Our posts contain affiliate links. Sometimes, not always, we may make $$ when you make a purchase through these links. No Ads. Ever. Learn More
Table of Contents_
If you’re shopping for the best built-in coffee machine, you likely want to maximize space around your home. Maybe your kitchen has a small footprint. Or, you might prefer not to have your countertops cluttered with appliances. A good built-in coffee machine can give you that barista experience while also offering a sleek exterior design that blends in seamlessly with your kitchen decor.
While you’ll have to deal with installation and connecting water lines, you’ll get similar features as you would with a traditional freestanding espresso maker. The best models in this category have automatic cleaning functions for both the water and milk systems, an LCD display with easy-to-use controls, coffee grinders, and dishwasher-safe removable parts. Some models even connect to an app that allows remote monitoring and lets you customize your next coffee experience remotely.
Keep reading our built-in coffee machine buying guide to learn more. And if you’ve just begun your coffee maker search, check out our picks for the best coffee maker.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features a space-saving design and wide pre-filled K-Cup compatibility to offer a convenient path to shop-quality drinks on a busy day or early morning. With simple operation and a fast brewing cycle, users will love this travel-sized machine for their daily drinks.
The CHULUX CL-CM20001 coffee maker is a fantastic pick for users who want a convenient and simple way to offer fresh coffee to guests or enjoy a solitary mug with a book. This travel-sized coffee maker features a single-button operation and a built-in water tank so users can enjoy shop-quality drinks in as little as five minutes. While this model doesn’t include a reusable filter, it works with most 1.0 and 2.0 pre-filled coffee pods.
In addition to a compact design and easy operation, the CHULUX CL-CM20001 coffee maker is easy to use and clean, even for inexperienced brewers. The locking top and capsule compatibility ensure that the coffee-making process isn’t complicated or messy. Additionally, the removable drip tray is easy to clean and it also allows users to brew coffee directly into a travel thermos. Lastly, users can run this model without coffee and utilize the single-button cleaning mode.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This unique-looking machine provides shop-quality and specialty drinks thanks to a feature-rich design that includes a milk steamer and multiple brewing modes. Users will love whipping up drinks for friends and family while showing off this functional and fashionable modern device.
The Ninja CM401 coffee maker is a stellar pick for users who want to make a wide variety of beverages from regular drip coffee to specialty drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. The fold-away frother can turn hot or cold milk into a rich foam for topping off a drink or making espresso art. Additionally, users will love the removable water reservoir for easy cleaning and filling. While the included permanent filter isn’t the best, this model makes it simple to add paper or reusable filters of your own.
In addition to a removable water reservoir and integrated milk frother, the Ninja CM401 coffee maker provides exceptional drink quality thanks to the Thermal Flavor Extraction technology that regulates saturation, blooming, and brewing temperature for the best flavor. Additionally, this Ninja coffee maker supports up to six brew sizes and four brewing modes to deliver a tailored coffee experience for a ventured palette or family of coffee drinkers. With automatic modes for hot or iced coffee, users can enjoy a refreshing mug for any occasion or weather.
Award: BEST FOR HAND-CRAFTED BREWS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model provides all of the tools necessary to begin making shop-quality drinks from the comfort of home. With an integrated steamer and variable portafilter attachments, users will love whipping up an exciting new recipe or perfecting their morning brew.
The EspressoWorks AEW1000 coffee maker is an exceptional choice for aspiring baristas or users who want a more hands-on experience while making their morning brew. This fully-features espresso machine provides up to 15 bars of pressure for an authentic espresso taste and texture. The built-in milk frother makes adding foam or art to your drinks simple, and the included frothing pitcher ensures that you’ll have enough foam to go around. While there is a slight learning curve to this machine, users will love perfecting their technique for the ideal cup of coffee.
In addition to authentic espresso flavor and an integrated milk frother, the EspressoWorks AEW1000 coffee maker offers almost every tool necessary to start making hand-crafted specialty coffee. The included coffee grinder and measuring spoon ensure that users have the ideal coarseness and concentration for their brewing cycles. Additionally, the portafilter can provide a double serving or, with a different head, it can provide two single servings simultaneously. Lastly, the removable water tank is easy to clean and makes refilling for a fresh brew less messy.
Award: BEST FOR COMPACT KITCHENS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features an integrated bean processor with variable settings so users have fresh materials for their morning mug. The compact design saves space in a small kitchen, and users will love the multiple brewing modes to suit any occasion.
The KRUPS KM785D50 coffee maker is a stellar pick for users who want to go from bean to brew with a single machine. This compact unit features an integrated burr grinder with five grind settings that offer coarse to fine grinds. That said, users can opt to place pre-ground coffee directly into the filter basket. While the included reusable filter basket isn’t great for finely-ground beans, users can easily add paper filters or use a coarser grind for their brews.
