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7 Best Manual Coffee Machines UK

Have you ever heard the saying that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself? If you’re a particularly discerning coffee drinker, this same concept likely applies to your coffee routine.

Maybe the right barista can get close to your preferences. More often than not, though, you may find yourself disappointed by what you get from local coffee shops.

The solution to this problem is to make your drinks yourself. With the following best manual coffee machines in the UK, you can become your own barista, guaranteeing that each drink is made exactly to your liking.

Quick Chart

Don’t want to read right now? Look at the chart below to see the manual coffee machines we picked in addition to a few of their specifications.

Product

Machine Type

Water Tank Capacity

Heating Type

Dimensions

Semiautomatic

2.5 Litres

Dual Boiler

44 x 38.5 x 31 cm

Automatic

2 Litres

Thermoblock

33 x 31 x 40 cm

Automatic

1 Litre

Thermoblock

32.99 x 30.28 x 14.9 cm

Semiautomatic

2.7 Litres

Boiler
25.5 x 36.8 x 31.5 cm

Semiautomatic

1.1 Litres

Boiler

24 x 18.5 x 30.5 cm

Semiautomatic

1.8 Litres

Boiler

42.5 x 36 x 27.4 cm

Best Manual Coffee Machines in the UK

Rocket Cinquantotto

Rocket Cinquantotto

If you’re a home barista, one of the highest end manual machines you can get is the Rocket Cinquantotto. This gleaming stainless steel machine is truly a wonder in terms of crafting delicious espresso.

Everything has been thought of for you. The exterior is made from stainless steel, so you can trust that the machine’s internal components are protected from harm. Its rotary pump is both quiet and long-lasting, meaning replacements will be few and far between.

As if that weren’t enough, it has a powerful PID temperature controller attached to the side. You can use the controller to precisely adjust the internal temperatures of the Cinquantotto, guaranteeing that each espresso is exactly as hot as you want it to be.

Pros:

• Has a PID temperature controller so you can make adjustments to the temperature.

• Covered in high-quality stainless steel for longevity.

• The rotary pump in the machine runs extremely quietly.

• It has an integrated shot timer to keep track of your brew cycle’s duration for you.

• Because of its strong dual boiler system, it can froth and brew at the same time.

Cons:

• Can be expensive.

De’Longhi Dedica

De'Longhi Dedica Style, Traditional Barista Pump Espresso Machine, Coffee and Cappuccino Maker, EC685BK, Black

Do you have a lot of appliances and gear packed onto your countertops? Have you ever found yourself questioning how on earth you’ll fit anything else in your home?

If you answered yes to either of those questions, the De’Longhi Dedica could be a wise choice for your home. Unlike numerous other manual machines, it lacks the traditional wide, square shape. Instead, the Dedica has a more compact tower profile so it can be slid in between other equipment on your counters.

From all the machines on this list, it’s also one of the easier options to learn. It’s not completely manual; instead, it has two buttons that you can programme for single and double shots. Once they’ve been programmed, to get a single or double serving, you simply need to tap the correct button.

Pros:

• The Dedica’s slender design is perfect for squeezing into crowded spaces.

• Programmable single and double shot buttons make it a breeze to learn.

• It heats up quickly, so you don’t have to wait long before you can use it.

• The machine comes in three different colourful designs.

• Its drip tray can be removed so you can fit larger mugs underneath the dispenser.

Cons:

• It has a European plug instead of a UK one.

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Sage Barista Express

Sage SES875BKS The Barista Express Machine, 18/10 Steel, 1700 W, 6 liters, Black Sesame

Perhaps the worst part of choosing a manual machine is how much work goes into it. We’re not just referring to the work of learning how to brew shots of espresso – you also need to learn how to grind coffee beans and choose an adequate grinder.

The Sage Barista Express takes part of the confusion out of the equation. It has a grinder built right into the machine, so you’ll have all the components necessary to start putting together barista-level drinks.

This is another one worth your consideration if you’re more on the inexperienced side. It has programmable single and double buttons, so you can save the amounts for single and double shots ahead of time.

Additionally, like the Dedica, the Barista Express has a few colour options for you to consider. Regardless of which one you choose, they all look polished.

Pros:

• No need to buy a grinder on your own, because there is already one in the Barista Express.

• Comes in several different colours.

• It comes with a tamper and integrated tamper holder.

• You can programme the proper amounts for single and double shots into the machine.

Cons:

• If you’ve only ever used automatic or pod machines, it may take you time to adjust to using the Barista Express.

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Lelit Traditional Espresso Machine

Lelit Traditional Espresso Machine

The Lelit is another excellent pick for you if you want to skip the hassle of choosing a grinder. This one has a little grinder built into it, as well, so you have all the equipment necessary to brew an excellent shot in one convenient location.

We love how efficiently it was designed. In addition to the grinder, the machine has a cup storage area built on top. Keep a couple of your favourite mugs on the flat top of the machine, and they’ll even be preheated for you, so each drink is kept warm for as long as possible.

Additionally, the Lelit has a tamper located near the grinder. As soon as you are finished grinding a fresh portafilter full of coffee, you can press it against the tamper to carefully pack your grounds.

Pros:

• Sturdy and beautiful stainless steel shell.

• Has a built-in grinder and tamper.

• The top functions as a cup shelf and warmer.

