Best Latte Machines in 2021 – A perfect creamy finish every time

by Mama Loves A Drink

A curated buying guide to the best latte machines to make your own wonderful milky espresso coffee drinks at home

One of our best investments this past year when coffee shops closed and full lockdown occurred was getting a home espresso machine – or more specifically a latte espresso machine for our home.

Now that we have an amazing latte maker at home I’m not sure we can ever look back!

A fabulous addition to our kitchen at far less of an investment than you’d think – compared to paying coffee shop prices every day – not to mention getting to enjoy our creamy lattes out of our own latte glasses!

It certainly took hours of research though to narrow it down to the best home coffee machine for lattes. There are so many brands and options, the online shopping journey is honestly overwhelming!

Helping to simply things though, we’ve picked out the features amateurs through to coffee connoisseurs will want to seek out when making perfect lattes (and cappuccinos or any milky espresso drinks) at home.

So let’s get brewin’ mamas!

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Milk foam being poured on top of a latte - text overlay pick the perfect latte machine for home

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What’s the difference between a regular coffee maker and a latte maker?

The key ingredient of a latte is the steamed milk with a thin foam layer on top.

Therefore a good coffee machine for latte making needs to also have a steamer or warm milk frothing function.

Many get by on using a smaller, slimmer espresso machine for home with a separate frother device or milk steamer only when needed. However, if you are a regular latte drinker, it’s definitely worth investing in a larger machine which can handle multiple varieties of espresso coffee.

The difference you are looking for when comparing latte machines is not necessarily how the espresso is made but the inclusion of a milk steaming function.

What about the difference between a Latte and a Cappuccino?

A latte machine will certainly work for your cappuccinos as much as your lattes – both require steamed milk. The difference between a latte and cappuccino is your proportions and textures between:

  • Espresso
  • Steamed milk
  • Milk foam

Cappuccinos have a thicker layer of bubbly milk foam on top, whereas lattes are topped only with a thin layer of foam. There’s a bit of an art to a proper latte as you want to avoid big air bubbles; your espresso machine will need a powerful steam wand or temperature control function to perfect the amount of foam.

Buying a cheaper model of latte machine you may need to compromise that you’re making a sort of latte-cappuccino hybrid!

And what about a Latte vs a Flat White

Often confused for being the same thing, but smaller! Any flat white drinkers though will quickly set you straight there’s a big difference between lattes and flat whites. They have the same amount of espresso, but a flat white essentially is only heated milk with a thin layer of micro foam.

A latte in comparison has more milk and more like a 1/4 inch of foam to finish and normally slightly larger therefore more milk overall.

Invest in a good quality latte machine though and you’ll be making not only lattes AND cappuccinos but any combination you want of milky espresso drinks!

Features to look for in a latte machine for home

So what exactly is your average home barista going to want in a latte machine?

Let’s first look at exactly what sort of espresso coffee makers you can buy for home, and then how the milk function differs between machines.

Grinder vs pod coffee machine

There are two main types of latte coffee machines for home you will encounter; those that make your espresso from pressure being applied to a pre-packaged “pod” of fine coffee grinds, and those that use fresh coffee grinds from coffee beans.

A coffee pod machine is the ultimate in hassle-free coffee preparation. Granted, you as the barista won’t have much control over the end flavour, you will still get a decent shot of espresso without needing to master any of the brewing processes.

These pre-packaged pods come in different sizes so be aware not all are compatible across models.

On the other hand, using traditional coffee grinds can give you the freshest results and the most control over the flavour of your coffee and the crema.

Some espresso machines will come with inbuilt grinders, otherwise you will need a separate grinder or to purchase freshly ground coffee to use in the coffee machine.

A very limited number of latte machines will give you the choice between pods or ground coffee. However, generally speaking, you will need to choose at the outset what sort of coffee maker you’re after, before going into details on how to warm your milk.

Semi Automatic v Automatic Espresso Machines

Beginners who love convenience above all else will want an automatic espresso machine. All the work is done for you at the mere press of a button. Coffee connoisseurs, on the other hand, may prefer semi-automatic as you have more control over the espresso flavour and milk texture.

Semi-automatic machines will make the espresso for you at the press of a button then you will control the milk steaming and texture with a milk steaming wand. A good semi-automatic machine will give you further control over the grinding process, even if it’s digitally set.

Automatic machines, as the name would suggest, are pre-programmed but over extractions can cause the espresso to become diluted. The ability to turn off the pump manually is essential if you want to control the taste of your espresso.