In addition to an integrated conical burr grinder and space-saving design, the KRUPS KM785D50 coffee maker features a clear digital display for keeping time or scheduling a brew cycle. Additionally, users will love the three strength and intensity settings that help tailor their mug’s flavor and caffeine content. The built-in hot plate and the keep-warm feature ensure that your coffee is warm and ready to drink for up to two hours.
Award: BEST FOR SERVING GROUPS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model provides a great serving capacity and a backlit digital display to offer fantastic drinks on a schedule or whenever users want a pick-me-up. Additionally, the water level window keeps users informed, and the hot plate can keep their drink warm for up to four hours.
The Bonsenkitchen CM8903 coffee maker is a compelling pick for users who want tasty brews for drinking over a long day or an early morning. This stainless steel model features a durable design and a small footprint for saving space in the kitchen. Additionally, this model offers up to 12 cups in a brewing session so users can have multiple mugs or serve a group of friends. While the controls aren’t responsive every time, users will love the LED backlight so this machine is easy to use in the dark.
In addition to large serving sizes and a digital display, the Bonsenkitchen CM8903 coffee maker features single-button controls to quickly make delicious drinks. The simple controls allow users to affect the brew strength and start a brewing cycle. Additionally, users can keep their coffee ready to drink for up to four hours thanks to the hot plate and keep-warm feature. Lastly, the glass carafe features a heat-resistant handle and a pointed spout making it easy and safe to serve fresh mugs of brew.
Award: BEST FOR FLAVORFUL DRINKS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features a large reservoir and a decent serving capacity to provide fresh drinks throughout a busy day or to friends at a small gathering. With an integrated bean processor, users can enjoy convenient and shop-quality drinks from home.
The GEVI 5725 coffee maker is an exceptional pick for users who want premium-quality coffee from the comfort of their homes. This model offers up to 10 cups in a single serving so users can host small get-togethers or drink multiple mugs over a relaxed morning. Additionally, the durable hot plate and keep-warm feature ensure that your fresh pot of coffee will stay primed to drink for up to an hour. While this model takes up a bit of kitchen space, users will love the large water reservoir and integrated bean grinder.
In addition to premium design and a good serving capacity, the GEVI 5725 coffee maker ensures that each brew session results in fresh flavor. The integrated eight-step grinder allows users to pick their desired grind size from coarse to ultra-fine to meet their preferred coffee strength and flavor. Additionally, the 2-10 cup grinding selector makes it simple to match a user’s desired brew size. Lastly, users can forgo the built-in grinder and place pre-ground coffee directly into the flip-out brew basket.
A built-in coffee machine is exactly what it sounds like. These are coffee makers that can be installed into the walls of your home or office. In most cases, they’re more complex than a basic drip coffee maker as they usually support espresso brewing. However, it’s possible to find built-in coffee makers that simply brew traditional drip coffee.
This type of coffee maker can be an ideal option for someone who prefers a modern look in their kitchen or office. Because the appliance is installed into the walls (similar to a built-in microwave), you can avoid the cluttered look typically created by a countertop covered in machines. That said, you’ll want to make sure the water is not hard water for the coffee maker. Plus, make it a point to compare if you should use distilled water or purified water for a coffee maker.
The most significant difference between a built-in coffee machine and other options, like the best Breville espresso machine, is that it requires installation and is set into a wall rather than being freestanding. Because of this, built-ins can be a pricier option since not only are you paying for the machine, but you may also need to contact a professional to oversee the installation. Additionally, because it’s built into a wall, they also require water lines connected to a source to draw water — usually your home or office’s plumbing.
Aside from their physical appearance and the added installation process, these coffee machines can be identical to other espresso and coffee makers. Like their freestanding counterparts, you can find built-in coffee machines with single or dual boilers that can be programmed to make coffee at specific times or with presets to create coffee or espresso exactly to your specifications. Models with dual spouts let you make two cups of coffee simultaneously. For a comparison of recommended models, check out the Ninja CP301 vs the CP307.
Also, note that as compared to other espresso or coffee makers, built-ins aren’t as diverse. This means that your search is limited to a handful of brands and a small selection of machines in most cases. Of course, while you might not have as much variety, the upside is that the built-in coffee machines that are available have plenty of online reviews, which can help you make an informed decision.
For the most part, built-in coffee machines work precisely like freestanding models. And in most cases, they’re designed to support espresso brewing, so they operate like an espresso machine — just inside your wall. Similar to traditional espresso machines, you’re going to want to consider the boiler, the valves, and of course, the pressure.
