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The Best Automated Espresso, Latte, and Cappuccino Makers (2022)

The Best Automated Espresso, Latte, and Cappuccino Makers (2022)

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A good latte or cappuccino is like a rich, milky cup of heaven. Just writing about these delicious, warming beverages makes you want one. Unfortunately, making the perfect cap or caffe latte at home can be a chore. Preparing a barista-worthy espresso is difficult enough, but adding the right amount of milk and foam, perfectly heated and combined, is surprisingly daunting.

That’s why we’ve compiled a list of machines that will make excellent milk-based or alternative-dairy-based drinks at the push of a button (or a few buttons). The machines here differ from the picks in our round-up of the best espresso machines in a few key ways. Here we collect machines that make it particularly easy to prepare drinks based on milk or alternative milk. These include machines with built-in containers for milk or machines that effectively do the steaming for you. In this way, these machines are automated or semi-automatic and are excellent for anyone looking for a device specialized in dispensing coffee at the touch of a button.

WIRED’s favorite coffee gadgets and tips

Updated December 2022: We’ve adjusted the tips in this guide to focus on automation and ease of use, we’ve also revamped the Q&A section, and reviewed pricing throughout.

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Overall best

This Mr. Coffee machine sits at a convenient intersection where ease of use, automation, and affordability are found. It can extract a flavorful espresso from almost any bean or grind, and its milk reservoir will automatically mix a cappuccino or latte for you.

This is basically a sturdier, better-designed version of the Mr. Coffee Café Barista, our affordable pick, with a nicer portafilter basket that holds ESE espresso pods and a larger milk container that snaps tighter. As with the cheaper version, you’ll need to load the coffee into the portafilter basket and crank it up (use a fine grind and squeeze with some pressure for the best flavor), but the machine can make you a cappuccino or latte macchiato at the touch of a button. It has two sizes of each and a manual mode that foams or extracts the espresso until you tell it to stop.

On the other hand, you need to clean the milk container at least once a week. (You can keep it in the fridge.) It also doesn’t extract quite as much espresso flavor as the Breville machines below, but it’s a lot easier to use. One day, just for fun, I (Jeffrey) dumped regular Maxwell House coffee in it. The result was definitely Maxwell House-like espresso, but it was still an acceptable Maxwell House espresso – good to the last drop™. It pulls an espresso out of almost anything as best it can.

Best machine for $200

The Café Barista is a slimmed down version of our top pick, the Mr. Coffee One-Touch Coffeehouse. It’s perfect if you want straight espresso and a machine that blends the milk for you without any fuss, but it’s also more malleable and lighter, meaning you really have to steady the machine with your hand when you’re putting the portafilter in rotate position. Aside from that, it makes pretty rich espressos, cappuccinos, and lattes in single or double sizes at the push of a button.

As with the One-Touch Coffeehouse, this machine’s integrated milk container has its pros and cons. You have to remember to remove and refrigerate it every morning and clean it every few days or else it could clog – cleaning is easy, thankfully. Milk tends to come out a bit more foamy than I (Jeffrey) prefer for a latte and it took me some time to understand what size glass I needed for each drink. (A double latte, for example, is 15 ounces, but a double cappuccino is only 10 ounces.) The pull-out booster is nice for smaller glasses.

Better taste, high learning curve

The Breville Barista Pro is a coffee house in a box. The built-in pressure-activated conical grinder gives you fresh ground just the way you like it, and the pressure gauge and options let you adjust the water temperature and shot size. You have to froth your own milk, and the steam wand makes it easier than the competition, with one handle and the ability to tilt in any direction. It cleans itself and you can get hot water from the machine to make tea or make an Americano.

We used to recommend the Express model because it’s cheaper but also more difficult to use. The Pro has revised the controls and the operation is much easier and more intuitive. All the accessories you need are included here: a stainless steel milk jug, magnetic tamper, trimming tool and more.

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