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I want to buy myself a coffee machine so I can get nice and tasty coffee throughout the day. Basically my goals are

  • Don't really want to invest half the day in front of my machine, experimenting with all sort of weirdness
  • Do want excellent and nice looking coffee.
  • Do want to have milk foam.
  • Don't want to go over 500 euros.

I'm OK with a cup of coffee taking like 15 minutes of preparation, but not much more.

I heard from people that a bean-to-cup machine makes not a real cappuccino or espresso, because that can only be done by a portafilter machine, where you have to grind the beans yourself and prepare for much longer. Is that correct, or is that only fanboy sayings?


EDIT: By "coffee", I mean espresso and cappuccino.

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You should probably define coffee. Having lived in different countries I can assure you that ordering a simple coffee can result in massively different outcomes! –  nico Jun 19 '11 at 11:48
    
Assuming that the last paragraph is your main question, I've edited the title accordingly (it's a good question, didn't want it to be mistaken for a shopping recommendation). –  Aaronut Jun 19 '11 at 13:56
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2 Answers 2

Your best bet is to buy an inexpensive Nespresso type machine. I've been looking for a good coffee machine and I bought a professional machine for nearly 900€. The other option would have been an Nespresso for about 100€. Buy one with a milk foamer. A little bit more expensive, but within your range. Why do I recommend this type of machine? Capsules! All your cups come out equal. No hassle. A little bit more expensive than grinding your own coffee.

The next best bet is consumer grade expresso machine from Krups (for instance), but then you have to grind your own coffee.

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You can get one of these if you don't mind a little manual labour when making your coffee:
http://aerobie.com/products/aeropress.htm

I have one myself and it produces some really good coffee. You do not get any real crema though, and you have to grind your own beans for best results.

Also, I would not recommend it if you are planning on making coffee for a group of people. Making more than two espresso shots in one go is not very practical.

[EDIT]
Just saw the note about milk foaming being a required feature. In that case, the aeropress is clearly not an option.

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