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Best Combination Coffee Makers of 2018

Versatile brewers from CR’s tests that can do espresso, lattes, cold brew, and more

A person making an iced latte.

Combination coffee makers are multifunction appliances that let you brew not only a cup or (in some cases) a carafe of coffee but also lattes, cappuccinos, and even iced coffee.

“The trend really took off in 2015 thanks to the Ninja Coffee Bar,” says Claudette Ennis, a CR market analyst who covers coffee makers. “Now other brands, such as DeLonghi and Keurig, are coming out with their own takes on an all-in-one machine.”

One big advantage? If you’re the kind of person who keeps a separate coffee maker, espresso maker, and milk frother in your kitchen, combo machines help you declutter. And there are some good models out there.

“They might seem gimmicky, but some of them perform quite well in our tests,” says Ginny Lui, Consumer Reports’ test engineer for coffee makers.

How We Test Coffee Makers
Just like regular coffee makers, combination coffee makers come in a few types: drip combo machines that use coffee grounds and a filter basket, and pod-based versions that use coffee pods.

For drip coffee makers, we conduct a brew-performance test to measure the brew temperature and contact time (how long water stays within the sweet spot of 195° F to 205° F for brewing). For single-serve (pod) coffee makers, our engineers evaluate temperature consistency and size consistency of individual cups of coffee. Then our expert coffee taste tester weighs in.

Both types of coffee maker also undergo convenience tests to evaluate how easy it is to, for instance, set timers and clean the machine. And we factor in CR's survey data on brand reliability and owner satisfaction to create our comprehensive coffee maker ratings.

Below are reviews of six of the best combination coffee makers, listed in alphabetical (not rank) order. CR members can click each model name to see detailed ratings.

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1
Bialetti Combo Coffee & Espresso 35019
Bialetti Combo Coffee & Espresso...

    Bialetti Combo Coffee & Espresso...

    CR’s take: For the coffee drinker who likes to change it up—coffee one day, an espresso or latte the next—consider the Bialetti Combo Coffee & Espresso 35019. It can brew a small carafe of coffee and an even smaller carafe of espresso. It also comes with a built-in milk frother for making lattes and cappuccinos, and features a permanent filter and auto-shutoff. As for its performance, this Bialetti does quite well across the board, earning a Very Good rating in our brew-performance test.

    2
    DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima One Espresso Maker EN500BW/W
    DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima One...

      DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima One...

      CR’s take: If you’re a fan of Nespresso’s proprietary coffee capsules, you might want to upgrade your Nespresso brewer to the DeLonghi Nespresso Lattissima One Espresso Maker EN500BW/W. Using Nespresso OriginalLine capsules, it can brew coffee and espresso, as well as lattes and cappuccinos using a built-in milk frother and tank that dispenses milk foam right into your cup. That means you won’t have to froth milk in a separate cup as you would with other machines. This appliance receives strong scores in our lab tests, and DeLonghi pod machines, as a group, receive an Excellent rating for owner satisfaction.

      3
      Keurig  K-Café™ Special Edition Coffee, Latte & Cappuccino Maker K84
      Keurig  K-Café™ Special Edition...

        Keurig  K-Café™ Special Edition...

        CR’s take: The Keurig K-Café Special Edition Coffee, Latte & Cappuccino Maker K84 uses K-Cup pods to brew coffee, lattes, cappuccinos. It can even brew iced lattes and iced cappuccinos but lacks a mode for making straight iced coffee. In our lab tests, this machine performed pretty well, but it wasn’t the speediest pod machine when it comes to brewing the first cup of the day, earning a middle-of-the-pack Good rating for first-cup speed. Still, if you love Keurig machines, you’ll enjoy this one, too. In addition to its built-in milk frother, the K-Café comes with a strong-brew setting, a "coffee shot" setting for lattes, an auto-shutoff feature, a height-adjustable drip tray, and a removable water reservoir.

        4
        Keurig  K-Latte Single Serve K-36
        Keurig  K-Latte Single Serve K-36

          Keurig  K-Latte Single Serve K-36

          CR's take: If you like the sound of the Keurig K-Café but are looking for something at a lower price, consider the Keurig K-Latte Single Serve K-36. It isn't as versatile at the K-Café, but it can still brew hot coffee and lattes thanks to its built-in milk frother. It performs almost identically to the K-Café in our tests, but does better in our first-cup speed evaluation, where it receives a Very Good rating. The K-Latte also features a "coffee shot" setting, auto-shutoff, height-adjustable drip tray, and removable water reservoir.

          5
          Ninja Bar Brewer CF085
          Ninja Bar Brewer CF085

            Ninja Bar Brewer CF085

            CR’s take: Popularized in ads featuring Sofia Vergara of the TV show "Modern Family," the Ninja Bar Brewer CF085 is capable of brewing coffee, iced coffee, and specialty brews such as lattes. It does very well in our lab tests, but its insulated, thermal carafe can be difficult to handle, receiving only a middling rating of Good. This machine also comes with a standalone milk frother, the ability to brew into a cup or travel mug, a “rich brew” mode for stronger coffee, a removable reservoir, an auto-shutoff, and a cleaning indicator. With all of these features and extras, this Ninja machine is one of the most versatile coffee makers we’ve seen in the lab.

            6
            Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System CP307
            Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System...

              Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System...

              CR’s take: Ninja recently one-upped its flagship Bar Brewer with the Ninja Hot and Cold Brewed System CP307. The new model adds the ability to brew tea and cold brew coffee, and its milk frother is built-in. Note that it brews cold brew in about 15 minutes and it comes out lukewarm, not cold. Our expert taste tester said it makes for good iced coffee, but it doesn’t taste like true cold brew. This Ninja does quite well in our other tests; its brew performance isn’t as good as the Ninja Bar Brewer, but its carafe handles better and receives a rating of Very Good. If you want the extras of a built-in milk frother, cold brew, and tea brewing, then go for this machine. But if not, you’ll get everything you need in the more affordable Ninja Bar Brewer.

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              Daniel Wroclawski

              I'm obsessed with smart home tech and channel my obsession into new stories for Consumer Reports. When I'm not writing about products, I spend time either outside hiking and skiing or up in the air in small airplanes. For my latest obsessions, follow me on Facebook and Twitter (@danwroc).