Best machine for making both coffee & specialty espresso drinks @ home
March 12, 2013 6:02 PM   Subscribe

We want to be able to brew regular coffee but also steam and froth milk and make espresso for drinks like lattes and mochas. Is there 1 machine that can do both?
posted by mola to Food & Drink (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Without many more specifics (budget, how 'manual', or not, you want it, etc.) it might be hard to make a solid recommendation, but, I'll just go ahead and toss out a suggestion based on my own experience.

About 5 months ago, I posed a somewhat-similar question, in that I wanted a machine that would let me do both coffee and espresso, steam/froth milk, as well as grinding/brewing one cup at a time at the touch of a button. You can read my whole question here, but to save you the trouble, the girlfriend and I went with the Krups Espresseria. The review on the Seattle Coffee Gear page was helpful in us getting a look at it and hearing feedback on it from folks that spend more time in front of those types of machines than we do.

We love it. Granted, it's only been about 5 months, but, it gets daily use, and right now, I can't think of many negatives about it from my angle.

As people are likely to to tell you, you may not get as good of espresso out of a machine like the one above as you would if you're willing to do it manually, but, I love the coffee that comes out of it, and frothing milk is easy enough that I don't shy away from it either.

YMMV, of course. :-) Good luck!
posted by mrhaydel at 6:48 PM on March 12, 2013

There aren't even commercial level machines that overlap in this realm of any notable quality. Even Starbucks uses separate machines for these tasks.

If you could find a machine that did both, I would approach with extreme caution.
posted by furnace.heart at 7:43 PM on March 12, 2013

You could just make espresso and add hot water, making an Americano. It's my coffee of choice.
posted by zsazsa at 7:46 PM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Krups makes combo coffee/espresso makers at several price points, including under $100. My parents have an older version of this, and it's perfectly adequate for the price-- meaning the output is comparable to what you'd get if you bought two separate machines with a combined budget of less than $100. It really depends on what you consider to be quality coffee-- some people would gag at the thought of drinking this stuff, whereas others would consider it a total luxury.

That said, I can objectively say that it has lasted many years, and is very easy to clean, so there's that.
posted by acidic at 8:43 PM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing an americano. You can just keep running water through the espresso machine and it will make a full cup of coffee.
posted by katrielalex at 1:26 AM on March 13, 2013

Steam, milk frothing, and excellent espresso at home? A Gaggia Classic. Coffee? A french press or a really good automatic drip machine.

In either case, spend more on your grinder than on your brewing equipment. A top-notch grinder is the first step towards excellent coffee. I've gone from buying ground coffee (blech, stale within a day) to a variety of store-bought Capresso grinders (all about $100 each, all dead within 1-2 years), and finally landed on a Rocky Rancilio.

Total investment for great espresso and coffee was under $1,000, with hardware that will last forever (or close to it). It's a heck of a lot more than most people spend, but not much in the world of good/commercial coffee equipment.
posted by ellF at 4:09 AM on March 13, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, I've had a machine that does both for a couple of decades -- I'm pretty sure it's an earlier version of the Krups machine that acidic linked. It's odd to me that options like this aren't more common, given the variety of coffee preferences these days. Mine is very convenient, makes tasty versions of both drip coffee and (pressurized) expresso, and has lasted well. Have used the steamer for lattes and for steaming milk for other uses too.

I see that Amazon offers a link to a mid-priced model as well, but I know nothing about it.
posted by acm at 8:22 AM on March 13, 2013

I have a Tassimo, which uses UHT milk for the steaming and frothing milk pods. If you don't mind UHT milk taste, then that's a possibility. You can do regular coffee, espresso and other drinks (mochas, chai, tea, hot chocolate, etc.). The premise is that each pod has a bar code which tells the machine what to do with it (temperature, force, amount of water, etc.). So, you know.
posted by mrfuga0 at 9:11 AM on March 13, 2013

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