If you’re a coffee lover, chances are you love espresso, but you also like cappuccino and other creamy milk-based beverages to drink throughout the day.
Enabling you to create those drinks at home with a single machine, the best cappuccino maker is quite hard to find.
Before you whip out your credit card, take the time to read today’s guide. We’ll kick off with a brief snapshot of cappuccino then walk you through what to look out for on the buying trail.
With that solid foundation in place, we’ll highlight the leading coffee makers that generate the most mouthwatering cappuccino.
What is a cappuccino, then?
To make great cappuccino, you need equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth.
You should use a smaller cup than you would to make latte. A 150ml cup is ideal. The size of the cup will help you to strike the balance you need between the espresso and milk.
Dry foam on top of the cappuccino will have large and airy bubbles along with plenty of volume. Velvety foam – commonly called microfoam – has scarcely visible bubbles and much less volume. The choice is yours here. As with all aspects of making coffee, there’s no right or wrong answer, simply what works best for you.
Now, we’ll explore how to make a cappuccino at home even if you’re not a barista, but we’ve got lots to cover before we get there. So, grab yourself a coffee and check out the cappuccino makers we’ll be highlighting today along with their core features.
I. Our Top Picks for Cappuccino Makers
|Products & Features||Image & Price|
|Our #1 Pick: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Cappuccino Maker|
Runner-Up: Mr Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Also Great: De'Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Cappuccino Maker
Upgrade Pick: Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Cappuccino Maker
Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee and Espresso Machine
Mr Coffee One-Touch Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine
Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine
Saeco Incanto Carafe Super Automatic Espresso & Cappuccino Maker
Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Cappuccino Maker
DeLonghi Super-Automatic Espresso and Coffee Machine for Brewing Espresso, Cappuccino
Keurig K-Café Latte and Cappuccino Maker
Breville Dual-Boiler Espresso Machine
II. Things You Should Consider
Now, before you check out our cappuccino maker reviews, what should you look out for when you’re buying one?
Focus on these areas and you’ll get the right machine the easy way:
- What’s Your Skill Level?
- Do You Want a Traditional or Pod Machine?
- Automatic vs Semi-Automatic vs Super-Automatic
- Water Source
- Milk Frother
- Choice of Beverages
- Brewing Time for Cappuccino
What’s Your Skill Level?
Firstly, take a step back and honestly assess your skill level.
If you’re a complete beginner to making coffee, you might want to avoid the steep learning curve involved with some of the more upscale machines, or the intricacy of a semi-automatic. Instead, consider making cappuccino manually, or using a single-serve machine, possibly a super-automatic if you’re not intimidated by grinding your own beans – more on that below.
More experienced practitioners, on the other hand, may find these machines too restrictive. A semi-automatic machine with a manual milk frother allows you to dial in all the variables to your precise taste.
Next, it’s time to think more about the type of cappuccino machine you feel would be most suitable.
Do You Want a Traditional or Pod Machine?
Pod coffee makers give you single-serve espresso, cappuccino, or latte at the press of a button. You use pods or capsules and your drink will be ready in less than 60 seconds. All you’ll need to do is top up the water tank, slip in the pod, and push your preset. The drawback here is a great deal of plastic used in the packaging and a lack of control over the brewing method. In exchange you get complete convenience.
A traditional machine calls for a bit more effort but provides a lot more control in return.
Semi-Automatic vs Super-Automatic
If you dislike the idea of a pod-based cappuccino maker, you have 3 main options with a traditional coffee maker:
- Semi-Automatic: You retain control over many elements of brewing and you’ll need to pour a shot of espresso rather than relying on the machine to do all the work
- Super-Automatic: With these machines, you get an integrated grinder delivering a true bean-to-cup experience in a single machine. Making your coffee is as simple as pushing a button and waiting. The flip-side is a loss of control over the brewing method
You have 3 main choices when it comes to the water supply of your cappuccino maker.
Most machines come with a removable water tank. This streamlines filling the tank and simplifies cleaning.
Fixed tanks are not ideal and they’re more restrictive.
Some machines come with the ability to hook up to the water supply in your home. These tend to be much costlier.
Some cappuccino makers have automatic milk frothers. These are ideal for beginners or anyone prioritizing convenience.
Manual frothers allow you to take more control with a steam wand and jug so you can whip up that all-important froth and foam.
