Getting your regular fix of good quality coffee from Starbucks or Costa is not cheap. But there is an alternative. There is a way of having a barista style coffee in the comfort of your own home. It might even save you money in the long run. You can make your own cappuccino, espresso or latte through the wide array of cappuccino coffee machines on the market. Nowadays consumers are spoilt for choice as there are many coffee machines to suit all budgets and tastes. At last, you are no longer tied to coffee outlets and can enjoy your caffeine fix at your convenience for a fraction of the cost.
We have reviewed four leading machines on the market. All vary in price but all promise they can make you an excellent cup of coffee. There are two types reviewed here: Machines that take pods such as K-cups and those who grind the beans or use ground coffee like a traditional barista machine in coffee shops. We have focused on these particular brands because of their cost and popularity. We specifically choose the best cappuccino maker at different price range to suit different budget requirements. The cheapest is the Aicok Espresso and Cappuccino Coffee Maker and the most expensive is the De’Longhi Magnifica. The other two fall somewhere in between.
This review will cover the unique selling points of each cappuccino maker and who are they suitable for. In each review, we looked at some very practical concerns – Design, ease of use and maintenance as well as the taste of the finished coffee.
So if you are after a new cappuccino coffee machine read on. We hope our reviews will be helpful to you.
DeLonghi has been making high quality cappuccino machines for many years and even manufacture and supply commercial units. The Magnifica XS is actually a scaled down version of a professional commercial machine. It has all the features of the larger machines but in a neat and tidy compact design.
The key selling feature of the De’Longhi Magnifica are its direct to brew system and frothing nozzle. This is an expensive machine priced at just under $700. However, for a cappuccino maker comparable to commercial machines, it may well be value for money.
The DeLongi Magnifica XS is for coffee lovers who want quality, shop bought coffee brewed in their own home. Its appeal to those who do not want the complexity and hassle of brewing coffee but still capture the taste you would get from a coffee shop. That been said, this is also aimed at the coffee drinker who at the same time likes to have to ability to customize their cappuccino drink to suit their taste.
Because it is manufactured by a reputable company like De’Longhi one would expect the design and quality to be high. In that regard, you cannot be disappointed. This is a stylish and innovative machine. It has all the features that a commercial unit would have. It is amazing how they have crammed so many into such a compact design. It is one machine that will look good in any kitchen. The design is reasonably simple to use, clean and maintain. But above all, it is designed to produce consistent coffee drinks. It has a handy water filtration system too.
It might be expensive but it does make a lovely cup of coffee. The filtration system means that the water is filtered away of any impurities which may affect the taste of your cappuccino. In addition, you can also alter the strength and quantity to get the cup of coffee that is perfect for you.
Its patented design allows the beans to be ground just prior to brewing. This ensures the freshness of the coffee grounds. Thus you are able to get a high quality espresso with a wonderful coffee aroma.
Each drink is consistent and brewed to the ideal temperature. The coffee produced is rich and has a perfect density. No watered down coffee here.
The frothing nozzle makes excellent cappuccino and drinks.
Ease of Use
The Magnifica XS is designed to be fairly simple to use. The control panel is a push button type and gives you control over coffee strength, temperature and the size of cup.
Beans or ground coffee is placed in the container and ground just before brewing commences.
For hot frothy milk, a cup containing milk is placed under the nozzle. This works just like its larger cousins.
With DeLonghi’s Rapid Cappuccino System, you can keep brewing consistently hot coffee without waiting between cups.
In addition, it has a large water tank capacity of 60 ounces. So it is great when you have to make coffee drinks for your friends who will definitely ask for more of the delicious drinks.
The drip tray, water tank, coffee grounds containers are removable for cleaning. The Delonghi Magnifica XS has a flashing indicator to alert you to empty coffee grounds container when it is full. The drip tray comes with a water level indicator to show the amount of water it contains.
In addition, the brew unit is removable. Thus it is easy to clear any coffee residues from the brew unit outlets. This clearing of the coffee residues is important since the coffee residues will affect the taste of your espresso used to make the cappuccino.
Regular maintainance of the Delonghi Magnifica Xs is made easy with its ability to rinse and decalcify to stop the buildup of calcium, especially in hard water areas. All it takes its Delonghi descaling liquid and pressing a few buttons. The machine will take over to perform the descaling process. If you are thinking about what buttons to press, the manual has a simple, straightforward 11 steps procedure for reference.
