There is something about an integrated kitchen appliance, isn’t there? It just makes the whole space look so much neater when everything has its own designated area, and when it is built into the actual units, everything looks so much cleaner and stylish.
When it comes to coffee machines, though, it is quite rare to see one integrated into a kitchen. This is largely because the popularity of these products has exploded at such a rapid rate, that the industry has been struggling to keep up. Plus, people only tend to renovate their kitchens every 15 or so years, so for many people an integrated coffee machine wouldn’t have been an option last time they updated.
I don’t know about you, though, but for me this is a welcome innovation! As a coffee obsessive, I am constantly finding myself buying new gadgets and gizmos that will help me make the best possible cup of coffee. This, quite naturally, leads to quite a congested kitchen countertop! Having the option to integrate one (/some?) of these machines is really music to my ears – not to mention giving me less (justified) grief from my wife!
As the market grows, there are more and more options for us to consider as consumers. It can be a little daunting, so we have compiled the following guide and list to help you decide which is the best integrated coffee machine for you.
BOSCH CTL636ES6 Built-In Bean To Cup Machine
We start our list of best integrated coffee machines with this sophisticated little machine from tech giants BOSCH. The German engineering company have been making innovations across different business sectors since their creation in 1886.
Guess what? It looks great… There really isn’t a machine on this list that I wouldn’t happily have in my own kitchen, and this one is no different. The sleek look, with the black contrasting with the stainless steel just oozes style and sophistication. Measuring 45.5cm x 59.4cm x 37.5cm, this follows the standard size of the other machines we’ve looked at on this list, for obvious reasons. It has a 2.4l water tank, which is the biggest of all the machines that we’ve looked at today.
It’s another bean-to-cup machine that can also take ground coffee. This has 17 different drinks programmed into it, which gives you plenty of choice, and not only that but there is a DoubleShot feature which will give you a stronger coffee. All of this is naturally done at the touch of a button, using the simple OneTouch display.
That’s all very well and good, right? I mean, we’ll see a lot of this throughout this list, so is there anything here that can separate this from the crowd? Well, yes there is….
One thing you should know about me is that I love gadgets, and I love coffee. Well, this is a ‘Smart’ coffee machine, in that it can connect to your Wi-Fi and you can operate it from your phone. This product was basically made with people like me in mind.
Imagine working from home, sitting in your office, and wanting a cup of coffee – all you need to do is whip out your phone and at the touch of a button the process has started. Absolutely ideal if you are having to work like the clappers because you are about to miss another deadline (not speaking from experience…). Honestly, this machine is so much fun to use.
It won’t be for everybody, I’m sure of that. Anybody who has tried to set their parents up with a smartphone will know that there are many people out there that maybe aren’t ready for this technology. I found it amazing, though.
Obviously, this all comes at a cost, and this is another of the more expensive items on our list. If you’re looking for that extra item to add to your smart home that also makes delicious coffee, then this is definitely the machine for you.
Whirlpool W Collection W11CM145
Next up, we have another stylish effort, this time from American giants of the home appliance world, Whirlpool. Employing over 90,000 people, with an annual turnover of roughly $21billion, these guys know what they are doing when it comes to making appliances for kitchens.
If anything, I think this machine might even be more aesthetically pleasing than the AEG model that we looked at above. The black glass and stainless steel goes together really well, and would add a touch of class to any kitchen. The colour display really stands out as well, with the attractive little graphics for each coffee selection. Sat next to some of the other Whirlpool products, this would make a fantastic showpiece in your kitchen.
It is the exact same standard size as the AEG, measuring 45cm x 56cm x 55cm, but has a larger water tank, capable of holding 2l of water, so you won’t have to refill very often at all. Once or twice a week would probably be fine, depending on how much coffee you get through.
Again, it is a bean-to-cup machine, with a built in grinder, but you can also use ground coffee. This is very handy if you have a range of different coffees that you like to use, as you aren’t held back by what form the coffee is sold in.
The milk spout is height adjustable, which makes it much easier to froth your milk if you are using different sizes of cups or jugs, you can make it work with almost anything. Not only that, but the coffee spout is also adjustable, so that you can avoid splashing and losing some of that precious coffee.
Using the LED display you can make your drink exactly how you like it, choosing the type of coffee (espresso, small cup, medium cup, large cup, mug) and the intensity of the coffee (extra-strong, strong, medium, light, very light). I love the different settings that you can experiment with, this is an excellent feature.