Super-automatics machines are another league ahead. They normally come with a one-touch panel and all the thinking work is done for you. You may not have as much control over the flavour but they are the ultimate in convenience, best for those who run on a tight schedule and time and simplicity are a priority over the flavour.

If you are more experimental and like to please a crowd at home, not just your own coffee preferences, go with a semi-automated machine. In a rush on the go and want your coffee warm and now – super automated – hey even pre-program your espresso to be ready from your bedroom!

Other factors to consider purchasing your latte machine

So once you know what sort of espresso coffee you are making and how much manual control you’ll have over the milk foaming process, what else does a latte-lover need to know before purchasing a latte machine for home use?

Cleaning and maintenance to prolong your latte machines life

Regular cleaning and maintenance will help prolong your machines life. It will ensure quality and consistency. We recommend machines that come with descaler (you may be familiar with this if you used a baby bottle steriliser) which removes the leftover minerals inside the coffee machine. It will also sanitise the tanks.

Size and visual aesthetic of your latte machine

Undoubtedly for many of you size really does matter! With a plethora of kitchen appliances these days, this is one that likely will remain out on the benchtop all the time so size and visual appeal are of importance.

Smaller and cheaper machines will often only fit one size of coffee cup, where as more expensive machines will allow you more flexibility, including taller latte glasses.

Equally, as a display piece, you’ll want to think about how it fits in with your kitchen too. Are you all stainless steel products or prefer sleek black, or are you on-trend with Retro Red this year?

Price of your latte maker

Be realistic about what features you need. If you don’t plan on texting your order in from upstairs, do you need fancy fully automated functions and a colored touchscreen?

Only the occasional brewer who likes to truly appreciate every sip, or will it become your workhorse several times a day for family and guests?

Our advice if its your first investment in a home coffee maker, spend enough to make it a good investment but don’t over complicate the features you’ll actually use.

Budget – end of the day – features, size and aesthetic aside – the most important thing is what can you afford? These espresso machine for home can vary vastly in price when features don’t always feel comparable. If you are a medium to high volume user; think about the cost-saving vs regular buying out?


6 Best Home Latte Machines

Let’s jump into then, what should you have on your latte machine shopping list in 2021?

We provide you here with machines that cover a wide range of budgets and coffee-making styles so you can choose the one that will fit your household best. We’ve summarized them first or pop on below and see exactly why we’ve chosen each, plus some comparable models to consider.

Product BrandBrandKey featuresPrice range
Breville BES878BSS Barista Pro Espresso MachineSemi-automatic
Built in grinder
$$ - check prices here
De'Longhi ECAM35075SI Dinamica with LatteCrema Fully automated
Built in grinder
$$$ - check prices here
Nespresso Citiz Coffee and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi with AeroccinoAutomated
Nespresso pods & Aeroccino frother
$$ - check prices here
Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso MakerAutomated
No built in grinder
$$ - check prices here
Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Latte Maker Fully automated
K-cup
$$ - check prices here
De'Longhi ECP3120 15 Bar Espresso Machine Semi Automated
No built in grinder
Hybrid pods or grinds
$ - check prices here

Pricing guide: $ – under $200USD; $$ – $200-$1000USD; $$$ over $1000USD

Best Semi-Automatic Latte Maker: Breville BES870XL Barista Express

Our overall champion in grinder espresso latte machines is the Breville BES870XL Barista Express. This extremely popular semi-automatic machine is a little larger than most but provides the latte-lover with the most amount of control over the latte making process at home.

You will need to invest a little time developing your skills using the steaming wand to make the most of it but you will get top quality results. Everything is built in with this latte machine from the conical burr grinder to the steaming wand so you can ditch any other home appliances and rely on this one machine to deliver quality milk espresso drinks every time.

What We Love:

  • 360-degree swivel action steam wand for your manual milk frothing and texturing
  • Digital temperature control for optimal espresso extraction
  • Dose control grinding to adjust coffee flavour
  • Grind size control to customise the level of crema
  • Single and double shot option
  • Separate hot water dispenser for making other hot beverages – you can ditch the kettle!

What Could Be Better:

  • You have no control on the hot water temperature. If you are using it for tea making too, this could be too hot

Not entirely a fault of the machine, but do note it is quite large compared to other home espresso models. At 16″ tall it may not fit all countertop spaces, but if kitchen space allows, worth it’s weight in gold for this deluxe semi-automatic latte maker.

Similar latte machines from Breville

We studied this machine carefully against the very similar Breville BES980XL Oracle Espresso Machine and the Breville BES880BSS Barista Touch Espresso Machine – on the face of it they all seemed very similar grinding machines.