Because it does have a filtration system, which can be adjusted for water hardness, the mineral build up will not be as great.
The Magnifica XS is extremely customizable. Its controls allow you to set what coffee strength, quantity and even temperature of your water. Not to forgetting the water hardness mentioned a while ago.
With the Magnifica XS, you can experiment to get the flavor you want from your coffee in the quantity you desire.
For cappuccino lovers, you get to adjust the froth to your liking too with the frothing nozzle.
This is a quality unit though it is in the high price bracket. Even so, you do get what you pay for. If it’s high quality, home brewed coffee you are after, then the Magnifica XS is the one to buy.
I particularly like the machine for its flexibility to use both ground coffee and coffee beans. The grinder is also of a high quality with adjustable grind settings, giving you the control over the taste of your coffee.
The customization of the coffee cup size and water temperature gives you even more control over the tweaking of your coffee to get your most desired taste. I suppose that is the joy of this cappuccino machine. It is not one set for all.
I also liked the frothing nozzle. It made me feel like a real barista. Other good features are the integrated cup warmer. This allows me to prewarm my cups to reduce the temperature difference between the espresso from the coffee outlet to the cup.
So the Magnifica XS is the best cappuccino machine in the under 1000 dollars price range. In fact, it is available for less than 700 dollars. Considering the amount saved from the buying cappuccino from coffee shops, the Magnifica XS is indeed value for money. Not forgetting the time spent from the long queues at the coffee shops.
The Gourmia GCM4000 promises to deliver consistent, good quality espresso, cappuccino or latte using the K-cup pod system. So you can get to use any Keurig pods on this machine.
Its design is innovative with easy to use controls and it has a built in milk frother. With a price of under 200 dollars, it is one of the best cappuccino maker aimed at the mass market.
Gourmia GCM4000 is a coffee maker designed for those who want to make consistently good coffee without the mess or expense. It is also for those who love a frothy latte, cappuccino or even hot chocolate.
The K-cup system is widely known and available from many outlets. You can buy many types and styles of coffee as well as tea and chocolate drinks.
The K-cup system makes sure that each beverage is exactly how you would expect.
The bottom line: Gourmia GCM4000 is especially for those who like simplicity in making coffee but at the same time loves good quality and tasting coffee.
Gourmia GCM4000 have chosen a design that not only looks good, it is nonintrusive too. It does not require too much space on your kitchen work top. It is modern looking but not complicated.
The built in frother delivers whisked and steamed milk direct to the cup with its handy spout. Its design also allows you to see just how much water and milk you have left.
The milk container is removable. So you can easily keep excess milk in the refrigerator between uses.
With the K-cup system, Gourmia GCM4000 provides a consistently good drink for every brew. Each pod has been formulated to make the perfect cup of coffee, tea or hot chocolate.
There is absolutely no need to think about adjusting any brewing parameters. The only adjustments needed are how frothy you require lattes or hot chocolate drinks.
Cappuccinos are easily made and the milk spout can deliver velvety foam as you would get in coffee shops. The only downside is that often the coffee is not delivered steaming hot as some would like it.
With the K-cup system, you also get a wide choice of flavors and drinks to choose from.
Ease of Use
Gourmia GCM4000 is designed to be easy to use. From the clear containers for milk and water to the three button system, it has simplicity at its core.
To make an excellent cup of coffee, it is easy. Simply chose your favorite K-cup flavor. Slot it in the compartment. Put a cup under the coffee sprout and select the drink you want – espresso, cappuccino or latte.
If you select cappuccino or latte, simply fill the milk container and slide it onto the machine. It will froth milk and deliver to your espresso automatically.
After your drink is made, simply dispense of the pod. It can’t get any easier.
Bear in mind, however, this is a single serve coffee maker but it does make the drink quite quick. If you have multiple drinks to make, it does not take too long.
We all know that cleaning coffee machines can be a hassle. But Gourmia have thought of that and made the GCM4000 easy to clean.
As the GCM4000 is less sophisticated than the Magnifica XS, cleaning is easier. All the parts required for cleaning are accessible and removable from the outside.
