A Latte To Love: 5 Of The World’s Best Latte Machines
A latte is a drink with Italian provenance, but it has made its way into the hearts and kitchens of coffee drinkers around the world.
If you love that unbeatable combination of espresso and hot, steamed milk, then buying a latte machine means you can sip your favorite drink at home on a regular basis.
There are plenty of devices out there that promise to deliver exceptional coffee, but this guide can help you find the best latte machine on the market.
** Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can click links above to see current prices and read customer's review on Amazon
Espresso Machine vs. Exclusively Lattes
One of the first things you'll need to decide is whether you want to invest in a latte machine that can only make lattes or an espresso machine that can be used to a make a wide range of drinks.
A latte is, by definition, a shot of espresso mixed with hot, steamed milk. If you have an espresso machine, you can steam the milk separately and then pour it right over the freshly made espresso.
That espresso machine can also be used to make an Americano, a cappuccino or a range of other coffee drinks. Of course, if you only drink lattes, it makes sense to buy a machine that exclusively makes these drinks.
Semi-automatic vs. Super-automatic
Coffee is a divisive topic for some gourmands, and the range of latte machines available on the market reflects that. At one end of the spectrum are one-touch latte machines, which are also known as super-automatic.
To operate these, you won't require the skills of a barista or a host of coffee-making knowledge. All you need to do is select the kind of drink you want and press a button, and your latte will essentially make itself.
If you want to recreate the perfect coffee shop latte at home, these super-automatic machines are going to do a spectacular job. However, they do tend to come with a higher price tag as a result.
At the other end of the spectrum are the semi-automatic latte machines. These machines require you to handle tasks like steaming milk and tamping down ground coffee for an espresso.
To make a basic latte, you can simply use any espresso maker and add heated milk to the mix, which might be the most affordable option if you're on a budget.
Deciding Between Pods and Fresh Grounds
Another decision you'll need to make as you hunt for the perfect latte machine is whether you want to use coffee grounds or coffee pods.
There are definite pros and cons to both, but the right decision is ultimately up to each buyer.
- Coffee pods tend to be more expensive than ground coffee, but they are more convenient and far less messy.
- Ground coffee is used to make a more traditional espresso and therefore latte, but ground coffee that is more than a few days old can become less delicious.
That means that many serious coffee enthusiasts need to buy whole beans, grind them at home and then use them in their latte machines. This necessitates the additional purchase of a coffee bean grinder.
Footprint and Storage Options
Space is also a big concern when you begin searching for the best latte machine for your home.
Some latte machines are designed for commercial use, which means that they can be too heavy for a single person to lift, and they can easily take up a large portion of your kitchen's countertop.
There are also plenty of smaller latte machines that are lightweight and can easily be moved or stored in cupboards when not in use. Be sure to consider space requirements in your home when you select your latte machine.
Cleaning Your Latte Machine
If you plan to make multiple lattes every day, whether at home or at your workplace, you could end up with a lot of cleaning to do.
Depending on the kind of machine you buy, cleaning can be a quick second at the end of each use or a longer process.
A one-touch latte machine with a pod will probably require the least amount of effort to clean while a semi-automatic espresso machine with a milk steamer on the side will need to be cleaned thoroughly after every use to ensure the dairy doesn't spoil and ruin your next drink.
Choose From These 5 Incredible Latte Machines
The Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine is the kind of machine you would expect to find in your local coffee shop.
It has a sealed bean hopper at the top of the appliance, which means that you can grind your beans on the spot before you brew your latte. I loved the thick crema that resulted on every espresso as a result of the fresh beans!
The machine is made from stainless steel, which means that it is designed to last.
There are also a number of excellent features, including the auto-purge function to regulate temperature and the automatic light that comes on when it is time to clean the machine.
The swivel-action steam wand was perfect for heating milk to make lattes, but the size of this machine was excessive.
Although it creates a fantastic latte, it's probably too large and expensive for everyday home use.
- Grinds beans for perfectly fresh coffee every time
- Comes with stainless steel construction designed to last
- Includes accessories like milk jugs, tampers and filters
- Creates a thick, visible crema
- Has a removable drip tray
- Very big and weighs over 23 pounds
- Difficult to use without proper training
- Expensive price point
The DeLonghi America Nescafe Dolce Gusto Mini Me Espresso and Cappuccino Machine is the answer for anyone searching for a quick, easy way to make a latte with the touch of a button.