• It has a PID temperature controller so you can adjust the temperature in the boiler.

Cons:

• None reported yet.

De’Longhi Traditional Barista Pump Espresso Machine

De'Longhi ECP33.21 Traditional Barista Pump Espresso Machine, Coffee and Cappuccino Maker, Black

While it may not be as small as the Dedica, the De’Longhi Traditional Barista Pump Espresso Machine is still a rather compact model. If you’re short on space, you may still have plenty of room for it.

Aside from size, another difference between the two machines is that this one is fully manual. Instead of programming doses into buttons, you’ll have a dial that you can turn left or right. When you turn the dial on, the machine will brew espresso for you until you shut it off.

This doesn’t mean you get unlimited espresso from a single basket of grounds. It means you’ll need to learn how long to pull a shot for, then time yourself carefully so you can stop the machine on time.

The Traditional Barista Pump Espresso Machine isn’t totally unforgiving, though. It is compatible with ESE pods if you don’t have the means to freshly grind your own espresso.

Pros:

• Truly manual operation means you can completely customise each drink.

• Can be used to dispense hot water for hot chocolate and tea.

• Small size makes it ideal for those who are restricted on space.

• Brews at 15 bars of pressure, just as a professional machine does.

• You can slide out the drip tray to fit larger mugs beneath the spout.

Cons:

• Because it is fully manual, you will have to learn how long to brew each shot for.

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Rocket Appartamento

Rocket Appartamento

If you were to ask some of the most seasoned baristas in the world which manual machine they’d recommend you use at home, you’d probably hear the name “Rocket Appartamento” quite a few times. This is a classic home espresso machine that has earned a beloved status with baristas around the world.

Why? There are honestly numerous reasons, but one of them is how appealing the machine looks. True to Rocket’s fine craftsmanship, the Appartamento has a beautiful, flawless stainless steel exterior. As an added visual intrigue, Rocket has added circular cutouts to the sides.

On top of the machine, you’ll find a flat space that you can store cups on. Railings wrapped around the cup shelf will keep them firmly in place should you accidentally bump into the machine.

This is one of the nicest home machines you can get if you want to brew like a real barista in your own kitchen.

Pros:

• Beautiful design with gleaming stainless steel case and circular cutouts.

• There’s a cup-warming shelf on top with a railing to keep cups from sliding off.

• Compact design allows it to fit into just about any counter space.

• It has a large 1.8-litre water capacity, so it can keep brewing for awhile before it needs a refill.

Cons:

• Can be expensive.

What to Consider When Buying a Manual Coffee Machine

Semiautomatic or Automatic

There are two main types of manual coffee machines that operate drastically differently from each other: semiautomatic and automatic. Given how huge of an impact the machine type will have on your daily use, it’s important to decide which one is better for you first.

Go with an automatic machine if you’re a beginner. Automatic machines have programmable buttons that will handle timing the duration of the brew cycle for you. Once you’ve programmed the proper duration into them, you can just press a button and the machine will dose your espresso for you.

Semiautomatic machines are more advanced. They will not time each shot of espresso for you; you must choose when to start and when to stop them. Therefore, we recommend them only for experienced baristas who know exactly what they want from each shot of espresso.

Water Tank Size

The size of your machine’s water tank is another large consideration to make. You need water to produce espresso and to steam your milk. The more water your machine has access to at once, the greater the number of drinks it can produce before needing a refill.

Larger water tanks tend to be anywhere from a single litre to two litres on average. Look for those closer to two litres if you need to use your machine frequently throughout the day or if you plan to prepare drinks to for groups of people.

A smaller water tank may be more prudent for you if you’re looking for a smaller machine in general. Compact machines often have compact tanks to match, but this is part of what makes it possible for them to fit in tight spaces.

Heating Type

In most home manual machines, there are two types of heating systems: thermoblock or boiler. Truthfully, there are multiple boiler types, but to be brief, we’ll look at boilers overall.

Thermoblock heating systems are common in bean to cup machines and some manual machines. They are essentially large pieces of metal with passages for the water to flow through. As the metal heats up, water passing through the passages is also warmed.

This design is great for low energy consumption and a slow warmup time. They also tend to be more affordable.

Boilers, on the other hand, are what you’ll more likely find in commercial-level machines. They’re more powerful and they’re also remarkably consistent. The drawback is that they’re typically more expensive than thermoblocks.

Dimensions

Imagine you spent all this time picking out, ordering, and waiting for your coffee machine. Then, once it finally arrived, you discovered something disastrous: it’s much too large for your kitchen. No amount of rearranging can make room for it.

After considering this scenario, it’s easy to see why the overall dimensions of your coffee machine are important. You can prevent the disaster of mismatched size from ever occurring by confirming the machine’s measurements in its description and comparing those measurements to the place you have picked out for it in your home.

Wrap Up

Manual coffee machines aren’t something you should cut corners on. These machines are the pride and joy of baristas around the world, and there’s a lot that factors into each one.

That’s why our overall suggestion is the Rocket Cinquantotto. It’s made from high-quality materials and it gives you the precise control over temperature and brew cycle duration that you require to make specialty drinks.

We understand that it can be rather costly, though. If the Cinquantotto is out of budget or too complex, consider something like the Sage Barista Express. With its built-in grinder and tamper, it comes with all the things you need to start brewing your favourite drinks.

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