Are you ready to skip the drive-through lines and bring quality latte making into your own kitchen?
Built-in coffee machines are growing in popularity. They offer the best of both quality and convenience for your preferred morning beverages. With the benefits and price tag of a small kitchen appliance, a built-in machine may be exactly what you are looking for if you’ve already waded through the various at-home brewing methods and are wanting something a bit more robust and automated.
What is a Built-in Coffee Machine and Why Would You Want One?
A built-in coffee machine is a machine that is installed in your kitchen or coffee bar. The machine can be placed in a cabinet, sit on a counter with permanent hookups, or it can be mounted inside a wall.
Built-in units are convenient because of their permanence. You’ll have your choice of fully plumbed machines or those that require external water reservoir fill up. Either way, you can get a permanent solution that constantly spins out high-quality coffee at the drop of a dime.
A built-in coffee machine is an excellent choice for people who love their coffee and want to have high-quality coffee every day. The convenience is hard to beat. You’ll love and appreciate a built-in coffee machine if you enjoy:
- Automated grinding, brewing, and serving
- Multiple drink settings for everything from espresso to cappuccinos
- Streamlined designs that complement your kitchen's decor and other appliances
- Wi-Fi compatibility to start a brew cycle from bed or at the last red light before home
Considerations When Choosing a Built-in Coffee Machine
Purchasing a built-in unit is not for the faint of heart. They are often more expensive, require uncompromised room, and are only viable if you will use your machine often.
Consider Your Space and Layout
If you are looking for a built-in espresso machine, you should consider the size of your kitchen and the available space.
You’ll need a spot for your unit that you don’t mind losing to the built-in espresso machine. This space will need to be easy to access to be able to operate. If you are opting for built-in plumbing and electrical, you’ll have to consider installation. This can be a major task, especially if it is going into a kitchen or coffee bar that is already established. New builds and full remodels fare well for incorporating built-in machines as you’ll have the ability to fully plan out the installation of your machine in a reasonable layout.
Consider the Price Tag
You aren’t buying a $150 starter espresso machine from Amazon here. The fact that these machines run a few thousand dollars and take planning to install should slow you down and consider the implications of installing a built-in unit. Not to say that built-in espresso and coffee machines aren’t worth it!
For those who make a lot of coffee for themselves and guests, counting the savings over a year or two with a machine can justify the cost. There’s also something to be said about convenience. The price tag you put on convenience depends on you and your lifestyle.
Consider Your Feature Needs
Decide on what type of espresso machine you want. Some machines require manual filling of the reservoir. Some come with a milk steamer while others handle the milk automatically. Some have Wi-Fi and smart capabilities. It is also important to consider the maintenance needs of your built-in machine. The more features and moving parts, the more cleaning and attention it needs throughout its lifespan.
Best Built-in Coffee Machines for Home Baristas
We’ve got you covered with the best-in-class home units you can get. Explore each to find the best features that match your price range.
Make every morning perfect with the Thermador TCM24PS Built-in Coffee Machine. This sleek machine is made with stainless steel and has Wi-Fi enabled capabilities, making it easy to customize your beverage settings. The integrated ceramic burr grinder ensures a perfect espresso or coffee every time. Plus, the easy-clean design means you'll spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your favorite morning cup.
The Wolf 30" M Series Transitional Coffee System is the perfect addition to any kitchen. This system features a stainless-steel design for easy cleaning, six saved beverage settings, and an integrated burr grinder. The espresso and coffee settings make it easy to create your favorite drinks, while the water reservoir ensures you always have fresh water on hand.
This plumbing-less system is easy to install anywhere, including in offices and visiting spaces. This is thanks to the reservoir system that does not require plumbing to operate.
No one should have to choose between a delicious cup of coffee and an easy clean-up. With the Miele CVA6805 Coffee Maker, you can have both. This top-of-the-line coffee maker comes with M Touch Controls for an easy-to-use interface, a built-in water line for easy filling, and a CupSensor that won't let your cup overflow. Plus, the espresso and coffee settings mean you can make your perfect drink every time.
This Miele Built-in coffee maker also sports an attachable milk system for making milk-based beverages. You can keep your milk chilled in the fridge and use it when you want by using the easy-click milk system. Keeps milk at the proper temperature and allows you to use it only when you want to.
Jennair's Rise 24" Built-in Coffee System is the perfect addition to any high-end kitchen. With ground coffee compatibility and dual dispensing spouts, this system is perfect for making coffee just the way you like it when you need it. The whole-bean coffee grinder ensures that your coffee is always fresh, and the stealth flush design means that your system will always look neat and tidy. Plus, with concealed storage, you can keep all your supplies close at hand without visual clutter.
This unit sports an easy-to-fill reservoir meaning that it can be installed wherever you want it and not just where there are existing water lines. The ever-convenient ‘Auto-Start’ mode wakes up and pre-heats the machine at set times so that when you are ready for your morning coffee, so is this Jennair machine. Every detail is customizable from temperature to serving sizes all the way to brew strength—you can find your perfect cup with this machine.
