What is the useful life of a coffee machine?

When we buy a coffee machine, one of the factors most buyers take into account is how long it will last. In other words: the life of our coffee machine. No one likes to have to look at coffee machines every few years. Besides, coffee machines are sometimes a significant investment, so we unconsciously always think about buying a coffee machine for life (or almost).

And for many experienced users, this may be a trivial matter, but for the novice buyer who is buying a coffee machine for the first time, it may not be so bright how long the life of a coffee machine is.

We will shed some light on this point, but specifying by machine type (you know there are a few) because the life span of a coffee machine varies greatly depending on whether it is a manual or an electric appliance. Let’s get started:

What is the life span of a capsule coffee maker?

The first ones we will see are the capsule coffee machines, perhaps the most current set of coffee machines in the last years in our country, and certainly those whose consumption has experienced a more significant growth.

To find out how long the life of a Dolce Gusto coffee maker is, we must look at the maintenance and the type of capsules we use in them. In general, the machines will last for many years if you decalcify them properly. But that’s on paper.

In practice, many models are so inexpensive that as soon as a part breaks down or we have any minor malfunction, we take the opportunity to buy a similar but newer one. The price of the repair and technical service does not compensate, since for little more money you can get a new one.

The same thing happens with the life of Nespresso coffee machines. So it is difficult to set a fixed figure, because reality tells us that many of these machines “retire” before their useful life is over.

Lifetime of a drip coffee machine

With cheaper filter coffee machines, something similar to what we said in the previous section usually happens. If any part breaks, loses or deteriorates, it is cheaper to buy a new machine than to repair it, so in the end we only have them at home for a few years. But not because they die, but because it is very cheap to renew them.

As far as the life span of medium and high-end drip coffee machines is concerned, the period of activity extends for considerably more years. If we maintain them well (it is essential to decalcify often any appliance that is in contact with water), these coffee makers can last several decades. For example, Moccamaster coffee machines are made in Holland entirely by hand, which you can see in the price but also in how long they last.

As a note: keep in mind that drip coffee machines with a grinder, apart from being more expensive, are generally of the highest quality, but have many more components and complexity than the “normal” ones. That is, they are more likely to break down in the long run.

Service life of espresso machines

The presence of an electric coffee maker, not only of espressos, is usually marked by the durability of the plate that handles it. Sometimes any operation stops working, and the cause is simply a burned out or deteriorated condenser (replacing it is simple, and at Amazon, they cost just a few cents).

In the long run, it is normal for electric boards to go through some of these problems, or directly burn out due to a sudden voltage spike, overuse, etc. The better the brand, the more money you will invest in your coffee maker’s electric plate, and the longer it will take to cause problems.

Another critical factor for the durability of an espresso machine is the material of the internal components. Most mid to low-end household machines have boilers and other elements made of aluminium. Still, stainless steel, brass or copper machines are much better able to withstand continuous contact – and consequent wear – with tap water and will stand up better over time. A poor quality electric espresso machine can start giving you problems before the age of 5 (if you use it daily).

In contrast, the life span of an commercial espresso machine is usually much longer due to two main factors:

  • Because they are subject to more inspections and more specialised technical maintenance (generally a dedicated service is in charge of repairs and revisions, not the business owner himself).
  • Because they are built and designed to withstand many services a day, and to be working almost always.

Life of an automatic coffee machine

When it comes to the durability of coffee machines, the superautomatics are, without a doubt, the most delicate segment and the one that buyers doubt the most. There are two main reasons for this:

  • They are the most expensive coffee machines on the market, and some models cost several hundred Pounds (sometimes over a thousand).
  • They are the most complex and incorporate the most technology, so it is much easier for any part or system to fail.

So, users are very cautious about buying a machine of this calibre.

Let’s get to the point: as a rule, and we stress this concept, “as a rule” – which does not mean “100% of the time” – the best brand coffee machines usually give more guarantees of durability. A difference of 100 or 200 Pounds in coffee machines with apparently identical performance often means that they have passed more rigorous quality controls, have been tested more, or some parts have been processed/assembled by hand.

An automatic coffee maker of dubious quality or unknown brand, although at the time of purchase it may seem very economical, can be damaged or give you multiple problems after a few years. Lights that don’t go out, milk that doesn’t emulsify the same, less precise temperatures a machine of this type can fail in a thousand places. And then you have no choice but to get a new one usually from a leading brand.

The life of an Italian coffee maker

In the case of Italian coffee machines, the durability criteria changes as it is a manual instrument with no electrical installation. The most important difference comes from the material they are made of.

A stainless steel Italian coffee maker can last you a lifetime if you’re careful to apply the correct maintenance.

In contrast, aluminium Mokas are much more sensitive to fire wear and dents. They can also last you many, many years, but there’s a better chance that that figure will stay in “a few years” (which isn’t bad either).

The good news is that many of the durability problems with Italian coffee makers come from rubber gaskets, which are easily replaceable and inexpensive components.

What about French press coffee makers?

We end our review of the service life of piston coffee machines, which in our particular ranking have the highest durability step.

The difference with Italian coffee machines is that the plunger machines are not subject to the direct action of fire, so the wear they suffer is minimal. The plunger or mesh filter can be bought separately and replaced if it breaks, so if we are careful not to drop or break the glass, the durability of a French press coffee maker is guaranteed for life.