5 Best Latte Machine Reviews (+ a Buying Guide)
How do you find a latte machine that fits your needs? Espresso machines can cost thousands of dollars. You don’t want to waste your money the best espresso machine, only to find out it can’t make decent latte and cappuccino, right?
Here’s a list of amazing latte machines for your home, ranging from those ideal for newbies up to espresso machine veterans. No matter your skill level or budget, we’ll find you a machine that will help you make the latte you crave.
Breville BES870XL Barista Express
The Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine gives you more control in making excellent lattes, espressos, and a host of other drinks at a great price. It comes with a 360-degree swivel-action steam wand that’s just perfect for lattes. We think this is the all-round best latte machine. Read on though, to learn more.
Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Latte Machine
||Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine||
||Philips 3200 Series||
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||Ninja Specialty Coffee Maker||
Before you dive into making such a big purchase, there are a few things to consider…
What makes it a Latte Machine?
The reality is that, while there are many things to consider; what we’re looking for here, under that frothy “latte” exterior, is a regular coffee machine that makes lattes really well.
As you know, a latte is coffee drenched in milk, which means the milk part of the coffee machine – the milk frother – is a really important factor. In fact, some coffee lovers even go as far as to say that you don’t need to worry much about the espresso side of things at all, as it’s such a small part of the overall milky taste of a latte. We beg to differ – for us, the best latte starts with the best coffee – but the point is well taken.
The goal here is to find a latte machine that handles the milk well.
The Difference Between Cappuccinos, Lattes, and Other Espresso-Based Drinks
This may seem like an obvious section (seeing how you like lattes enough to consider buying a latte machine!), and we realize that, so we’ll keep it short.
It bears pointing out just what a latte is (a sweeter, espresso-based drink made with steamed milk and a top layer of micro-foam) and how it differs from so many other espresso drinks like the cafe au lait or a flat white. You’ll want to have this in mind when you buy a coffee machine specifically for lattes.
Not to mention, you’ll also want to know the nuanced differences between these drinks if you’re going to make them at home! A classic example would be a latte, which is milk-heavy, compared to a cappuccino, which has more foam. Remember that there are two parts to effective frothing (1)
Steaming milk is remarkably difficult to do well…Remember that there are 2 phases: aerating, (aka “stretching”) and emulsifying (aka “texturing”). You need both to have a creamy, velvety batch of milk with enough body to create latte art or a great cappuccino
If you’re into flat whites, here’s where you can learn more about the difference between flat white vs latte.
For brevity’s sake, we found a couple of good sources (here and there) and a video below that breaks down the differences in espresso drinks.
With all that being said, there is no reason you can’t have both in one machine. The drinks may be different but the same machine will make them all well. Your latte machine will also be a cappuccino machine.
Does It Froth Milk For You?
First off, know that it doesn’t take rocket science to make a latte, but if you don’t have at least some knowledge on the subject, there’s going to be a steep learning curve… and a lot of wasted coffee.
If you don’t have any experience yet, though, that’s okay. Don’t panic! You’re just going to want to do some research on how to make a latte before you get your hands on your shiny new machine. Some latte makers will froth milk for you; others will require YOU to learn how to handle the milk.
Semi-Automatic vs Automatic Latte Machines
One important thing to decide before you go into the buying process is how much of the work you want to do yourself.
If you want to have more control over the whole process, consider a semi-automatic espresso machine like one of these. These give you more control over the whole latte-making process. However, some say they provide much less convenience. You’ll need to ramp up your game if you want to get a good cup of coffee out of a semi-automatic brewer (example, you’ll have to know how to use a steaming wand)
Automatic machines are built for convenience and are often very user-friendly. Most include a built-in coffee grinder that lets you add coffee beans and push a button. They frequently have an automatic milk frother, which takes the place of a steam wand (and doesn’t require you to learn the skills to use one).
An automatic latte machine does most of the work for you, but some manual intervention is still required. A super automatic takes over the entire process, from bean to cup. It’s like having a coffee shop in your kitchen.
Super-automatic latte machines are also technically more stable in delivering the same quality latte each and every time, as there is little to no human intervention. It’s worth noting that most of the best latte machines, whether manual or some flavor of automatic, are essentially single-serve machines, due to the nature of the drink. (2)
As the temperature of milk rises, lactose becomes more soluble. As it does, its sweetness is more noticeable…It’s not that the milk is actually sweeter, but as it heats up its perceived sweetness increases.
The 5 Best Latte Machines of 2021
Remember, while these are generally espresso machines, this is not an espresso machine review list. So while they are all good espresso machines, we will be focusing on the details that make them the best latte machines.
1. Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine – Best Overall
- 360-degrees steam wand
- More control over the process
The next on our list of latte machines for your home is the Breville Barista Express BES870XL. This latte machine is extremely popular and a perfect selection for any home barista who wants to upgrade from smaller, user-friendly coffee and latte makers to an all-in-one machine that will both develop their skills and increase the quality of their homemade lattes.
This semi-automatic machine was made with both great coffee and happy consumers in mind. The price means you’re getting high-quality parts, but it also comes with clever little additions like special “no-slip” feet that keep the machine from moving. Plus, the built-in conical burr grinder means you don’t need to buy a separate grinder, or worse yet, buy pre-ground coffee to make your espresso: every cup is freshly ground before brewing.
Other features the BES870XL has in common with the best espresso and latte machines include digital temperature control, dose-control grinding (between 19 and 22 grams per dose) for adjusting coffee flavor, and a grind size control which lets you customize for the level of crema you desire. The low-pressure pre-infusion cycle precedes a brew cycle that operates at the recommended 9 bars of pressure for optimum espresso extraction. It also has a separate hot water dispenser for pre-heating your latte cup or making tea or other hot beverages.