This includes the brew heat, drip tray, water tank, milk container. There is also a self clean mode to clean the interior of the frothing tube.
Because it can be cleaned so easily, looking after your Gourmia 3-In-1 Coffee Machine will never be a problem. The only regular maintenance that has to take place is to descale the machine.
Mineral deposits will build up over time, especially in hard water areas, so descaling is absolutely necessary to keep the machine in good condition. This, however, is a fairly simple affair and Gourmia provide full instructions.
Gourmia GCM4000 product is also ETL certified. So you are purchasing a safe and efficient coffee machine.
Having just the three settings for how you want your coffee, this machine is not that customizable. Though it is possible to adjust how frothy you want your milk. This is really the only level of customizability and may be considered limited for some people.
All that being said, having a coffee machine that is easy to use is a must for me. I have always been a fan of the pod coffee machines as they are a lot easier to clean. There is no messy coffee powder to deal with.
I hate the fuss of dismantling something to clean it. Gourmia makes that so easy and the fact it has a self clean mode is a bonus.
The drinks themselves are first class especially with the different strengths and flavors I can buy from the Keurig vendors.
My favorite drink is a latte so having frothy milk is a must. As opposed to some cheaper pod models, the Gourmia has the advantage of making milk-based drinks automatically. No separate milk frother needs to be purchased.
This is a well put together coffee machine with some nice features and will always look good in your kitchen. It is fairly compact too. Some have said the drinks are not as hot as they would like. I warm my cups first and that seems to help.
The Keurig Rivo Cappuccino and Latte System
Priced at just under $200, this is a reasonably priced espresso coffee machine with some nice features. It can brew coffee in under a minute and provides a container for milk to be frothed up.
The frothing unit has three settings depending on the style of coffee you want, whether that be cappuccino, latte or whether you want a cold froth. The cold froth feature is useful for those wishing to make iced coffees.
The Keurig Rivo is for those who wants both convenience and great tasting coffee brewed at home.
The Rivo uses the Keurig pod system and making coffee is really convenient. The Rivo used coffee pods produced by Lavazza which is a high quality, Italian coffee producer. This may be limiting for some but because Lavazza have such an good reputation, those who enjoy their coffee will never go wanting.
With the Rivo, Keurig have opted to make a coffee machine that on the surface does seem rather limiting. However, it is a reasonably nice looking machine, slim and well built. They have called it Rivo because it means revolutionary in Italian. Its design is simple, allowing you to make high quality espresso, cappuccino and latte drinks.
Being a pod-based machine, the Rivo is able to produce a consistent and well brewed cup of coffee. Also, because the pods are made by Lavazza, you will always get a good quality drink since Lavazza have a strong reputation for making high quality coffees for over a century.
It is best to pre-warm the cup as the temperature is not always hot. The milk frother produces a very good latte but it is best not to overfill the milk reservoir.
Another useful point with the milk frother is to remember that the fresher the milk, the better the froth. Some consumers have found that the frothing unit ceases to be consistent after a while. But it has been noted that this is down to the milk used, not the machine. That been said, if you like good quality coffee this is a good unit to buy.
The Rivo has a simple, easy to use design. You simply place a pod in the chamber, select the type of drink you want and away you go.
There are only five buttons on the unit, one of which is for iced coffees. The instructions for lattes and cappuccinos, though not as simple as the Gourmia, are fairly easy.
However, unlike the Gourmia GCM4000, you have to add the frothed milk yourself rather than there being a useful spout to deliver the milk to your espresso automatically. That said, the cappuccino and latte are no different in quality compared to machines you get in coffee shops.
Of all the coffee machines reviewed here, this is the only one that has an iced coffee feature. This opens new options to how you want your coffee so you are not just limited to hot drinks.
It has to be noted too that Keurig provides a recipe guide in its Quick Start guide. So though you may feel it is limited to just Lavazza, in actual fact, it is not. You can even froth cold milk up for any purpose. To make things easier, the Rivo has a beep system to let you know that everything is as it should be.
Ease of Cleaning
The Rivo is reasonably easy to clean and the removable frothing container and small parts is dishwasher safe. This is extremely useful and makes cleaning and washing after each use so much easier. The drip tray is also removable for easy cleaning.