Choice of Beverages
All cappuccino starts with a shot of espresso, but ask yourself what other types of coffee you like to drink.
Many machines also allow you to build out other creamy coffees, while some limit you to an espresso and leave you to do the rest.
Brewing Time for Cappuccino
Last but not least, how long does the machine you’re looking at take to make a cappuccino?
Most strong machines will deliver a shot of espresso in under a minute.
If you need to grind your beans, top up the tank then froth your milk, this will take much longer than using a pod-based single-serve machine. Focus on how much importance you place on brewing time and buy accordingly.
OK, you should now be fully aware of how to choose the right cappuccino maker for you. Check out the leading models on the market and see if any of these make a neat fit.
III. The 12 Best Cappuccino Makers
1. Our #1 Pick: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Cappuccino Maker
Our overall favorite cappuccino maker comes from the inimitable Breville in the form of the classic Barista Express. How does this compact gem stack up, then?
The burr grinder baked in lets you go from bean to cup without needing a third-party coffee grinder. This is ideal if your kitchen counter is becoming overrun with coffee paraphernalia but you don’t want to sacrifice freshly-ground beans.
You can easily manipulate the grind size to match your preferred brewing method. Grind your beans directly before brewing for best results. The cradle enables you to operate the machine hands-free while the Barista Express does all the hard work for you.
Temperature control is impressive with digital PID ensuring your water is at just the right temperature for your espresso.
If you want longer, creamy coffees to drink throughout the day – let’s face it, espresso is a morning-only deal – you’ll love the micro-foam texturing you can achieve with the manual steam wand.
With a generous bean hopper capacity and a substantial 67oz water tank, you’ll find the Breville a cakewalk to operate even if you’re a complete beginner to the art of cappuccino. While this machine is not particularly cheap, it’s nowhere near as expensive as many inferior machines. If you can stretch to the Barista Express, you’re unlikely to be complaining about value.
2. Runner-Up: Mr Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Mr Coffee has a line pocket-friendly coffee makers that don’t let you down on the performance front despite that bargain pricing. While you need to make some concessions, you should find build quality and the caliber of the coffee in your cup are more than up to scratch.
The 3-in-1 functionality is perfect for families with varying tastes in coffee. This machine allows you to make great espresso thanks to the efficient 15-bar pump, and you can also roll out latte or cappuccino by punching the relevant preset.
Both the milk tank and water tank slide out so your cleaning is simplified. You need to handwash the water reservoir so don’t take a chance with the dishwasher.
We’d suggest you keep your expectations reasonable when it comes to lifespan. A handful of users report problems developing and the machine dying sooner than they imagined. When you consider the price of this machine, though, you can’t expect the same lifespan as a unit costing 5 times the price with commercially-rated components.
Although this machine is corded, you’ll get a 26-inch cable so you shouldn’t be too restricted even if you need to position it a little further from a power outlet.
3. Also Great: De’Longhi ESAM3300 Magnifica Cappuccino Maker
Like all super-automatics, the DeLonghi Magnifica gives you the most user-friendly experience imaginable at the expense of controlling the brewing process. If you don’t mind letting the machine do all the work, how does this thing fare?
The first thing that will strike you is how easy this machine is to use. Rotary dials and ergonomic buttons mean you won’t need to navigate a complex interface. Despite this, functionality is deep and impressive.
There’s a burr grinder baked in so you can get your espresso or cappuccino off to the strongest start. Once you’ve blitzed your beans, choose to pour a single or double shot of rich espresso.
DeLonghi build in their patented cappuccino system so the frother lets you create the foam you need for your frothy treats.
If you loathe the idea of tasky maintenance, the Magnifica couldn’t be less hassle to maintain.
DeLonghi provides responsive customer service to help you through every step of setting up your machine and keeping it in great running order. This is an area where much of the opposition falls flat.
4. Upgrade Pick: Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Cappuccino Maker
This touchscreen espresso machine from the ever-reliable Breville is feature-rich yet straightforward to use. Build quality is enviable and you’ll get a fully automated experience. How else does this machine impress, then?
One of the most notable aspects of this machine for cappuccino lovers is the way the automatic milk texturing takes the sting out of creating foam and steamed milk for your longer coffees. Tweak the temperature and consistency of your milk according to what type of coffee you’re creating.
