Features to consider while choosing a latte machine
Once you have decided to buy a latte machine, don’t just buy the first one you can find. You might find yourself having to return it. Instead, make a pros and cons list of each model. Also, answer a few of these questions. Do you want it fully automated or semi-automated? How many people in your household drink coffee? When it comes to coffee, do you prefer to grind your beans, or do you want someone else to do it for you? Would you like to practice latte art with the coffee you make? Here, we take a look at the main features to consider before you buy your latte machine.
Type and ease of use
The type of late machine determines the ease of use and often the results you get. Automatic machines are generally easier to to use, since you operate them by touchscreen or pressing a button. There are also those that learn with each consequent use and adapt to the needs of the owner. With the Breville Barista Touch coffee maker, for example, initial use may prove difficult given that you have to figure out how to store your preferred coffee settings on the device. After that, things will get easier as all you have to do is click on your name to make a coffee.
If you’re uninterested in the intricacies of coffee making, there are machines that only require you to press a single button while they handle the rest. It is just a matter of preference. You can also find machines with useful features such as heating, for example thermal coffee makers.
The pressure of the machine is vital in that it heavily influences the quality of the brew. There is, of course, the industry standard of 9 to 10 bars pressure at the brew-head with most espresso machines. A 15 bar pump is what is needed to push water through the boiler of the latte machine and still retain 9 bars pressure at the end of the process. While other latte machines may claim a higher caliber bar pump up to 19 bars, it comes off as unnecessary as the output is still the same.
Water reservoir capacity
Smaller latte makers like the Mr. Coffee Café Latte model and single serve coffee makers will generally tend to have smaller water reservoirs. This limits the number of servings per brew. For large families or an office setting, this may not be ideal as it would require multiple brews at a time to keep up with coffee needs. Instead, one would benefit more from having a bigger water reservoir in such scenarios.
On the other hand, if you live alone, you probably don’t need to brew four cups of coffee at a time . Most of it would go to waste. As such, you would be better served by deciding on the water reservoir capacity that is ideal for your individual needs beforehand.
Which coffee can you use?
Do you have access to bean or ground coffee? If you have access to both, which do you prefer? Does the coffee maker support grinding? As you have seen above, most makers with a built-in grinder come at a higher price point. If you value that functionality, you will be more willing to pay a little extra. Others like the DeLonghi Lattissima Plus are limited to coffee in capsules, which makes these machines easier to use, but useless whenever these capsules are unavailable.
Counter space should also be a priority. Some coffee makers are broader, while others elongate upwards. Of course, this affects both the water and the milk reservoir capacity. If you have the extra space, you can buy and set up something bulkier if it serves you better than a smaller model would.
Sometimes devices can be defective from the manufacturer, and if you don’t have a warranty protecting you, then you get no compensation. Most latte makers tend to last about 12 months, but if you can get one for longer, you would be better off. Even then, manufacturers are aware of the quality they put forth and as such, warranty terms are a sign of their faith in themselves and their processes. Choose one with the most favorable warranty terms as you might need it.
Brands do matter when choosing a latte maker. Some of these companies have been making latte machines for quite a while now. They may have made a few mistakes in their initial years, and most of them have learned from them and continued to innovate new and better ways of making coffee.
As such, companies with lots of experience tend to make better machines, though this is not always the case.
Also, reputation tends to matter a lot. You are more likely to trust a company that has been known to manufacture quality products over the last few years. This information you can get by looking through reviews and at the names that come up over and over again.
How often do the individual components need to be cleaned? Some require cleaning out after every use while others can afford to wait for longer without risking irreparable damage. Also, spare part availability is essential. Having one little breakage could incapacitate the latte maker, and sometimes this can easily be fixed by buying a replacement for the part in question. Where these parts are unavailable, you might need to replace the whole gadget, and that costs more money.
On our list, some items cost well over 1000 dollars, and there are those you can acquire for less than $200. Both produce lattes, although the quality is different. Often your budget dictates which one you can get and that usually has a direct correlation with the quality of the product you get. Put plainly, the more you can spend, the more quality you are likely to get. You also get more features when you buy expensive machines. Nevertheless, your needs also factor in the final decision.
Tips for making coffee latte or latte macchiato
In making a coffee latte, the coffee is poured first into the cup before the milk. It is also the main ingredient and should thus fill at least three-quarters of the cup. For a latte macchiato, you serve it in a glass, and the coffee is the minor ingredient. You also pour the milk in first. For a frothy output, try and use full-fat milk.