How To Choose The Best Latte Machine
Coffee is one of the most famous drinks in the world. Some coffee-lovers like to drink their coffee at different times and different situations, making it in-demand almost every second. It has been a staple throughout the world. This has lead to a bunch of cafes and coffee shops.
However, there is no need to visit cafés every day and pay more than you should. The richest lattes, espressos, and other kinds of coffee can be brewed just in your kitchen, as there are dozens of latte machines with different features that can help you choose the best latte machine to brew your favorite coffee every day.
Defining A Latte
To explain the details of a latte machine, we must first arrive at a definition of a latte. Although this coffee is typically famous and almost any kind of café offers lattes, most people still cannot identify it.
Latte is a type of coffee that originated in Italy like most of its counterparts. By definition, it is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk. It is usually served around 8-12 ounces in size and requires a double shot of espresso when making.
Although it has the same ingredients as with cappuccino, a latte uses more milk while adding lesser foam and espresso. Comparably, there’s an equal balance of all three ingredients in a cappuccino.
Lattes require a little shot of air that will help create a micro foam that would help give the milk a nice sheen to it.
Because latte’s primary ingredient is steamed milk, the secret to a good latte is frothing and steaming the milk perfectly to achieve the desired texture and taste. Of course, good-tasting brewed beans are a must as with any other coffee drink as well.
For more information on making a latte, please check this video.
Latte Machine Or An Espresso Machine?
With the definition of a latte all set, this brings us now to our next question, what is a latte machine? It is important to know the components and functions of a latte machine before ever investing in one.
It’s not every day that you purchase home latte machines. It’s best that you first read on what some of the best brands present in the market.
Typically, a home latte machine only has the capabilities of making a latte, but other products that have the versatility to create other kinds of coffee (ideal for a coffee lover with a broad range of taste). These versatile machines are called espresso machines.
You might want to decide based on the coffee habits you have. Are you strictly a latte drinker? Who is apathetic to other types such as cappuccinos and Americanos?
Then a latte machine is a practical choice for you. Or are you an adventurous coffee fanatic who wants to brew and drink all sorts of coffee? Then the espresso machine is a must.
The Auto And The Semi-auto
If ever you’re a beginner in the world of brewing coffee, then reading the title above might make you think that we’re about to make a 360-degree turn to talk about firearms, but here’s the catch: Coffee machines also have an auto or semi-auto feature.
One of the biggest problems encountered when brewing a latte or any other drink for that matter is the technique and methods that you must apply before having a sip of it in the morning.
Not all of us are baristas, and not all of us have the time and enthusiasm to learn the ropes in making our favorite drink. This is where the super-automatic machines come in handy.
The super-automatic gives a homeowner an edge in both time and management, as this requires only a push of a button to determine which coffee you’re brewing. Although it comes at a steeper price, there’s no doubting the abilities of this high-end coffee machine.
For those who are looking forward to undergoing the barista path (or maybe those who are on a budget), the semi-automatic is perfect for learning how to froth and steam milk while also tamping ground coffee to make espresso.
The semi-auto is also ideal for achieving maximum flavor due to the control that you have in determining the temperatures and measurements.
Don’t Forget The Ingredients
While a latte or espresso machine is the gateway to delicious coffee, we must also remember that every good drink starts with the basic ingredients as these are what make the core of any great coffee.
Skipping the proper ingredients may make your coffee undesirable as it can hamper your machine’s efficiency and production.
Lattes, although mainly composed of steamed and frothed milk, still relies on delicious espresso for maximum flavor. When making an espresso, it’s important to know that can select from a variety of options.
- Coffee Capsules
Branded coffee that goes hand-in-hand with the espresso machines (machines that have pods). The coffee capsules are packaged in plastic containers for an instant, fuss-free use.
- Coffee Pods
Similar to coffee capsules but are compatible with any brand of machine. These pods come with a filter and are quite expensive.
- Whole Beans
You’ll need a coffee bean grinder first to use this one for your latte machine, but grinding whole beans creates scrumptiously fresh coffee that comes at a lower price compared to pre-packaged ones.
- Ground Coffee
Traditionally used by the Italians to make espresso. Ground coffee is cheap but quite messy to use. Furthermore, it loses its natural flavor over time.
Since the best latte machines are convenient to store in your kitchen or on your countertop, there aren’t many problems regarding the size of these machines. However, as with most machines, it still requires a standard to follow to maintain it properly.
A super-automatic latte machine with a pod is usually the best choice for quick and easy maintenance, especially if it features a one-touch function.
Meanwhile, a semi-automatic’s milk steam nozzle will need proper purging and steaming to avoid spoiling the taste of your milk, making this path quite a messy one to follow.
The other parts such as the espresso spout, the dip tray, and the portafilter will need proper cleaning as well.
For more information on cleaning a semi-automatic machine, click this link.
