Recommendations solicited for a home cappuccino maker...

We’re putting in the kitchen sometime in the next two weeks, and I wanted to ask fellow Dopers their advice about cappuccino makers. When I used to work in a coffee shop 26 years ago, the electric home models just weren’t very good compared to the ones that were plumbed in. Is that still the case, or have some of the newer countertop electric models improved radically over the years? Share your thoughts, please…

Mods - this could have gone into IMHO or Cafe Society; move as you see fit.

I suppose the answer depends upon how much you want to spend.

We spent about £200 on a Gaggia Espresso Machine with milk frothing jug and it was money well spent. We have been very pleased with the results.

We were tempted by the Francis Francis X-1 in Stainless steel, but couldn’t justify the expense. There are replicas around produced by other companies, but they don’t seem to be very good.

You have to be careful with some of the cheaper models as the milk frother can be located quite low down and it can be difficult to get anything other than a small cup under it. The Gaggia does not suffer from this problem.

Have a quick look on Amazon for a few starting ideas, but shop around for the best deals, Amazon are not always the cheapest.

Cheapish home machines improved a lot about 10 years ago. Prior to that they were boiler types that didn’t produce crema. Now even a $100-$150 machine produces real espresso.

In my experience until you get to professional quality machines that allow minute adjustments in temperature and pressure (and lots of time to master them) all home machines are roughly equal. The more expensive ones just automate grinding, cleaning and milk texturing (the latter rather poorly).