How to Make the Perfect Latte
Which are the best latte machines on the market today? Being one of the most popularly ordered coffees at a cafe, knowing how to make a latte is a serious skill that will impress your friends and save you the expensive Starbucks bill each month!
Of course, you will need to invest in the best quality latte machine first, but once you have the equipment and the knowledge, getting that perfect latte every morning will make your life so much easier.
The latte is a beautifully creamy and rich coffee that can be experimented with, creating so many different flavors. The most crucial trick to making this drink is the espresso ratio to milk: ⅓ espresso and ⅔ milk. The first step is preparing an espresso shot or two using an espresso machine, adding the shot(s) into a heated Latte glass once pulled.
You will then need to prepare your preferred milk by filling the milk jug and submerging the steamer wand into the pitcher. Steaming the milk can take some practice to get perfect, and a good tip is to stir the foam while frothing to create a microfoam. Depending on your skill level, you can attempt latte art but ensure you leave room at the top of the foam for this.
What is the Difference Between a Latte Machine and an Espresso Machine?
So why can’t we just use an espresso maker to get the perfect latte? While espresso is one of the two key ingredients for making the perfect latte, the other is the deliciously creamy frothed milk. So a latte machine with a built-in steamer wand or milk frother is the most effective way to get that perfect steamed milk with a thin layer of microfoam.
If you only have an espresso machine but still want to create a latte at home, you can always purchase a handheld milk frother to froth the milk. This will not give you the same good quality latte as the latte machine, but if you are a beginner barista and not yet ready to ditch your espresso machine for a latte yet, this could be a good option.
Although once you find your inner barista, we are sure you will want to ditch the handheld milk frother for a latte machine!
Our Top Rated Latte Machines at a Glance
- Mr. Coffee Espresso and Cappuccino Maker – Best for all-round use
- Breville BES870XL Barista Express Espresso Machine – Best for barista-quality lattes
- Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker, Latte Maker, and Cappuccino Maker – Best for pod coffee users
- Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte Maker – Best for beginners
- Gevi Espresso Machines 15 Bar Fast Heating Cappuccino Coffee Maker with Foaming Milk Frother Wand for Espresso, Latte – Best for a semi-automatic budget machine
- Calphalon BVCLECMP1 Temp iQ Espresso Machine with Steam Wand – Best for mid-range semi-automatic machine
- Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine – Best for one-touch, easy use
Considerations Before Buying an Espresso Coffee Maker
If you are not ready to purchase an espresso or latte machine yet and want an easy way to make delicious brewed coffee at home, this article might be an excellent introduction to home-brewed coffee.
Making coffee in a Latte machine is as simple as adding ground coffee beans to the appropriate holder in the machine, waiting for the water to boil, and allowing it to seep out for a few minutes.
When purchasing a Latte machine, these are the following factors to consider:
A Latte machine is crafted from stainless steel. However, if you are looking for an affordable option, many budget-friendly options on the market will get the job done.
An essential part of a Latte machine is the filter that fits snugly into the machine that filters out the grounds of coffee in your finished product. The filter should be made of a stainless steel fine mesh and consist of three layers.
When purchasing a Latte machine, especially a more expensive model, it may be good to check if there are replacement parts available if it becomes damaged.
Some models of Latte coffee machines will recommend hand washing. It is essential to note this when you purchase one as you can damage the device by cleaning it incorrectly. Also, it is essential to empty all the ground coffee from the holder and clean the machine after each use to avoid staining.
When investing in a Latte coffee maker, you need to decide whether you will also invest in a coffee grinder or if you will buy your beans pre-ground. A coffee grinder will help you get that fresh ground coffee taste and mix different flavors of beans to create unique blends.
You can grind to the perfect size for your machine. Generally, for a Latte machine, a fine grind of beans is suggested for the best results.
Latte machines can range dramatically in prices, with smaller and cheaper options available. If you are looking for the finest brew that will deliver good quality coffee every time, then buying a more expensive model with either a ceramic or stainless steel carafe is going to be a good investment for you.
Filter: A nested three-layer filter made of stainless steel fine mesh is integral to a Latte Machine. The filters should fit tightly inside the walls of the carafe to ensure coffee grounds don’t get into your coffee.
