Best Cappuccino Maker of 2020
Our search for the best cappuccino maker of 2020 rests on the basic question, will you prefer to use it instead of visiting your local barista? We have selected cappuccino machines that range in price from $179 up to $6000 so there there is something for every price point.
Cappuccinos are the most difficult espresso drinks to master. To perfect them you have to hit the trifecta of excellence in espresso, steamed milk and microfoam. So, a cappuccino machine is any espresso machine that can steam and froth milk.
What is a Cappuccino vs. Latte?
A latte is a single or double espresso with steamed milk. Cappuccinos are usually smaller and stronger because they have a lot less milk. A cappuccino is typically equal parts espresso steamed milk, and froth. We think cappuccinos are the most difficult to get right because it requires all three parts. Also, you can taste the espresso mode in a cappuccino than a latte so any shortcomings in the coffee beans, grind, tamping and espresso brew will be a lot more noticeable than in a latte.
Choosing the Best Cappuccino Maker of 2020
So, when we refer to cappuccino makers in this article, we are talking about any single espresso machine that can make espresso, steamed milk and milk froth.
Making cappuccinos at home can save you over $1200 a year. The most expensive cappuccino machine is the one you don’t use. A daily trip to a barista for a $4 cappuccino (I am being generous) is over $1400 a year and $14,000 over a decade. The price of a cappuccino for regular drinkers isn’t in the machine cost, it is in the daily drink. An espresso shot from beans is about $.35 and milk is a few more pennies.
Manual vs automatic vs super automatic espresso makers
Super automatics do everything. You press a button and it grind your beans, tamps it, brews espresso, steams and adds milk and then adds froths milk and then deposits the used coffee ground “puck” into an internal bin. Automatic espresso makers just start and stop the espresso pump, but you are responsible for every other step. Trust, me a super automatic is the way to go. Not only is it way more convenient but espresso brewing and milk preparation are mode difficult to master than it looks. Not convinced? Read these articles on how to make microfoam and how to make espresso like a barista.
Best Super Automatic Cappuccino Maker of 2020
Don’t get sticker shock. If you are not convinced why you should invest in a super automatic, then you can skip down. We have other categories at every price range. Every machine on our 2020 ranking of the best super automatic espresso machine makes outstanding cappuccinos. It is one of the criteria for making that list. The best is the $6000. Prices range from less than $600 to almost $6000. A top machine like the JURA GIGA 6, is an investment that will last decades and will easily rival most cappuccinos in Italy.
Best Super Automatic Cappuccino Maker under $2000
The best value among the top tier is the Gaggia Babila, which sells for half the cost of the truly fantastic JURA Z8. The Z8 is the only Editors Choice model on here because the Nuova Simonelli espresso machines are some of the best in the world, but they are not super automatics and require a lot of skill.
In the same review you can compare it to the Gaggia Accademia, which is also outstanding. For one-touch, home cappuccinos the JURA J90 IMPRESSA and the JURA E8 are both amazing machines that can make a dozen other drinks. Miele also makes very good machines that are versatile and well-engineered. The Miele CM6350 did well in our rankings. A KRUPS Espresso Machine or the Miele coffee machine will make excellent cappuccinos and will set you back about $1500 to $2200. Below this category the cappuccino machines have less and less automation and you start to notice a real difference in the espresso quality too.
A commercial quality machine like the La Pavoni Espresso Machine or the Nuova Simonelli Oscar make world class espresso and some of the best milk microfoam available. But it is only an automatic. Both require some skill and patience to master. So you need to be on top of your game. But people will be impressed when they see it because it really looks like a professional model.
Best Cappuccino Machine Under $1000
You don’t have to leave that list for the winner here. The Gaggia Anima Prestige is the best choice. IT has push button cappuccinos and makes excellent espresso, steamed and frothed milk. Below this point you are really giving up automation so you will need to be good and consistent with you home barista skills to still get a top cappuccino.
Best Cappuccino Machine Under $700
The Gaggia Anima leaves off a number of useful programs and customizations than it’s more expensive cousin but still makes outstanding cappuccinos. Besides the Anima, every other machine in this category is a big drop in cappuccino quality. At this price, a lot of the best choices can be found on our Breville vs Delonghi list.
Best Cappuccino Maker Under $500
The Gaggia Brera is the best home cappuccino maker at this price range. This is an anomaly because Gaggia includes some of the same technologies that it’s $2k – $3k machines have. So, it is a real bargain. Again, it is not nearly as automated as the higher priced models, so it is still up to you what you get. The Breville Bambino Plus is a solid option in this price range. These are easy to use, look good in your kitchen and are well designed and manufactured. They will last a long time.
At the price level you can still get very good espresso. The Delonghi Dedica machines are a great example. Again, the quality of the beverage depends on your skill and consistency. There is also more manual setup and cleanup in these machines. But hey, $300.
Again, machines like the Flair Espresso Maker (which is a very interesting lever machine) make outstanding espresso but are left off because there is no built-in milk system. You can get a pod Keurig K-Café at this price. That will cost you more in pods over time and the cappuccinos are nowhere near as good as the machines at the $500 and up level.
Pod Cappuccino Machines
The Nespresso Creatista is far and away the best pod cappuccino maker. But the pods are expensive (less than $1 so still less than a coffee shop). In our Nespresso vs Keurig comparison, we determined the K-Café is a solid choice of pod cappuccino makers. Beyond this, there are very few compelling choices. Most other pod machines like the super-cheap CHULUX would need a separate milk system so don’t make out list.
Best Super Automatic Cappuccino Maker (at any price)
A super automatic cappuccino maker does it all for you and makes perfect drinks with a push of the button and no skill required.
Runner up Best Cappuccino Machine
Best Cappuccino Machine Under $2000
Remember $4 daily cappuccinos at Starbucks will cost over $1400 a year.
Another World Class Option
Best Cappuccino Machine Under $1000
Best Cappuccino Maker under $700
Another Great Cappuccino Machine under $700
Best Cappuccino Machine under $500
Best Cappuccino Machine Under $300
Best Cappuccino Maker under $200
Best Pod Cappuccino Maker
You don’t think of pod makers making great cappuccinos. Mostly that is true but there are a few solid options here.
Choosing a Cappuccino Machine
Ultimately the best cappuccino machine for you is the one that makes you want to stay home and skip the visit to your local barista. Take into account a number of factors when choosing for yourself. Remember, price alone shouldn’t be your only criteria.
A daily $4 cappuccino at a shop is well over $1200 a year. The price of brewing at home varies widely too. Good coffee beans can come out to $.20 to $.35 a shot. And choosing a pod machine may raise the cup per cost at home by up to $.75 per drink over that. That’s still $273 a year more for pods than coffee grounds.
Cheap machines often not only don’t brew as well, but may not last as long either. Many espresso machines under $700 are not meant to be maintained at all. THey are essentially disposable cappuccino machines. But most of the great, well designed brands can be maintained and may last for decades.
Also, the quality of the espresso and the milk froth produced by the machines on our cappuccino machine list varies dramatically.