Philips 3200 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine w LatteGo Review
Imagine an espresso machine that can do it all. You push a button, sit back, and await your perfect cappuccino – almost like having a barista on call. Sounds great, right? It also sounds expensive. But it doesn’t have to be.
Philips 3200 LatteGo is one of the market’s most affordable fully automatic espresso machines. It doesn’t quite have all the features of the fancier models, but it also won’t require you to drain your bank account.
To find out if it has the right balance of options to price to meet your needs, read this detailed Philips 3200 LatteGo review.
Summary: The Philips 3200 Fully Automatic Espresso Machine
- Super-automatic machine with an integrated ceramic flat burr grinder.
- Five pre-programmed specialty drinks: espresso, coffee, latte macchiato, cappuccino, and Americano.
- Redesigned milk frothing system is easy to clean with no pipes or tubing.
The 3200 LatteGo delivers as expected. It is truly one button, and you have an awesome coffee. The milk frother unit is as easy as it looks.– Customer
The Full Philips 3200 LatteGo Review
Love ’em or hate ’em, fully automatic espresso machines occupy an important niche in the home coffee brewing world. They’re the only way to get coffee or espresso from freshly ground beans at the touch of a button – short of going to a coffee shop and tapping the credit card machine.
How does the Philips 3200 Series fully automatic espresso machine stack up against others in its field? It’s not the most advanced machine on the market, but it’s also far from the most expensive of the top-rated automatic espresso makers. I thought the balance between features and price was pretty impressive when I used it. Let’s go in-depth into what’s on offer, and we’ll see if you agree.
Design – 4/5
The design of the Philips 3200 Series fully automatic espresso machine is simple but classy. Its casing is mostly shiny black plastic, with enough chrome accents to give it an expensive feel without actually upping the cost. Of course, it would be nicer to see an all-metal exterior, but that’s unrealistic at this price point.
This is the cheapest model of Philips fully automatic espresso machine, including a stainless steel drip tray. Step down to the 2200 Series, and you’re looking at plastic. Given that the drip tray is a portion of the machine that sees plenty of grime and heavy use, I think this is a noteworthy upgrade.
The Philips 3200 is relatively compact, given that it’s an all-in-one system with a grinder. It measures 37.1 cm tall by 24.6 cm wide by 43.2 cm deep, so it easily fits under upper cupboards. One of my favourite features is that the 1.8-litre water tank comes out from the front rather than lifting out the top like most espresso machines. So if you have placed the Philips 3200 LatteGo under your cupboards, you won’t need to slide it out every time the water reservoir needs refilling.
You access the bean hopper through the top of the machine, and it holds 275 g of whole bean coffee. There is also an optional bypass chute for pre-ground coffee, which is handy for an occasional decaf or flavoured brew. If you’ve ever used flavoured coffee beans in a burr grinder, you know just how hard it can be to remove the flavour, as confirmed by the experts at Coffee Review, the world’s most widely read and influential coffee buying guide (1).
Flavoured coffees are liable to ruin grinders that use burrs rather than blades to take apart the coffee. The flavouring material clings to the burrs and complicates cleaning and is almost impossible to remove completely.
The Philips 3200 comes with a measuring scoop that shows you the exact right amount of ground coffee to add per brew cycle. Don’t be tempted to fill the chute, or it won’t brew properly. And definitely don’t accidentally put whole beans down there.
The adjustable coffee spout is a nice design addition, sliding from 8.5 to 14.5 cm of clearance. At its lowest, you can brew right into a demitasse for espresso without worrying about splashing. And its upper reaches, you can prepare a large latte. However, I wouldn’t count on getting a travel mug under there; those tend to run closer to 18 cm.
Brewing System – 3.5/5
The brewing system on this fully automatic espresso machine is similar to most top latte machines. It is a compliment because it’s also cheaper than most others. The Philips 3200 Series fully automatic espresso machine brewing system even has one advanced feature that I was surprised to discover. But we’ll get to that.
The Philips 3200 has a built-in ceramic burr grinder starting from the beginning with 12 grind size settings. You won’t need to play with the grind size too much, but it’s nice to have some options for dialling in if you like switching between light and dark roast beans, for example. Ceramic burrs tend to be a bit less sharp than steel burrs, but the trade-off is their durability, and these burrs will easily last the machine’s lifetime.
A 15-bar pump provides plenty of pressure to extract a proper espresso. The optimal extraction pressure for espresso is typically considered to be 8 or 9 bars at the group head, and this machine achieves that easily (2). You’ll get the full body and thick crema layer you expect.
Intelligent Brewing System
The Philips 3200 Series fully automatic espresso machine relies on what Philips terms an “intelligent brewing system.” The claim is that it chooses the ideal temperature between 90 and 98°C to extract the maximum aroma from your coffee beans. There is no way to really know how this patented system operates, but overall, it delivered a tasty cup of coffee. And the temperature range is in keeping with the ideal extraction temperatures as recommended by the Specialty Coffee Association (3).