The one key factor that you’ll want to think about is whether you want to connect your built-in to your home or office’s plumbing system or prefer a water reservoir. There are pros and cons to both options. Opting for a reservoir can be a quicker installation process but also means that you’ll frequently need to disconnect the reservoir to refill it.
On the other hand, connecting your machine to a plumbing system means you never have to worry about running out of water — but that you do need to deal with a potentially more complex installation process that often includes adding a filter.
Keep in mind that to brew espresso, you need to get at least nine bars of pressure or 130psi. Anything lower than this won’t be sufficient. And this is where built-ins shine as they tend to achieve higher pressure levels. Additionally, most built-in coffee machines are designed to be fully and super-automatic espresso makers. This means that you’re often using an appliance connected to the cloud, which allows you to program drink customizations via an app.
If you have exacting standards when it comes to brewing the perfect cup of espresso, you’ll like that the top-rated built-in coffee machines are designed to support your java needs. And especially if you have multiple coffee lovers in your home, this premium upgrade could be a welcome addition. In addition, if you’re in the process of a kitchen remodel, you might want to consider a built-in model to give your kitchen a sophisticated flair that’ll save you counter space.
Individual mileage will vary, but built-in coffee systems tend to have life expectancies similar to what you would get with a freestanding espresso maker. This means that you can easily get anywhere from five to 20 years of coffee brewing out of your machine as long as you take care of it.
Part of what impacts longevity is going to depend on the brand you select and your budget. For example, Miele is a popular option for built-in coffee machines, and they have a life expectancy of up to 20 years. However, reaching those milestones is going to depend on user behavior.
Similar to traditional espresso machines, built-ins will require routine maintenance along with regular cleaning between brewing sessions. This means emptying the drip trays and wiping down nozzles every day, as well as cleaning the front interface every week. Also, be sure to clean out the coffee bean containers every month. If it has a removable water tank, you’ll also want to clean that.
And usually, every few months, you’ll need to perform a deep clean, including descaling and degreasing any pipes. You should also check internal components to ensure that they’re properly lubricated.
We can’t stress enough that built-in coffee machines are a smaller appliance category with fewer options than countertop coffee machines. So, in most cases, you’ll be limited to a handful of options — many of which have similar features.
With built-in coffee machines, you need to decide whether to rely on a water reservoir or connect it to your home or office’s plumbing. If you want a quicker install, opting for a tank can be faster but will require frequent refills depending on how often you drink coffee. Conversely, connecting your built-in to your plumbing system will require more effort and expense initially, but it eliminates the need to refill your water supply. However, if you opt for plumbed water, you’ll want to add a filter to your water line to help reduce the speed of mineral buildup in your lines.
To make espresso, you need nine bars of pressure. Any machine with a bar rating lower than this should be avoided. However, in most cases, built-in coffee machines can achieve pressure levels higher than nine bars which means you’ll get a more flavorful cup of coffee.
Your machine’s boiler will directly impact how efficiently it can brew espresso. Consider whether you’re only trying to brew one cup of espresso at a time or if you want to brew multiple cups within seconds of each other. If you have a house or office full of avid coffee drinkers, look for a built-in coffee machine with a larger boiler that doesn’t suffer from recovery time and can maintain the proper temperature range.
Also consider the boiler material as you’re most likely to find that they’re made from brass, stainless steel, or aluminum. While aluminum can be more affordable, it’s also more susceptible to corrosion. Most coffee experts recommend a brass boiler as it’s better at maintaining the proper temperature and is fairly durable as well.
Usually, you’ll find that espresso machines have one of two types of portafilters — pressurized or commercial-style. Pressurized portafilters are usually found on more budget-friendly models and have a diameter that ranges from 49 to 54 millimeters. This type of filter can be ideal for beginners still learning to brew espresso. They can maintain the proper pressure even if you didn’t properly tamp the grounds before attaching it to your group head or ensure that the coffee was ground to the proper size.
Conversely, commercial-style portafilters are slightly larger with a 58-millimeter diameter. These filters won’t brew properly if you haven’t used the right size coffee grounds or tamped the grounds down correctly.
Typically, built-in coffee machines tend to have a high degree of programmability and, in many cases, are also WiFi-enabled. This can be great as you can program different drink customizations or set it to brew espresso at set times automatically.
In many cases, built-in coffee machines will often require professional servicing for unexpected malfunctions. You’ll want to check with your brand to see what service support is available and if it’s included or covered, even if just initially under warranty.
Built-in coffee machines are sleek and offer plenty of functionality. But that all comes at a cost. Along with the obvious expense of buying your espresso maker, keep in mind that you also need to consider additional installation costs.
At a minimum, you’ll need to connect it to your home or office’s electrical system but may also need to connect it with your plumbing system. And, of course, don’t forget the cost required to ensure that you’ve created the right amount of space in your walls or cabinetry to create a flush design.