The temperature of the water is controlled with precision so you know you’re getting that espresso just the way you like it. From there, you’ll be free to use the shot as a base for cappuccino or your favorite flat white.
The push-button nature of this unit means there’s no learning curve to grapple with and you can get going right out the box. Making your coffee is a quick, 3-stage process: grind, brew, and milk. Who said making cappuccino was hard work?
So, you get great coffee in your cup, and you’ll also be delighted with build quality. The stainless steel housing won’t let you down while the pump and all components are capable of heavy, sustained use.
Aside from the ruthless price tag, this machine is a must for cappuccino fiends with fluid budgets.
5. Nespresso Creatista Plus Coffee and Espresso Machine
Single-serve coffee machines polarize opinion. For some, they represent the pinnacle of ease and convenience while minimizing wastage. Others dislike the environmental impact of so much plastic, the lack of control, and the slightly artificial taste of pod-based coffee. Assuming you fall in the former camp, why should you consider the Nespresso Creatista?
Make a tiny 0.5oz ristretto if you fancy a super-strong eye-opener in the morning. A standard 1.35oz shot of espresso is perfect on its own or used as the foundation for your latte or cappuccino. If you fancy a longer coffee, pour a 5oz lungo. Punch a preset for your chosen option.
The automated milk frother might not allow you the same degree of control as a manual wand, but you won’t need to learn a new skill and you won’t need to lift a finger either. Just push some buttons and sit back waiting for your lip-smacking cappuccino.
You’ll get all this ease of use and breadth of choice at a very reasonable price point, too, and you don’t need to compromise on build quality to achieve it.
6. Mr Coffee One-Touch Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine
Mr Coffee rolls out another affordable and effective coffee maker that also kicks out a mean cappuccino and espresso. How does it achieve this?
Things get going nicely thanks to the pump delivering 19 bars of pressure. This is more than the recommended minimum for authentic espresso like the Italians drink it.
With a simple interface and a single button to deal with, this machine is perfect for complete beginners or anyone who dislikes tech. Despite such ease of use, you’ll benefit from all the functionality you need in a multipurpose coffee machine.
The automatic milk frother takes the sting out of creating foam for your creamy coffees. When combined with the intense and rich espresso you get from this machine, you’re getting a real steal at this price.
As you’d expect from a budget coffee maker, you’ll take a hit when it comes to finish, overall build, and expected lifespan. Ask yourself this, though. Can you expect a machine costing this little to perform as well as a four-figure semi-commercial unit? If you peg your expectations, you’re likely to find this One-Touch Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine from Mr Coffee makes a valuable addition to your kitchen.
7. Breville Vertuo Coffee and Espresso Machine
Breville enters the highly competitive single-serve coffee space with the Vertuo. Is it any good, though?
In a word, yes. If you’re impatient for your caffeine fix in the morning, you’ll have no complaints with this unit since preheating time is just 20 seconds or so. As with any single-serve coffee maker, all you need to do is top up the water tank, slip in a capsule, then punch a button and wait for your espresso to come out piping hot and crema-rich.
You can choose from the following:
- Double espresso
- Gran lungo
- Alto coffee
These choices give you cup sizes from 1.35oz through 14oz so there’s something for all the family and all times of day.
The optional Aeroccino gives you perfectly textured milk froth for your favorite coffee recipes either hot or cold. If you can’t get enough cappuccinos, but you dislike the idea of having one made automatically, the Aeroccino gives you great control over the frothing process.
The intelligent extraction system means you won’t need to fuss around with settings and all drinks will be optimized.
The aluminum capsules are recyclable so reducing some of the eco-footprint owning this machine entails.
8. Saeco Incanto Carafe Super Automatic Espresso & Cappuccino Maker
If you’re looking for a cheap cappuccino machine, the Saeco Incanto is not for you. If you’ve been searching for a super-automatic that will stand the test of time and you don’t mind paying for the privilege, read on…
The push-button simplicity of the Incanto is one of its defining features and key selling points. Whether you want espresso, macchiato, or cappuccino, punch the relevant button and the machine does the rest.
The detachable milk carafe allows you to build out specialty coffees without being saddled with any messy clean-up. You’ll need to handwash it but that’s the extent of maintenance required. The brew unit also slides out to streamline cleaning, while cleaning and descaling are taken care of in the background without you needing to lift a finger.
