If you have find yourself regularly spending your spare bucks on lattes to go, then now may just be the right time to invest in a home latte machine! With the addition of a travel mug along with a few extra minutes of your time in the morning, the latte machine means you can enjoy your latte on the go, or even at home, but at the fraction of the cost from one bought at your favorite coffee shop.In this article we review a range of the best latte machines, from basic models to more advanced styles, as well as a selection of machines which use pods or capsules for automated latte brewing. We also consider what you should look for when choosing a latte machine and look at some of the techniques for producing good foam for your latte. If you enjoy non-dairy alternatives in your daily latte, we also discuss how to get the most from these when brewing lattes at home.
Our Best Pick is the touch control Keurig K-Café which uses K-Cup pods to brew hot or cold lattes, cappuccinos and more and is designed to fit travel mugs for easy lattes on the go.
Our Budget Pick is the De’Longhi EC155 which has an Advanced Cappuccino System to keep the temperature optimal and the machine ready to brew the next cup.
Quick Comparison: Top 10 Best Latte Machines
1. Keurig K-Cafe Latte and Cappuccino Maker
The Keurig K-Café is able to brew hot or cold lattes, cappuccinos or just coffees from K-Cup pods. You can also use the K-Cup universal reusable coffee filter so that you can use your own ground coffee.
This uses fresh milk and either heats and froths it for hot drinks, or just froths it for cold. This has touch button control and the spout is high to allow easy filling of taller cups and travel mugs up to 7.2" tall. This can serve up a range of coffee sizes from 6 to 12 oz and the water reservoir holds 60 oz, so less refilling is needed during the day.
This also has an shut-off feature that you can program, or it will automatically turn off the machine two hours after it was last used. The frother is dishwasher safe.The odd buyer has experienced some problems with the milk frother, and you may want to confirm electrical requirements before buying as this needs to be on its own 15 amp circuit. Some buyers have also found that hot drinks may not be as hot as they would like.
2. De’Longhi EC155
The De’Longhi EC155 is a self-priming latte machine, which means that it is always ready to use. This is a compact machine with a swivel jet froth wand and has an Advanced Cappuccino System which keeps the temperature optimal, allowing you to brew cup after cup. With 15 bar pump pressure , this has two separate thermostats to control temperatures of water and steam.
With manual selection options to brew lattes, cappuccinos and espressos, you can also use ESE (Easy Serving Espresso) pods with this.
The 35 oz water tank and drip tray can be removed for easy cleaning in the dishwasher and it has a cup warmer on top of the machine.
This does only fit smaller cups such as espresso cups comfortably under the portafilter and the odd buyer has not been as satisfied with the brew when using ESE pods. The lifespan of this machine may not be as long as you would like – particularly as much of its build is plastic.
3. Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
Available in red or silver, the Mr. Coffee Café Barista is a semi-automatic three in one machine to make espresso, lattes and cappuccinos. This has a 15 bar pump system and an automatic milk frother with adjustable control.
The water reservoir is easy to remove and refill. The milk reservoir is also removeable and can be stored in the refrigerator after brewing until next time. The milk tube should still be cleaned after every use though. The coffees are brewed with a one touch system and this also comes with a recipe book.
It can be difficult to find replacement parts for this machine once out of its warranty and this machine may not last as long as you would expect from this manufacturer. Some also consider that this does not froth the milk as much as they would like.
4. Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine
Made from brushed stainless steel, the Breville Barista Express has an in-built burr grinder with a controllable grind which deposits the ground coffee straight into the portafilter.
This uses PID digital temperature control to ensure that water is at the correct temperature for brewing and its steam wand provides micro foam so that you can refine your latte art. This has a 9 bar extraction through the 15 bar pump.
Suitable for brewing single or double shots, as well as having touch control, it also has manual override so you can make your latte exactly how you like it. This latte machine also comes with a range of accessories included filter baskets, stainless steel milk jug, cleaning brush, tablets and more.This does come with a one year limited warranty and some owners have found repairs outside the warranty window to be costly, so you may want to consider buying an extra warranty with this machine. As with any in-built grinder, use of oilier beans should be avoided as it will increase the risk of clogging. It can also take more time to clean this machine compared with more basic latte machines.
5. SOWTECH Espresso Maker
The SOWTECH espresso maker has a steam wand for steaming milk for lattes and cappuccinos. This is a compact machine with a single knob control for easy function selection and use.
This has an integrated easy pour glass coffee pot which has volume markings and is dishwasher safe along with the drip tray. This brews at 3.5 bar pressure.
