If you enjoy a delicious, creamy latte to start your day, wouldn’t you like to be able to create your brew at home, without having to endure the hassle of waiting in a long line at your favorite coffee shop?
Of course, there are ways of making your own barista-style latte at home, as we’ve covered in an earlier article. But sometimes we all just want to be spoiled a little and have someone (or something) else do the work for us. That’s where investing in a quality latte-making machine comes into play.
Now, before you throw up your hands in horror at the cost of buying your own latte machine, ask yourself how much you spend on those expensive coffee house lattes each month, (remember to factor in time spent standing in line). Now multiply that out over a year.
Your final figure will probably be close to the price of an efficient, convenient, hassle-free home brewing latte machine. Go figure.
At A Glance: Our Top 5 Picks For Latte Machines
Quick Summary: The Best Latte Machines
|MR. COFFEE CAFE BARISTA||Check on Amazon →|
|DE’LONGHI EC702 SEMI-AUTOMATIC ESPRESSO MAKER||Check on Amazon →|
|DE’LONGHI LATTISSIMA PLUS||Check on Amazon →|
|KEURIG K-CAFE COFFEE MAKER||Check Price →|
|BREVILLE BES920BSXL DUAL BOILER ESPRESSO MACHINE, BLACK SESAME||Check on Amazon →|
|BREVILLE BES870XL BARISTA EXPRESS ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|RANCILIO SILVIA ESPRESSO MACHINE WITH IRON FRAME AND STAINLESS STEEL SIDE PANELS||Check on Amazon →|
|DELONGHI STILOSA MANUAL ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|GEVI 5403 ESPRESSO MACHINE||Check on Amazon →|
|MR. COFFEE CAFE LATTE||Check on Amazon →|
What’s the difference between an espresso machine and a latte machine?
Don’t all espresso machines make lattes? You might be shocked to find out the answer is no.
Of course, even the most simple espresso maker can pull shots of espresso, which is one key ingredient of the latte, but it’s not the only important piece of the puzzle; to make a delicious latte, you’ll also need steamed milk and a thin layer of microfoam, and unfortunately, not every espresso machine can produce those.
A latte-making machine needs to be able to handle milk well, and that usually means it comes equipped with a built-in milk frother or steaming wand.
But wait…isn’t a latte just a shot of espresso and frothed milk? So, can’t you just buy a handheld milk frother to go with your basic espresso machine? You could do that. But in that case, the machine isn’t actually doing the work of making the latte, and while handheld frothers do just fine in a pinch, the most dedicated latte lovers know they can’t quite measure up to good steam wands.
More About the Machines
You’ve got a couple of options when it comes to choosing the best espresso machine for lattes: semi or super-automatic. What does that mean, and how do each of these types of machine affect the outcome of your homemade latte? Read on to find out.
Super-Automatic Espresso Machines
If you have a generous budget, you’re a die-hard latte lover, and you don’t mind relinquishing control over the brewing process, you must invest in a super-automatic latte making machine.
These machines do everything for you, from tamping the coffee grounds to micro-foaming and milk steaming. You can even adjust the settings to make minor tweaks to your brew, and you know that every time you press that button, you’ll get the same drink in just a few short minutes.
You don’t get that in a coffee house because every barista uses a slightly different technique. If consistency of flavor and texture matters most to you, choose a super-auto latte machine over the hand-made version every time.
Another important consideration is the microfoam that these machines produce. You simply can’t replicate the smooth, velvety texture of the froth that super-automatic machines make using a regular milk frother.
Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines
If your budget is modest, you already have decent barista skills, or you like a mix of control and convenience, a semi-automatic espresso machine will give you exactly what you want.
Semi-automatic machines have three main advantages:
- Price: mid-range and affordable for most coffee fans
- Reliability: won’t let you down when you need them most
- Flexibility: allow you to customize your drink
Also, if latte art is your thing, semi-automatic machines are perfect.
One thing to take into account with these machines, though, is the number of drinks the machine can make you back-to-back. If you want to make several lattes at a time, look for a machine that has two boilers; one for the espresso and one for steaming the milk. A single boiler machine is fine if you only want to make a latte for yourself, but it will be too slow if you need to make multiple drinks.
For the dedicated home baristas who appreciate the art of brewing, we recommend semi-automatic machines.