Design is impeccable as is engineering. Although the Incanto is expensive, we’d argue it represents exceptional value if you can afford it.
It’s not a case of form over function, though. The quality of the coffee is beyond reproach which is after all the main reason you’re buying this machine. Saeco does not disappoint.
9. Gaggia RI9380/46 Classic Pro Cappuccino Maker
Gaggia serves up a pro-grade espresso machine at a very reasonable price, so why should you consider adding this coffee maker to your kitchen?
The robustness of the build and durable stainless steel finish means the machine should give you years of faithful service. The same is not usually the case with cheaper cappuccino machines. Many components are commercially-rated, so you can expect overall performance to impress.
Despite this, we unearthed some user feedback reporting quality control and build quality concerns. Do your own due diligence here.
The Pro is a snap to use with rocker switches allowing to select your options with ergonomic ease.
At the heart of the machine comes all the elements you need to enjoy crema-rich espresso just like the Italians make it.
If you want longer and creamier coffees like cappuccino, latte, or flat white, take advantage of the rotating steam wand to get creative.
Choose from using pre-ground coffee or ESE pods and the pressurized basket included. Throw in enviable brand heritage and you can’t go wrong with the Gaggia Pro Espresso machine, also ideal for cappuccino.
10. Delonghi Super-Automatic Espresso Coffee Machine for Brewing Espresso, Cappuccino
Next up in our quest for the best cappuccino maker is another stellar DeLonghi, so what makes this model stand out?
You’ll make the same compromise involved with any super-automatic machine. By relinquishing control over the brewing process, you’ll benefit from incredible ease of use. Sounds good, right?
The integrated burr grinder saves you from needing to clutter up your kitchen with more equipment than necessary. Choose from 13 grind sizes depending to match the brewing method and enjoy your coffee beans at their freshest by grinding directly before brewing.
The telescoping spigot lets you pour single or double shots of espresso, and also lets you make a pair of espresso simultaneously.
If you prefer the idea of cappuccino, latte, macchiato, or flat whites, use the automatic milk frother to get barista-grade results without standing on ceremony.
An automated cleaning and descaling program lets you sidestep any tasky maintenance while your machine will still run like a dream.
11. Keurig K-Cafe Latte and Cappuccino Maker
As we edge to the end of our cappuccino machine reviews, we’ve got a single-serve beauty from Keurig in the shape of the modern classic, the K-Café. This is the strongest seller in the deep Keurig bench, so what differentiates this machine from a sea of competitors?
The ability to make cappuccino or latte by pushing a button is hard to beat. As with most single-serve machines, you’ll be limited to using K-Cup pods, so make sure you don’t mind the idea of pod-based coffee or you’ll end up with an unused hunk of metal.
With a 60oz water tank, you won’t be constantly scuttling to the sink and you can cater for the whole family with a single tank of water.
If you drink from a tall travel mug on your way into work, the removable drip tray means you can easily slide one under your K-Café.
12. Breville Dual-Boiler Espresso Machine
Here at LaMano, we like to save the best for last sometimes, and we can’t recommend the Breville Dual-Boiler Espresso Machine strongly enough. How does this versatile and semi-commercial machine stand and fall, then?
You benefit from two Italian pumps in stainless steel and a heated group head with digital temperature control. All components are designed to withstand use in a commercial backdrop, although the machine is designed for home use. Given the price tag, you’ll need to ask yourself whether you really need a machine this capable. If so, you’ll enjoy mouth-watering coffee every day without needing to hit the coffee shop or foot the weekly bill.
The premise of this machine is that you can get fourth-wave specialty coffee from the comfort of home using the 4 keys formula:
- Rich and full flavor
- Balanced taste
- Full body
- Silky and velvety texture
In every respect, the Breville fully delivers on this formula.
The manual steam wand is powered by a separate boiler giving you the ability to top your longer coffees with latte art.
When you’re pulling shots of espresso, you can choose a single or double shot. There’s also a manual mode if you’re a budding barista looking to dial things in tightly.
IV. How to Make a Cappuccino with an Espresso Machine
Now, with the knowledge in place to find the right cappuccino maker for you, we’ll guide you through making a creamy treat with your espresso machine.