Our Review on the Best Latte Machines to Buy This Year
Best for all-round use
Amazon’s Choice in “Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines by Mr. Coffee”
This semi-automatic machine is an excellent option for beginners to experienced baristas. It features a 15 bar-pump espresso maker with a tamper and an automatic milk frother to help get that perfect creamy latte texture every time without the guesswork.
The machine comes with automatic settings for making a single or double espresso, latte, or cappuccino but also allows for custom settings if you would prefer not to use their settings. In addition, the milk frother features a frothing wand within the milk reservoir and can be adjusted on a scale to how frothy you need the milk.
It can also be removed from the machine and stored in the fridge, meaning you never need to waste leftover milk again!
The machine has an automatic cleaning button which makes the cleaning easy and efficient after every use and prevents mineral buildup, which can damage the machine long term. Unfortunately, the milk reservoir is not dishwasher friendly, but the water reservoir is for deep cleaning.
The machine does not come with a built-in grinder. However, it can be purchased together with a Mr. Coffee grinder. It is made of stainless steel and comes in three colors; white, red, and silver. Ensure to read the instructions carefully and enjoy the recipe booklet that comes with it.
The machine measures 11.22 x 8.86 x 12.6 inches and weighs 10.37 pounds.
Many customers have enjoyed how easy this latte machine is to use and the high quality of coffee it produces. Mr. Coffee is one of the most popular names in home-brewed coffee, with various products ranging from beginner to expert.
Best for barista-quality lattes
Amazon’s Choice in “Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines by Breville”
If you are an experienced barista or even a beginner who is willing to learn, this machine is your one-stop-shop with all the essential equipment included to make the perfect latte at home. This product is top of the range and is more expensive than some of the other models. However, it is worth the investment for caffeine aficionados and also comes with a 1-year warranty.
It comes fully equipped with a dose-control grinder, tamper, steaming wand, and espresso machine, as well as additional accessories such as stainless steel milk jug, razor dose trimming tool, 1 & 2 cup single & dual wall filter baskets, portafilter, cleaning brushes, and tablets, coffee scoop and even an Allen key for maintenance.
With this machine, you have all the tools at your disposal to make your coffee exactly to your taste, starting with an adjustable grind size dial on your grinder capable of grinding any coffee bean to the appropriate size.
Once your beans are ground, digital temperature control (PID) delivers water at the precise temperature to ensure optimal espresso extraction.
The low pressure of water pre-infusion will gradually increase and ensure that your chosen bean’s flavors are drawn out evenly for a perfect balance. In addition, the steam wand allows you to select the ideal texture of microfoam milk for your latte and the capability of creating latte art.
The water tank holds 67oz, with the machine measuring 13.25 x 12.5 x 15.75 inches and weighing 23lbs. It is made of stainless steel and comes in black or silver. The power of this latte machine is 1600 watts, and the voltage is 120 volts.
Breville has truly perfected the art of barista-quality coffees at home.
Best for pod espresso use
Amazon’s Choice in “Coffee Machines by Keurig”
Coffee pods are hugely popular right now, especially in the workplace where you want a quick but quality coffee to keep you going through the day without spending a fortune on takeaways. The Keurig K-Cafe coffee maker combines the ease of coffee pods with the taste of a barista-style latte or cappuccino.
The machine is simple to use. Simply insert any k-cup pod and use the button controls to brew a delicious coffee with no hassle. It features an intelligent start system which means it heats itself, then brews in one easy process, so you don’t need to wait for anything before serving your drink. In addition, it will accommodate mugs and travel mugs up to 7.2” tall, perfect for lattes on the go.
The large 60oz water reservoir will allow the user to brew up to 6 cups before refilling. In addition, it can be compatible with My K-cup universal reusable coffee filter if you would like to brew your ground coffee rather than the pods.
It comes with a dishwasher-safe frother and will alert you when it is recommended to descale the coffee maker, making cleaning easy and regular. The machine measures 17.32 x 14.17 x 14.41 inches and weighs 12.57lbs.
Keurig produces high-quality coffee machines designed to be used with their pods, they aim to make professional-style lattes easy and fast for everyone, and it seems their customers agreed as they are ranked #9 in coffee machines on Amazon.
