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Help choosing a single serve espresso maker/milk steamer

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I would like to buy my mother a single serve espresso maker and milk steamer for Christmas. She would be using it for "milky" coffee drinks such as lattes and cappuccinos, not straight espresso. I figured on just picking a Nespresso model, but my brother suggested looking at Tassimo (and I'm sure there are other brands) as well. My mom is in her 70s and has limited patience for anything with a steep learning curve, so whatever I choose needs to be simple to use and, equally important, simple to clean. My budget is up to $300. Suggestions?

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  1. The Nespresso makes very good espresso and "milky" drinks. It's a slightly more authentic approach than the Tassimo which makes an espresso "beverage." The Nespresso requires the use of their milk frother but it's still a better option because:

    1. It uses real milk, not a "milk" capsule.
    2. It develops a really good froth.

    You're locked into a proprietary capsule with either system but the Nespresso is closer to the real thing, If that's not an essential requirement then either will work.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret

      As far as cleaning goes, the Nespresso frother is teflon-coated and requires little more than a rinse. The whisk attachment is magnetic and is easily removed for a quick rinse.

    2. I have the Dolce Gusto Circolo (which is on sale a lot lately) and love it. They offer quite the choice of drinks: Espresso, different coffee blends, Cappucchino, Latte (regular, caramel, vanilla), Mocha, Chai Latte, Iced Cappucchino, Iced Tea etc.

      I had the Tassimo for two weeks before I bought my Dolce Gusto and found the drinks terrible. The "milk" is a "milk product" and does taste very artificial. And the coffee didn't taste good either.
      Link: http://www.dolce-gusto.us

      One thing I want to mention though, there are two different types of machines (both types come in different models): One is manual which means you shut off the water yourself. The other is programmed. That would be something that is a personal preference. I prefer the manual one because I can make the drink as strong or weak as I want but some people don't want to stay with the machine. Then the automatic one is better because the water shuts off when the program is done.

      1. Thanks for your help! I do like the idea that the Nespresso uses fresh milk with the frother, and am comforted that it is easy to use and then clean.