A home latte machine allows you to make the latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and mocha of your dreams, without having to pay coffee shop prices. Most espresso and cappuccino makers for your home will pay for themselves in just a few months at most if you regularly drink coffee and espresso with steamed or foamed milk. But how do you find the best home latte machine, especially when you’re on a budget? Our research team tried and tested 25 different latte machine models to find the best latte machines around. We splattered ourselves with milk foam, drank from dainty demitasse and big cappuccino glasses, and nodded and muttered about “crema” and “aroma” as we went. Yes, there were many caffeine jitters, too. But the results are in! We’ve prepared a simple, real-world buying guide below. Before we dive in, look over this list of important specs that you need to know when buying your home latte machine.
Makes Latte & Cappuccino - You’re here for the latte, so this spec is important. Espresso latte machines usually brew espresso and have a frothing wand for milk, but some use a separate milk reservoir or brew and froth in the same container. Some machines also allow you to adjust the consistency of the froth, while others just turn the frothing mechanism on or off.
Makes Espresso - If you’re ever in the mood for a plain espresso shot or want to experiment with new drinks, the latte machine reviews include models that brew espresso by itself. Make sure the milk frothing mechanism is separate from the brewing area if you want to be able to enjoy an espresso on its own. Moreover, most of the machines can produce single or double shots, with programmable or manual pulls.
Uses Ground Coffee -Do you prefer to grind your own beans right before brewing or pick out your favorite pre-ground espresso beans at the store? Learning how to tamp ground espresso is an art form in itself, and some home cappuccino and espresso makers require more practice than others. This spec shows you if the machine can take coffee grounds.
Uses Coffee Pods - If you prefer convenience over ritual, the best latte machine for you might be one that takes ESE coffee pods. Some of our list picks can take freshly ground coffee and espresso pods, but some are exclusively one or the other. The pods for espresso machines are different than the ones used in coffee machines, and some machines also allow you to use refillable, reusable pods.
Water Tank Capacity - We like espresso machines with good-sized water tanks in order to pump out as many shots as possible before refilling. Larger water reservoirs are great for making espresso or lattes for a group. Most of the home latte machines on our list have water tanks that are also removable. This makes them easier to clean between uses, and easier to fill up.
Dimensions - How big is it? Size matters. If you want a desktop espresso machine or one that you can set up on a countertop, smaller is better, but larger devices may offer more features like a milk reservoir and larger water tank size. It’s important to compare the overall size of the model against the space you have for it. Not a big deal, but worth checking out.
We uncovered a range of impressive yet inexpensive home latte machines in our testing process. There should be something for everyone, from pod coffee lovers to aspiring baristas to people who just want to keep their expensive tastes without dropping lots of money each week at their local coffee shop. Whether you want to feel creative or just get a strong caffeine hit, one of these machines should do it for you. Happy brewing!