Best for beginners
Using the Mr. Coffee Cafe Latte Maker is probably the easiest way to make a latte with delicious creamy-frothed milk at home. The instructions are simply to add ground coffee to the top, fill the water reservoir and milk jug, and press start.
Allowing the milk to foam enables the coffee to drip seamlessly into the milk. To save energy, the latte maker will automatically turn off once the coffee is made.
It also comes with a recipe book with over 20 recipes to help spice up your lattes; even beginners to latte making can feel like pros with these drink ideas! Although the pitcher is not double-walled, it can make four cups at once in the 24oz jug, so leftover coffee may not stay warm for long.
It is made of stainless steel and only comes in black. The weight of the machine is 7.26lbs, and the measurements are 11.9 x 6.9 x 13.8 inches. The device can be purchased with a permanent Mr. Coffee filter, or disposable paper filters can be used.
The machine is easy to clean and maintain through running a cleaning cycle. However, the reservoir is not dishwasher safe.
The latte machine is one of Mr. Coffees’ more lower-quality and straightforward designs. It is currently ranked #610 in coffee machines on Amazon. This machine may not cut it for those who want the freedom to make their latte to their liking, but this is a great option for beginners and those on a budget.
Gevi Espresso Machines 15 Bar Fast Heating Cappuccino Coffee Maker with Foaming Milk Frother Wand for Espresso, Latte
Best for a semi-automatic budget machine
If you are looking for a full latte machine complete with an espresso maker and steamer wand but can’t afford to splurge a few hundred dollars, the Gevi espresso machine may be perfect for you.
Despite the low cost, this machine still features a 15 bar pressure system to provide fast, stable extraction of your coffee, dual temperature control of the water and milk foam, and a 1350W thermoblock fast heater for an even and smooth distribution to your coffee.
All tools are available to you to make a high-quality latte at a fraction of the cost.
Gevi has designed a triple protection system with 25 minutes of auto shut-off, overheating protection, and pressure relief for your safety. The machine has a stylish stainless steel design and comes in silver or black.
The water tank can hold 1.25L; however, it does not include a milk pitcher, so you would need to purchase this additionally. The accessories included are two-cup filter accessories, a detachable water tray, and steam wand accessories.
The machine measures 32 x 27 x 35 cm and weighs 4.3kg. The reservoir is dishwasher safe; however, the rest of the device should be cleaned thoroughly according to the instruction manual.
Gevi is an American brand that specializes in creating kitchenware and appliances for all budget types. This machine has been ranked #81 in coffee machines on Amazon. Although the rating is not very high, many customers who purchase this find it works well and loves the price tag!
This could be an excellent device for a beginner to start using semi-automatic latte machines.
Best for mid-range semi-automatic machine
Amazon’s Choice in “Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines by Calphalon”
The Calphalon Temp iQ Espresso machine is a level up from the beginner espresso machines, without the hefty professional latte machine price tag. Featuring a 15-Bar Italian pump, steamer wand, dial interface for selecting steam or hot water at different temperatures, 58mm porta-filter, and pre-programmed single and double shots.
It can be purchased with an integrated conical burr mill grinder with 30 adjustable grind settings for an additional cost.
The 2L water reservoir comes with a hinged lid for easy filling, and when purchased, the machine comes with a stainless steel milk pitcher, tamper, and cleaning pin. The tray also works as a cup warmer, which helps to pre-heat your mug or glass and enjoy warmer coffee for longer.
The machine measures 15.6 x 14.5 x 17.3 inches and weighs 21.7lbs. The reservoir is dishwasher safe; however, the rest of the device should be cleaned thoroughly according to the instruction manual.
Coming in at #9 on the Amazon rankings for semi-automatic espresso machines, this machine has been getting great reviews from satisfied customers. Some reviews even compare this model to the Breville and state this machine works better for them in the long term!
Best for one-touch easy use
Amazon’s Choice in “Semi-Automatic Espresso Machines by Mr. Coffee”
Mr. Coffee has produced another one-touch espresso and cappuccino maker, with a few differences to the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista we reviewed earlier in the article. Nevertheless, it is another excellent option for fast and efficient lattes with a high-quality taste.
The preset settings make this great for beginners as you simply need to select the type of coffee you would like to make, select how frothy you would like the milk, and let the machine do the rest.