The biggest difference other than the digital and LED screen replacing manual knobs, is that the milk steaming is automated in these models. If you are happy with a one-press solution, particularly being able to program exactly which sort of milky espresso drink you’d like these may be a better option for the latte drinker to consider.


Best fully-automated latte machine: De’Longhi ECAM35075SI Dinamica with LatteCrema Fully Automatic Espresso Machine

If budget will stretch and you want a sleek benchtop espresso machine that “does the lot” then the De’Longhi Dinamica could be the machine you are after. Ok latte-lovers control yourself here; it has 18 built in coffee recipes ready to go at the press of a button!

If you have lots of different preferences in your household exactly how you like your milk then this is the latte machine for you.

What We Love:

  • Automatic and adjustable LatteCrema System for perfectly textured lattes and cappuccinos
  • The dual heating system grinds and froths simultaneously
  • Works well with plant-based milks such as oat, soy and rice milk
  • The built in conical grinder means no more extra coffee-making equipment needed
  • Enjoy 13 adjustable settings for the perfect grind every time
  • Store your perfect recipe in the MYMENU function so you don’t need to program your choices every time

What Could Be Better:

  • The price! Yup, this much convenience and quality brewing will set you back a bit. If you have more than one latte drinker in the house though and you drink daily, it is certainly the latte machine worth making a big investment in.

Other De’longhi fully automated machines

Although we were already weeping a little at the price tag for our favourite fully automated choice, this was actually one of the cheapest of the fully automated grinder machines from De’Longhi! You are definitely investing in long term quality here for your kitchen.

We could equally recommend the other Delonghi models but did not feel they hugely added more to the fully-automated coffee process. Some others you can look at for full comparison purposes include:

De’Longhi ECAM37095TI Dinamica Plus – a close comparison in a gorgeous titanium finish, with touch screen – upgrade to this model for the looks though functionally pretty similar to the Dinamica

De’Longhi Eletta Digital Super Automatic Espresso Machine – super automated says it all, this is the one you want to program ahead, perhaps it’ll even put your slippers on for you?


Best compact latte machine: Nespresso Citiz Coffee and Espresso Machine by DeLonghi with Aeroccino

After something slim, sleek and looks great on the kitchen bench? Of course, its Nespresso!

The masters of making coffee look and taste good, the Nespresso Citiz Coffee and Espresso Machine comes with the patented Aeroccino3 Milk Frother as part of the built in unit. Yes, this adds to overall width of the latte machine, but latte-lovers will know you need a little more equipment than your straightforward espresso drinkers.

What We Love:

  • 19-bar pump system for optimal extraction – requires Nespresso or compatible small capsule pods
  • Reaches ideal temperature in just 25 seconds
  • Energy saving function means the machine will turn off automatically after inactivity
  • Espresso and Lungo settings to suit your preferences
  • Aeroccino3 allows you to froth in both hot and cold modes for iced espresso drinks too
  • Removable drip tray to enable you to fit taller glasses
  • Elegant slimline design available in both black and white

What Could Be Better:

  • Limited catchment for the used pods, you’ll need to clean them out regularly
  • Only 2 sizes of espresso available, more advanced models have more options

Comparison to other Nespresso latte machines

Oh where do we start! No wonder online shopping can be overwhelming. It’s important to note that Nespresso have their own branded lines, though the machines are made by manufacturers such as Breville and De’Longhi.

Nespresso branded machines also come in Original and Vertuo – the two do NOT use compatible pods (of course, eye roll… ). In fact, you can ONLY use Nespresso pods in a Vertuo whilst an Original Nespresso machine will allow you to use other compatible capsule pods (we’d always recommend aluminum over cheaper plastic ones).

The major difference in the actual coffee, Original is a classic pump-based, pressure-driven machine whilst the newer Vertuo uses a centrifugal extraction method. Although you can get an Aerocinno to go with a Vertuo, the general consensus is latte drinkers will want the original machines.

On some original Nespresso machines the Aeroccino milk frother unit is standalone, others there’s an integrated position to place your Aeroccino, like on the Citiz.

Other compact latte machine brands we love that use Nespresso capsules include:

The Breville Nespresso Creatista Single Serve Espresso Machine not only looks wonderful in the kitchen but includes an awesome automated frother with 8 texture settings and 11 temperature settings for perfect single serve espresso beverages every time.

The Nespresso Essenza Mini Original Espresso Machine by De’Longhi is another great compact kitchen option in red, lime or black. A super simple fully automated unit with the standalone Aeroccino bundled in the price.