As a budget-friendly machine this may not last as long as expected and may not suit those who are more experienced brewers. This also lacks an auto shut-off function, so you will need to remember to turn it off after every use. The water reservoir is also inbuilt which can make refilling and cleaning more difficult.
6. Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte Maker
Able to make one touch lattes and hot chocolates, the Mr. Coffee café latte maker has a 24 oz capacity glass pitcher. This can also brew coffee, or heat and froth milk. The pitcher is not dishwasher safe, although the coffee brew basket is.
This requires the use of filters – disposable or permanent. This also comes with a recipe book including 24 recipes and it has an auto shut-off function for safety.
Some buyers have not been impressed with the lifespan of this product and others have struggled to source replacement parts once it is out of its one year warranty.
7. Delonghi EC680M Dedica
The De’Longhi Dedica (EC680M) is a 15 bar pump espresso machine with a manual cappuccino frother to make barista-quality lattes and cappuccinos with. Available in three colors and with a stainless steel construction, this is a compact and slim design – just 6" wide - taking up less room on the countertop.
The bottom tray is adjustable or removeable to fit larger cups. This uses thermo block technology so that the machine is heated up and ready to use within 35 seconds.
Some buyers have found that this has not lasted as long as expected and even with regular descaling this machine may not work as well as it should do for some owners.
8. The Keurig Rivo Cappuccino and Latte System
The Keurig Rivo is a cappuccino and latte system which uses 15 bar of pressure to brew espresso in under a minute. The design of this system allows the espresso to be brewed on one side of the machine and froth milk on the other. Milk frothing is automated, with modes for latte, cappuccino or cold froth.Only Keurig Rivo pods will fit in this machine and the main coffee available is Lavazza, which not all latte drinkers will want. There is also a risk that this may break down quite soon after purchase, although it does come with a one year limited warranty.
9. De'Longhi America EN750MB Lattissima Pro
The Nespresso Lattissima Pro by De’Longhi is inspired by professional machines but with simplicity for home use. This uses an Automatic Cappuccino System to create dense and long-lasting foam for lattes and cappuccinos.
The milk reservoir can be removed after use and stored in the refrigerator ready for next time and the design of the milk reservoir means minimal clean up, as no milk is in contact with the machine.
Using thermoblock technology, this machine heats in around 40 seconds and is able to extract the coffee from Nespresso OriginalLine capsules with 19 bar of pressure. The waste capsule container will hold 15 capsules and the water reservoir, 40 oz.
This has a brushed stainless steel finish and touchscreen controls and a descaling function which lets you know when it needs descaling, depending on the programmed level of water hardness. It also has an auto shut-off function and comes with a set of Nespresso capsules. Some owners have not been as keen on the temperature that the milk is heated to and would prefer it to be hotter.
10. Breville BES810BSSUSC Duo Temp Pro Espresso Machine
The Breville Duo Temp Pro (BES810BSSUSC) is a stainless steel espresso machine with a 15 bar pump and steam wand. This is a semi-automatic machine which uses digital temperature control technology (PID) for balanced coffee extraction and the steam wand is able to create micro foam, suitable for latte art. The water reservoir holds 61 oz.
This machine purges the heat system after steaming so that the next espresso brewed is still at the correct temperate and it also alerts users as to when maintenance such as cleaning or drip tray emptying needs to take place.
Some owners have struggled with finding the best grind for a good quality shot and the water filters in this machine should be changed every two to three months.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Latte Machine
Drinking coffee with milk is known to have been occurring since the seventeenth century although the term ‘caffe latte’ was first used in the English by the writer William Dean Howells. The cafe latte was thought to have first been consumed in California in the late 1950s and was introduced by an Italian coffee shop proprietor as coffee drinkers kept asking for more milk to be added to their drink to counteract the strong flavor of the espresso. With the rise of the coffee culture in the 1980s onwards, lattes became popular alongside the growth of latte art.
A latte, or more correctly, a cafe latte comprises 2 oz of espresso, 3 oz of steamed milk and a thin layer or foam on top. If you order a latte in Italy, or other European coffee shops, then you will just be served a glass of steamed milk!
What to Look for When Choosing a Latte Machine
Buying daily lattes from the coffee shop soon adds up, so although a latte machine may seem expensive at first, it will soon pay for itself against the cost of buying lattes to go. It also offers the opportunity for you to try out different coffees in your own time.
Machines are available to suit all budgets, with basic models usually available for under a hundred bucks. These basic machines often meet the needs of most latte drinkers – brewing espresso and allowing you to steam your milk manually with a steam wand or frother.