What You Need
- Ground coffee (18g to 21g)
- Fresh filtered water
- Espresso machine
- Shot glass
What To Do
- Top up the tank of your espresso machine with fresh filtered water
- Turn on your machine and allow it preheat
- Pop an empty portafilter on the group head. Run the machine so it will preheat the areas where the water will flow. Wipe the portafilter down and wipe the sides of the group head
- Grind your coffee beans. You should look for a coarseness between powdery and fine for great espresso. Go too fine and you’ll end up with over-extracted coffee, an excess of caffeine, and a trace of bitterness. Choose too coarse a grind size and you’ll get under-extracted coffee lacking in body and flavor
- With the portafilter under the grinder, dose your freshly ground coffee (18g to 21g is ideal). Flatten the grounds with your finger then fill any gaps so the coffee is evenly distributed
- Lock on the portafilter and start brewing
- The temperature you need for great espresso is 195F to 205F, and it should take 20 to 30 seconds to pull your shot
- Now, you need some foam for your cappuccino. Start with fresh and cold milk filling one-third of a jug
- Clean your steam wand and releases steam for a couple of seconds. Submerge the top of the wand so it’s roughly half an inch into the milk at a 15-degree angle from the side of the machine. Once submerged, turn on the frother
- You now need to texture and aerate your milk by incorporating air to get the foam you need. Listen for the trademark popping sounds, along with a chirping, sucking noise to show you that you’re on the right trail
- The volume of your milk should increase by 50% in just a few seconds. Now, start dipping the steam wand’s tip further into the pitcher. As the milk starts spinning, that popping sound will stop
- Switch off the steam valve as the temperature hits 120F to 140F. This temperature band yield a rich and sweetly-flavored foam. Steaming at higher temperatures will burn the milk
- You can use a frother and a microwave to achieve this if you don’t have an onboard frother
- Swirl the milk around the jug so you can check that the microfoam stays together
- Pour from the center and tilt the pitcher as the microfoam starts pouring
- Enjoy a delicious cappuccino without leaving home
Now, we’ll round out today with a collection of the most frequently asked questions about making cappuccino.
1) What’s the difference between a latte and a cappuccino?
A cappuccino is a 1oz shot of espresso, 2oz of steamed milk and 2oz of foamed milk. Often, a 2oz shot of espresso is used as standard. Lattes have more milk (6oz) and less foam ( a splash).
2) Should I use hot or cold milk to make cappuccino?
Use cold milk.
3) Why do I need a machine with a grinder built in?
Coffee beans start spoiling within 30 minutes of exposure to the elements. This means pre-ground coffee is already long past its best before it reaches the shelves. By grinding before brewing, you’ll get the freshest possible taste with maximum aroma. If you don’t want yet another third-party device in your busy kitchen, a grinder built in lets you achieve a bean-to-cup experience in a single compact machine.
4) Is it essential to use an automatic milk frother?
Absolutely not. Many people prefer the hands-on involvement of using a manual frother. You can also manipulate the consistency and texture much more easily.
5) Can I reuse milk I have already steamed?
This is not advisable. Bacteria can grow so don’t risk this when you can just use fresh milk.
6) What is the Staub tamp?
When you tamp your coffee once on each of the four sides of the basket, this is known as the Staub tamp. Just twist the tamper slightly to release when you’re done.
7) What grind size do I need for making cappuccino?
As the base of your cappuccino is a shot of espresso, you need a fine grind to achieve this. Look for somewhere between a powder and a fine grind size and fine-tune to taste. Part of the fun of making coffee at home is experimenting with the variables until you find just the way you like it.
8) Do single-serve machines makes decent espresso?
They can make acceptable espresso, although many people dislike the slightly artificial flavor you get from pod-based coffee. You can also find many of these machines that produce cappuccino, macchiato, and latte at the push of a button. You need to ask yourself whether you’re happy with the environmental impact of these machines, and whether or not you’re prepared or relinquish control over the brewing process.
We hope you now have a solid overview of the best way to make cappuccino at home.
You have many different options to explore and everything starts with analyzing your needs and skill level then finding a machine that ticks all those boxes.
Whether you want the simplicity of a super-automatic, the convenience of a single-serve, or you’re content with an espresso machine and manual frothing, you should have no problem finding an appropriate cappuccino maker.
Before you head off on the buying trail, bookmark LaMano. We love coffee just as much as you, and we’re here to help you become a barista at home the easy way. We’ll see you soon!