Give yourself the option of making a steaming latte at home with a new latte machine. A latte consists of either an espresso or regular coffee base, depending on your preference, topped with warm, frothed milk. These specialized latte machines feature a range of different functions that typically include an espresso setting, a cappuccino setting, a regular coffee setting, and a milk steamer or frothing wand, giving you the tools you need for a homemade latte.
The best latte machine for your home will depend on the type of hot beverages you enjoy, how much effort you want to put into crafting a drink, and your experience with specialty coffee machines of this kind. You may even prefer a coffee pod latte machine that can make any type of hot drink, as long as it has a corresponding pod. To gain a better understanding of what you might want to purchase, take a look below at some of the best latte machines for making the perfect latte while still in your pajamas.
- BEST OVERALL: Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Capresso 116.04 Pump Espresso and Cappuccino Machine
- BEST FOR BEGINNERS: Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker
- BEST POD LATTE MACHINE: Keurig K-Cafe Coffee, Latte and Cappuccino Maker
- BEST WITH GRINDER: Gaggia Brera Super Automatic Espresso Machine
- BEST ONE-TOUCH: Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Maker Bundle
- BEST COMPACT: SOWTECH Espresso Machine 3.5 Bar 4 Cup
- BEST VERSATILE: DeLonghi ECAM22110SB Compact Automatic Machine
Types of Latte Machines
Several different types of latte machines are available, including semi-automatic, super-automatic, and coffee pod.
Semi-automatic latte machines are the most difficult to use of the three types of latte machines. This is due to the fact that they are only designed to make espresso or coffee, while you are responsible for heating, frothing, and adding the milk portion of the latte to the beverage. However, this manual function of a semi-automatic latte machine may be beneficial if you have experience or skill in making lattes or latte art because it allows you to customize the drink and art to your exact preference. These machines typically cost less than super-automatic latte machines, but require more work on your part.
Super-automatic latte machines are high-end products that can cost over $1,000. These premium machines require very little effort to operate. You typically only need to add the water, coffee, and milk to the machine, and then relax while it makes the coffee, heats the milk, and then either micro-foams or steams the milk to create the latte. However, you can customize the settings so the latte machine creates a drink personalized to your tastes. Once you have customized the settings, you can rely on a super-automatic latte machine to replicate the same taste and texture for every latte. Despite these benefits, a super-automatic latte machine may be too expensive or require too many steps for your busy mornings, in which case a coffee pod latte machine may be the best option.
Coffee pod latte machines are convenient and reduce the complexity of making a delicious latte. You simply place a flavored coffee pod in the designated spot, make sure the machine is filled with water, place your mug, and push the button to begin brewing. This type of latte machine is inexpensive and easy to use. Premium coffee pod latte machines can also include a timer, so they automatically brew a fresh cup of coffee when you wake up. However, the downside of using a coffee pod latte machine is that the flavor is typically not as rich as a latte made with a semi-automatic or super-automatic latte machine.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Latte Machine
Before choosing the best latte machine for your morning routine, think about these important factors.
Take into consideration the size of your kitchen, the counters, and any other applicable space when you are choosing a new latte machine.
- Semi-automatic latte machines are frequently larger than coffee pod latte machines but smaller than super-automatic latte machines. This is due to the fact that these machines only include the tools necessary to make a latte, instead of the multiple components of a super-automatic latte machine for making a variety of coffee types.
- Super-automatic latte machines provide several additional features that can increase the size of the machine, such as a coffee bean grinder, a milk tank, a milk or cream frother, and a milk steaming wand. These machines may also have separate compartments for different types of drinks and specialty syrups.
- Coffee pod latte machines take up the least amount of space because they don’t normally boast the extra features that increase the size of the machine, such as a built-in coffee grinder. These compact devices can save space, time, and money, while still providing you with a quality beverage.
The material with which your new latte machine is made should be strong, durable, and heat-resistant. These materials can include stainless steel, plastic, and rubber.
- Stainless steel transforms a latte machine into a high-end product that does not rust or corrode when exposed to moisture and high temperatures. These machines also have built-in insulation to ensure they retain their heat, while also making certain the exterior does not become dangerously hot.
