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6 Cappuccino Machines That Brew A Perfect, Foamy Cappuccino

The US coffeehouse boom during the 80s and 90s was primarily fueled by the rising popularity of two drinks; the espresso and the cappuccino. Nowadays, these two coffee drinks are still wildly popular, but chances are that if you want one, you’re still going to have to make your way down to your local coffeehouse. If you’re a frequent cappuccino drinker, there is an alternative – you could invest in your very own cappuccino machine!

This thought has probably crossed your mind before but you’ve probably been turned off from the idea because of the cost. The fact is, a cappuccino machine (or an espresso maker) usually isn’t going to fall into the same price range as, for example, a French press or an automatic drip coffee maker. Still, if you’re an avid cappuccino drinker, a good cappuccino machine is definitely a smart long-term investment.

Editor’s Favorite Cappuccino Machine: The Breville BES870XL

Craftsmanship – 5/5
Convenience – 4.5/5
Price – 4.5/5

Breville has created a high quality cappuccino machine that is perfect for experienced coffee brewers and ambitious novices.

Ranking Criteria – How We Selected Each Cappuccino Machine On This List

When we were looking at cappuccino machines, there were three awards that we definitely wanted to give out. The awards were: “Best Overall”, “Best Value”, and “Super Automatic”.

Evaluating the cappuccino machines and finding the perfect one for each award (especially Value and “Super Automatic”) was relatively complex, since we had to weigh the defining traits against certain key factors.

  • Craftsmanship was the first factor that was considered. What type of materials were used to create the cappuccino machine? How durable was it?
  • Convenience was the next factor that was looked at. Could anyone buy the machine and make a cappuccino? Was using the cappuccino machine a long and arduous process?
  • Price was the most flexible factor that was considered. How much quality would you sacrifice if you bought a cheap cappuccino machine? Were some of the expensive cappuccino machines actually overpriced for the quality that they delivered?

Top 6 Cappuccino Machines: Side-by-Side

First Up, The Award Winners:

Cappuccino Machine & Price

Caffeine Fiend Award

Breville BES870XL, Barista Express Espresso Machine

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Best Overall

Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System

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Best Value

Saeco HD8927, PicoBaristo Super Automatic Espresso Machine

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The “Super Automatic” Award

… And Some Honorable Mentions

Cappuccino Machine & Price

Features / Notes

Mr. Coffee Café Barista, Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

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Affordable and beginner friendly

Gaggia RI9380 Classic Pro Espresso Machine

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Bigger cost, better quality

EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker

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Feature heavy, reasonably priced

Reviews: A More In-Depth Analysis of Each Cappuccino Machine

Breville BES870XL, Barista Express Espresso Machine

The Breville BES870XL is our top pick out of all of the cappuccino makers that we looked at and it has earned the Caffeine Fiend award for “Best Overall”.

In the eyes of cappuccino novices, the Breville BES870XL may seem overly complex at first glance. However, we actually found that it was one of the most beginner friendly semi-automatic cappuccino machines on the market. Its learning curve was more akin to gentle rolling hills than steep mountains.

Overall, the Breville BES870XL provides high quality craftsmanship, a moderate level of convenience, and a reasonable amount of control. Its learning curve and complexity manage to strike a balance that will definitely make it appealing to individuals at the intermediate and expert skill levels. Ambitious beginners could definitely get some mileage out of this one but they may want to start off with an option that is easier to use/cheaper.

Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System

In our opinion, it is not easy to find a cappuccino machine under $100 that is worth recommending. In fact, the Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System is probably the only cappuccino machine in the price range that we’d ever recommend.

Our affordability award wasn’t about finding the cheapest cappuccino machine, it was about finding an affordably priced cappuccino machine that could still meet our standards. Even though the Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System had a relatively low price tag, it still managed to garner above average marks when it came to craftsmanship and convenience.

If you’re shopping on a budget or you’re a beginner that wants to get your feet wet with an affordable machine, this is the perfect choice for you.

Saeco HD8927, PicoBaristo Super Automatic Espresso Machine

If you’re thinking about buying the Saeco HD8927 PicoBaristo, then two things are definitely true about you – you’re an avid cappuccino drinker and you have a relatively large budget to work with.

Convenience is the name of the game when it comes to the Saeco HD8927 PicoBaristo; however, that is what you would expect from a super automatic cappuccino maker. The reasons why the Saeco HD8927 PicoBaristo has managed to win the award for its category is because it easily manages to make itself worth its high asking price. Its efficiency and craftsmanship are second to none.

If you’re looking for a cappuccino machine that will take care of absolutely everything – from grinding to frothing – then this is definitely the perfect choice for you.

