Espresso Machine vs Filter Brewer - what's the difference? 

To understand the difference between an espresso machine and a filter brewer, you need to first understand the difference between espresso and coffee. Check out our blog here to discover more on the differentiating factors between the two. Essentially all coffee is coming from the same starting point - the coffee bean. But it is the brewing process that follows that can create different coffee experiences.

Let's start with the basics...  

Espresso Machine

Espresso machines can be classed as fully automatic and semi automatic, and even sometimes a combination of the two! Fully automatic machines, known as bean to cup, will usually do all the work. Once initially set up, it will grind, tamp and brew the espresso shot. Most will also froth the milk automatically, all from a central outlet or spout. They require regular cleaning on both the coffee and milk side.   

Semi-automatics will usually require a separate grinder and tamper. Some hybrids may have these built into the espresso machine. Most come with a separate steam wand for you to steam the milk manually. These machines require more skill, particularly on the grinder settings, tamping and milk steaming, and can be a bit messier to use. But they give you more control and flexibility in terms of the end product.   

Sage Barista Express Espresso Machine

Filter Brewer

A filter brewer is essentially any appliance which uses the method of pouring water over ground beans to make a batch of coffee. There are a lot of variations to choose from including an Aeropress, V60 and Chemex, to name a few.   

The Aeropress is a nifty piece of equipment that is portable and can brew single servings of regular and espresso-style coffee. V60 requires more precision than other coffee makers but is a great way to enjoy single origin coffee. Chemex uses slightly thicker filters which slows down the brewing process delivering a crisp, clean drink that highlights the coffee’s intricate flavours.  

The differences...

Bodum French Press


There can be quite a notable price difference between filter brewers and machines. Espresso machines can start from around €499 to over €2,000, depending on the level of technology you desire. While on the other hand, filter brewers can be inexpensive and cost as low as €12. 

Pros & Cons

Coffee Maker

Affordable and portable.
Produces bulk batches of coffee.
Uses paper filters each time.

Coffee Machine

Can produce a shot of espresso within 25-30 seconds. Expensive. Requires frequent cleaning and maintenance.

So, the question is do you want a cup of coffee or a shot of espresso?   

The answer will determine which method is for you. Coffee makers are inexpensive and will produce large batches of coffee for you and others. Espresso machines are a greater investment and will create shots of espresso. If you need to brew for multiple people and want a piece of brewing equipment that’s easy to use and clean – you'll want a filter brewer. If you are looking for authentic shots of espresso and a method to make flat white, latte or cappuccinos, then you should invest in a coffee machine. 

We have 15% off selected coffee machines and coffee makers for Black Friday - check them out below:

Black Friday Special Offers

Coffee Makers

Espresso Machines

Bodum French Press
Aerobie Aeropress
Sage Barista Express
Sage Barista Touch