- Plastic can be a suitable material if it is thick enough to withstand the heat produced by the latte machine. If the plastic is cheaply made or very thin it will be susceptible to bending and warping. This can then cause steam, water, or milk to leak from the latte machine, causing damage to your counters, cupboards, floor, and possibly your other appliances.
- Rubber is primarily used to keep the various water, milk, and flavor compartments of a latte machine sealed and separate from each other. Keep in mind that you may need to replace rubber seals if they become old or otherwise don’t perform adequately.
Note that though both stainless steel and plastic are smooth, easy-to-clean surfaces, plastic may accumulate stress creases that can’t be washed away.
Depending on the type of latte machine you purchase, you can have a narrow or a very wide range of drink preferences, including the type, size, strength, richness, and even the ratio of ingredients in your selected drink.
- Semi-automatic latte machines supply you with the brewing system and the tools to create almost any hot drink you can imagine, as long as you have the knowledge to make the drink yourself. These latte machines are the best for allowing you to customize a drink to your own specifications.
- Super-automatic latte machines offer you a variety of drink options, but due to their automatic function, don’t have the customization features of semi-automatic latte machines. With this style of latte machine, you can choose from a range of drink types and set your drink preferences, but nearly everything is done automatically.
- Coffee pod latte machines allow you to choose from any type of coffee or heated beverage that has a corresponding coffee pod. Though some coffee pod latte machines only work with coffee pods made by the same manufacturer, many of these machines fit standard coffee pods allowing for a wider selection of drink types. However, coffee pod latte machines provide very few customizable options, which essentially means what is inside of the coffee pod is what you are drinking.
Latte machines can offer many different features, such as cup warmers, milk frothers, water filters, and a variety of programmable settings.
- A cup warmer is most common on latte machines or coffee makers that can brew a full pot of coffee. A cup warmer fulfills the same function for a single cup of coffee as a large coffee pot burner accomplishes for a coffee pot. A cup warmer is ideal if you like to program a latte machine to make your drink as you are waking up in the morning. It will keep your latte hot while you prepare to head out the door.
- A milk frother (or milk steaming wand) is a standard feature for a latte machine. It uses steam to heat and separate milk to produce the frothy foam you add to your latte. If you prefer a genuine latte to a coffee pod latte, then you need a milk frother.
- A water filter ensures that the water you are using in your latte machine is as clean as possible by filtering out minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, that can damage the machine and affect the flavor of your drinks.
- Programmable settings differ among latte machines but may include temperature, coffee strength, cup size, water capacity, milk capacity, and a timer to automatically program the latte machine to make your drink at a specific time.
Ease of Use
Latte machines can be incredibly simple to use or so complicated that you may not feel comfortable making a drink on your own. When you are looking for a new latte machine, consider your own experience with making lattes and other specialty coffee drinks and how willing you are to learn new techniques.
One-button interfaces, like those frequently seen on coffee pod latte machines, are the easiest to use. Just add water, a coffee pod of your choice, a mug, and then press start. On the other end of the spectrum, semi-automatic latte machines will brew a coffee or espresso for you, but then you are responsible for preparing the rest of the drink and steaming or frothing your own milk.
You should also consider how you prefer to make your coffee. A latte machine with a built-in grinder seems pointless if you only use ground coffee. Likewise, a brew system with a large coffee pot might be unnecessary if you live alone and only drink one cup in the morning.
Latte machines, like most kitchen appliances, can help your kitchen look incredible, or they can seem out of place with the rest of your decor. If you are satisfied with how your selected latte machine works, the next step is deciding if it will look good in your kitchen. While aesthetics should not be a primary consideration when choosing a latte machine, it also shouldn’t be neglected.