More important to latte lovers, however, is the quality 360-degree swivel-action steam wand, designed to make lattes as easy as 1, 2, 3.
This machine is quite a bit bigger than the first two, and is particularly tall, standing at nearly 16 inches – so make some space on your counters while waiting for it to ship to you. With this machine on your counter, there’ll be nothing stopping you from making the best latte.
Watch our video review here:
This shockingly inexpensive espresso and latte machine from DeLonghi has all the expresso geeks excited. That’s because, while far from the fanciest model, it easily outperforms options twice its price.
The name of the game with the EC155 is convenience. It’s compact and easy to use, with self-priming operation, a single dial control, and virtually no learning curve. And just as importantly, it’s easy to clean and maintain. Both the drip tray and 35-ounce water reservoir are removable and dishwasher safe
The EC155 heats up in seconds, and thanks to its Advanced Cappuccino System, you can pull shots consecutively without a wait. It uses two separate thermostats, guaranteeing ideal temperature for both espresso and steam.
Milk frothing is done manually, and the steam wand has enough pressure for a nicely textured milk froth. Though at this price point, don’t be surprised if you can’t achieve the ideal silky microfoam for latte art.
Adding to this latte machine’s value is the three-in-one portafilter, so you can make a single shot, double shot, or use an easy serving espresso pod. The portafilter is pressurized ensuring you’ll always achieve a rich layer of crema, even using pre-ground beans.
I firmly believe that the foundation of a great latte is a great espresso, but it’s equally important not to overlook the steamed milk, which in fact makes up more than half the drink. And that’s where the Philips 3200 really shines.
This latte machine model offers Philips’ patented LatteGo milk frothing. In this system, milk and air are rapidly whipped in the frothing chamber to produce perfect silky milk at the ideal temperature. Even better, because it involves no tubes or wands, it’s ultra-easy to keep clean.
Of course, the rest of the machine is no slouch either. There’s a built-in ceramic burr grinder, so you’re always brewing with freshly ground beans. The touchscreen display makes it easy to select and customize one of the 5 automatic drinks. You can adjust the strength, temperature, and ratio of espresso to milk in your latte.
Maintenance is a breeze thanks to the included AquaClean filtration system, which means you’ll only need to descale once every 5,000 cups. The brew head can be easily removed whenever it needs a rinse, and other removable parts are dishwasher safe.
If you want a custom latte at the touch of a single button, you can’t beat a Jura super-automatic espresso machine. I love the E8 in particular because it includes Jura’s best technological advances without reaching the stratospheric prices of the higher-end models. This is not a cheap espresso machine, but the value is incredible.
First, there’s the built-in burr grinder, ensuring fresh tasting coffee. Then there’s Jura’s patented Intelligent Pre-Brew Aroma System and Pulse Extraction Process (PEP), which work together to guarantee the best extraction of your ground beans and the most flavorful brew. These are coupled with the Intelligent Water System (IWS), which optimizes the quality of your brewing water.
But what we love most about the E8 is the degree to which you can customize your favorite drink. There are 12 pre-programmed drinks available at the touch of a button, lattes included. For each, you can use the intuitive color display to adjust the coffee strength, brew temperature, milk temperature, shot volume, and milk volume.
Like all Jura machines, this one is beautifully designed, with the sleek and modern aesthetic that defines the Swiss brand.
If you want a brewer that can make your morning latte AND deliver a perfect drip brew, look no further than Ninja’s top-rated Specialty Coffee Maker. Admittedly, it doesn’t make a true espresso, because it doesn’t use pressure, but it does brew a highly concentrated coffee that makes an excellent base for a milky drink.
The Ninja is SCA certified, the highest honor a home brewer can receive. This means that it meets the rigorous criteria set out by the coffee experts at the Specialty Coffee Association for optimal brewing.
It offers four different brewing styles, to suit any coffee drinker, and in six different sizes, from cup to carafe. The classic brew yields a pleasant and balanced flavor. The rich brew provides a richer and more intense experience. The iced coffee mode brews fresh over ice. For latte lovers, the specialty brew mode produces a super-rich coffee concentrate, perfect for topping with silky smooth steamed milk.
Speaking of milk, the Ninja Specialty Brewer has a clever fold-away milk frother, not something often seen on a drip brewer. This unique design can froth either hot or cold milk in just a few seconds before slotting back in its hiding spot.
All things considered, the winner right now is The Breville BES870XL Barista Express. Quality manufacturing, excellent coffee, ease of use, and a great price all set this machine above the rest when it comes to making lattes, espressos, and a host of other drinks.
And there you have it – the best machines for making creamy latte. Once you pick one up, be sure to read this guide: how to make a latte, or in case you do not have a machine, here are a few different ways to do it instead. If you’re looking for the best coffee-making equipment – our guides and reviews on coffee gear may just help you decide.
No, not all espresso machines can make lattes (although every machine in this review does). Only machines with some kind of milk frother or steaming wand can make lattes. If your machines does not have a steaming wand, you can make steamed milk without an espresso maker using a milk frother – like one of these.
The difference between a latte and a cappuccino is the amount of milk and the amount of foam. A latte has more milk and less foam than a cappuccino. A cappuccino has less milk overall than a latte, but a mound of milk froth on top of the cup. Here’s a guide.
- ChefSteps. (n.d.). Retrieved May 29, 2019, from https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/steaming-milk
- ones, A. (2019, May 01). 8 Things Your Barista Wishes You Knew About Coffee. Retrieved May 29, 2019, from https://www.thekitchn.com/8-things-your-barista-wishes-you-knew-about-coffee-smart-coffee-regular-joes-217941