. Moka Express is more portable than other espresso machines on this list, so you can take it anywhere.

It comes in a wide range of sizes, ranging from 1 to 12 cups. Be aware that each cup represents one serving of espresso; for instance, a 3-cup pot produces just 4.3 ounces.

Its low cost, even at its largest size, makes it a great value for money option when compared to standard coffee-and-espresso machines.

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6. Nespresso Vertuo and Milk Frother

Nespresso Vertuo and Milk Frother

Nespresso Vertuo isn’t just a space-saving capsule machine; it also makes delicious beverages quickly. During lab testing, we timed this Nespresso model’s heating time, which was 3 seconds, the fastest out of all the machines we tested. In addition to heating up quickly, the brew time was also very quick, at roughly 15 seconds.

As part of our taste test, we used a travel mug to create a lungo with a creamy layer that was impressively smooth.

It is possible to produce “coffee” with a Nespresso, but it actually is just an Americano, so coffee drinkers please beware (although its espresso was bold and acid-free).

The Vertuo is not only incredibly convenient (simply pop in a Nespresso capsule and press brew), it’s also remarkably quiet, durable, and easy to clean. 

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What to Look for in a Coffee and Espresso Machine Combo

Level of Automation

You can categorize coffee and espresso machines by their level of automation, such as manual, semiautomatic, fully automatic, and superautomatic. It is difficult to create pressure with manual machines because you have to pull a lever; that is why none are on this list.

Despite the fact that semiautomatic machines allow you to pack the portafilter by hand and choose when to pull the shot, they are messier and take more time than fully automatic machines.

When the espresso is finished, the flow of water automatically stops, so over-extraction is not possible.

Lastly, super-automatic machines make every drink at the touch of a button, from regular coffee to cappuccinos – they can even froth milk for you. They tend to be the most compact, but they are also the most expensive.

Temperature and Pressure Control

It is important to note that some machines allow users to control key espresso factors, such as pressure and water temperature. Like drip coffee, espresso tastes best when the water temperature is between 195 and 204 degrees Fahrenheit.

The lower the percentage, the harder it will be for espresso to reach the proper extraction rate, making it weak and watery. Pressure is a more complicated issue.

A 15-bar machine is capable of creating the perfect amount of pressure at the brew head, which is nine bars. Brands love to advertise that their products can reach 20-plus bars of pressure. 

Grounds or Pods Compatibility

Coffee pods or grounds can both be used in some machines, but you usually have to choose between them. Freshly ground coffee beans are usually more flavorful than pods and can be adjusted to make coffee stronger or weaker. Also, grounds are more affordable in the long run and are available in more varieties and flavors than pods.

In addition to speeding up the process, pod-based machines are easier to clean, and they eliminate the need to pack the filter manually. They are mostly single-serve, while ground coffee makers can produce multiple servings simultaneously.

Types of Coffee and Espresso Machine Combos

Semiautomatic

Using a semiautomatic machine means users must do most of the work themselves, such as filling a drip coffee filter, pulling an espresso shot, and steaming milk.

The advantage of this type of machine is that it provides a lot of control over the coffee and a barista-like experience.

Those who are new to coffee or espresso may feel intimidated by the many parts, knobs, and gauges of semiautomatic machines, but after learning the ropes, it’s not difficult to make coffee-worthy drinks right at home.

Automatic

It is unfortunate that this category is sometimes vague. In reality, automatic coffee and espresso makers are very similar to semiautomatic ones, in that they grind and tamp coffee manually. Automatic machines are easy to assume they’ll do everything for you.

Its main difference is that an automatic machine stops itself when the coffee is ready, so it’s only a slight improvement over semiautomatic machines, but it simplifies the brewing process. Often, these machines are the same price or a little more expensive than semiautomatic machines.

