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Want an espresso bar at home that leaves even the best coffee maker in the dust? In that case, you’re probably looking for the best latte machine you can find. What makes these machines so fantastic is that they’re fast, easy to use, can generate at least 9 bars of pressure for a smooth, delicious espresso, and have built-in frothers. Many models have settings for precise temperature control and a self-cleaning function that flushes any milk residue from the frother after each use.
Specialty drinks in cafes are expensive. Having your own latte machine is an excellent option for anyone wanting to save money by becoming their own barista. You can pull an espresso shot in 15-30 seconds, and with the help of a steaming wand and frother, you’ll be able to whip up your favorite latte right in your own kitchen.
Keep reading our buying guide to learn more about the best home latte machines and what they offer.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model has what it takes for users who crave a high-quality brew to start early morning. Whether they need a quick pick-me-up or some added fuel for a busy day, users will love making their favorite drinks with this machine.
The Keurig K-Cafe coffee maker is an excellent pick for users who want a quick and convenient way to make a variety of coffee beverages. This model offers multiple ways to brew coffee, and users can use K-Cup pods, and reusable pods, and make tasty lattes and cappuccinos. Additionally, this model has a large 60oz water reservoir, so users can make up to six cups of coffee without needing to refill the machine. While this model doesn’t offer simultaneous coffee brewing and milk frothing, it features multiple settings to speed up your latte.
In addition to beverage variety and a huge water tank, the Keurig K-Cafe coffee maker provides users with a simple machine that has enough depth to impress even experienced coffee drinkers. Thanks to the Smart Start feature, this model lets users brew their coffee by pressing a single button. Additionally, this coffee maker has an automatic off feature that powers down the machine after two hours to stay energy efficient.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features a large portafilter and easy-to-clean components so users can whip up basic brews or fancy drinks for friends. With all the needed tools to get started, users will love this model for improving their daily drinks or learning a new skill.
The Mr. Coffee 2132815 coffee maker is a stellar pick for users who want to get started in espresso or those who want a simple machine for a quick cappuccino fix. This model features multiple accessories like a measuring spoon, water pitcher, and stainless steel frothing pitcher so users new to espresso will have all the tools they need to get started. While this model lacks the necessary Bars of pressure for shop-quality espresso, this machine makes extremely strong coffee with a dark taste and smooth texture.
In addition to simple operation and a potent brew, the Mr. Coffee 2132815 coffee maker provides users with multiple operations for excellent coffee. The built-in frothing wand and included frothing pitcher quickly froths milk so users can create cappuccinos and lattes. Additionally, the extra-large portafilter makes up to four servings of espresso, so users can serve their friends or ensure they have energy throughout the day. Lastly, the included water pitcher lets users find the exact amount of water they need for their brew.
Award: BEST FOR A LARGE FAMILY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features multiple brewing modes and large serving sizes to offer users a machine that works for a family breakfast or a small party. Thanks to the high-pressure rating and frothing capability, users can make shop-quality brews at home.
The De’Longhi BCO430BM coffee maker is an excellent pick for multi-person households with numerous coffee drinkers. This multi-function machine offers true espresso thanks to a pressure system that reaches up to 15 Bars of pressure. Additionally, the drip-coffee side of the machine offers a ten-cup carafe so users can enjoy multiple cups throughout the day or host a small get-together. While this model needs an extensive pre-heating cycle before brewing espresso, users will love the advanced cappuccino system that makes it simple to froth milk.
In addition to large serving sizes and producing authentic espresso, the De’Longhi BCO430BM coffee maker provides users with multiple features to make their coffee experience exceptional. This model offers an active carbon filter to ensure that users have fresh water for the most vibrant brew possible. Additionally, this model features a multi-spot hot plate so users can keep their drinks warm or keep a couple of mugs warm and ready for coffee.
Award: BEST FOR EARLY RISERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This lightweight unit provides users with simple operations and a strong brew for a big day at work or enjoying a slow morning. This model keeps your counters clean and uncluttered thanks to this model’s small footprint and capsule brew technology.
The Dolce Gusto Genio 2 coffee maker is a fantastic choice for users who want a strong drink and a quick brew cycle to start an early day at the office. Thanks to the LED indicator and toggle-stick that adjusts your brew size and strength, users can stay informed and in control of their next coffee beverage. While this model only works with specific coffee pods, users will love the variety in taste, texture, and temperature.
