Does a costly coffee machine make a better brew? 

Is it worth splashing the cash on a coffee machine – especially if it costs as much as £750? We take a look at the pros and cons of buying a more expensive model.

As someone who has tested many coffee machines, it’s safe to say that I know a thing or two about making a great-tasting beverage at home. 

So, when I was recently offered the chance to try out the newest automatic coffee machine by De’Longhi, I immediately said yes. Especially as this one costs a whopping £750. 

Surely no-one needs to spend that much on a coffee machine – and why is it so expensive? For that price, I want it to come with its own tiny barista to ensure each cup tastes amazing. 

But sometimes, as I found out, the cost isn’t all about the technology but how it can improve your daily life. 

Rivelia coffee machine on a counterCredit: De’Longhi
The Rivelia coffee machine by De’Longhi costs £750 – but is it worth paying more for a coffee machine?

I was lucky enough to visit the De’Longhi headquarters in Treviso, Italy. This is where I was first introduced to its new offering, the Rivelia – a sleek machine just begging to be popped into a super-modern kitchen. 

The research that went into this coffee machine was interesting – essentially, it’s been made for the UK market. De’Longhi did lots of research to discover discovering that we Brits want from a coffee machine.   

“We worked with a community of British coffee makers over several months exploring every aspect of their coffee experience,” explains Plamena Stavreva, Global Coffee Marketing Manager at De’Longhi. 


“We translated these needs and experiences into product designs, usability, technology features, forms, and materials, ultimately turning an idea into a concrete product they can truly enjoy at home.” 

So, what did we want? Apart from the ability to add double shots to our coffee, we demand technology from our kitchen appliances, but only when it’s easy to use, and we prefer using coffee beans to brew a cuppa. Oh, and we don’t like blunt corners on our devices, which we want available in a range of modern-kitchen-friendly colours. We don’t ask for much, do we? 

De’Longhi, it must be said, has risen to the challenge. The Rivelia is a bean-to-cup coffee machine, which essentially means it automatically grinds fresh coffee beans, turning them into a cup of coffee at the touch of a button. 

I’ve been testing this machine for two weeks and here’s what I’ve learned about costly coffee machines.

Featured product

De'Longhi Rivelia automatic coffee machine

RRP: £749.99

De'Longhi Rivelia automatic coffee machine

Does a high price tag mean better coffee?

Here’s what I discovered when I used an expensive coffee machine

You’re paying for the years of expertise

De’Longhi plays to its strengths. It started manufacturing heating units in 1974 and then went into the coffee and small kitchen appliances business in 2001, after acquiring Kenwood. The company has not deviated from its strengths since, which means it has become an expert in its field. 

Part of my trip to Italy involved visiting the De’Longhi factory. Hair net pulled on and very much channelling my inner Gregg Wallace, I was taken on a tour of the factory to see how the coffee machines are made.  

I learnt that the manufacturer makes a lot of the parts in-house – such as the grinders – rather than shipping them in, and that for premium machines, such the Rivelia, they are put together by one person. Other machines go down the factory line, with each person looking after one component, but when it comes to the fancier ones, more experienced employees put it together from start to finish. 

Expensive coffee machines don’t have to be complicated 

I really didn’t think it could get much simpler than a coffee pod machine. Put a pod in, press a button and you’re done. However, what coffee pod machines make up for in convenience, they can lack in the final coffee taste. 

Before I tried this coffee machine, I thought decent-tasting coffee required spending thousands on an espresso machine, similar to the ones seen in cafés. I had a glimpse, though, of how tricky they are to use when I reviewed the Dualit 3-in-1 coffee machine.

There’s a reason that baristas are artisans – they’re trained to understand coffee to the nth degree and can craft the perfect coffee by making manual alterations. This wasn’t for me. 


With the Rivelia, though, not only is it easy to use (my tech-phobic husband had it worked out in a matter of minutes), but also it results in delicious coffee. Obviously, this is very much subjective – what I deem tasty, others may not, but it definitely floats my coffee boat. Like those UK residents De’Longhi questioned, I like convenience and this machine delivers on that. 

Expensive products solve most problems 

As I see it, if you’re paying out for an expensive machine, whether that be the best cordless vacuum cleaner or a smart speaker, you want it to make life easier and help solve any issues you have. 

The more expensive coffee machines certainly do that. For example, the Rivelia comes with two sealed hoppers – the tub on top of your grinder where you store your coffee beans. If then you want to change the roast, you simply twist in the new hopper and you’re ready to go. 

It also comes with a smaller milk frother that’s the perfect size to store in the fridge. Once you’ve made your milky coffees, you just remove it from the machine and pop it back into the fridge to keep cold. It’s neat, convenient, and saves on lots of washing up. 

Cheaper coffee machines, such as the straightforward Lakeland coffee pod machine, won’t have any extras. However, this isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, less is actually more. The more complicated a machine, the more there is to go wrong with it. 

But a high price doesn’t guarantee perfection 

I challenge anyone to say they wholly love any tech product they’ve bought, especially after using it for a while. Whether it’s Bluetooth headphones that disconnect for no reason or iPhones that overheat, tech is rarely problem-free. 