You also don’t need to worry about cleaning, as there is an inbuilt descaling function, and a self-cleaning function. It really makes owning this machine completely hassle free.
It is priced towards the lower end of the scale for integrated coffee machines, and in terms of performance, it is one of the best I have come across. This is worth serious consideration.
Rangemaster Eclipse ECL45CFBL
This next coffee machine is made by British manufacturers Rangemaster. They have been making kitchen appliances, particularly cookers, since they were founded in 1939, and they are now part of the American group Middleby Corporation.
You’ll have noticed the pattern by now, but this is another incredibly sleek and stylish machine. It is such a critical aspect of any integrated unit – if it doesn’t look really good, people just aren’t going to bother with it. The look is such a big part of the appeal, and one of the main reasons you would get an integrated coffee machine.
The dimensions for this one are ever so slightly different to the previous two machines that we have looked at, measuring 45.4cm x 59.2cm x 47.4cm – this could be something to keep in mind as you will need to make sure that it will fit in with the rest of the kitchen. It also has the biggest water tank that we’ve seen so far, with a 2.1l capacity.
Another bean-to-cup machine, but with the option of using grounds, this even has the capability to load both in at the same time, so your machine is ready to go no matter what you decide you’re going to use. Another great feature is the ability to save four settings for different coffees, so that you can get your coffee exactly how you like it – with enough for each member of your family.
The display and the buttons are more understated than in the other machines, which I really like, but could be more difficult to see and operate for people that struggle with their sight. I do like the little clock in the middle, though, it really looks like it belongs in your kitchen!
What might make this more appealing to customers, is that it is part of the Rangemaster family, which has such a wide variety of products. If you want your kitchen to all match nicely, going with Rangemaster might give you much more choice than some of the other brands.
Again, this is in the middle of the price range for the products that we’re looking at today, and certainly worth consideration – particularly if you are considering some of the other Rangemaster products.
Smeg Linea CMS4104N
We’ll step things up a notch now with this offering from one of the giants of the kitchen appliance world, Smeg. Founded in Italy in 1948, Smeg have become world-renowned for their range of fridges, cementing themselves as one of the leading brands in the industry.
As you have, I’m sure, come to expect, this is a fabulous looking machine. It is simple, yet incredibly stylish, with a slight retro feel to it (as is often the case with Smeg products). It is all so clear and clean, both unassuming, and yet also drawing the eye. It is available in either black or silver, so you should be able to select one that really fits in with the rest of your kitchen.
In terms of its size, it measures 45.5cm x 59.5cm x 47cm, so similar, but not exactly the same, compared to the other products that we’ve looked at today. Again, if you are, for example, replacing an existing integrated machine, make sure the size is compatible with the space.
On to what it can do: first of all, it is a bean-to-cup machine, with integrated grinder (with 13 settings for different sized grains), which is also compatible with ground coffee – no need to limit yourself in terms of what coffee you buy here.
Where it really starts to separate itself from the pack is with the drink selection. Using the really attractive TFT full touch display, you can select one of 13 drinks, from espresso to just warm milk and a lot in between. Not only that, it has the capability to set up up to 6 different user profiles, so you can programme it to memorise your favourite drinks (how long you’d like it, how strong, how hot etc).
With two spouts, you can pour two drinks at once, or just make a double shot in the same amount of time it takes to make a single. There are three levels of milk foam as well, so you can make sure you get your cappuccinos exactly how you like them, all made automatically from the in-built milk frother.
It will tell you when you’re running low on water, it can descale itself and it will automatically rinse every time you turn it on or off.
In short, this is the Rolls Royce of integrated coffee machines – and it is priced as such. This is considerably more expensive than the other options, but if you are looking for a machine that will really create a WOW factor in your kitchen, this is probably the one for you.
AEG KKK884500M Integrated Coffee Machine
We’ll finish things off with this compact coffee maker from German electrical company AEG (AEG literally stands for German Electricity Company!). They have been making electrical appliances since way back in 1883, first in Berlin and then in Frankfurt. They are now part of the Electrolux family.
This is a great place to start our look at integrated coffee machines, because it boasts a wide range of features that we will see throughout this article.
