The Hut Buyers’ Guide to Coffee

A cup of coffee in a white cup on a saucer.

For many years there was only one option on the hot beverage menu for Brits: tea. Brought back from India and swiftly adopted as our national pastime, tea is up there with the Queen and fish and chips forming the Holy Trinity of quintessential Britishness. But over the past few years Britain, like many other countries around the world, has been washed over with a coffee revolution. Coffee shops have mushroomed on our high streets, and like our continental neighbours in France and Italy many Brits have adopted our local coffee shops as local hubs for meeting up for a good chin wag over a fresh cup of coffee.

The competition between coffee shops on our high streets also means we are spoilt for choice with the quality of the coffee we can now access; ten years ago we may have put up with a bitter, acidic cup of coffee out of a sense of British politeness, but today even chain companies specialising in coffee are under threat from niche independent coffee shops experimenting with coffee beans from around the world. We now demand only the finest, freshest coffee and a full barista experience with every visit to a café. But just how do you recreate that flavour and experience at home?

Dualit Coffee Maker

Recreating the Barista Experience at Home

Like in our coffee shops, we are increasingly adventurous in the methods we use to make coffee at home. From the classic cafetière to a contemporary cold brew, you are offered a wide choice in your coffee making to enable you to extract every grain of flavour from your beans.

Bean-to-Cup Barista Experience

The Godfather of coffee machines, the bean-to-cup coffee machine offers you an at home Barista who will serve you up the fullest, freshest flavour of coffee at just the push of a button. The bean-to-cup coffee machine grinds fresh beans, automatically froths fresh milk and so offers optimal freshness while also having the function to rinse, clean and descale itself for maximum convenience. The machine will offer you all your favourite coffee shop style coffees with the ability to personalise your coffee’s strength, length, temperature and froth.

Pros: Maximum freshness using coffee beans and fresh milk; Large variety of coffee styles available; Convenient drinks menu and functions to rinse, clean and descale; ability to personalise coffee strength, length, temperature and froth; low serving cost.

Cons: Machines can be spacious; higher price point.

Coffee Types Available: Espresso, Long Black, Espresso Macchiato, Latte Macchiato, Cappuccino, Caffelatte, Flat White.

Traditional Pump

The classic machine found on an industrial scale in coffee shops, the traditional pump machine allows you to recreate all your favourite coffee shop drinks in the comfort of your own home. The traditional pump machine gives you the choice to opt between maximum freshness with freshly ground coffee and frothed fresh milk or for maximum convenience with mess-free espresso pods. Like the bean-to-cup machine, a traditional pump coffee machine will also allow you to vary your coffee’s strength, length and amount of frothed milk to concoct your perfect coffee like a barista.

Pros: Maximum freshness using coffee beans and fresh milk; Compatibility with espresso pods means you can opt for mess-free convenience over freshness when short of time; Large variety of coffee styles available; ability to personalise coffee strength, length, temperature and froth; low serving cost.

Cons: Machines can be more spacious; Fresh coffee beans must be ground manually; When using fresh coffee, your machine should be cleaned after each coffee is made.

Coffee Types Available: Espresso, Long Black, Espresso Macchiato, Latte Macchiato, Cappuccino, Caffelatte, Flat White.

Capsule Coffee Machines

One of the most popular types of machine today is the capsule coffee machine. Requiring a quick, simple and mess-free operation, capsule machines can offer a full range of coffee types at just the push of a button. Most leading coffee brands have ventured into the capsule coffee machine market, and it is also worth considering the type and quality of the capsule you will be able to use with the machine, as the flavour of your coffee will be as dependent on the machine as the capsule itself.

Pros: Simple operation; simple and easy to clean; plentiful choice offered by today’s range of coffee capsules; reasonable machine price point compared with higher-end coffee machines.

Cons: Higher serving cost per coffee; coffee quality is as dependent on the quality of the capsules as the machine itself; Unable to use fresh milk or coffee beans.

Coffee Types Available: Espresso, Long Black, Cappuccino, Caffelatte.

Filter Coffee Machines

Alongside the cafetière as one of the classic methods of producing fresh coffee, filter coffee machines brew coffee slowly for a smooth flavour. Most modern machines also include convenient functions such as an automatic timer so you can wake up to the scent of fresh coffee every morning. Typically available at a range of price points depending on the functionality and quality of the machine, you are able to choose a filter coffee machine that caters to the needs of your lifestyle.

Pros: Large capacity means you can make up to 10 cups of fresh coffee at once; Handy features such as automatic timers; Keep-warm plate keeps coffee hot after brewing; Ability to personalise your coffee with different beans and varying the strength; Wide range of price points depending on the number of features you desire.

Cons: Can take up more kitchen space than most other coffee machines; Only capable of making fresh filter coffee; Reusable filter needs to be cleaned out after each use; Disposable filters can be an additional expense.

Styles of Coffee Available: Filter.

Cold Brew

A relatively new player in the coffee game, the cold brew method proposes itself to be the producer of the most flavoursome coffee due to the fact that it does not require boiling water, the process which sometimes produces an acidic, bitter taste with coffee. The Cold Brew Coffee Maker creates a rich coffee concentrate by submerging coarse-ground coffee with cold water over several hours. Simply add hot water and milk for a hot coffee, or ice and milk/water for a refreshing cold coffee.

Pros: Simple operation; Option of hot or cold coffee; Once the concentrate is ready, quick and easy coffee making.

Cons: Brew concentrate needs to be consumed within one week; More cleaning necessary compared with other coffee machines.

Styles of Coffee Available: Hot or cold filtered coffee.


A cafetière or French press is the classic coffee brewing method used since the mid-20th century at home and abroad. Simple and easy to operate, the process involves pouring covering ground coffee with boiling water to extract the coffee flavour before filtering the coffee grains away with a mesh filter. Classic designs use a glass construction that allows you to monitor the strength of your coffee as it brews while brands including Alessi have updated the classic cafetière with new, contemporary designs.

Pros: Simple operation, affordable price point.

Cons: Can be difficult to clean out, and it is almost impossible to extract the full flavour of your coffee as you have no control over the temperature of your water (which should be between 91°C and 96°C depending on your coffee).

Styles of Coffee Available: Filter.

Shop the full range of coffee machines and accessories on The Hut > >

Image courtesy of dannyophoto.

Sarah Atkinson

Sarah Atkinson

Writer and expert