Last Updated: February 2017
Several hot beverages use espresso as a base, including latte. If you prefer to mix things up a bit, you’ll need an espresso machine that can also help you produce latte, cappuccino, and other similar drinks. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the best home espresso machine for lattes.
Table of contents
- What is a Latte?
- Steam Driven vs. Pump Driven
- Super-Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic
- Our recommendations
What is a Latte?
Latte is an espresso-based beverage that contains larger amounts of hot, steamed milk than a cappuccino. As such, it is often “foamier” than a cappuccino, and also has a slightly sweeter flavor. It is produced by steaming milk and whipping it into a froth, then mixing this concoction into a brewed espresso base. While it is entirely possible to create lattes without a special machine, the right one will definitely make the process quite a bit easier.
Steam Driven vs. Pump Driven
When choosing the best home espresso latte machine, you have two basic types from which to choose. The first is a steam-driven one that operates by moving pressurized steam to force water through the coffee grounds. The other is a pump-driven machine, which makes use of an electric pump to perform the same process. Pump-driven machines are thought of as more advanced, and will therefore provide you with more pleasing results. Even so, they do tend to cost more, in which case you may prefer a steam-driven model if you are on a limited budget.
Super-Automatic vs. Semi-Automatic
There are two different types of pump-driven machines: super-automatic and semi-automatic. The biggest difference between the two is the amount of automation each one offers. Super-automatic machines perform nearly all the functions for you, while semi-automatic units perform only a few. As such, the amount of work involved varies greatly between the two, as does your potential results.
A semi-automatic espresso machine would be ideal if you:
- Have a reasonable amount of latte or espresso-making skills
- Wish for greater control over every aspect of latte making
- Are very particular about your results
You may prefer a super-automatic machine if you:
- Are looking for a no-hassle method of brewing latte
- Want to take the guesswork out of brewing beverages
- Wish to make delicious latte in a fraction of the time
When trying to decide on the best espresso latte machine, there are numerous models in every price range from which to choose. Here are a few we believe are worth looking into.
This machine is perfect for beginning espresso and latte makers, and includes:
- The ability to brew with pods or ground coffee
- Swivel jet frother, which makes it easy to prepare latte and cappuccino
- Self-priming operation that reduces start-up preparation
- Two separate thermostats to ensure beverages are always the perfect temperature
Some users report that this espresso maker began operating sluggishly after a few months of use. Whether or not you experience this will likely depend on your usage. For light to moderate use, this is an excellent value for your money, particularly if you are looking for a simple espresso machine with few extra bells and whistles.
The Breville 800ESXL Triple-Priming Die-Cast Espresso Machine is a step up from the DeLonghi EC155, and provides you with a few extra features. It is a stately and handsome appliance that is also every bit as rugged as it looks. This machine comes with:
- 15-bar triple prime pump
- ThermoBlock heating system for added efficiency
- Frothing pitcher
- Selector dial that easily dispenses hot water, steam, or espresso
While it is an attractive and durable machine, the Breville 800ESXL is nonetheless bulky, and will take up quite a bit of room on your kitchen counter. Users also remark that the filters seem to clog easily as well.
Nespresso Inissia Espresso Maker
If your goal is to make frothing milk as easy as possible, you may want to consider the Nespresso Inissia. The one-touch design makes frothing both hot and cold drinks very quick and easy to do. Some other features include:
- Available in a variety of colors
- Preheats quickly, normally in under 25 seconds
- 19-bar high pressure pump
- Two programmable buttons for creating lungo and espresso
While this machine makes frothing easy, it does have a small capacity. As such, it may not be suitable if you plan to make several latte or espresso drinks at one time.
The Gaggia 14101 is the perfect machine for those who want a high-volume appliance with an extended lifespan. Designed for the most serious latte lovers, this machine has a 72-ounce reservoir, making it possible to go for longer periods of time without refilling. Other features are:
- Single and double-shot stainless steel filter
- Brass portafilters and grouphead to allow for greater stability in temperature
- 17 ½ bar pump
- High voltage boiler and hot water dispenser
While this is a top-of-the-line model, it does tend to be difficult to operate unless you are very familiar with espresso machines. As such, you should be prepared for a steep learning curve in the event you do decide to invest in it.
There are lots of things to consider when choosing the best espresso, cappuccino, or latte maker. We hope the information found here will be very useful when it comes time for you to find a home espresso maker for lattes or any similar hot beverage.