If you have a traditional or rustic kitchen, you may prefer a more conventional style of latte machine that will blend well with the natural wood tones. In this case, you might choose either stainless steel or a solid, neutral plastic. Conversely, a high-tech latte machine would better fit the aesthetic of a more modern kitchen. In addition to classic stainless steel, these products frequently offer a variety of color options, so you can choose one that matches your existing kitchen design palette. They may also feature an LED display and touchscreen interface giving the appliance a more contemporary appeal.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Some latte machines, like one-button coffee pod latte machines, are made with a few simple parts and are very easy to clean and maintain. These basic machines require you to regularly clean the pod compartment and the pouring area as well as wiping away the small drops of water that can spot the outside and base of the machine. You will also have to clean the water tank semi-regularly to ensure that hard minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, don’t build up on the inside and damage the machine or alter the taste of your drink.
More complicated latte machines must be taken apart and cleaned thoroughly, especially if the machine includes a milk compartment or milk frother, as milk can quickly begin to curdle if it is left in the machine or on the wand. To reduce your maintenance tasks, consider a latte machine that features a descaler setting that both limits the leftover minerals inside the machine and sanitizes the water tank or reservoir in the process.
Our Top Picks
Hitting the notes touched on above, this selection includes some of the best latte machines for quality and price.
Designed to give you the flexibility to customize your latte right down to a unique foam art creation, this semi-automatic latte machine from Breville uses a built-in digital temperature control system to deliver water at just the right temperature. It also features a milk pitcher and several brew filter choices to help you find the right option for your personal taste preferences.
The latte machine is made of stainless steel, so it won’t rust or warp with exposure to water and steam. It also offers an integrated coffee bean grinder with a simple, grind-size dial that allows you to choose the ground of your coffee. For lattes, the machine includes a steam wand, so you can froth or steam your milk, producing a hand-textured micro-foam to pour over your coffee.
This inexpensive semi-automatic latte machine from Capresso displays indicator lights for both “on/off” and to indicate whether it is set to brew coffee or steam milk. It is made of a combination of stainless steel and black plastic for a design that fits the aesthetic of most kitchens. The machine also features a stainless steel-lined heating system to reduce heat loss, allowing your coffee to heat up faster.
You can pour one or two drinks at a time with the dual sieves on this latte machine, and use either ground coffee or pre-packaged espresso pods. The swivel frother—or steaming wand—continuously produces steam to achieve a perfect frothy top on a cappuccino or a silky, steamed milk finish to your morning latte.
Using this super-automatic latte machine from Mr. Coffee is simple, allowing you to make lattes, espressos, cappuccinos, and other coffee beverages at the touch of a button. Just choose a single or double shot filter, select your coffee grounds, fill the milk reservoir, and pick a brew type. This machine is made of stainless steel and black plastic, so you won’t have to worry about it warping or rusting.
The latte machine features a built-in milk reservoir, eliminating the need for a milk frother or steam wand. It will either heat up, froth, or steam the milk based on your preferences, and then automatically add the foam to your drink. However, the manufacturer recommends cleaning the frothing tube after each use to prevent the growth of mold and other bacteria.
Do away with the mess of coffee beans and coffee grounds by investing in this Keurig K-Cafe coffee pod latte machine. You can use it with K-Cup coffee pods to make up to six cups before you need to refill the water reservoir. This latte machine also makes cold drinks, like iced lattes or iced cappuccinos, so you have the option of enjoying a hot or cold beverage.
Some coffee pod latte machines heat the water first and then depend on you to choose your brew settings. With this machine, you don’t have to wait. Just add the water, insert the coffee pod, place your mug, and allow the machine to heat up water and brew your coffee in one step. It also features a dishwasher-safe, integrated milk frother, so you can still add a steamed milk top to create an authentic latte.
Few scents are as deliciously aromatic as fresh ground coffee in the morning. With the built-in grinder of this Gaggia semi-automatic latte machine, you can grind coffee beans to your preferred consistency. It will then begin brewing immediately so you can enjoy the strong, full flavor of your freshly-ground beans. It is made of stainless steel and includes silver or steel-colored accents as well as push-button controls and a modern LED display with illuminated icons.
The latte machine also has an intuitive learning system, called the Brera Adapting System, which allows it to learn from the drink preferences you select to better adjust the grind of your beans for an optimal taste. The included frothing wand can be used to steam or froth milk and doubles as a hot water dispenser for Americanos or tea.
