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Coffee and cappuccino maker

Does it exist? I want to buy my boyfriend a single machine that can make both regular coffee and cappuccino. Are there any models in particular that you'd recommend? And is an espresso and coffee combo machine the same thing as a cappuccino combo? Im not a coffee person so im unfamiliar with it all. Also, I'm a college kid so my budget is limited. Thanks!

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  1. Yes they do indeed exist but if you are a college student on a college student budget, think of something else to get him.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wattacetti

      agreed. for $100, you're better off getting something else. maybe a coffee club/gift card at your local coffee shop.

    2. It would also have to be something that he's comfortable using. The general rule is that the cheaper the machine the more user-intensive it is. The higher-end ($800 to much more) machines automate some of the process but at the low end, he'd have to grind, fill, brew, empty and clean the machine with every use and steam his milk as well.

      You can shortcut the process with a machine like a Nespresso, but it comes at a cost, it's about 55-60 cents per serving and you have to buy a milk frother too, so it ends up in the $350 range.

        1. re: chuckl

          Around $100, but it looks like from the other posts I should get him something else.

        2. Macy's, on sale for $99.99


          No idea how well it works, but it fits the criteria.

          1. Hi Julienned,

            I'm a bit of a coffee fanatic and even roast my own, so perhaps I can be of some help. First, in your budget you can forget about espresso - it can't be done without at least a $200 machine and $100 grinder - and that's a STARTING point.

            But ... you CAN provide your boyfriend with a WONDERFUL system for making coffee. Ideally, beans should be FRESH roasted and not ground until they are about to be used. A good system for $25 is called aeropress. http://coffeegeek.com/guides/aeropres.... Aside from the press itself, he'll need either some filters or a more permanent metal filter.

            You can get one of these for about $25 on amazon, plus $5 for paper filters or a bit more for a metal filter. He'll also need an inexpensive grinder. Capresso makes a nice little blade grinder for about $20 that'll do the trick.

            If you got him that, plus an inexpensive grinder and one nice bag of fresh whole bean coffee ... you'd be the best girlfriend ever to a coffee junkie. Here's one place to get truly fresh roasted whole bean coffee. http://www.sweetmarias.com/sweetmaria....

            He should heat water to 195 degrees for use in the aeropress. If he doesn't have a small thermometer, there are very nice digital Taylor models for $10 - also on amazon.

            5 Replies
            1. re: jkling17

              Interesting. I had already bought him a coffee grinder last year which he uses all the time. And he's always talking about how he wishes he could make his own cappuccino without having to go to the cafe all the time. I'll look into it.

              1. re: julienned

                Ah ok - in that case you may wish to get him a MILK FROTHER. Most of them require that he warm up the milk first and then use the frother to get the air into it. The better one's are electric and just do it all for you. Here are a few options to consider. I have no direct experience with any of these, but there are a lot of reviews on Amazon: Capresso tends to make pretty good stuff - I have their grinder. If you are willing to pay more, I'd say that that one would be a good bet.



                1. re: jkling17

                  We have the Nespresso frother which is effortless and cleans easily:


                  1. re: jkling17

                    You can also use a French press coffee maker to foam milk. Pour the warm milk in and pump the filter up and down briskly until foamy. Of course, there's cleaning the filter afterwards.

                2. re: jkling17

                  Have to agree with jkling17. The Aeropress can make everything from a regular coffee to a espresso like americano and isn't finicky with grind size. I often use mine to make my college aged kids coffeehouse like drinks when they are home even though I have an espresso machine. Quick, easy, doesn't need time to heat up and is very cheap. I would use my espresso maker to foam milk but they are into the big milk sweet drinks which are mislabeled as lattes in most of the coffee shops.

                3. Another idea likely within your budget is a Bialetti. My daughter got me one for Christmas several years ago, along with a Bon Jour frother. A mocha made with the Bialetti is somewhere in between press and espresso, good as a cup of coffee and even better in my opinion in a cafe latte. It is very quick and easy to use.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tim irvine

                    I own 3 Bialettis, in different sizes, and used to use these with some regularity. For several years now they simply adorn my kitchen and get no actual use anymore. They CAN produce a nice cup of coffee - indeed this is true. But they can be somewhat finicky as well - and can give you some pretty bitter coffee if the grind isn't right or they are tamped down too much. Or ... if the grind is too large / not tamped enough - then the coffee will be watery.