Our Top Picks
We’ve included some of the cheaper entry-level latte machines, as well as some more expensive models that are aimed at established, more experienced home baristas. Make sure to take your experience level and budget into account as you go through the list.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista
Surely you don’t need us to introduce you to Mr. Coffee, as the brand has managed to make itself a household name in the half a century since its establishment, but in case you’ve been living under a rock, allow us to give you the lowdown on this company: it was founded in 1970 by Vincent Marotta and Samuel Glazer, and just two short years later, the Ohio-born business unveiled a machine that would change the way coffee was made and consumed forever — the automatic drip coffee maker.
Since then, Mr. Coffee has expanded its offerings to include many other coffee makers and accessories, including the Cafe Barista. This semi-automatic machine is designed to brew espresso, cappuccinos, and lattes, and manages to do so flawlessly thanks to its 15 bar pump system and automatic milk frother. And if you don’t use all of the frothed milk, no worries; just remove the milk tank and store the leftover liquid in the fridge for later.
De’Longhi EC702 Semi-Automatic Espresso Maker
De’Longhi 15 bar Pump Espresso Maker, EC702, Metal If you’re already fairly proficient as a home barista and you’d like to learn how to brew coffee shop standard espresso, the De’Longhi EC702 semi-automatic machine is probably an excellent option for you.
The EC702 is a decently priced, reliable espresso machine that gives you every feature you’re likely to want — and a few more, too! The machine’s milk frother will give you perfectly bubbly milk every time, so you can be sure that the finished brew will not only be better than the one you usually get at your coffee shop, but it’ll be cheaper and a whole lot more convenient, too.
De’Longhi Lattissima Plus
De’Longhi Lattissima Plus Espresso Machine, Black De’Longhi also makes a specialized latte maker in the form of the Nespresso Lattissima. As you might guess from the name, the Lattissima is a capsule-based espresso brewer that has an integral automatic milk frother. We think this machine gives you the best of both worlds: it’s reasonably priced, and you can enjoy a good latte at the push of one button.
You can use the Lattissima to make a variety of coffee drinks, including a macchiato, espresso, and cappuccino, and latte. The machine’s patented thermoblock heating system means that the Lattissima is ready to start brewing in just 40 seconds; all you’ve got to do is pop in one of the capsules and start the machine.
Like all of De’Longhi’s coffee making machines, the Lattissima is beautifully designed and will fit right into the aesthetic of any kitchen, but when considering this latte maker, don’t forget it requires pre-packaged espresso pods, so you’ll need to factor a few extra dollars into your budget for those.
Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker
Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker
When it comes to coffee, Keurig needs no introduction. The company makes a vast array of coffee-making machines and associated consumables, from carafes and filters to flavored coffee pods.
While we typically aren’t the biggest fans of machines that take away from a barista’s brewing autonomy, this Keurig latte machine’s got you covered if you’re looking for something in the super-automatic realm.
This latte-making machine, like all of Keurig’s machines, is very easy to use. The K-Cafe seems to be designed with every coffee-drinker in mind, as it boasts the ability to brew drip coffee, a latte, or a cappuccino at just the touch of a button, which is especially convenient when you need your coffee lickety-split.
This pod machine has a removable water reservoir for easy refills, and thanks to its 60-ounce capacity, you can brew for days before you’ll need to fill it up again. The Keurig K-Café also comes with a dishwasher-safe milk frother so you can top off every drink with a perfectly fluffy layer of milk foam.
Unfortunately, this machine is only compatible with Keurig’s K-Cup coffee pods, but the good news is, the company has an extensive roster of flavors, brands, and roasts to choose from, so you’re sure to find something you love. You can also purchase a K-Cup reusable coffee filter and brew your favorite ground coffee instead.
Now, so far we’ve looked at latte machines that are simple to operate but may be somewhat limited in scope. Our next offering, however, takes home coffee brewing to the next level and then some.
Breville’s dual boiler machine will take you into the higher-end price bracket, but you certainly get a lot for your money.
This latte making machine has a commercial design with a dual boiler system. One boiler steams the milk for your beverage, while the other one is for pulling the espresso shots. The dual boiler configuration allows you to control the temperature of each so you can experiment with flavors for different coffee blends. There’s a neat LCD that clearly indicates the temperature of each boiler for ease of monitoring.
Additional features include a fully customizable low-pressure pre-infusion, auto-startup, pressure gauges, and a shot clock. There’s also a descale alert and LCD-assisted descale procedure, which is essential if you live in a hard-water area. Don’t know if you do? Fear not. This model includes a water hardness test strip.