Keurig advises allowing the machine to cool down before any cleaning or maintenance. The water reservoir is not dishwasher safe but can be easily washed in warm water. It is also recommended that cleaning of the brewing and frothing components is done after about 10 to 12 beverages. This will remove any coffee and milk residues which will affect the taste.
To keep the machine in good condition, you will need to regularly descale the unit, again depending on how hard the water is in your area.
This is a machine that is not very customizable. You are limited to just espressos, lattes and cappuccinos though you can make iced coffees too (and an assortment of other beverages based on espressos). But you are not really able to alter anything else apart from the milk to coffee ratio.
If you like the Lavazza brand of coffee (and who wouldn’t), this is an excellent cappuccino maker to buy. It is simple but maybe too simple for some. But I did like the fact it can do iced coffees too which is a really good feature.
However, I would prefer more options and customizability but given that the coffee is such a high standard, these are minor complaints. Being partnered with Lavazza is a good move and guarantees a steady stream of loyal Lavazza customers. The pods themselves are reasonably priced too and they are beginning to produce some additional flavours such as caramel.
Of all the cappuccino machines reviewed, this is the cheapest at just over $100. It is a semi-automatic with the ability to make espressos, cappuccinos, lattes and mochas. It also has a milk frothing feature and comes in a stylish silver colour. The great thing about the cappuccino machine is that you can brew two cups at a time.
As with all our models reviewed, the Aicok is particularly for those who prefer to spend less budget on a cappuccino maker. They also don’t mind dealing with coffee powder. If you are new to making espresso or cappuccino at homes, the Aicok provides less of a learning curve with its ease to operate.
The Aicok Espresso Machine has a sturdy design. It is made of stainless steel and feels robust. This makes it so much easier to clean as opposed to some machines that are both plastic and steel. It looks good and is very practical with its two cup feature. This is a good selling point for some. Sizewise, it comes in around the same as the Gourmia GCM4000.
There are a number of reviews that the Aicok does not deliver when it comes to great tasting coffee. At the end of the day, we buy a cappuccino machine not just for the convenience but for the taste.
Being a semi-automatic machine, there are many variables which may affect the taste. With the freedom to choose your coffee powder, the roast, brand, freshness of your coffee powder all affect the quality of your espresso for your cappuccino.
If you grind coffee beans ( with a separate grinder ), the roast, blend, freshness and grind size affect the taste too. Not forgetting the tamping pressure of the coffee grounds into the portafilter play a significant role too.
But even for a well-trained Barista, these variables may be hard to keep constant for every drink you made.
That said, it is easy to use and operate. It has a rotary dial and two switches, one of which is the power switch. The rotary dial allows you to select which type of drink you want. Making a cup or two of coffee is simply done by tamping ground coffee in the compartment and selecting your desired type.
You cannot alter strength which is a shame. In fact there is very little you can alter.
Unlike the GCM4000 and Keurig Rivo, milk frothing is totally manual. You have to place the milk pitcher under the frother to steam the milk.
However, it does have a sufficiently large water tank of 43 ounces.
Being stainless steel, this will be very easy to clean the surface. The parts which requires cleaning are easily removable. Some parts are dishwasher safe but not all.
As with other machines, descaling is important and if done regularly your machine will last longer. Limescale can clog up valves and outlets. Often just regular cleaning will help. Unfortunately this machine does not have a water filter to cut down on the buildup of limescale.
This is a simple machine with few options. Nevertheless, you can get control over your espresso by changing variables such as coffee roast, blends, grind size, tamping strength.
This is the true beauty of a semi-automatic espresso machine. Of course, the Aicok cannot be compared to the higher end semi-automatic machines. But for aspiring baristas, this is good enough for beginners to learn the art of making good espresso and cappuccino.
With the manual milk frother, you can also get to texturize your milk different and even do some Latte art!
This is one of the cheapest cappuccino maker. The stainless steel exterior is another plus. Not only does it make it sturdy, it looks elegant as well. Also, a stainless steel exterior is easier to clean.
Its two cup feature is another nice to have. You can make two cups of espresso at the same time.
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty to making your own cappuccino, this is great for you.
However, if you really want to have convenience, consider any other the previous three cappuccino makers instead.
Everyone has different expectations on their best home cappuccino maker, which makes it a machine that can be found with a wide range of options in the market. In order to find the machine that is right for you, here are some of the main factors to consider.