                    I think something like the aeropress is a more modern interpretation of this concept. A bialetti is an interesting thing but unless your boyfriend will have a decent grinder with it, I would recommend against it to start with.

                  2. Depending on how adventurous you are you might consider a syphon system like this


                    You can also make very good coffee with a chemex drip or french press

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: chuckl

                      I do love my Yama vac pot. The coffee that I get from it is excellent and very smooth. I have the smaller 5 cup one that I can use regularly, even if it's just for me. And Ive got the larger one for entertaining.

                      BUT ... if your boyfriend doesnt have a decent grinder with specific settings - then he runs the risk of grinding it too fine and then it will EXPLODE. This purchase is best left for down the road, when he has a decent burr grinder with lots of settings like a refurbished Baratza.

                      FYI - a gas stove is a must. These really can't be used with an electric stove. They can be used with a separate burner, which you may see in some fancy restaurants. Againt - they are GREAT but I would maintain that this is best left for a later purchase.

                      I ordered an aeropress myself a few days ago as it is so very well regarded by many coffee fanatics. So I couldn't resist getting one for myself either.

                      1. re: jkling17

                        I think that the more complex brewing methods, like siphon, espresso and even french press, emphasize the quality of the grind. Too fine and the water wont infuse it properly or in the case of french press, youll have grounds all in your cup, too coarse and the water will race through and you will get bitter, not very well extracted drek. Newcomers to good coffee always focus on the coffee maker and dont budget enough for a quality grinder. I was like that once myself. Plus you need very fresh beans that you grind yourselfBut without a very good grinder with quality burrs and sufficient settings, youll never get optimal results and should probably stick to a filter method. I dont use an aeropress, so i dont know how critical grind is in that method. The OP should probably spend some time on coffeegeek and wholelattelove to learn more. I'd suggest homebarista, but sometimes that site makes my head explode

                        1. re: chuckl

                          You are correct - espresso is VERY tied to the consistency and quality of the grind. A really good grinder is on my list, after we redo the kitchen. I can get by for now without it since one of my machines has a pressurized portafilter and I roast at home so I still get tons of crema.

                          My aeropress should arrive hopefully early next week. I'm looking forward to comparing it to my vac pot and french press.

                    2. What do you guys think of those Keurig one-cup coffee machine with those small packets?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: julienned

                        I've owned a Flavia, similar type of thing, and it was cool for what it was since it was super easy. The Italian Roast was not bad.

                        But, if your boyfriend is a bit of a budding coffee freak, he'll be much happier with a real system. How much time do you have left to make a decision and get the product? I should receive my aeropress Mon or Tue, to give you my impression of it.

                        1. re: jkling17

                          The Aeropress is as good as everyone says it is but my wife prefers the Keurig for absolute simplicity. That said, Keurig is very subjective and polarizing - people either like it or hate it. We have one at home and at work and I think it makes a good cup of coffee (given the right K-Cup). Not the best cup but nothing that makes me reluctant to go back for more.

                        2. re: julienned

                          This is such an interesting discussion. I've had Keurig coffee at a family member's house, and I don't think I am totally sold. I do love the ease of getting a fast cup, and with the right K-cups, the coffee is pretty good. But, the Keurig coffee I drank was not hot, only warm. And I found out that they break. The last Keurig I used was the second replacement. And for someone like me, who drinks several cups a day, and really craves coffee in the cold months, I think the Keurig is too expensive.

                          I've noticed that Cuisinart has come out with similar machine, and I wonder if it is a better unit.

                          1. re: sueatmo

                            Hard to generalize. We've had a Keurig at home in daily use or about two years. Coffee is always hot. Like any other appliance, sometimes they break. Ours has held up -- knock wood. Buy from Costco and they'll stand behind it.

                            1. re: ferret

                              Well, that's good info. The Keurig in question came from Macy's and it was replaced twice, so I'd say Macy's stands behind appliances as well. I am pleased when I see a Keurig or similar in a waiting room. Coffee from a Keurig is so much better than coffee from an old pot made 3 hours before! I love the concept, but I do find it expensive. And not all Kcups are equally good.

                              1. re: sueatmo

                                There are so many K-Cup options out there that it would be a miracle if they were all good. There are however a good number of standouts. And you can still roll your own if you so choose.