So, although the Breville is not a simple, chuck in a pod and press a button machine, it’s a very tempting purchase for anyone who takes home brewing seriously. If you decide to invest in one of these, you probably won’t ever need to buy another.
Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine, Large, Stainless Steel It’s safe to say that fresh ground coffee beans always give the truest flavors of the roast and produce a better brew. Breville’s Barista Express comes with a stainless steel burr grinder and a powerful 1,600-watt thermos coil heating system to give superior-quality ground.
Also, the purge function allows you to adjust the water temperature. And even beginners will appreciate the pressurized dual-wall filters that make it easy to create customized coffee blends. The Italian-made 15-bar pump creates the perfect temperature for premium flavor espresso.
But what about making lattes? Well, the machine has a 360-degree swivel action steam wand for perfect milk texturing. Combine that with the delicious espresso shot the BES870XL gives you, and you’ll be in creamy latte heaven.
The attractive yet practical brushed stainless steel design makes this well-designed and efficient brewer a great addition to any kitchen countertop.
Rancilio Silvia Espresso Machine with Iron Frame and Stainless Steel Side Panels, 11.4 by 13.4-Inch If you like to take your latte-making equipment with you when you go visiting other coffee fans, you’ll want to have a Rancilio Silvia espresso-making machine at your disposal. The machine is lightweight and designed to be easily portable, sporting a robust iron frame and stainless steel side panels to retain a sleek, traditional look.
You may notice the portafilter handle that features on Rancilio’s commercial machines. Well, this scaled-down espresso machine has one, too. Features such as superior heat retention and auto-managed steam pressure deliver commercial quality functionality in a small, home-use machine.
Thanks to a perfect grind and stable heat, you’ll enjoy a barista-quality espresso every time. A brass boiler has excellent steaming power, and a generous water reservoir allows you to make multiple brews without the need to refill.
As for making lattes, the stainless steel wand is ideal for steaming and texturing milk. So, latte away!
DeLonghi Stilosa Manual Espresso Machine
For those who crave an authentic, coffee shop-style latte experience in the comfort of their own home, look no further than DeLonghi’s Stilosa machine.
This manual espresso maker boasts a 15 bar pump, guaranteeing the optimal amount of pressure needed to produce a single or double shot of espresso, and the stainless steel boiler is designed with durability in mind so you can hone your at-home barista skills for years to come.
You’ll definitely appreciate the built-in milk frother, especially when you need perfectly foamed milk for one of your favorite espresso drinks — including but not limited to the latte, flat white, or cappuccino — and the machine’s modern look.
As it’s mostly black with stainless steel features and accents, it will fit well with most interior design schemes. Plus, it’s pretty compact (13.5 x 8.07 x 11.22 inches), so it won’t take up too much room on your kitchen counter.
Gevi 5403 Espresso Machine
Meet the Gevi 5403 Espresso Machine. This semi-automatic beauty comes armed with a milk frothing wand for making excellent lattes and cappuccinos and automatic dual temperature control to guarantee the ideal temperature for brewing.
It uses 15 bars of pressure to pull a flavor-filled espresso shot that’s topped with a beautiful crema and has a 1.5-liter water tank that’s removable for easy refills. The price is lower, sure, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the machine is, too.
The built-in steaming wand swivels 360 degrees, producing the silky smooth milk foam you need for delicious lattes, macchiatos, or cappuccinos, and the machine has a double cup splitter, which means you can make two cups of espresso at the same time for more efficient brewing.
Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte
The Mr. Coffee Café Latte makes delicious lattes in one simple touch – the system is pretty much fool-proof. The fully automated process brews your coffee while heating and frothing milk to create a delicious latte. Bonus: you can also use the machine to make hot chocolate!
The unit’s 24-ounce capacity means that you can make several delicious coffee drinks at once, ideal for entertaining or for busy households where the whole family drinks coffee. The machine also has a neat power-down feature that shuts the unit off once your drink is ready.
The machine is quick and easy to clean up, although only the coffee brew basket is dishwasher safe; you need to wash the carafe by hand.
Although the Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte machine is one of the cheapest units on the list, it’s a good-quality, reliable appliance that’s extremely simple to use. It’s ideal for an affordable, first-time latte brewing machine.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Latte Machine
Now that you know what’s out there, it’s time to make a decision. Before you buy, think carefully about the features you want your ideal home latte-making machine to have.
First off, you need to decide just how much money you’re willing to shell out on the machine of your dreams.
