The coffee house latte may be one of the most popular drinks for morning coffee drinkers. The big problem with the coffee house latte is the coffee house price. Sure, they are great, but a daily stop at your local Starbucks can really make a dent in your wallet.
With the prices of just about everything going up, you may be thinking about how to tighten up your budget. You may be thinking you’ll have to give up your morning latte, but there is another solution. Perhaps it is time to make your morning latte at home.
While a good latte machine is a bit of an investment, you’ll quickly see how much money you save when you skip the coffee house and make your morning latte at home. Good latte machines give you the opportunity to customize your drink.
Oh, and don’t worry, not all latte machines are difficult or complicated to use. Some of our favorite latte makers prepare a perfect latte with just a few button pushes.
If we’ve sold you on a latte machine, you may be wondering where to start your shopping. We’ve got that covered for you as well.
In this article, we will give you some helpful shopping tips and product features to look for. Then we will give you five of the best latte machines to help make your shopping even easier.
at a glance: Best Latte Machine
How to Choose the Best Latte Machine
While there are a lot of latte machines on the market, you don’t have to hurt your brain trying to find a great option. Below, we offer you some helpful product information so you know what you should look for in a great latte machine, as well as some things you should avoid.
Types of Machines
There are four different types of latte machines. They are separated by the amount of effort required to make your latte. Most latte makers are either pod machines, super-automatic, automatic or semi-automatic. Each can make a great latte, you just have to decide how much you want to work.
1. Semi-Automatic Latte Machines
These are the most effort intensive of the typical latte machine for your home kitchen. These require you to fill a metal filter with coffee grounds, tamp them to a firm puck, and place the filter in the coffee maker.
You then pull a shot or two of espresso by turning a knob or pushing a button to control the flow of water through the filter and grounds. To make your steamed milk, you must use the frothing wand and pitcher of milk.
This is very close to the process your local coffee house uses. It does take some time and practice to perfect. However, many coffee lovers think this is the only way to make a perfect latte.
2. Automatic Latte Machines
These latte machines are similar to the semi-automatic option, however, you do not have to manually control how much water is passed through your coffee grounds.
These coffee makers generally have a built-in timer or other mechanisms that control the amount of water. Automatic latte machines still require you to froth your own milk.
3. Super-Automatic Latte Machines
If you think the first two options sound like way too much work before you’ve had your morning coffee, then you may want to consider a super-automatic latte machine.
These latte makers do pretty much everything for you. And all you have to do is push a couple of buttons to get a great latte. The difference that sets the super-automatic machines apart from coffee pod machines is that you do use whole beans in the machine.
4. Coffee Pod Latte Machines
These machines are very similar to the super-automatic latte makers. However, instead of grinding beans, you will insert a coffee pod with a premeasured amount of coffee grounds into the machine. From here, a few button pushes, and you have a delicious latte with no mess and no fuss.
Lattes use espresso and steamed milk. To make steamed milk most coffee lovers look for a latte machine that has one of two milk frother options.
The first is the frothing wand. The frothing wand is a manual way of making steamed milk. The wand is placed in a small pitcher of milk, and the steam from the machine heats the milk and creates a silky foam.
The second frothing option is the automatic frother. These look different on different machines. The general operation with these milk frothers is that milk is stored in a pitcher or carafe that attaches to the machine and frothed or steamed milk is automatically added to your drink. You don’t have to do any additional work.
Ease of Use
Even if you are ready to jump into a semi-automatic latte or espresso maker, you do want a machine that isn’t overly complicated to use. Look for options that have simple and intuitive controls. Push button operation is a great way to keep it simple on automatic, super-automatic, and pod machines.
For semi-automatic machines, consider options that have removable water tanks and have dials and knobs that clearly indicate how to operate the coffee maker or frothing wand. Some of the super-automatic and pod machines have so many options for drink size, type, number of shots, type of milk, temperature and such, that they become confusing and complicated to operate.
These kinds of machines reduce the time it takes for you to make a latte. However, if you need to break out the owner’s manual every morning, it probably isn’t a very easy machine to use.
When we talk about the capacity of a latte maker, we are referring to the volume that the water reservoir, milk pitcher, and bean hopper will hold. The larger capacity of each of these, the more coffee you can make without refilling.
There are some disadvantages to larger capacity units, particularly when it comes to the freshness of milk and beans. But large-capacity latte machines can be great if you entertain a lot, or if you enjoy more than one coffee drink per day.