What most excites us about this machine is the automatic pre-infusion stage, a welcome surprise at this price point.
This low-pressure pre-wetting of the grounds guarantees a more even extraction, so you get the maximum flavour from your coffee beans (4). If you’re an espresso nerd, you’ll note that the extraction is a little fast – on the order of 20 seconds. However, this didn’t seem to translate to any loss of flavour in the cup.
The LatteGo milk system is just as advanced as the brew system, whipping air and milk together in the frothing chamber before dispensing it into your cup at the ideal temperature – hot and sweet but not scalded. In my tests, the milk frother worked best with 1%, 2%, and whole dairy milk. With plant-based milks like almond, cashew, and soy, you still get frothed milk at a nice temperature and with some increased body, but the texture varies widely (5). The soy milk was dense, while the cashew milk foam was very thin. If you prefer dairy-free milk and still want proper milk froth texture, look for a brand labelled “Barista style,” which will have the right balance of fats and proteins to mimic dairy milk.
Room For Improvement
If I have one primary critique of this machine’s brewing system, it’s not the quality; it’s the volume. This is a loud espresso maker. The coffee brewing is fine, but the grinder and the LatteGo milk frother are noisier than average. Look elsewhere if you’re looking for a stealthy route to an early morning espresso shot.
Coffee Quality and Versatility – 3/5
Compared to some of the larger and more expensive coffee machines, the Philips 3200 Series fully automatic espresso machine has a small selection of one-touch drinks. But the drinks it offers run the gamut, so no one will be left unsatisfied. It has the classics found in coffee shops: espresso, Americano, latte macchiato, cappuccino, and standard coffee. Also, you can brew each one either as a single or a double, and you can also get simply hot water or a glass of warm milk.
Brewing any of the coffee drinks is very straightforward, requiring only the touch of a button to start the coffee cycle. There is no display screen or menus to navigate. There is one button for each coffee beverage – press once for a single or twice for a double – and then a few other buttons to the side that let you adjust your preferences. A handy “stop” button lets you shut off the espresso or the milk froth mid-stream if you think your coffee looks ready.
It would be nice to see a few more customization options for each of these coffee drinks, but again, this is a bargain-priced machine, and that’s a premium feature. In this case, you can choose the volume of coffee in each drink and adjust the coffee brew strength to one of three levels (mild, regular, bold). You can also choose how much milk is added to the milk-based drinks. That’s all. You can’t control the temperature of the coffee, nor can you change the temperature or texture of the steamed milk. This latter adjustment would help work with plant-based milks, which is becoming increasingly common (6). The Philips 3200 does, however, remember your preferences, so you don’t have to reset them each time.
The quality of coffee and steamed milk is very good with this espresso machine, as long as you like the default temperature and milk froth settings. I will mention that the milk foam is dense and creamy when using typical 2% cow’s milk, and it’s closer to what you want for a latte than it is to the airy froth of a traditional cappuccino. If you go to Starbucks and have six different addendums to your order – extra hot, low foam, extra whip, etc. – you may want to spend more money on a machine with more programmable features.
As a general rule, a fully automatic coffee machine like this will never match the coffee quality of a semi-automatic espresso machine at a similar price point operated by a skilled user. Nor can it compete with the local specialty coffee shop and its $20,000 espresso machine. But the Philips 3200 can make a delicious brew in the hands of an unskilled user, and that’s the selling point of this machine style. You don’t need to spend hours or days perfecting your technique and dialling in your brew.
Cleaning and Maintenance – 4.5/5
The ease of cleaning and maintenance is one of the outstanding features of this espresso machine. Suppose you’ve ever owned a fully automatic espresso machine. In that case, you know that cleaning is often the worst part – ironic given that these other automatic espresso machines are marketed for their simplicity and convenience. They are either complicated to clean yourself or, more often, impossible. Instead, you have to spend a lot of money buying unique cleaning solutions or having them cleaned by professional technicians.
Philips 3200 Series is an exception and is the easiest-to-clean fully automatic espresso machine.
First, it has a removable brew group that is easy to access. Just remove the water tank, open a door, and it pulls right out. Home Grounds recommends you give it a quick rinse with hot water once a week to keep it spick and span – a task that amounts to about 30 seconds of work. This model includes an AquaClean filter and water hardness test strip. If you install the AquaClean filter, you can pull at least 5000 shots before considering descaling.
The whole system’s shining star is the design of the LatteGo milk system, an update from older models. It doesn’t use tubes or piping, which are always awkward to clean and crusted in stale, burnt milk. No, thank you! The LatteGo frother is just two plastic parts, a milk container, and a frother attachment. You can easily clean them by hand, and they’re also dishwasher safe. The milk container can be removed and stored in the fridge between brewing coffee.