Prices vary, ranging from under $100 into the thousands, depending on how complex and versatile you want your latte machine to be. There are a lot of machines out there, and you can scale down your search right away by setting a budget before you start looking at what each manufacturer has to offer.
Convenience and Usage
Ease of use is another biggie when choosing a home brewing latte machine. Of course, making a perfect latte looks ridiculously easy when done by an experienced barista in your local coffee house. But if you’re a beginner faced with an array of levers, knobs, buttons, and extra features you have no idea how to use, you’ll probably wish you’d chosen a more user-friendly machine!
So, start with a simple machine that’s easy to use. Once you’ve gotten more experienced, you can choose to upgrade to something more advanced.
Also, keep in mind: if you like things like control and customization, look for machines that are semi-automatic or that have a lot of options for altering the temperature, brew time, and more.
Cleaning and Maintenance
While they may seem inconsequential at first, things like clean-up and maintenance are important factors to consider. After all, the whole idea of buying a home latte-making machine is to save you time and make your life a little less hassled. Ideally, you want a machine that’s virtually maintenance-free and can be cleaned quickly without having to take the whole thing to pieces first.
Water Reservoir Capacity
Water reservoir size is very important if you are planning on using the machine to make multiple brews. The larger the water tank on your machine, the less often you’ll need to refill it, which will matter to you if you like to entertain.
Removable water tanks are also a big plus; it’s so much easier to remove the reservoir to fill or clean it at your sink that it is to cart the whole latte machine across the kitchen.
If countertop space is at a premium in your kitchen, don’t buy a huge machine that hogs the whole surface area! You’d be amazed just how many coffee enthusiasts buy the biggest, fanciest latte machine they can find, only to confine it to the pantry after just a few uses because it’s in the way.
The key to a perfect cup of coffee is a good grinder. Many decent-quality home espresso machines have a built-in coffee grinder. Ideally, you want a noiseless ceramic burr grinder, but it’s more usual to find a stainless steel one.
If you can’t afford a machine with its own built-in grinder, you’ll need to buy your own. And with you in mind, we’ve put together this helpful guide to our favorite burr grinders to help you make the right choice.
Foamy milk can make or break a latte (and an array of other coffee drinks), so it’s important that whatever machine you invest in has a steam wand that can get the job done and help you make the best microfoam for your morning latte. If the type of machine you decide to purchase doesn’t have one of these convenient babies built-in, you’ll have to find other means of steaming milk, like buying an automatic milk frother separately.
Q: Do I need any other essential equipment besides a machine?
The point of having a “latte machine” is being able to make the classic coffee drink without the aid of anything else, so if you purchase a machine that can pull an espresso shot and steam milk, you’ll only need a few other little things.
If you want the freshest, strongest brew possible every time you fire up the machine, steer clear of pre-ground coffee and invest in a conical burr grinder to finely grind your beans yourself. Though grinding your own beans is, in our opinion, the best way to go, it’s not mandatory, so if you don’t want to spend the extra money on a coffee grinder, you can just purchase already ground coffee.
You’ll also likely need to invest in a milk pitcher to use with your steamer wand as you create the frothy milk needed for your favorite specialty coffee drinks. While you’re shopping for coffee-making products and accessories, add a quality tamper to your cart if you end up with a semi-automatic or manual machine.
Q: What’s the best latte-making machine for beginners?
We love the simplicity of Mr. Coffee’s One-Touch CoffeeHouse brewer so much that it only makes sense for this machine to be our top pick for the beginner barista. Its easy-to-understand one-touch control panel makes selecting a beverage and brew size painless, which is especially helpful if this is your first experience with an espresso maker. Ease of use paired with convenience (in the form of a built-in milk frother and removable milk reservoir) make this machine worth considering as you search for an at-home brewer.
The Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse machine boasts a 19 bar Italian pump, which enables the brewer to deliver the perfect amount of pressure for maximum flavor extraction every time.
Q: What’s the best budget machine?
We know it’s hard to find a machine that doesn’t break the bank, so to save you some searching, we’re recommending our favorite budget-friendly latte machine.
For the barista on a budget, we recommend Sowtech’s 4-Cup espresso maker. This machine can make between one and four cups of espresso, so it’s the perfect choice if you’re just making a latte for yourself, and the stainless-steel cup is clearly marked so you know you’re serving the perfect size with every brew.
Although making your latte from scratch with an espresso machine and the basic raw ingredients is undoubtedly every aspiring home barista’s ultimate goal, sometimes it’s acceptable to take the easy route by buying a home latte-making machine.