Beko Bean-to-Cup Coffee Machine Review: Espresso on a Budget
- Great price
- Good espresso
- Efficient milk wand
- Brewing flexibility
- Basic design
- Fine manual
- Can be confusing to use
Beko’s bean-to-cup machine is fantastic value: it makes excellent espresso and froths barista-quality milk. However, it can be confusing to use – which isn’t helped by the slim manual.
Price when reviewing
Not available in the United States
With a one-touch LED control panel, 19 bar pressure, pre-infusion system, steam wand and two levels of espresso strength, the Beko bean-to-cup coffee machine packs plenty for you. his price.
But does it deliver? We drank a lot of coffee to find out.
Design and build
- Removable 1.5 liter water tank
- Adjustable spout
- 125g bean hopper capacity
The Beko bean-to-cup is roughly a rectangular black box with a stainless steel front. At 38cm tall, it’s not as tall as other bean-to-cups and, at 23.6cm wide and 43.6cm deep, its footprint is smaller than similar machines. But it’s still a significant presence on your work plan.
One way Beko has cut costs is obvious at a glance: its design is somewhat basic. It’s not a coffee machine that makes a statement in your kitchen. It is functional, practical and lacks style. Yet, in the right context, it has a certain minimalist appeal.
The 1.5 liter water tank is located at the rear. You can remove it to fill it from the faucet and the lid secures with a swivel hinge, so there’s no chance you’ll lose it or accidentally knock it off your counter.
The bean hopper sits at the top of the machine, above the grinder, as you’d expect. It has a removable snug-fitting smoked plastic lid and can hold 125g of beans, with the option to choose between five different grinder settings. As is often the case with grain machines, you can only turn the dial to change grind settings while the grinder is actually running.
The front of the machine accommodates the spout, the steam nozzle and the removable drip tray. Spout is adjustable up and down; if you remove the drip tray, you have the height to dispense into a latte glass, which is a feature you don’t get with some other machines.
The steam wand swings out to the right, and there’s clearance to use a metal jug underneath. As for the drip tray, it has a metal grid, plastic base and pulls out to reveal the coffee drawer behind.
It’s not an overly heavy machine – around 7.5kg – but it is a bit heavy to unpack. In the box are three packets of descaler, a pin wheel, a brush and a cloth, next to the manual. The manual is a bit sparse, but more on that later.
The side of the machine accommodates the filter hatch, which is easy to access.
- LED touch screen
- Two strengths of coffee
- Hot water dispensing
You control the machine using an LED touch screen on the top. The power button is on the left, followed by four illuminated icons: steam, hot water (which dispenses via the steam wand), strong espresso, and mild espresso.
Other icons will light up to alert you when you need to fill the water tank, the coffee bean hopper, empty the grinds drawer or descale.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
Make an espresso
- Automatic rinsing function
- Pre-infusion system
- 19 bar pressure
When using for the first time, after filling the water tank, you must clean the machine by pressing the hot water button. It is very simple and uncomplicated for a machine of this type. There are no special processes or tablets to use to flush the pipes.
Obviously, you have to fill the grain hopper. The manual doesn’t tell you how many beans it can hold, so you have to estimate roughly how many it will take for the lid to snap back into place properly.
When turned on, the machine automatically rinses in the drip tray. We’ve found that means you have to empty the drip tray quite often or leave a container under the spout, as it periodically flushes out if you leave it on.
You then place your cup under the spout and choose a strong or mild espresso by long pressing the button to set the desired coffee volume. When the machine has dispensed the appropriate amount, from 25ml to 250ml, you release the button, it will beep twice and thus set the amount for the next time. This also works for the hot water button.
The back of the spout will light up while brewing and the grounds will end up in the grounds drawer.
And this pressure of 19 bars is really effective. The coffee is great. It smells and tastes great, with a rich Guinness color and decent crema. This is the quality of a coffee.
Although its operation seems simple, problems can arise if someone tries to use the machine without knowing exactly what it is doing. It is very easy to press a few buttons and find that you have reset the quantities. Unlike more expensive machines, which can indicate the set coffee strength, Beko’s machine provides no such feedback.
You also won’t get much help from the manual. More detailed advice would have been reassuring at this point.
After an error along these lines, we had problems resetting the remembered volume and never knew if it had been fixed. In our experience, if you try to fix a mistake, you can make it worse. Considering the price of the device, it would not be surprising to find that its internal mechanism is a bit fiddly.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
Using the steam wand
- great moss
- No dial
- Short heating time
To make a latte or cappuccino, first prepare your espresso, then press the steam button with the wand pointing towards the drip tray. Residual water in the wand will drain out while the red light is flashing. When the red light stops, hit the wand on the side and place your milk container underneath to steam your milk. The additional heating process to produce the vapor does not take long.
Steamed milk is wonderfully frothy and light.
Our guess was that you press the steam button again to stop it, but again we had to figure it out by trial and error. The manual does not provide detailed instructions for daily use of the machine after it is set up.
The Beko has three different modes: default, eco (energy saving) and speed (faster brew).
You change modes by pressing the power button for five seconds in sleep mode. Then the hot water, strong espresso and mild espresso buttons will flash. You then press the hot water button for eco mode, strong espresso for speed mode, and mild espresso for the default setting. Two beeps will sound and set the mode.
Price and availability
There are three variations of Beko’s bean-to-cup machine in the range. All are considerably cheaper – by hundreds of pounds – than other bean machines available. You can browse the full range on the Beko website. The most affordable model (£199) doesn’t have a steam wand. The mid-range model we tested does (£224) and finally there’s a bean to cup with a built-in milk cup (£249). There aren’t many price advantages to buying from a specific retailer, but be sure to get the model you want.
There is even a more eco-friendly option, the BioCoffee model, where recycled coffee grounds have been used to make parts of the product’s drip tray and housing. It’s available at the time of writing from Currys for £189.
The Beko bean-to-cup is phenomenally priced, makes great espresso, and steams milk well. For that, we gave it a solid rating. Still, and perhaps inevitably, there are trade-offs due to its price. It can be confusing to use and possibly temperamental. We recommend careful treatment if you buy one.
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