When considering capacity, it is helpful to know and understand how much coffee you are realistically going to make.
Price is really where many people place their final decision when it comes to a latte machine. It isn’t a stretch to say that espresso makers can be very affordable or very, very expensive.
If you are on a budget, you do need to consider what you can realistically afford. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a lower-quality option. There are some great latte makers that perform well but are incredibly affordable.
Ease of Cleaning
Keeping your latte machine clean is the easiest way to have a great cup of coffee every morning. We think that a good espresso maker should perform well but be equally easy to clean and maintain.
We look for machines that have easy-to-remove parts and parts that are dishwasher safe. Frothing wands and milk tanks are particularly important to be easy to clean. Otherwise, you risk introducing bacteria and mold into your morning coffee.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Best Latte Machine
|Gaggia Anima Prestige Automatic||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Nespresso Lattissima Touch||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|PHILIPS 3200 Series Fully Automatic||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Breville Bambino Plus||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
|Mr. Coffee One Touch||CHECK CURRENT PRICESee Customer Reviews|
Our Top 5 Best Latte Machines
Now that you know what we look for in a great latte machine, it is time for us to give you our picks for the five best latte machines.
There is something for everyone on our list. Whether you are looking for a machine with all the features or a simple semi-automatic machine that allows you to enjoy the art of crafting the perfect morning latte.
1. Gaggia Anima Prestige Super Automatic Latte Machine
Our pick for the best latte machine is the Gaggia Anima Prestige super-automatic latte machine. Though this machine has a small footprint and takes up minimal space in your kitchen, it is a wonder for making a delicious cup of coffee.
The Gaggia Anima is a simple-to-use, but fully programmable latte machine. On the front, are one-touch controls for some of the most popular espresso drinks, including the latte. If you want more options, the machine allows you to select individual settings for your perfect cup of coffee.
Inside the Gaggia Anima, you’ll find a ceramic burr grinder that perfectly grinds beans for your coffee. The adapting system learns your coffee preferences and automatically adjusts the grinder operation for a perfect cup of coffee each time.
One of our favorite features of this latte maker is that the milk carafe, water tank, and brew group are all removable. This makes the Anima easy to clean and maintain.
The milk carafe can be stored in the refrigerator so you don’t have to fill and empty it after every use. Additionally, the Gaggia has a preset cleaning mode that purges and cleans the espresso maker and milk frother.
- Straightforward controls, but also customizable options
- Attractive stainless steel design and a compact footprint
- Water reservoir and milk carafe are nicely sized
- There’s enough space under the dispenser for a variety of cup sizes
- Reasonable price considering the number of features
- It does take a little time to figure out how to adjust the brew settings
- Grind size isn’t always consistent
2. Nespresso Lattissima Touch Latte Machine
- Please refer to user guide or user manual or user guide (provided below in PDF) before first use
Nespresso is the king of coffee pod machines. Made by DeLonghi, the Nespresso line of pod espresso and coffee makers are designed for high performance and simple operation.
The Lattissima Touch latte machine is one of the simplest machines in the Nespresso line. This compact espresso maker is an ideal option for smaller kitchens or for the coffee lover on a budget. This espresso machine is simple to operate, with six pre-programmed, one-touch recipe buttons. A perfect latte is ready in just a couple of minutes, and with no extra steps for frothing milk or cleaning.
The real joy of the Nespresso Lattissima is that instead of dealing with coffee beans, and messy grounds, this machine uses Nespresso brand coffee pods.
Making a latte requires that you fill the water tank and milk carafe, insert a coffee pod and select the drink you want. The machine does the rest. It even has an automatic cleaning feature that operates with just a push of a button.
Because Nespresso machines are made by DeLonghi, you know that you are getting a good quality machine that is designed to last for years. The Lattissima is no exception to this. It is a well-made machine and has great customer support if you have issues making the perfect latte.
- Incredibly easy operation and intuitive controls
- Six preset recipes make espresso, lattes, and cappuccinos
- The affordable price makes this a great budget latte machine
- Uses the same amount of pressure for brewing as a semi-automatic or automatic espresso machine.
- There’s no customizing your brew the six programmed options are all you get
- The coffee pods don’t always make a good espresso
- Coffee pods typically are not recyclable.
3. Philips 3200 fully automatic espresso machine
- Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate pressure for a proper brew. 2)It is important to note that the amount of...