After brewing, you can access the coffee grounds container with the used ground coffee by sliding out the drip tray. It holds 12 brews worth of espresso pucks, so you likely won’t need to do this daily.
Value for Money – 4.5/5
The Philips 3200 LatteGo is excellent value for money and is one of the most affordable super-automatic espresso machines on the market. While affordable isn’t always a good thing if it comes at the cost of quality, Philips has found the right balance between features and cost savings in this case. When comparing it to other espresso machines, let’s not forget that it includes a built-in ceramic grinder, which costs at least $100 to buy separately.
Let’s talk a bit about where the Philips 3200 skimps so you can decide if they’re trade-offs you’re willing to make. As already discussed, it doesn’t have a lot of customization options, and you’ll have to trust its “intelligent brew system” to prepare your perfect coffee. It also forgoes a fancy touchscreen display in favour of simple button operation. This might not look as high tech – and no, you can’t run this machine with your iPhone – but it’s easier to use and considerably cheaper to manufacture.
If you’re willing to skip the automatic milk frother, a version of the Philips 3200 has a more traditional steam wand frothing system that is about $100 cheaper. This is a better value choice if you rarely make milk drinks like lattes and cappuccinos. But otherwise, I don’t think the cost savings are worth the loss of convenience.
Do Not Buy the Philips 3200 LatteGo If…
- You want a more hands-on brewing experience: A super-automatic espresso machine is built for convenience and consistency, but they sacrifice the control of preparing coffee yourself. Semi-automatic models aren’t as foolproof, but they allow you to be more involved in espresso-making. And once you have the hang of it, you can make better espresso to your taste.
If a semi-automatic espresso machine appeals to you, check out our full review of the Breville Barista Express, a perennially popular option. It is one of few semi-automatic espresso machines that includes a built-in grinder, so you can be hands-on while still enjoying the convenience of a bean-to-cup machine.
For other options, visit our round-up review of the best home espresso machines: https://www.homegrounds.co/ca/best-espresso-machines/
- You’re willing to pay more for premium build quality: If you have the budget and don’t want a plastic espresso machine, consider renowned Swiss manufacturer Jura. They have a series of machines, all featuring a stainless steel wrap and various high-tech features to optimize extraction.
The Jura E8 coffee machine is one of the most popular mid-range home models, but be prepared to pay nearly three times the cost of the Philips 3200.
- You want something more compact: Though it might seem large next to your coffee machine, the Philips 3200 is actually one of the smallest fully automatic espresso machines. If you need to go much smaller, you may need to reconsider your brewing style.
One option is an automatic espresso machine like the Breville Bambino Plus. It’s super compact, easy to use, and includes automatic milk frothing. But it requires a bit more hands-on work than the Philips, and remember, you’ll also need to make space for a grinder.
If you want a level of convenience similar to the Philips 3200 LatteGo, then a Nespresso machine like the Pixie or the Essenza Mini is your best bet. But capsule coffee will never achieve the same fresh coffee flavour, and you’ll need to buy a separate frother for milky drinks.
So who is Philips 3200 Series fully automatic espresso machine for? It’s for any coffee lover looking for an affordable one-touch espresso machine who doesn’t mind making a few sacrifices in build quality and customizable features.
The Philips 3200 is super easy to use and maintain, makes delicious coffee and espresso drinks, and does it at a price that won’t break the bank. Home Grounds gives it a thumbs up for value.
- Coffee Review. (n.d.). Flavored Coffees: Flavoring Compromises and Alternatives. Retrieved from https://www.coffeereview.com/coffee-reference/coffee-categories/flavored-coffees/flavoring-compromises-and-alternatives/
- Seven Miles Coffee. (2021, November 23). What is the Ideal Pressure for Espresso? Retrieved from https://www.sevenmiles.com.au/editorial/espresso-pressure/
- Fekete, M. (2019, February). How brew water temperature affects espresso extraction. Retrieved from https://www.beanscenemag.com.au/brew-water-temperature-effect-espresso-extraction/
- Aloe, R.M. (2021, September 14). Pre-Infusion for Espresso. Retrieved from https://towardsdatascience.com/pre-infusion-for-espresso-dab5185b8094
- Korhonen, J. (2018, March 12). Plant Based Milks and Coffee: Barista’s Pros and Cons. Retrieved from https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/jori-korhonen/march-2018/plant-based-milks-and-coffee-baristas-pros-and-cons
- Fraklin-Wallis, O. (2019, January 29). White gold: the unstoppable rise of alternative milks. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/jan/29/white-gold-the-unstoppable-rise-of-alternative-milks-oat-soy-rice-coconut-plant