                        3. I own a Bialetti and it is perfect. I love it. Great for coffe AND cappuccino.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: annaT

                            Not everyone would consider that espresso. I wouldnt count on a moka pot to produce the sort of espresso I'd expect in a good coffee shop.

                          2. Hi Julienned,

                            Ok I received my Aeropress today and put it through it's paces, and have some feedback to share. My first impression was that it seemed to be pretty well-built. The plastic plunging mechanism and holding cylinder are really quite solid, and made of fairly thick plastic. Nice!

                            I have done two cycles on it already. The first was a batch of some older roast coffee that I merely ground up for the test. The second was a batch of coffee that had only come out of my roaster 30 mintutes before I brewed it with the Aeropress. I used the standard paper filters that come with the machine - they ship with about 300 of these little paper discs. I didn't opt at this time to get one of the optional reusuable metal filters.

                            It is very easy to use - just slip a filter disc into the holder, screw it into the bottom, dump your ground coffee in, pour hot water in the top, stir for about 10 sec then press through. Toward the end of the plunge, you'll hear that the last of the water is going through the compressed coffee grinds as it starts to hiss with air pushing through. Very nice.

                            Clean-up is surprisingly easy and, in fact, better than a french press. Just uncap the filter bottom, hold the press over the garbage and give the plunger a quick push - the "puck" and filter shoot out, leaving only a little residue to be easily rinsed off.

                            Ok, Jeff that's all well and good but HOW WAS THE DAMN COFFEE? Alright, fine, if you insist.

                            I have to say that I am really quite impressed. Some people have stated that they felt that the Aeropress can produce something akin to a proper Americano (one or more shots of espresso with hot water added - this is a true coffee). I am not sure that I would quite go that far in my praise, but I do understand why people might comment it as such. But - I WOULD fairly compare the results as among the most flavorful and intense regular coffee that I have enjoyed. Two thumbs up - for sure.

                            They recommend using water at 175 F. For my first batch I used 175 F and my second batch was at 184. They claim that hotter water may yield a more bitter result. This was not my experience. I expect that they really just want to help keep people from potentially scalding themselves with water at well-established temperatures and that the whole "bitter thing at high temps" is just a smoke screen.

                            However, I don't as of yet have any evidence to back up this theory. And I won't be able to do so until tomorrow at the earliest - otherwise I'll have to explain to the FAA why Im flying around at 10,000 feet without a plane and hope that they are understanding about "the coffee ... OMG" ...

                            True espresso uses very hot water, between 195-204 for a full extraction, and also under tremendous pressure. I regularly use water in this range with my vac pot and french press, and it's always smooth and flavorful. So, I can't imagine that the Aeropress would be any different in that regard. That and the fact that I was raised in NY ... makes me quite suspect of the 175 recommendation. But ... I can't validate it right now.

                            In any case - while I have "only used my Aeropress twice", I am a coffee fanatic. I roast my own coffee (Behmer 1600) and own pretty much every type of coffee maker around including vac pots, espresso machines, vietnamese drips, bialetti, and french presses. And I am truly quite comfortable giving the Aeropress my whole-hearted recommendation.

                            If you are still on the fence and haven't bought him anything yet - I'd go with this system. Clean up is really nice and the coffee is excellent.

                            Good luck and please let us know how things go!


                            3 Replies
                            1. re: jkling17

                              Play around with the temp, extraction time as well as grind size. I often grind at my espresso setting on my Mazzer.

                              Glad you liked this little coffee toy. It's great for travel or a quick single brew at home.

                              1. re: scubadoo97

                                I'll have to do that. My next time will be hotter - probably 198 F, to test my theory out.

                                I can definately see it coming with us on vacations, instead of my french press. I like the ease of clean-up. I'm not quite the geek that I'd bring it on a business trip. We'll see if it becomes my daily brew of choice ...

                                1. re: jkling17

                                  When traveling I often run across those little crappy pod water dispensing units instead of a real coffee maker. The water temp is usually not too high so this is where the AP really comes in handy.

                                  You can rinse and reuse the filters between a couple of shots but won't use it more beyond that. There a lot of posts (pages and pages) on coffeegeek about the AP with inverted pressing and such. You know, anything can be taken to the limit of imagination.

                            2. Really check out www.coffeegeek.com. There are tons of product reviews in all price ranges, and a little digging around on the site may prove helpful. :)