Yorkshire Coffee Roaster since 2008 - Ethically Sourced Coffee
Find us    Email us     01274 911 419
Find us    Email us     01274 911 419
Limini Coffee
Guatemala Huehuetenango

What's the difference between an espresso machine and a bean to cup machine?

With a large range of coffee machines available, how do we decide which is best for us? Many people may look to purchasing a bean to cup machine for their business whereas others would opt for a traditional espresso machine.

What are the advantages of each and which would be best for me?

Beautiful espresso coffee machine

The espresso machine

An espresso machine is to be used by a barista and does not directly produce coffee, the drink is created by the skilled barista alongside a grinder and espresso machine.

This means that we are grinding our coffee beans fresh, then tamping and extracting the shot through the machine.

The milk is steamed alongside and then poured into the coffee allowing us to adorn our drink with beautiful latte art.

La Cimbal S30

A Bean to Cup machine

A bean to cup machine on the other hand, grinds the beans within the machine and extracts the shot, the milk is also prepared inside the machine and they are automatically poured into the cup and mixed.

A semi-automatic bean to cup machine has a steam wand to manually or automatically steam milk in a jug. You can then pour the drink yourself.

It is evident a bean to cup machine cuts out the need for a skilled barista, at the push of a button we are presented with a drink. Although this may be a much easier method to produce a coffee, is this a better product and are we actually going to enjoy the resulting drink? A huge issue with bean to cup machines used to be the quality that is produced.

Nowadays, however, if you choose the right make of machine then the quality of the drinks can be very high indeed. Bean to cup machines can be expensive comparatively to tradional, not only to buy but also to maintain but in return can free of much labour time.

The experience

How would you feel going into a coffee shop and the 'barista' presses a button and out comes a drink? The fact is we are not celebrating the art and beauty that is coffee in using a bean to cup machine. The more knowledgeable our customer base is becoming, the more they want to get involved and ask questions and see how their drink is produced. We want them to appreciate the skill required to produce a stunning coffee, it heightens their experience as a customer and they will remember that beautiful art that topped their drink. This is why we feel traditional machines are the right choice for coffee shops.

When convenience is important and you are looking for a consistent quality then a bean to cup machine is often the right choice. We are often talking about retail shops, showrooms, farm shops, bakeries and more.


Bean to cup machines are pre-set to deliver a set amount of coffee and milk to make the drink required. If I were to order a half shot latte, or wanted a wet cappuccino, an espresso machine with a skilled barista would be able to meet my needs as a customer. A bean to cup would not allow for my personal preference although many automatic machines now come with many recipes and options.


We always used to only rate traditional espresso machines however over the years the bean to cup machines have improved so well that they have become a serious choice. We feel that for most coffee shop style offering, coffee should be made by trained baristas. When you don't have trained baristas available then go for the best bean to cup machine that you can afford.

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Unit 6 Luddite Way Business Park
Rawfolds Way
BD19 5DQ
West Yorkshire
United Kingdom

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