If you prefer to keep your mornings simple, then the Nespresso VertuoPlus coffee pod latte machine with a one-touch brew function is an excellent option. This machine is capable of brewing different beverage types and sizes at the touch of a button. Just add a Nespresso coffee pod and the machine will scan the barcode on the exterior of the pod to provide the optimal temperature and brew process. It also features a separate automatic milk frother to froth or steam milk without the use of a wand, so you can let the frother do all the work. Then, when the milk is ready, just pour it over your coffee for an authentic latte taste.
The water reservoir on this latte machine can swing out or be tucked into the back to save space in your kitchen, making it both compact and flexible, It also features a motorized lid that automatically disposes of used coffee pods in the built-in garbage bin located at the back of the machine.
With this compact semi-automatic latte machine from SOWTECH, you can have the delectable latte flavor you love without sacrificing a lot of counter space in your kitchen. At only 11 inches by 8 inches by 14 inches in size, this machine features an accurate temperature regulation control to ensure the ideal water temperature for your drink. Use the included glass carafe to make up to four cups of coffee at a time.
The latte machine is made of stainless steel and black plastic, giving it an aesthetic that suits modern kitchens. Switch between coffee mode and steam mode to use the frothing wand to steam your milk and top off your latte or cappuccino. The drip catcher at the base of the latte machine ensures your counter remains clean, and it can be removed for easy cleaning.
Some households have family members with a wide array of coffee preferences, requiring the flexibility that this versatile semi-automatic latte machine offers. It provides the option of using ground coffee directly or utilizing the built-in grinder for freshly ground coffee. For even further customization, you can choose between 13 different grinder settings for your ideal coffee bean consistency.
After you select the coffee beans, adjust the settings for a creamy latte, macchiato, flat white, espresso, cappuccino, and many other hot drink selections. The frothing wand uses pressurized steam to create a rich and creamy milk froth for your drink of choice. You can also preset the coffee temperature, coffee strength, and cup size to create the exact drink you want.
FAQs About Your New Latte Machine
Take a look below to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about latte machines.
Q. Can you make a latte with regular coffee?
Yes, you can make a latte with regular coffee.
- Prepare milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until you see bubbles forming around the edges of the pan, or put the milk in the microwave for a few minutes.
- Make the milk frothy by using a handheld milk frother.
- Brew approximately 2 tablespoons of dark roast coffee for every 5 or 6 ounces of water.
- Pour brewed coffee into a cup leaving space for the frothed milk.
- Top with the frothed milk and enjoy.
Q. How do you steam milk for a latte?
You can steam milk for a latte using a steam or frothing wand.
- Pour the milk into an appropriate container, like a small pitcher.
- Place the heated steam wand from your latte machine just below the surface of the milk.
- Open the steam valve to begin steaming the milk.
- Continue steaming until the milk reaches 100 to 115 degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can estimate the temperature by checking for warmth on the sides of the pitcher.
- Lower the steam wand further into the milk to heat the milk to 160 degrees. Make certain not to exceed 160 degrees as this will scald the milk and cause it to taste burnt. Again, if you don’t have a thermometer, you can estimate this temperature. The container should feel uncomfortably hot to the touch but not scalding.
Q. What type of milk do baristas use?
Baristas use a variety of milk, including almond, oat, low-fat, skim, 1 percent, 2 percent, and whole milk, depending on each customer’s preference. However, whole milk is the best option for fluffy latte foam and latte foam art.
Q. Can you make lattes using an espresso machine that does not have a milk frother?
Yes, you just have to froth or steam the milk using an alternative method, such as the microwave, french press, or by using an individual milk frother wand.
You can put milk in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake it, and then remove the lid and put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds; this will produce a frothy milk that is suitable for lattes.
Alternately, put heated milk into a french press coffee maker and quickly pump the plunger to create a froth in the heated milk. You can then pour or spoon the milk onto your coffee.
Q. How long does a latte machine last?
Coffee makers of all types, including latte machines, typically last between 6 to 10 years, depending on how frequently you use it and how well you maintain it.