- Enjoy 5 coffees
- Intuitive touch display
- 12-step grinder adjustment
- 20,000 cups of finest coffee with durable ceramic grinders
If your budget allows you to splurge a little on a latte machine, the Philips 3200 super-automatic espresso machine is the one you should buy. This espresso machine and latte maker has everything you need to make a great latte, espresso, or cappuccino.
It grinds your beans with a high-quality burr grinder for the best possible flavor quality. The small milk pitcher holds just enough milk to make a perfect coffee drink. And the milk frother creates exceptional quality steamed milk and microfoam.
We think that this is one of the easiest-to-use super-automatic espresso makers. The controls are easy to use and intuitive, so you can easily operate this machine with minimal time in the owner’s manual.
Other things we like about the Philips 3200 include the one-touch cleaning function that quickly cleans the milk frother. The water tank is removable for easy cleaning and filling.
The price, though this one is a bit more expensive than other options on our list, is a high-quality machine for a reasonable price.
- Super-automatic espresso machine does all the work for you
- Built-in burr grinder that has 12 grind settings for the perfect coffee flavor
- Cleaning program and removable parts for easy maintenance
- Has preset recipes or customize for your particular tastes
- Sure would be nice if this machine wasn’t all plastic
- When empty this machine weighs over 20 pounds
- Not a very compact size
4. Breville Bambino Plus
If you just want a basic espresso machine so you can make a simple latte without a ton of extra fluff, the Breville Bambino Plus is a nice automatic latte maker.
Though it seems simple and can be used with minimal effort, the Bambino does allow you to make some basic modifications to the size of your espresso shots. The machine offers you the option of a single or double shot, adjust the brewing length for a perfect ristretto, or a full-bodied espresso with a perfect layer of crema.
The milk frother on the Bambino Plus is somewhere in between the manual milk frother and the fancy automatic option. This milk frother operates with just a push of a button after you have set your preferred texture and temperature. The frother stops when the desired foam is achieved.
Bambino is the Italian word for baby or a small child, so it makes sense that this latte machine is exceptionally compact. If you are looking for a great latte machine for a small kitchen, but also want a good quality machine, this is the one for you
- Compact machine with a large capacity water tank
- Attractive stainless steel styling and three elegant finishes
- Includes a stainless steel milk frothing pitcher
- Short brewing time
- Given the size and simplicity of the machine, it is more expensive than similar machines
- Does not have a built-in grinder
5. Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
Our last product in our list of the five best latte machines is the Mr. Coffee espresso and cappuccino machine. This latte machine is the perfect option if you want to enjoy coffee house quality lattes, cappuccinos, or espresso at home, but don’t really want to learn how to operate a fancy machine.
The real advantage of the Mr. Coffee latte maker is that it is super easy to use. The front control panel gives you all the options you need. You can easily select between single and double-shot options for three basic drinks. Mr. Coffee also gives you the option of making a custom drink with manual espresso and frothing options.
Both the water and milk reservoirs are removable and both have decent capacities so you aren’t constantly refilling the water or milk. The milk reservoir is removable and is compact enough to fit in the door of your refrigerator.
Though this espresso machine comes at a lower price than many similar products it is well made and has some surprising features like the stainless steel detailing and the 19-bar, Italian-made pump. This high-quality pump allows you to extract rich and creamy coffeehouse-style espresso.
The one thing this latte machine is missing is a built-in grinder. You will need to invest in a coffee grinder and tamper to properly fill the portafilter of this machine.
- Controls are clear and intuitive. There’s no guesswork with this machine
- A great quality machine for a very affordable price
- Easy to clean and maintain. Has an automatic cleaning cycle
- Relatively compact design is a nice fit in most kitchens
- Comes in three stainless steel finishes
- The milk frother controls come off when the milk reservoir is removed
- A bit overly simple for experienced coffee makers
- Does not have a built-in coffee grinder
The Best Latte Machine – Final Thoughts
Lattes are a favorite of many coffee lovers, but it can get expensive to buy your latte at your local coffee shop every day. A good investment for saving money is an espresso or latte machine for your home.
The Gaggia Anima is our favorite latte machine for home. It is easy to use, easy to clean and doesn’t require you to be a professional barista to make a good latte. It gives you pre-programmed recipes or the option to customize your drink just the way you like it.
Latte machines are becoming a household standard. With so many options that range from simple semi-automatic machines to fancy machines with all the bells and whistles, there is a latte machine for every coffee lover, every budget, and every kitchen.