Automatic and semi-automatic machines, including those using pods or capsules do not offer as much user control, so if you want to be able to refine your brew, these may not be the best option for you. However, the main advantage of these types of machine is that they are consistent, fast and often make a latte at the touch of a button.
As with any type of coffee drink, freshly ground beans are always best used in a latte machine. Some machines contain an in-built grinder to grind the beans and deposit the grounds straight into the portafilter ready for brewing.
Latte machines have a water reservoir which is usually removeable for easy filling. Some machines also have a milk reservoir which can be removed for refrigerator storage.
Any type of machine will need some basic cleaning after use and regular maintenance such as a deep clean and descaling, so it can be worth checking out how much maintenance you will need to regularly undertake with your machine. Some machines may also need filters replacing so these will add to the overall cost over the lifetime of the machine.
You may want to look for a latte machine with dishwasher safe parts such as water/milk reservoirs and drip trays as this makes cleaning easier.
The Importance of The Milk in A Good Latte
The steaming and frothing of the milk gives the cafe latte its velvet and creamy texture that blends with the rich espresso to give a variety of flavors. The difference between a latte and cappuccino is that the cappuccino is equal parts espresso and steamed milk and foam, while a traditional espresso macchiato (or ‘dry cappuccino’) is an equal amount of espresso and foamed milk – without any steamed milk.
When you use a latte machine, air is injected into the milk to make it creamy and velvety. When using a steam wand to froth milk, use cold milk and fill your jug no more than a third full as this gives the milk the space to double or even triple in volume as it is aerated.
Before frothing the milk, purge the steam wand by placing a damp cloth over the wand and turning on the steam for a moment or two. You can now place the want into the milk and aim it slightly off-center so that the milk starts to flow in a circular motion. If the wand is in the right place, it should now start to sound like you are frying something on a grill and foam will start to develop. This is also known as the ‘sweet spot’.
It is important to keep the steam wand under the surface of the milk as otherwise it will cause spluttering and large bubbles to be formed. If large bubbles do form, move the jug up to submerge the wand further and the circular motion of the milk should push these larger bubbles back into the milk and leave behind the desirable small bubbles.
If you end up with larger bubbles or too much foam, then you will end up with a cappuccino rather than a latte! Try tapping the jug a couple of times on the countertop to remove some stray larger bubbles. By this point, the temperature of the milk should be around 145°F, any higher and you run the risk of scalding the milk and giving and off-taste to your latte.
Once you have finished, place a damp cloth over the steam wand and turn on the steam for a few moments to remove any milk residue. Also wipe around the machine where the wand is to remove any stray splashes. It can take a bit of practice to get used to making lattes at home, so do be patient!
A common sight in many coffee shops, latte art is not just a barista specialty, many of us are also keen to give it a try at home. Although it takes a lot more practice to produce latte art by hand, the easy way to try it at home is with a stencil and a topping such as cinnamon or chocolate. To make latte art, the foam on the latte has to be a smooth and silky micro foam and free from large bubbles.
Using Milk Alternatives in Latte Machines
As milk alternatives do not contain the same quantity or types of fats, proteins and carbs as dairy milks do, when they are added to an acidic drink such as coffee, they can curdle.
The best non-dairy alternatives to use in latte machines are those marketed as barista options, as these contain stability regulators which not only prevent the non-dairy alternative from curdling, but also means that when these are steamed, they do actually produce foam. These types of alternatives can contain added sugars as well, so may not be suitable for all diets.
Soy milk has been around for a while and although popular, there is a risk of it curdling when added to coffee, shaking or stirring it well before pouring can help and it can produce foam suitable for latte art. Oat milks are becoming popular in coffees as they are thicker consistency and creamy and although oat milk can be more bubbly than a regular milk, it can still be used for latte art.
Other alternatives such as pea, almond, coconut, cashew and others can all be suitable for using in lattes. Some will steam better than others, while some, such as coconut, will give a stronger taste to the latte. Alternatives from different producers can also have different outcomes when making lattes, so you may need to try a few different lines to see what works best for you.
If you are looking to buy a latte machine that automates milk frothing, then do check that you can use alternatives in the machine. A machine that has a separate steam wand can be an advantage with alternatives as you have full control over how much or little you froth the non-dairy alternative.
As we have seen in this article, the milk is what makes a cafe latte the popular drink that it is and whether you use milk or a plant-based alternative, then there is a latte machine which will steam it and foam it exactly how you like it for your latte.If you are looking to cut down on some of your daily coffee spend, then the home latte machine is the way forward. With a wide range of styles available to suit all budgets and drink preferences, we hope that our article on choosing the best latte machine has been helpful and you are now ready to install one in your kitchen!
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