There are many espresso machines in the market. However, not all espresso makers can make cappuccino. So the very first question is whether you want the milk frothing capability to be integrated in your espresso maker. Otherwise, you will need to get an external milk frother to create the milk foam for your cappuccino.
In addition, espresso maker can be classified into 4 different groups – automatic, semi-automatic, super-automatic and manual. Each type of machine is suitable for different target group.
This is a very important factor to consider before you start searching for your best cappuccino machine. This will cut down a lot of unnecessary time on researching the right model to buy.
The aspiring home baristas should think about the amount of time they want to spend making their espresso and how much control they want to have over the quality.
While semi-automatic espresso makers allow you control over your selection of coffee beans, tamping pressure, this also adds to the effort and skill required to make a good cup of cappuccino.
If you are new to making cappuccino at home, an automatic or superautomatic cappuccino maker is your best bet.
Actually the first reason why anyone will want to go for an espresso machine is the love for the flavor, so the first factor to consider when shopping around is your drink of choice, what you will like to get out of the machine, is it cappuccino, macchiato, latte or mocha.
If you do really care about the quality of your espresso flavor (or think you might start to as you experiment more with making it at home), then there are a lot of things to consider. As in all things involving taste, what’s best is subjective.
This makes figuring out which expensive espresso machine will produce the highest quality espresso for your tastes a challenge. This is especially so if you’re new to making espresso at home. If you’re not too sure yet where your preferences fall, you might stick with a mid-range model to start experimenting with.
After deciding the machine that can produce what you want from it, the next factor to consider in filtering out some other machines on your cart is there ease of use, how friendly is the machine?
Is the process of making cappuccino automatic? Do you need to froth the milk manually? Is there controls easy to navigate?
If you are new to making cappuccino at home, it is best to start with a cappuccino maker with a one-touch operation.
The price range for espresso machines is huge and there are so many factors that can make a difference in cost that it’s hard to generalize. In some higher end models, you’re paying more for durability and quality of materials.
In others, the higher cost may have more to do with extra features they include. Sometimes you’re paying for ease of use, other times for better tasting espresso. The really costly models are usually combining several of these features.
It is always advisable to keep your espresso maker and milk sprout clean. This will maintain the taste of your cappuccino and prolong the machine’s lifespan.
Imagine if you end up with a model that’s easy to use but a pain to clean. Then it’s not actually that convenient after all .
So make sure you have an idea of what will be involved in cleaning your espresso maker before you buy it. Generally, the more features and components the machine has, the more likely it will take you a long time to clean.
The size of the machine is also a very vital factor to consider when choosing an espresso machine. Some espresso machines can get pretty darn big. If you have limited kitchen space (and most people do), you could have a hard time finding anywhere to fit it without sacrificing the accessibility of another kitchen appliance.
Many of the larger models do make two espresso shots at once or have extra useful features, which can be benefits that make the big size worth it.
The factors listed above are some of the main factors to consider when choosing the best cappucno machine for your home. However, some sophisticated models do come equipped with some extra features which you may particularly like.
Here are a few extra features that you should consider.
Finally before purchasing the cappuccino machine of your choice, you should get familiar with the owner’s manual to avoid any issue after purchase. Though home cappuccino machines are, for the most part, user-friendly, there might be some models that are more appealing to you and your barista style.
Once you get your home cappuccino maker, read the manual again and make yourself your first homemade cappuccino.
Quality of espresso, ability to customize the espresso and milk froth and the convenience in making the cappuccino are my top concerns. Hence, I particularly like Delonghi Magnifica XS as it fulfills all my 3 concerns.
First, it has an integrated grinder. This will reduce the time to send freshly ground coffee to the brewing unit. Thus, you get a more aromatic espresso.
In addition, you can also get to change the grind sizes to alter the taste of your espresso. If there’s any specific ground coffee you want to try, the separate ground coffee compartment allows you do so. Not to mention the other settings you can adjust on this coffee machine.
The manual milk frother allows me to vary my texturizing of the milk forth, giving a different feel for my cappuccino the way I like it.
Lastly, with its integrated grinder, the Magnifica XS is a brew-to-cup espresso maker. Hence, there is no coffee mess to deal with.
So I particularly recommend the Delonghi Magnifica as the best cappuccino maker.
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