I appreciated the sleek design of this latte machine, but most important was the fact that I didn't need any barista training to make a delicious, frothy drink.
All I had to do was fill the water reservoir, pop in a coffee pod and press a button. I placed a milk pod in and pressed the button again.
Voila! A latte was made, and I didn't even need to have milk in the fridge to do so.
One drawback to this particular machine was that some of the pods included sweeteners, and some were just too sweet. There is no way to control the sweetness because it's already packaged.
- Makes hot and cold lattes
- Creates drinks with the touch of a button
- Includes pods for dairy and for coffee
- Removable water tank holds 27 ounces for multiple drinks
- Works with different cup heights and sizes
- Only works with Nescafe pods
- Reservoir for water can be tricky to put in place after refilling
- Not a true latte for coffee purists
- Can't control sweetness levels
Although this isn't technically a latte machine, it can be exactly what you need to supplement existing equipment and make incredible lattes at home.
The Cafe Casa 2 Speed Milk Frother is a simple, inexpensive wand that does one thing: froths milk.
If you already have an espresso maker at home but you're ready to start upgrading your afternoon coffee to a latte, then the cheapest option may be an ordinary milk frother.
To try it out, I heated up half a cup of milk and then dipped the frother into the liquid. This has a seriously powerful motor and creates a velvety froth in seconds. Combined with premade espresso, the latte was perfect.
This is a breeze to store and keep clean, but you will need to replace the AA batteries occasionally if you're a frequent user.
- Incredibly lightweight, small and easy to store
- Very inexpensive
- Simple to use without instructions or training
- Takes just seconds to clean
- Lets you adjust the foaminess of your latte
- Requires an espresso maker to create true lattes
- Included batteries will need to be replaced
- Can be messy if you try to froth a full mug of milk
The Original Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker is a very traditional way to make espresso-based beverages.
Created in Italy in the 1950s, this device is a classic that makes simple, delicious espresso for homemade lattes.
I had to take a few minutes to understand how it worked, but once I got the hang of it, I was ready to go. The coffeemaker looks like a small metal pitcher, and it comes apart into three main section.
Simply place cold water in one section and fresh coffee grounds in another, and then screw the pieces into place and put on an oven burner.
In a few minutes, you'll have high-quality espresso ready to pour into your latte. You'll need to heat the milk on the side, but since the oven is already in use, it's easy enough to do so.
- Very affordable way to make espresso
- Uses fresh ground coffee for a rich taste preferred by purists
- Easy to use and understand for a coffee beginner
- Sleek, retro stainless steel design looks great in any kitchen
- Can't be placed in the dishwasher
- Can take up to 10 minutes to make a latte
- Need to steam the milk separately
- Requires a stove to work
The Nespresso Inissia is the perfect latte machine if you want to make traditional espresso but don't mind a more low-key milk-steaming process.
This machine operates with pods, which means that you just select your pod, press a button and wait for the espresso to be made in under 30 seconds.
A handy interior section holds up to 10 used pods so that you don't have to hold the hot pods to remove them once they're spent.
One downside I found was that the Nespresso pods were quite a bit more expensive than ground coffee on its own, but the convenience may be worth the cost.
You can steam milk for each latte on the stove, in the microwave or with the compatible Aeroccino.
I simply steamed a half cup of milk on the stovetop for a few minutes before adding the espresso, and the latte was delicious.
- Touch-button design
- Makes an espresso in under 30 seconds
- Removable 24-ounce water tank for easy refills
- Automatic shut-off after nine minutes of inactivity
- Includes an interior used capsule container
- Only compatible with Nespresso coffee pods
- Requires milk for lattes to be heated separately
- Fold up drip tray required for taller glasses
Finding the best latte machine is no easy feat, but my top pick is the Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker.
Thanks to the use of pods, there is no need to grind coffee beans or make a mess, and the storage footprint of the maker is tiny and ideal for smaller kitchens.
Heating milk is the easy part, but crafting that perfect espresso makes all the difference when it comes to making wonderful lattes. Best of all, the whole process can be done in under a single minute.
If you are a coffee lover and need your coffee all the way to work, check out 5 Best Coffee Tumblers!
What are your thoughts on the best latte machine? Comment below about your preferences when it comes to at-home lattes, and share this article with a friend who is looking for a latte maker!