The main difference between this model and the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista is the size and capacity, with the One-Touch Coffee House being a larger model capable of making more coffees at a time. This model features a 19-bar Italian pump, 650ml milk reservoir, three thermocouples, two espresso cups, a stainless steel drip tray, and can make six cappuccinos or three lattes at a time.
The machine is made of plastic and only comes in silver. It measures 13 x 10.6 x 14.3 inches and weighs 15.23 pounds. Customers have loved how easy it is to make lattes with this simple one-touch system. However, some have noted that the machine is very loud when operating. Nevertheless, overall it has been ranked #7 on Amazon in semi-automatic espresso machines.
What You Should Consider Before Buying a Latte Machine
When investing in a latte machine, you should do some research and find the best fit for your budget, taste, and lifestyle. The following considerations are important when deciding which device is the perfect fit for you.
When you start looking to purchase a latte machine for your home, the prices can seem daunting! Prices can go from anywhere in the low hundreds to up to a thousand dollars, so knowing how much you can afford to spend is vital before you start looking.
We tend to look at the purchase as an investment. But, of course, suppose you invest more money into an expensive model. In that case, it will generally last longer and produce a better product long-term.
If you purchase a cheaper product, that may produce lower quality coffee and not last as long. This doesn’t mean that cheaper models can’t be just as good in your home. That is why researching to find the best machine to suit your budget is essential.
Maintenance and cleaning
Each machine will have different specifics for everyday cleaning, deep cleaning, and maintenance, so it is essential to research which devices will suit your lifestyle when it comes to their upkeep.
As a gold standard practice to keep your machine clean and to run smoothly, you should be emptying the espresso of beans, rinsing the head, wiping down the steamer wand, and emptying the waste tray after each use.
When it comes to deep cleaning and general maintenance, ensure you follow the instructions of each model strictly, as you do not want to damage the machine with incorrect cleaning.
The capacity of the water reservoir/s
The water reservoirs can vary in size, with larger, more industrial machines having a sizable reservoir for making many coffees and smaller ones just making a few lattes before being refilled.
If you are getting a machine for your home, it may not be so important to have a large reservoir, but if you are planning to make multiple coffees at once, then you may consider a machine with a larger reservoir.
Similarly to considering the capacity of a water reservoir, it is vital to think about how you will be using this latte machine and whether you require a large machine capable of making many coffees simultaneously or a smaller device that fits well into your kitchen.
Not all latte machines will come with a grinder. If you are looking for a device that has all the tools you need to make a coffee, look for a machine with a grinder equipped. Do not worry if you found your dream machine, but there is no grinder attached; simply purchase a grinder separately for use alongside your latte machine.
The steam wand is essential when a product is considered a latte machine, as the frothy, foamed milk is the key to making the perfect latte. Read the reviews on each product you are considering and pay attention to the comments on the quality of the steamed milk it produces.
FAQs on Latte Machines
What other equipment and ingredients should I consider buying before using my latte machine?
Your latte machine may come with assorted extra equipment. However, if it does not come with the following, you may need to purchase each separately. The essential tools for making a latte include a coffee bean grinder, milk frothing jug, espresso cups, and latte glasses.
Of course, you will also have to purchase the coffee beans of your choice and the milk of your choice to create your perfect latte.
Is a latte machine worth it?
Having a high-quality latte machine in your home is perfect for those lazy mornings in bed, working from home with a delicious coffee, or even entertaining guests with an after-dinner latte. If you are the type of person to purchase coffee on your way to work every morning, a latte machine is definitely worth the investment as you will end up saving more money in the long run.
Once you have the machine and the equipment, the device just needs to be kept clean, and your only expense will be the coffee beans and milk!
How long does a latte machine last?
A home latte machine can last anywhere between five to 15 years, depending on the brand, type of machine, and how well you take care of it. To help get the most out of your machine, we recommend buying a device with a good warranty policy, keeping it clean, and performing regular maintenance.
The Final Grind
Choosing the perfect latte machine may seem daunting, but choosing a latte machine that suits your lifestyle, budget, and skill-set is easy enough with a bit of research. If you are not confident that you will get the creamy-frothed latte milk perfected with a steam wand, start with an automatic milk frother machine.
For those who are confident in their barista skills, investing in a quality espresso machine with a milk steamer wand will be a great investment for you in the long term.