Super-Automatic

There are three levels of super-automatic coffee and espresso makers. Virtually every aspect of the brewing process is controlled by the machine. A super-automatic machine will typically come with a built-in grinder to begin with fresh beans. After pressing a button on the machine’s digital display, you can instantly create a variety of drinks.

It is even possible to adjust a number of details, like water temperature, coffee strength, and drink size, on super-automatic machines.

Brands/Manufacturers

Bialetti

There are several coffee makers offered by Italian manufacturer Bialetti, but we are highlighting its popular stovetop brewer, the Moka Express, for this review. The reason it stands out is that it’s not exactly a coffee maker or espresso maker, so it stands out from the crowd.

You can drink the coffee by itself, or mix it with milk for a latte. The Moka Express brews a cross between drip and espresso. In addition to its compact size and affordable price, the unique brewing device also outshines most of the coffee and espresso options available.

Keurig

Keurig’s signature K-Cups make it a beloved brand in many households. In addition to quick drip coffee, Keurig manufactures a limited number of coffee and espresso makers. There are two that are worth checking out: the K-Café and K-Latte. Keurig’s main advantage is its ease of use, as you would expect.

In addition, Keurig machines tend to be more affordable than competitors in this category. We tested Keurig machines, but they didn’t pass our lab tests for producing real espresso. They use a condensed, bolder form of coffee called coffee concentrate, and although it’s great for ease of use, it didn’t pass our lab tests.

Nespresso

It has been known for many years that Nespresso manufactures high-quality espresso machines. The Swiss company was founded in 1986 and its main focus was espresso. The VertuoLine machines were released in 2014, and they are designed to brew classic espresso and coffee in multiple sizes.

The brand often adds and discontinues different models, but between its Vertuo and Original machines, there are always plenty of great options to choose from. Several of them are affordable around the $200 mark, but others quickly go higher. One of the company’s most defining characteristics is its patented coffee capsules, which are quick to use, easy to store, and come in many flavors.

FAQs

What is a coffee and espresso machine combo?

We have onsite coffee expert, Chris Hallowell, owner of Turning Point Coffee Roasters, who says every espresso maker has their own specialty. Depending on what type of coffee drinker you are, there is one that will suit you best based on the features you prefer, such as speedy steamers, impressive portafilters, automatic presets, or built-in coffee grinders.

The routine of grinding coffee, tamping it, brewing espresso, and steaming your own milk can be meditative for some, while super-automatic machines offer near-immediate caffeine gratification for others.

How do you clean a coffee and espresso machine combo?

In order to maintain an espresso or coffee maker properly, it is similar to maintaining a standard coffee maker. Both machines require regular descaling, which is a more thorough and rigorous process than hand washing (more on that below).

A more advanced machine may have a separate (and simpler) maintenance routine. For instance, some machines have an automatic cleaning feature that completely eliminates the hassle.

For machines with a traditional espresso group head, backflushing is also necessary. Rinse out your portafilter thoroughly, and then brush underneath the group head to remove any stray grounds.

After that, you just have to lock the portafilter into place and run the brewing cycle several times. In coffeehouses, backflushing machines happens every day, but at home, it happens only every week. There are several products available that simplify the process, such as cleaning solutions and single-use tablets.

What coffee beans do you use for an espresso machine combo?

There are several characteristics that make espresso more delicious than other kinds of coffee. To begin with, espresso is best made with a dark roast because darker beans have a sweeter taste, and are less acidic.

If you see a bag labeled “espresso roast,” it’s mainly because the beans have been roasted at high temperatures for a long time. If you buy pre-ground coffee, make sure that the grind size is very fine, because your espresso will be weak, watery, and lack crema if it is too coarse.

It’s possible your favorite coffee beans can be used to make both drip coffee and espresso, especially if they’re French or Italian roasts, but when in doubt, check the brand’s instructions.

What is descaling?

The purpose of descaling is to remove mineral deposits that accumulate on a machine over time. The easiest way to descale is to wipe all parts and pieces with a mixture of vinegar and warm, soapy water. Some manufacturers recommend doing it once a month, but you can probably get by with doing it every three months.