Before that though, a quick word on its appearance. It is quite unassuming to look at. I don’t mean this as a criticism by any stretch of the imagination, as something like this will blend into your kitchen very easily – it will integrate itself in more ways than one. Having said that, it does possess a quiet style about it – it is clean and crisp to look at. Understated, rather than underwhelming. The small LED display is particularly pleasant to look at.
The dimensions are 45cm x 56cm x 55cm, and this is best suited to being placed at eye-level. With a 1.8l water tank, you will find that you don’t need to refill it that often, particularly if you generally drink espresso-based coffees.
This is a bean-to-cup machine, with an integrated grinder which will prepare your beans, ready to make your coffee. This means that you can just pour beans into the machine, and then make your drink at the touch of a button.
Speaking of buttons – you have 7 different pre-set options for your drinks. You can make espressos, or longer coffees and with the MultiCup feature you can make up to 6 coffees in one go. You will have seen from the pictures that there is an inbuilt Milkwand, from which you can froth up your milk in order to make cappuccinos, lattes etc. You even get a Cappuccinatore jug with the machine to help you with your frothing.
There are two separate heaters within the machine, which means you can heat water to add to an espresso, for example to make an americano, or you can simply use it as a kettle if you wanted to.
All in all, it’s a great machine, which is versatile as well as stylish. The multi-cup feature is brilliant if you tend to host, and at a competitive price for an integrated coffee maker, this is certainly one to put on your shortlist.
How To Choose The Right Built In Coffee Machine For You
Unlike most of the reviews and ‘best of’ lists that I write, this one isn’t just a case of me telling you what they can all do and expecting you to make a decision based purely on that. No, the whole point of an integrated appliance is that it truly integrates into your kitchen, both physically and aesthetically.
This will be different for everyone, but usually based on a few of the following things. If you are having your entire kitchen redone, you may have a theme, either stylistic or colour, that you want all of your appliances to stick to. Perhaps you have one brand of appliance that you are using for the entire area and you would prefer your coffee machine to stick to that. All of the brands that we’ve covered today make other integrated appliances, but I suppose it will depend on which appliance is the most important one to you – that will probably dictate the brand for everything else.
If you are adding or replacing an integrated coffee machine to a kitchen that is already built, you may be slightly limited in your choice, depending on the space you are trying to fill. While all of these products have a broadly similar size, every kitchen is different and you may find that you need the exact measurements for the appliance to work in your kitchen.
These factors may dictate which coffee machine is right for you, more than the coffee machine itself. However, if you have none of these constraints, our list should supply you with enough information to help you pick your favourite.
Are Integrated Machines As Good As Non-Integrated Coffee Machines?
There is no right answer to this question unfortunately, as everybody will prioritise something slightly different when it comes to looking at coffee machines. However, it may be helpful to look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of integrated coffee machines, so that you might be able to see for yourself whether they are the right choice for you.
First of all, the obvious main advantage of having an integrated coffee machine, is how much neater and tidier that they make your entire kitchen feel, and how much counter space that you can free up. They always look great, built into your kitchen cabinets, and the fact that you don’t have to clean around and under them is also a huge plus.
The biggest drawback to them is the cost – they tend to be much more expensive than stand alone machines, for obvious reasons, and also they tend to be a bit more difficult to replace – you have to get the old one removed and the new one fitted in, which is a lot more complicated than just finding a plug!
This puts a bit more pressure on you to get the right one. You don’t want to be replacing it very often at all, so make sure you get the one that you want to be drinking great coffee from for many years.
Does An Integrated Coffee Machine Require Plumbing In?
As a general rule – no. All of the products that we have looked at today do not require any plumbing, they have their own water tank (of varying sizes) that you can remove to fill up. This makes it so much easier to fit and plan your kitchen, without having to worry about connections and cables.
The size of the water tank is worth considering though – if you live in a house full of coffee drinkers, it is probably a good idea to prioritise a larger water tank so that you don’t spend all your time refilling.
Are Built In Coffee Machines Worth It?
If you are getting your kitchen redone, and you really enjoy your coffee (which presumably you do if you have made it this far down an article about coffee machines…), I think an integrated coffee machine is worth serious consideration. They will certainly add an extra element of luxury to your kitchen, and to be honest, they just look really cool – oh and they make great coffee very easily. If you have found yourself working from home a lot more recently, then I’m sure you will get plenty of use out of it.
Obviously the price may put people off, but if you can work it into your budget, then I’m certain you won’t regret having one.