In addition to numerous flavor possibilities and a simple operation, this model is a single-serve machine that won’t take up much room in the kitchen or require a ton of extra cleanup. Thanks to Genio 2’s 15 Bars of pressure, users will enjoy rich beverages that feature varied flavors and aromas. Lastly, this model supports 15 flavor varieties that represent multiple types of coffee like espresso, americano, cappuccino, and more.
Award: BEST FOR FLAVOR
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features multiple serving sizes and granular controls for a worry-free coffee that can be as fancy as you wish. With multiple brewing modes and an easy-to-wash milk frother, users will love hosting friends or enjoying a brew by themselves.
The Philips Kitchen Appliances EP3241/54 coffee maker is a stellar pick for users looking for a simple and versatile machine so they can quickly enjoy a casual brew or express themselves with latte art. This model is extremely easy to clean thanks to its dishwasher-safe parts and no-tube milk frothing system that utilizes zero unseen parts to add foam to any beverage. While the buttons aren’t the most responsive on the market, users will love the six brewing modes so they can meet their exact craving.
In addition to simple cleaning and multiple brewing modes, the Philips Kitchen Appliances EO3241/54 coffee maker provides users with a single unit that can grind and brew their favorite drinks. This model features a 12-step ceramic grinder so users can have coarse grinds or ultra-fine powder for a stronger brew. Additionally, thanks to the ceramic grinder and AquaClean filter system, this model will stay clean and scale-free for up to 5000 cups of coffee.
Award: BEST FOR BEGINNING USERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This unit features all of the tools necessary for users to introduce themselves and others to the rich world of shop-quality brews. With 19 Bars of pressure and a full toolkit that even includes beverage art stencils, users will love engaging with a new hobby or skillset.
The EspressoWorks coffee maker is a compelling choice for users looking to make excellent artisan coffee without taking up the bulk of their kitchen space. This all-in-one model offers users an extensive kit to make strong espresso or frothy cappuccinos or lattes. Additionally, this unit comes with a 120V electric coffee bean grinder and measuring spoon so users can accurately fill their portafilter for a tasty brew. While there isn’t a normal coffee option, this model features four automatic brewing modes.
In addition to a full toolkit and multiple automatic drink functions, the EspressoWorks coffee maker includes two double-walled espresso glasses so users can enjoy hot drinks without burning their hands. Additionally, this model has a 1.4L detachable water reservoir for easy filling and cleaning after numerous cups of espresso. Users will love the multiple stainless steel portafilter baskets so users can choose a single cup or an even stronger double serving.
A latte machine, which can be found with the Jura coffee machine brand, combines an espresso shot with steamed milk in equal proportions to produce a delicious latte. Most models are quick, creating an espresso shot in less than 30 seconds with the help of a portafilter, water reservoir, and a group head. Like most espresso machines, they come in manual, semi-automatic, and fully-automatic versions.
Most semi-automatic latte machines are user-friendly and do most of the work for you at the touch of a button. Inexperienced users can always opt for automatic models. At the same time, coffee connoisseurs may want to take control of the process, making manual latte machines a better fit for them.
The only thing that a latte machine and a regular coffee maker (including dual coffee makers) have in common is that they both whip up coffee-based drinks. However, the brewing method is fundamentally different.
Generally, latte machines use darker espresso roasts that are rich in flavor and more soluble for a quick 30-second extraction when hot pressurized water is forced through the fine ground. In contrast, coffee beans used in standard coffee makers are lighter and have a coarser grind since the extraction duration is more prolonged (5-10 minutes). While both have water reservoirs for the brewing process, standard coffee makers use a metal/paper filter, while a latte machine uses a portafilter.
Since a latte is espresso-based, its caffeine content is higher, falling between 375mg and 520mg per 225 ml cup. For the same cup measurement, regular coffee makers produce coffee with less than half the caffeine—95mg to 165mg of caffeine.
Another distinguishing factor is that most highly functional latte machines brew various barista-style coffees from the basic espresso shot — like cappuccinos, macchiatos, and of course, the cafe latte. But with a regular coffee maker, you could only stretch its capabilities to make a decent iced coffee.
The price point is worth noting as well. The cheaper option is almost always a coffee maker due to the basic functions and limited features it offers. But again, keep in mind that coffee makers aren’t equipped to brew specialty drinks like lattes. If regular cups of coffee aren’t what you’re looking for, it’s best to invest in a budget-friendly latte machine.
Unlike a regular coffee maker, a latte machine comprises a portafilter, a tamper, a group head, and a steaming wand. You can also find latte machines with a built-in grinder to grind coffee beans easily.
