The 10 Best Cappuccino Makers
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in June of 2015. With a cappuccino maker in the kitchen, it's actually possible to look forward to the daily grind (groan). Whether you prefer a shot to get you going every morning or like to make gourmet lattes for guests, one of these machines could be the next best thing to having a professional barista behind your kitchen counter. We've included models suitable for most budgets and preferences. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 07, 2020:
If you are tired of wasting time and money at your local coffee shop, then you may want to consider getting a cappuccino maker for your home. While many may automatically assume that doing so is going to be extremely costly, this is actually a misconception. As evidenced by our selections, one can easily find a machine to fit within any budget.
For those who have neither the money nor the space to waste on a very expensive unit, we recommend the Mr. Coffee One-Touch, De'Longhi ECP3120, and Breville Essenza Mini, all of which have a small footprint and are reasonably priced, perhaps none more so than the Essenza Mini. Unlike most others, its milk frother is a small, separate machine, so it doesn't need to be a permanen fixture on your countertop. You can simply pull the frother out of a cabinet when you need it, and then hide it away again when you don't. Further adding to its convenience is the fact that the machine use Nespresso pods, so you won't have to deal with messy grounds all the time.
As great as the above models can be, they just don't compare to models like the Breville Barista Express, Gaggia Velasca Prestige, Jura Impressa XS90, and Breville Oracle when it comes to functionality and features. All of these have integrated grinders, so you can go from bean to cup without any hassle, which can result in a fresher tasting cuppa. They all also boast a range of settings to customize your hot beverages to your liking, and the ability to make a variety of drink types.
While the Miele CM6310 may not have a built-in grinder, we do like its sleek, minimalist style and the ability to set four user profiles, so every member of the household will be able to quickly make a coffee-based drink to their liking at just the touch of a button, without having to worry about fiddling with settings every morning. Also, it automatically flushes its lines after each use, and its milk reservoir is removable, so you can store it in the fridge between uses.
May 30, 2019:
Although there is no shortage of choice when it comes to cappuccino and latte makers, a few names consistently stand out, including Breville and Gaggia. We've opted to keep models from these companies as top choices, the Essenza Mini and Velasca Prestige, respectively. The former is priced within reach of many consumers, and it's small enough to fit in the majority of homes, even apartments. The latter is a beefier choice with a built-in grinder and more settings, but the required investment will put it out of reach of some. We decided to add the Mr. Coffee One-Touch, as well. When most coffee connoisseurs think of a high-quality cup, Mr. Coffee probably isn't the name that comes to mind; nevertheless, this little machine performs all the functions necessary for a decent drink at home — and it's relatively easy to clean. We also opted to add a milk frother, the PowerLix Handheld, for those who are truly feeling the budget squeeze or those who already own a high-quality espresso maker. It's dead simple to use, but some find the batteries a bit tricky to change. Finally, we elected to remove the Saeco PicoBaristo. For the cost, the durability is questionable, so there are better investments out there.
Rocket Espresso R58 Expect commercial-grade quality from the Rocket Espresso R58 – with the pro-level price tag to match. Each machine is handmade in Milan, Italy, to high quality standards, with a classy and durable stainless steel housing and detachable PID controls. rocket-espresso.com
Lelit Bianca V2 The Lelit Bianca V2 allows you to manually control every aspect of the extraction process, which, depending on your skill level using such a machine, either enables you to pull a perfect espresso or presents a steep learning curve. In addition to making fantastic coffee-based beverages, it has a striking aesthetic with its chrome housing and wood handles. bianca.lelit.com
It's All In the Details
And of course, Americans got on board -- in a big way -- in the 1980s and 1990s.
You've probably heard by now that it was the Capuchin (Cappuccini, in Italian) monks who first came up with the frothy cafe staple we know as the cappuccino, but some sources beg to differ, saying the drink's name was inspired only by the tan-brown color of the monks' rumpled garb. (Which is also how the Capuchin monkey got its name. But that's another story.)
At any rate, we can't really talk about the story of cappuccino without first taking on the tale of espresso. The first espresso machine was patented in 1905 by Luigi Bezzera and Desidero Pavoni. It allowed cafes to prep the sought-after drink with almost scary precision.
In fact, coffee machine producer Illy defines the espresso-making process this way: "A jet of hot water at 88°-93° C (190°-200°F) passes under a pressure of nine or more atmospheres through a seven-gram (.25 oz) cake-like layer of ground and tamped coffee. Done right, the result is a concentrate of not more than 30 ml (one oz) of pure sensorial pleasure."
What's more, and this is all true, the Italian Espresso National Institute (INEI), "has defined the parameters under which a genuine espresso can be produced," according to a University of Hertfordshire study. Fortunately for consumers, and despite their fierce protection of the brewing process, the Italian espresso powers-that-be are open enough to appreciate quality beans from other countries, and routinely import them for roasting.
The practice of frothing milk for cappuccino came about in the 1920s. In the 1950s, the drink grew popular in England. And of course, Americans got on board -- in a big way -- in the 1980s and 1990s.
What's In A Roast?
Following a few simple pointers for rich, flavorful espresso will result in the best cappuccino:
Start with the freshest beans possible. You're going for the richest, purest expression of the bean, so if your beans are stale, you'll get the fullest expression of staleness. That, even with a frothy topping of steamed milk, will probably not satisfy anybody.
Of course, it's all subjective, but some top baristas maintain that darker roasts -- like a lot of what Starbucks has to offer -- will not produce a quality espresso.
If there's no nearby purveyor of fresh, whole beans, look for the beans online. This is one instance when high turnover is a plus; product that's been sitting around in a warehouse somewhere is not ideal.
Stick with a medium roast. Of course, it's all subjective, but some top baristas maintain that darker roasts -- like a lot of what Starbucks has to offer -- will not produce a quality espresso. If darker roasts don't taste bitter to you, then feel free to utilize them.
Serve immediately upon preparing. The word 'espresso' not only describes the preparation process, but also the speed of delivery to the customer. Since you're your own customer, aim to please yourself. Don't let fresh espresso or cappuccino sit around for too long before you drink it.
Wild About Pairings
They say, in Italy, espresso is never served after breakfast time. But hey, this isn't Italy. So here are a few suggestions to make the most of your espresso or cappuccino experience.
Pastries are a good place to start. After all, what complements the intensity of the drink better than a mildly sweet baked good. Indulge in a croissant or pain au chocolat. Or, get more creative, and pair cappuccino with a double-chocolate muffin or a breakfast fruit tart (apple, cherry, apricot) or coffeecake (cinnamon, cheese, crumb-topped).
Who can resist a true chocolate mousse with straight espresso or cappuccino?
Among cakes, chocolate or devil's food top the list, mainly because coffee and chocolate go so well together. But for a departure, consider lemon cake or plain sponge. (Dipping sponge cake into coffee or tea is a tradition in some countries.)
Good ol' apple pie also makes good ol' sense, but, if you have a sweet tooth, consider mince pie. At the milder end of the spectrum lies unflavored or vanilla custard pie.
Who can resist a true chocolate mousse with straight espresso or cappuccino? You might be awake for more than a few hours afterward, however, so plan accordingly. Other rich matches include plain cheesecake and tiramisu. A true French millefeuille or an Italian millefoglie would also be lip-smackin' good.
Of course, a cappuccino could even class up a frozen Toaster Strudel or Eggo waffle. The idea is to choose a food that complements the robust intensity of your coffee drink.