/ Food & Drink, Home & Energy

Filter vs espresso – which machine makes the best coffee?

coffee beans

Filter coffee machines may have been living in the shadow of espresso machines, but new innovations have seen them make a resurgence. And I think they can stand toe-to-toe with espresso machines.

I own both a filter machine and an espresso machine and think the filter model certainly has several strengths.

It’s great when you want to make a lot – this is especially handy around Christmastime when family visit.

My Nespresso machine can only make one drink at a time, whereas my filter machine can make 10 cups in less than 10 minutes while I get on with other things. Its keep-warm function means it’s still handy when there are just one or two people using it – you can come back for a second cup later in the morning.

Filter vs espresso machines – the cost

My Nespresso machine makes drinks that are consistently good, but the filter machine gives me far more choice when it comes to which type of ground coffee to use.

Ground coffee is also far cheaper – it works out at around 7p per cup vs around 29p per Nespresso capsule. It also has the advantage of being easily available in supermarkets – I don’t have to trudge to the Nespresso store or remember to order capsules online.

We don’t have any problems with the flavour of the drink made by our machine either. In fact, I’d say it allows me to brew to suit how I’m feeling – it can be strong or weak. It’s rich and smooth. While it definitely tastes different to espresso, I think it tastes just as good.

What type of coffee machine do you prefer?

Which type of machine you prefer is likely to come down to whether you like the taste of espresso or filter coffee more. Our tests show that both types of machine can make a five star brew, but the flavours are certainly different.

So which type of machine do you have and why? If you don’t have one yet but you’ve tasted filter or espresso coffee, which do you prefer?

Which type of coffee machine do you prefer?

No machines, thank you very much (34%, 72 Votes)

Espresso machine (27%, 58 Votes)

Filter coffee machine (24%, 51 Votes)

I don't drink coffee (14%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 211

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Useful links:

How to buy the best machine for your favourite brew


I use a cafetiere – you can make coffee of different strengths (I like strong), as much or little as you want up to its capacity, it is quick to use, easy to clean. And it is relatively cheap.

As for the “keep warm” function I think coffee needs to be drunk while fresh. Keeping it warm tends to make it taste bitter. I keep away from Cona machines unless they have just brewed – left to keep warm can make the coffee undrinkable.

i think you get a different taste with espresso machines where water is forced through the grounds under pressure, so maybe not comparable with filter or cafetiere. But I’m not a fan of the small concentrated shots.

We said goodbye to our very good Braun filter-coffee maker for the very reason that Malcolm mentioned – that keeping coffee hot but not fresh over a period ruins the taste. The cafetiere makes as good a cup of coffee, is easier to clean and doesn’t take up another electric point. There seems to be one in every cupboard I open in the kitchen so there is a choice of capacities and colours! Our brew would disappoint the afficianados however as it is neither strong nor very rich in coffee flavour. I am afraid to have to confess that most of the coffee drunk in our house requires just a jar, a mug, and a kettle.

Filter. I prefer a reasonably sized cup of decent black coffee rather than bitter watered down espresso. One reason I never go in high street coffee shops, where you get a bucketfull of brown water.

We’ve got a Bosch Solitaire which is sadly no longer made. The jug encases a glass vacuum flask which keeps it hot for hours

I have an ancient and tatty Rowenta filter coffee maker. To prevent the coffee spoiling, I let it cool and re-heat it in the microwave. I do have a pressure machine that makes better coffee but cannot be bothered to use it very often. I can understand the popularity of the capsule and pod machines that produce decent coffee with less hassle, even though they are an expensive way of buying coffee.

I am interested in buying a decent bean-to-cup machine but am put off by poor design and build quality of the ones I have used when staying with friends. One machine that had cost well over £1000 had a poorly moulded plastic component that stopped it working reliably.

Electric kettle £30, JL 4 cup cafetiere £15, Krups electric grinder £18 = bean to cup coffee for £63, or £33 as you’ll already have a kettle.

Brilliant. Actually I don’t like cafetiere coffee because the last cup can be spoiled by the grounds that get through the crude filter.

This must depend on the cafetiere but a good point to make. I hadn’t thought of dismantling the filter from the plunger on a prospective new one to see just how fine it is. My present one seems very fine – a little effort needed to press it down and it needs cleaning of fine deposits every half dozen uses. It still leaves a small amount of fine deposit in the bottom of the cup but not enough to bother about. I find fairly finely ground coffee works best.


This is worth while reading. It covers competitors and costs and recycling. Very educational.