A portafilter is a spoon-like device with a basket where the coffee grounds are placed and tamped down. Tamping is crucial as it ensures the grinds are compressed enough to prevent the water from escaping during the brewing process.
To brew the coffee, you have to lock the portafilter basket into the group head. This is where hot pressurized water from the boiler comes into contact with the grinds before filtering out a flavorful espresso into your cup. Check out our helpful guides if you want to simply know how to make hot water in a coffee maker.
Although rich, concentrated shots of espresso are essential for preparing a barista-worthy latte, the real trick lies in heating and combining the perfect proportions of silky milk and froth. For this, you’ll have to know how to use a frother or a steam wand.
Since the ratio of coffee to milk in a latte is one to three, you’ll need to fill two-thirds of the measuring cup with steamed milk. For that, you must insert the steam wand just under the surface of the milk to create a vortex-like effect.
Then, to properly combine the air with the milk for froth formation, you must move the container closer and further from the steam wand. This requires some practice, but gradually, you’ll see the bubbles start to get smaller. When the milk has frothed to double its size, turn off the steam wand. Pour the hot milk into the latte cup and top it with milk foam.
Coffee makers are great; there’s no doubt about that. But delicately frothed milk poured over a rich shot of espresso is a total game-changer when it comes to the delicious coffee experience. If you love a good daily latte but are tired of paying coffee shop prices, a countertop latte machine is just what you need.
Like with most products, a latte machine’s exact lifespan is influenced by the craftsmanship of the manufacturer, the type of machine, and how frequently you use it. Similar to the best manual espresso machine, a high-quality latte machine will last you 5 to 15 years, with some models lasting as long as 20 years.
Although a higher price tag means better quality coffee, it doesn’t always equate to a longer lifespan. Most expensive latte machines are automatic, which means their extra moving parts are more likely to malfunction on an electronic level. Therefore, manual and semi-automatic machines have less that can go wrong for them.
Regular upkeep of your machine will ensure it stays on your countertop for a long time. The tubes of a latte maker tend to clog up first, so it’s essential to run vinegar through the coffee machine regularly. Some models come with a self-cleaning function that flushes the tubes with hot water after each use to clear out any milk or coffee that may still be in them. Also, remember to scrub out the loose coffee grinds, clean the steaming wand and portafilter, and wipe down the machine daily.
Now that you’ve decided to set up your own espresso bar at home, let’s look at a few factors to consider before purchasing a latte machine.
A filter basket is the primary part of the machine that fits into the portafilter and determines the strength of your latte. A single shot basket holds 8-10g of coffee, while a double shot basket will hold double the amount. If you require more caffeine than usual, a big triple shot basket can hold 30-35 mg of coffee inside it.
It’s important to note that you may require a larger portafilter for a triple-shot basket. Based on your changing caffeine cravings, you can decide which basket to pop into your portafilter.
Before choosing a new latte machine, consider your kitchen countertop space.
Super-automatic latte machines are quite large because they need to accommodate extra features such as an in-built grinder, a milk tank, frother, and a steaming wand. They may also have a larger water reservoir that can go without refilling for 3-4 days. Not to mention, there may also be special compartments that hold different types of specialty syrups.
The semi-automatic latte machines have a relatively compact design and require only limited equipment to make a latte, unlike a super-automatic espresso machine that brews different specialty drinks.
Latte machines are either incredibly easy to use or so complicated that you might just want out of the process. You must consider your own experience with making lattes and whether you’re up for learning new techniques along the way.
At the touch of a button, easy-to-use latte machines brew flavorsome drinks. On the other hand, you’re responsible for steaming and frothing the milk after a semi-automatic machine pulls a shot of espresso for you. For coffee lovers who are just starting with a latte machine, the learning curve may prove to be challenging.
You don’t want an out-of-place-looking latte machine sitting on your countertop all day. Though aesthetics may not be a primary factor, it shouldn’t be overlooked either.
Perhaps a stainless steel or neutral plastic latte machine will blend well with the aesthetics of a simple, conventional kitchen. In contrast, for a modern kitchen, you may prefer a shiny, high-tech appliance with touch-screen operation and a sleek design that gives off a contemporary vibe.
Latte machines are pretty expensive because they’re made of high-quality parts. You can buy a decent working latte machine for $500. As you go up the price ladder, you’ll get more robust and low-maintenance automatic machines with plenty of features. At $1000, you’ll hit the super-automatic latte machine range. The price tags are hefty, but these machines will last for years, if not decades.