The Rivelia is no different. It’s annoying that it drips water when heating up, and while the drip tray catches it, I’d prefer this not to happen. It’s also loud when grinding the beans, so not one to use if you’re trying to keep quiet in the morning. 

As with all our reviews, we always show pros and cons and it’s exactly for this reason. There will always be negatives, but you’ll know it’s the coffee machine for you if those cons don’t bother you that much and that overall, you still feel positive about the machine. 

The pricier the machine, the more you can customise 

Even though the coffee machine I tested is fully automatic – it even gets to know your coffee tastes and what type you drink during the day – there is also a good element of customisation. You can, for example, change the grinder settings or add an extra shot to ensure you have the perfect cup of joe.

This is what I’ve always missed with my coffee pod machine. I often used the long coffee choice and always ended up with a super-weak coffee.  

Want to personalise your cuppa from a coffee pod machine? 

Our in-house coffee guru and product tester Philip Sowels told me that most automated coffee machines will never reproduce that true café coffee taste. His tip if you’ve got a coffee pod machine, for example, and want a better-tasting long coffee is to make two espressos. Obviously, it’s not so cost-effective when you’re using two pods, but it’s a workaround. 

It’s important to look at the long game 

Over the years, I’ve tested and bought a variety of different coffee makers, from the simpler AeroPress to pricier coffee pod machines, but there’s no doubt that this machine trumps them all. Yes, it’s costly, but with my habit of two takeaway coffees a week, it will pay for itself within two years. 

Compared to, say, coffee pod or other bean-to-cup machines, £750 seems steep, but compare it to “real” espresso machines and you’ll see what a saving you’re making. 

However, if instant coffee is your go-to but you want to upgrade your experience, then a drip coffee or coffee pod machine will fulfil that brief – and they don’t have to cost the earth. It’s all about what works with your tastes and lifestyle. 

The experience is what really matters 

When it comes to splashing the cash on a machine, it’s worth the money if the experience you get is what you want. At the end of the day, worth is a quality judgement that only you can make. 

Some people are happy with a cafetiere, especially if they love their coffee black. But for me, the Rivelia combines everything I want in a coffee machine – style, ease of use and the final taste – so even though it’s not cheap, it’s the right machine for me.

Featured product

De'Longhi Rivelia automatic coffee machine

RRP: £749.99

De'Longhi Rivelia automatic coffee machine

How much should you spend on a coffee machine

It’s all down to budget and personal taste

It’s always a good idea to spend to the highest end of your budget to ensure you have the best coffee machine you can afford. Sowels says that although cheaper coffee machines can be perfectly good enough for some, they’ll never recreate that true barista taste as they lack consistency.  

“The hard thing with the cheaper equipment at home is consistency,” he told me. 

“You’ll have a coffee machine that may not be very temperature stable – one shot might be produced at 92 degrees; another shot might be made at 96 degrees. This means that every now and then you’ll get one coffee that tastes incredible and then you’ll get others that taste OK. That can be really frustrating.” 

If you’re wondering what to spend on a coffee machine, here are some other things to consider: 

What to think about when buying a coffee machine

This might be obvious, but if you love black coffee, don’t bother forking out extra for a milk frother, as this will just be a waste of money. Sowels recommends that the two best things to purchase if you’re on a tight budget – and still want delicious coffee – are fresh beans and a good grinder. 

Are they known for making coffee machines? Or are they a household-appliance brand that also makes coffee machines? For brands such as De’Longhi, Illy and Lavazza, which have years of experience specialising in coffee and coffee machines, you’re going to see that experience put into all their machines. Lavazza’s Desea machine, for example, came out top in our best coffee pod machine buying guide. 

For me, this is the number-one consideration. I’ve got a busy life and don’t have the time to lovingly craft an espresso or cappuccino every morning, so I want something that’s quick, but that doesn’t compromise on flavour. That’s not always easy to find, but as my testing has seen, there are machines that promise both of these. 

Some people love the theatre of tamping down coffee grounds and steaming their milk. I am not one of them. I also don’t want something so complicated that I need to read an entire manual before I can make my first cup of coffee. Obviously, again this is personal preference, but to really use a machine regularly and get the most out of it, it needs to be easy to integrate into your daily life. 

No appliance, regardless of what you spend on it, is going to last the distance if you don’t look after it.  

“Any appliance, whether it’s big or small, needs to be kept in good condition for it to work well for a long time, so make sure it’s easy to clean,” says Brian Johnson, appliance expert at 

Aside from the initial outlay, you’ve also got to take into consideration the ongoing costs. Coffee pods, for example, aren’t that cheap – plus there’s the environmental impact to consider.

If you want to purchase coffee beans or ground coffee from an artisan coffee house, then the cost will be higher; however, there are also cheaper options to be found. The one question to ask is can you futureproof your machine? If you need to cut costs, could you still afford to use that coffee pod machine, for example? 

Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her


Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 23 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars.

A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

Jayne lives in Kent with a shepsky, her husband and her son, who is attempting to teach her the ways of TikTok, Aston Villa and anime. A keen neurodivergent ally after her son was diagnosed as autistic five years ago, when Jayne does have some rare downtime she enjoys yoga, reading, going to musicals and attempting to emulate Beyonce (poorly) in street dance classes.

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