Pour the vinegar solution into the water reservoir of your coffee and espresso maker, and run the brew setting for 30 minutes. Be sure to check the product manual beforehand, since some manufacturers don’t recommend using vinegar.

There are even specialized descaling solutions available from many brands. If you don’t regularly descale the machine, you are likely to have issues, such as clogging, altered coffee taste, and not getting hot enough. 

What is the best water for coffee?

Your water type is one factor that determines mineral buildup. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, especially calcium and magnesium, so it leads to faster mineral buildup in your coffee maker. By contrast, soft or filtered water will be easier on your machine and reduce the frequency with which you need to descale.

Minerals also play an important role in the taste of your coffee, and a moderate amount is necessary for proper extraction. You may want to experiment with different kinds of water to find out which one suits your taste buds best. Too many minerals will overpower your coffee; too few and it will taste weak or salty. 

What is coffee concentrate?

As opposed to real espresso, many machines actually brew a beverage called “coffee concentrate.” The main difference between the two is pressure. It is made by rapidly pressing highly pressurized water through finely ground beans to produce espresso, the delicious little shots we love.

Coffee concentrate is made more like standard drip coffee, since the water is slowly filtered through coarse and loosely packed grounds, which is not to be confused with cold brew coffee concentrate, which is a condensed form of cold brew that needs to be diluted with milk or water. It’s a cross between espresso and coffee.

Even though brands generally are transparent about the difference in product descriptions, it’s important to keep an eye out because all machines in this category are called coffee and espresso makers, regardless of whether they make espresso or concentrate. It’s best to go with espresso if you want the most flavor and control over your coffee.

It is important to remember that nothing beats the real thing. However, if you prefer convenience, want to save some money, and do not mind a slightly weaker taste, coffee concentrate is a good option. 

Are steamed milk and frothed milk different?

It’s not necessary to get bogged down in the differences between frothing and steaming. The former provides more aeration, while the latter always uses heat, so don’t get hung up on that when you’re buying.

The frother/steamer can either be built into the machine itself, typically as a steaming wand, or it can be purchased separately-as with Keurig products.

There are three varieties of these devices: manual, handheld, and electric. You can expect manual and handheld frothers to be smaller, cheaper, and less powerful.

The only downside to electric frothers is that they are more expensive, but you can buy one separately should you change your mind.

What is a portafilter?

The term “portafilter” pops up often when searching for coffee and espresso makers, but it may be unfamiliar to those who have never owned an espresso machine before.

A portafilter, also referred to as a “group handle,” is simply the handheld basket that attaches to the espresso machine in order to brew. You will likely recognize the little stainless steel devices from coffee shops.

It’s important to note that the quality of a portafilter does affect the quality of espresso. Portafilters can be purchased in two varieties: pressurized, which is great for beginners, and non-pressurized, which is ideal for those who want more hands-on control over their espresso. 

What are must-have accessories for my coffee and espresso machine combo?

Coffee grinders are one of the best tools and accessories to pair with a coffee maker and espresso maker.

Coffee machines often come with built-in grinders, but most don’t. Investing in a separate grinder ensures the freshest roast and, consequently, the best cup of coffee.

The burr grinder is superior to the blade grinder, offering the maximum evenness and consistency, but it is also more expensive.

You can also buy grinders that are manual (often run by a hand crank) or electric. The best manual grinders are made by Hario, and the best electric grinders are made by Breville and Bodum.

Final Verdict

Each of our coffee makers has its own specialty based on your type of coffee drinker, but the Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker, with its unmatched versatility and affordable price, as well as the De’Longhi, with its high brew quality, are both great places to start when looking for a coffee and espresso combo machine.

There is also the Espressione, which is pricier but offers a seamless experience of at-home brewing, a worthwhile option for those who prefer espresso.

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