The Smeg 24'' Fully Automatic Built-in Coffee System CMSU is the perfect addition to any kitchen. This stylish machine has 13 beverage settings and 3 coffee temperature settings, making it easy to customize your drink. The touch controls make it easy to operate, and the conical grinder ensures that your beans are ground correctly every time. With smeg appliances like this one, you can be sure that you're getting quality equipment that will last. This built-in unit machines other Smeg appliances to create a classic and uniform look across your kitchen.
This Fisher & Paykel Series 24-inch Coffee Maker has 13 coffee brewing settings and will give you your preferred cup of coffee, every time. The self-cleaning feature means that there's no need to worry about leaving behind any residue. The preset coffee settings make it easy to get the perfect cup, every time. Not only is this machine great for those who like their coffee strong and bold, but it also has a conical burr grinder which ensures even grinding. Sports stainless steel or matte black trim to match your kitchen.
The Modbar Espresso System is the perfect under-counter espresso machine made in collaboration with La Marzocco. This high-end espresso machine is made for high-volume environments and expert-level espresso shots. Comes with precise temperature stability and auto flush/rinse programs, ensuring that your customers get the best possible coffee every time. Whether you're a small business or an industrial employee looking for a top-quality espresso shot, this machine is perfect!
Many other built-in machines are made for home use, but we wanted to make sure to highlight a high-end unit made for making only espresso in a business environment. The Modbar Espresso System will make consistent and reliable shots that you will never tire over.
Conclusion: Buy the Best Built-in Coffee Machine to Fit Your Needs & Enjoy Yourself
The best coffee machine for you will depend on what you want to get out of your machine. There are many built-in options that should work for both your space and your needs. Making espresso and coffee at home doesn’t have to clutter up your whole space. You can make quality coffee with a unit built into a wall or counter—saving space.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Built-in Coffee Machines
What is the difference between a plumbed and a tank machine?
A plumbed machine has a water supply line attached to it. This is the most expensive type of machine available and has limits as to where it can be installed. A tank machine does not have a water supply line and instead uses a refillable water tank to supply its water.
For a plumbed machine to work, you need to have access to a water line.
What are some of the trim options for built-in coffee machines?
The trim options for built-in coffee machines are often what sets them apart from each other. Some of the trim options for these machines include stainless steel, black, and wood. They usually include a couple of different trim sizing options so that you can perfectly fit your new built-in espresso machine in your pre-existing cabinet space.
Where can you install a built in machine?
You have many options when it comes to installing an espresso machine. Built-in machines are great for a high-end look in kitchens, wet bars, and even offices. The type of built-in unit will be determined by access to a water line. Many offices don’t have a dedicated water line and so use built-in espresso machines with externally fillable water tanks.
Tapping into a water line can be expensive and could necessitate additional construction in your space. Even if a water line is present, many homeowners opt for a version with a water tank to simplify the installation process.
How easy is it to install a built-in coffee machine at home?
Espresso machines are very popular in homes. They are easy to install, and there is a wide variety of models to choose from.
Instructions vary depending on the model you purchase, but all require some basic installation steps like mounting it to a wall or placing it on a countertop with enough clearance for water lines and electrical cords.
Many professional appliance retailers, repair services, and installers can help with a professional installation. This is especially important for built-in units and units that will tap into existing water lines and electrical. Many of them can be installed by DIYers but you want to make sure you get your measurements correct and are good with finish work. Countertop units are especially easy to install.
What size of built-in coffee machines are available?
The size of the machine is important to consider when making the purchase. The size of the machine will determine how much coffee can be made at one time and the features that are included in the unit. If you are looking for a single-cup espresso, you will want a smaller-sized machine. A larger machine would be better for someone who wants to make more than one espresso drink at a time.
Many of the built-in coffee machines featured in this article are between 24 inches and 30 inches.
What size water reservoir should I buy with my built-in coffee machine?
There is no definitive answer to this question since espresso machines come in many different sizes and capacities. However, we recommend purchasing a water reservoir that can make your average amount of coffee per use. If you just make a couple of espresso shots each time you plan on using the machine, your water tank does not need to be huge. If you frequently have guests, brew a pot of coffee, and serve up some lattes all at the same time then it is a good idea to go for bigger tanks.
What features should I make sure to get?
This depends on what types of coffee you enjoy or want to get better at. If you are into espresso, make sure it has a milk steamer, temperature and time controls for pulling shots, and personalized saved settings. If you mostly enjoy brewed coffees, make sure it has bulk coffee capabilities in either serving multiple consecutive beverages or a large coffee pot. All machines should have adequate room for coffee beans and a high-end burr grinder to grind coffee per beverage.
How to Care and Clean Built-in Coffee Machines?
There are many ways to clean your built-in espresso machine depending on the model you have. Here are some basic steps for you to follow:
1) Clean the exterior of the machine with a damp microfiber cloth
2) Remove any built-up scale from the inside of the boiler with a descaling solution
3) Remove any residual coffee grounds from around the filter holder
4) Rinse out the filter holder, group head
Most built-in units have robust cleaning settings that they recommend using at set intervals. Do this as often as directed.
Cleaning with some units is easier than others. Built-in machines connected to a water line and drainage for wastewater are very easy to clean. Oftentimes, these machines self-clean regularly which minimizes your need to keep on top of it.
About the Author
This article was written by Jordan O'Hara, Founder of Windansea Coffee.
You can learn more about him here.