Beginners Latte Maker: Mr. Coffee One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker and Cappuccino Machine

Whether you’re short on space, time or short on budget, you absolutely cannot look past the Mr Coffee brand to deliver you with a quality product. The One-Touch CoffeeHouse Espresso Maker and Coffee Machine is a super-automated dream for milky coffee lovers! Take out all the guess work with the ability to create no-fuss wonderfully steamed milk.

Your home barista can manually control the size of the shot, whether its a single or double espresso, latte, or cappuccino. The dial above the inbuilt milk reservoir let’s you choose how much foam you want.

What We Love:

  • 19-bar Italian pump for maximum flavour extraction
  • Dial control between latte and cappuccino foam
  • Removable milk and water reservoir can both be stored in the fridge between uses
  • Adjustable cup tray allows you to fit taller mugs – great when you want to fill your travel mug on the go!
  • Single push button to clean between uses

What Could Be Better:

  • You are reducing the space because you have no built in grinder. This still requires you to have another appliance in order to make the prefect espresso; the focus here is really on making milk the star of the show.
  • Some customers report that the machine is quiet noisy – beware early morning brewers!

Comparison to other Mr Coffee brands

The most similar model is the Mr. Coffee Cafe Barista Pump Espresso Maker with Milk Frother. Another equally good choice for those who like their milk steamed at the press of a button. This delivers a 15-bar pump system which some prefer for coffee flavour, and is slightly more compact with a stainless steal finish rather than plastic which some prefer for kitchen aesthetic.


Best latte machine for K-Cups: Keurig K-Cafe Single-Serve K-Cup Latte Maker 

This Keurig K-Cafe Single Serve K-Cup Latte Maker is a sleek and efficient latte maker that’s quick and easy for a first time at-home barista to learn how to use. This machine works with a K-Cup Pod – so you brew a concentrated coffee shot first then froth your choice of milk to create a creamy latte of frothy cappuccino.

This particular Keurig K-Cafe comes in two colour choices to suit your kitchen décor – charcoal and nickel (Special Edition).

What We Love:

  • Ease of use for new home baristas – no manual guess work
  • The frother is easily removeable and dishwasher safe
  • Choice of 4 automated cup sizes – 6, 8, 10 & 12 oz
  • Can accommodate mugs up to 7.2″ tall

What Could Be Better:

  • Some customers have reported inconsistency in the amount of froth you get each time, not the best model if you really like your milk drinks finished in a particular way.

Other Keurig latte machine models

The only reason we have not ranked this latte machine as one of our favourites and best value for money, you need to use the Keurig K-Cup pods. Once you’re neck deep in the world of coffee machine buying the diffrence will become obvious but when you’re new to home espresso making – it’s confusing!

Any capsule or pod espresso coffee maker needs to have compatible capsules/pods to work. The two main brands you will find are K-Cup – a Keurig branded product and Nespresso. Then there are the differently sized K-Cups!

We are camp Nespresso all the way but we know there are equally big fans of Keurig and K-Cup. This is a whole other conversation we’ll cover over here later!

If you do go down the K-Cup Pod route, the good news is you can buy reusable K-cups. They will naturally take a little more work but are environmentally friendly.

You may also want to look at the Keurig Rivo for latte-making or add a Keurig frother to your regular Keurig espresso machine.


Best value hybrid latte machine: De’Longhi ECP3120 Espresso Machine with Advance Cappuccino System

This is really as simple and affordable as it gets for as you can for a latte machine. At the complete opposite end of the scale to the Dinamica, also from De’Longhi, this semi-automatic 15-Bar espresso maker will still have you brewing at home like a pro.

You will be manually controlling your own milk texture and making creamy, frothy milk espresso drinks to your own liking. We love that you can choose between fresh grinds or pods, not limiting your coffee-buying habits!

What We Love:

  • Accommodates taller mugs
  • Hybrid pods and grinds taken
  • Maintains its heat so you can immediately prepare one cup after another
  • Many of the components are dishwasher safe for cleaning
  • For what you get in a compact latte machine, it really is great value, albeit it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles and there’s a manual component to it to get best results

What Could Be Better:

  • No built in burr grinder, you will need to put some money aside to invest in this component too for the best results.
  • Slightly plasticy finish

How do you take your latte?

Insulated cup or in a giant warming mug? Don’t forget if you’re buying someone a new latte maker, or you know they’ll be investing in one, the perfect accompaniment is a set of latte glasses or mugs.

We hope you enjoyed this selection of the best latte machines for home that you can buy online.

We understand the choices can be overwhelming at first, but we hope you’ll find the perfect brew for you in this selection. Happy sipping and happy shopping!

You can find more of our favourite drink products for mamas here!

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