Our Top Picks For The Best Latte Machine
The De’Longhi ECAM23460S Digital is a great super-automatic latte machine that conveniently helps you in the maintenance process because of its decalcification indicator lights which automatically sets the machine’s cleaning schedule while also allowing easy disposal of coffee waste.
This machine also comes with a warming plate on top that preheats the coffee cup that you will be using for a better experience in drinking your coffee.
Other features include an adjustable nozzle and a preheating setting of the warming plate.
- Adjustable nozzle allows it to cater to short cups without splashing
- Has a convenient decalcifying system
- Can take whole or pre-ground coffee beans
- Has a warming plate that can be switched into auto mode for instant heating before operation
- Water nozzle is perfect for both tea and coffee drinks
- Great style, very sleek design
- The Quick Start manual can confuse homeowners in operating the system
- Doesn’t have a clear guide on some of its parts, somewhat relies on trial and error
- The presence of nozzles still requires extensive cleaning
The Gourmia GCM5500 is a very affordable super-automatic latte maker that can also produce cappuccino and macchiato drinks. It’s extremely lightweight at only 11 pounds making it ideal for smaller kitchens.
Its main feature is a one-touch function that can easily brew your coffee of choice. The machine has an automatic milk frother and steamer that removes the trouble of cleaning nozzles which saves you a lot of time.
The removable water reservoir and drip tray accounts for easy cleaning. It’s also compatible with Nespresso pods which give it an edge in brewing espresso.
- Economical and convenient thanks to its 11-pound frame
- No need for prolonged cleaning
- Very straightforward to use, with LED display lights making things clearer and simpler
- Compatible with Nespresso pods as well
- Built-in milk frother
- Doesn’t accommodate larger cups
- Limited to the use of coffee pods only
At only 15 pounds, the Ninja Coffee Bar Thermal Carafe System boasts a built-in milk frother that can produce hot coffee or iced beverages.
It comes with a variety of choices in picking the brew size that you want. From a single-serve to a full carafe, the Ninja Coffee Bar Thermal Carafe System offers a broad range of drinks that you could try every day.
This all-around espresso machine also comes with an advanced thermal flavor extraction technology for enhanced flavor. Finally, it also has a one-touch intelligence system for added convenience and efficiency.
- Extremely versatile, can cover almost any kind of coffee drink
- Pod-free, gives it more edge in customizing your drinks
- Has a removable water reservoir for easy cleaning
- Can accommodate all kinds of brew sizes
- Comes with a variety of add-ons such as a thermal carafe and a recipe guidebook
- Thermal flavor extraction may backfire as it tends to brew slower than a typical home latte machine. Not ideal for a hectic day.
Mr. Coffee BVMC-EL1 is ideal for making fast lattes in only 5 minutes. Despite being designed with a light 7-pound frame, this home latte machine can take up to 24 ounces of coffee in one brewing cycle with its powerful, built-in milk frother.
The Mr. Coffee BVMC-EL1 also provides smooth operation thanks to its one-touch feature. It comes with a recipe book. It also gives you the option to make hot chocolate instead of lattes. This gives it extra points when it comes to versatility.
- Lightweight, very convenient to store and clean
- Extremely fast in brewing lattes and hot chocolates
- Comes with a recipe book with over 20 different latte recipes
- Has a one-touch feature for quick and easy use
- Powerful milk frother matched with light material brings questions about durability
- Doesn’t generate steam-driven espresso or milk, makes use of drip coffee and whisks milk instead
The Breville BES920XL is a sleek, stainless steel espresso machine that comes with dual pumps. These pumps function simultaneously for espresso extraction and milk steaming that saves you precious time.
This gives the Breville BES920XL high precision and accuracy on its temperature reading. The reading is PID-controlled and boasts an Over Pressure Valve (OVP) to maintain temperatures at a consistent rate.
The dual boilers come with a descaling option for easy home cleaning, and it also has a user-friendly auto-start setting for preheating your drinking cups through its hot water outlet.
- Very systematic, allows for simultaneous extraction and steaming
- Temperature is controlled through PID and OVP giving the espresso enhanced flavor
- Great exterior, the stainless steel makes gives it a good finish
- Has problems regarding the durability of its internal parts
- Steaming runs a little slower compared to the average steaming time
- Consumes power at a high rate
It is important to remember that choosing the best latte machine boils down to your preference. Whether you’re a coffee enthusiast or you just want a quick latte in the morning, these give you options to choose from.
Despite brewing espresso slower than the others, the lightweight Ninja Coffee Bar Thermal Carafe System is too good to pass up.
The number of drinks it can make should make you consider its versatility. It also boasts a pod-free feature which gives you an option to switch to ground coffee. Furthermore, it also caters to all brewing sizes.
To top things off, this home latte machine has a built-in milk frother which removes pain in cleaning troublesome nozzles.
With some sweeteners like carafes and the recipe book, this product is my pick for the best latte machine.