Mr. Coffee Café Barista, Espresso and Cappuccino Maker

The Mr. Coffee Café Barista is, without a doubt, one of the most beginner friendly semi-automatic cappuccino machines on the market. It also falls into the more affordable end of the price spectrum. This makes it perfect for people who are shopping on a budget or beginners that want to get their feet wet without breaking the bank.

It features removable water and milk reservoirs, an easy to use control panel, and an automatic milk frother, all of which help to streamline the entire brewing process.

Gaggia RI9380 Classic Pro Espresso Machine

The Gaggia RI9380 isn’t a cappuccino machine that we would recommend for beginners. It is definitely a step up in terms of both complexity and cost.

The thing that we love the most about the Gaggia RI9380 is its steam wand. In terms of quality and effectiveness, this steam wand is on par with one that you would find at your favorite coffeehouse.

The Gaggia RI9380 is definitely a semi-automatic machine that values freedom and as a result, it puts a lot of the intricacies of the brewing process in your hands.

EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker

In our opinion, the EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker does actually oversell its flexibility a bit. However, we still have to admit that it is one of the most feature heavy cappuccino machines on the market, especially in the under $250 price range.

It features a more than adequate 15 bar pump pressure system, a detachable frothing device, and an advanced thermoblock heating system. The EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker also comes with more than a few accessories and extras. These include: a plug-in electric coffee grinder, 2 porcelain cups, a stainless steel frothing cup, and a measuring spoon and tamper.

These extras are just ancillary stuff that are supposed to make you think that you’re getting an awesome deal. If you’ve already been making your own coffee at home, then you most likely have better versions of all of these accessories and extras already. Don’t worry, with or without the extras, the EspressoWorks All-In-One Espresso Machine & Cappuccino Maker is worth its asking price.

A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide for Cappuccino Machines

If you have a discerning eye and love to shop around before making a final purchase, then this buyer’s guide is an indispensable tool. Even if you don’t choose one of our top 6, we still want to make sure that you choose the perfect cappuccino machine for your needs.

Establish Your Price Range

Remember what we already established that a cappuccino machine isn’t usually going to fall into the same price range as a French press or an automatic drip coffee maker. However, that statement should be amended to specify that we’re talking about the cost of a “good cappuccino machine”.

If you check Amazon or your local brick and mortar store, you should be able to find more than a few cappuccino machines that cost less than $100. However, most of these are not going to be machines that’ll give you a cappuccino that you’ll enjoy drinking. In fact, we looked at over three dozen budget choices (under $100) and the Mr. Coffee Automatic Dual Shot Espresso/Cappuccino System was the only one that we felt was worth recommending.

If you’re buying a cappuccino machine, you should definitely view it as a long-term investment. Establish a budget and stick to it. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole and find yourself viewing super automatic cappuccino machines that fall way outside your budget and cost thousands of dollars.

Still, keep in mind that cost is usually directly related to factors such as:

  • Craftsmanship
  • Ease of use
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Longevity and durability

Don’t Be Ashamed Of Your Skill Level

We all know the common saying “don’t bite off more than you can chew”. Well in this case, our advice has a similar meaning – “don’t buy something that you can’t use”.

Remember those pricey cappuccino machines that  we just talked about, the ones that can cost thousands of dollars? Well, they usually fall into one of two categories – super automatic machines that do every single step of the process for your or barista-level machines that require in depth knowledge.

If you’re a cappuccino rookie, don’t be afraid to admit it. Look for a beginner friendly cappuccino machine, one that is straightforward and easy to use. The last thing that you want to do is drop thousands of dollars on a cappuccino machine and use it to brew average (or below average) quality cappuccinos.

Buy a beginner cappuccino machine to get your feet wet and then when you’ve got some experience under your belt, you can consider upgrading to the big leagues.

Manual Or Automatic

No, we’re not getting into the debate over the best way to drive – we’ll leave that debate to all you gear-heads out there. This is a question of what type of cappuccino machine you would prefer to use.

When talking about how cappuccino machines operate, there is actually a third category that falls in between manual and automatic – semi-automatic. In fact, to further complicate things, you will find that many manufacturers will erroneously refer to their semi-automatic cappuccino makers as automatic.

  • Manual cappuccino machines (or lever cappuccino machines) are completely hand operated. There are countless coffee aficionados that will tell you that manual machines create the best cappuccinos. However, they are less convenient, require a higher skill level and more overall time to operate.
  • Automatic cappuccino machines are exactly what their name suggests. They are the epitome of convenience, all you have to do is press a button and wait. However, this convenience means that an automatic cappuccino machine will be more complex and have a higher price tag.
  • Semi-automatic cappuccino machines are a blend between their manual and automatic siblings. These machines are less convenient than fully automatic ones but they do have the benefit of giving you more control over the process.

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