5 Best Espresso Machines with Milk Steamers
Do you want to learn how to make lattes or cappuccinos at home that taste like you got them from your favorite coffee shop?
If your answer is yes, then you’ll want to consider looking at espresso machines with milk steamers.
In this guide, we’ll help you make your decision by discussing our picks for the top 5 greatest home espresso machines with milk steamers, and the reasons why we think they’re so great.
This is what you’ll learn:
- How an espresso machine with a milk steamer benefits you
- Different features of espresso machines and what they mean
- Our picks for the top 5 greatest espresso machines with milk steamers
WHY SHOULD YOU BUY AN ESPRESSO MACHINE WITH A MILK STEAMER?
You might be wondering why you should buy a milk steamer espresso machine in the first place.
The answer to that all comes down to what kind of drinks you want to make at home. If you’re hoping to make lattes, cappuccinos, macchiatos, or mocha lattes, you’ll want a milk steamer to get you that much closer to professional-quality drinks.
A milk steamer makes it simple to create that perfect foamy milk used in many popular espresso-based beverages like lattes. It allows you to hold the pitcher of milk at the perfect angle for steaming and brings it up to temperature quickly.
Of course, you could always use your stove to make the heated milk necessary for those drinks, but your foam would never be quite as good.
At the same time, though, if you only ever want to make just espresso shots or Americanos, then you won’t get any significant use out of the milk steamer.
FEATURES TO CONSIDER IN YOUR PERFECT ESPRESSO MACHINE
There are other factors that contribute to how you steam milk for your latte beyond just the milk steamer.
The boiler your machine comes equipped with will have an impact on how you craft your drink. Perhaps the most significant thing your boiler type will affect is how quickly you’re able to enjoy your latte after you’ve started pulling a shot of espresso.
You’ll run into three main kinds of boilers as you look at machines:
- Single boilers
- Dual boilers
- Heat exchange boilers (also called HX boilers)
Single-boiler espresso machines only have one boiler – just like the name says.
This type of boiler is a bit slower than the alternatives because having only one boiler means it cannot brew and steam at the same time. You’ll need to wait after brewing to steam and vice versa.
The reason behind this is that brewing water and steaming water need to be heated to different temperatures. With only one boiler to go between those temperatures, it will need time to adjust.
Espresso machines with a dual boiler system have two separate boilers – one for steaming-temperature water and the other for brewing-temperature water.
This kind of setup means you can easily steam and brew at the same time. You won’t need to wait for your shot to finish pulling before you can start frothing your milk.
Dual boiler machines are usually the most powerful on the market, but the downside to them is they can take longer to warm up once you turn them on because two boilers need to be brought up to temperature instead of just one.
HEAT EXCHANGE BOILERS
Heat exchange boiler systems have only one boiler, but an innovative design makes it so users can still simultaneously steam and brew.
How does it work? A tube in the boiler siphons brewing-temperature water to the group head, while steaming water is kept separate.
An advantage to heat exchange boilers is that they don’t take as long to warm up as dual boilers. However, you will need to flush the group head before pulling your espresso shot to ensure the water is at an ideal temperature.
Just as the boiler type affects your drink-making, so does its size. Basically, the bigger the boiler, the more steam power the machine has.
For this reason, dual boilers are usually have the best steam power. Rather than sharing one boiler for both brewing and steaming, they have one boiler designed only for steaming and one for brewing.
But size really evens the playing field. If you have a 3-liter heat exchange boiler and you compare it to a .5-liter steam boiler in a dual boiler system, you’ll find the heat exchange boiler is stronger simply because of its larger size.
If you’re planning on using your expresso machine in your home, the size of the boiler isn’t going to be as big of an issue for you. Pretty much any boiler size will be sufficient for most home users.
This is a larger factor if you’re considering an espresso machine for a small office, where more people are going to be using the machine. A larger boiler can accommodate more drinks being made back to back.
STEAM WAND DESIGN
At first, the steam wand on your machine seems simple. After all, it’s there for frothing milk – what more could there be to it?
In fact, there are a few different features steam wands come with, and you may find some of them necessary.
For example, do you plan on making larger lattes? You might want a longer steam wand that’s capable of reaching deeper into bigger milk pitchers.
If you are worried about your comfort and want to be able to froth milk at different angles, you may prefer an articulating steam wand that can be repositioned as you see fit.
There are also thermally insulated steam wands that stay cool to the touch, for those who are worried about being burnt.
If your main concern is just making basic lattes or cappuccinos, the details of your steam wand may not be a big deal.
But if these features sound appealing (or even essential) to you, be sure to research the design of the steam wand in any espresso machine you consider.
If you're looking for a more powerful espresso machine that can steam enough milk for a business, you'll want to look at our buying guide for commercial espresso machines.
TOP 5 ESPRESSO MACHINES WITH MILK STEAMERS
Now that you’ve read up on some key features and what they mean, you might still be wondering which espresso machines you should consider.
To make it easier, we’ve selected what we think are the five greatest machines for making delicious steamed milk drinks from the comfort of your kitchen.
To make our picks, we looked at factors such as:
- Steam power
- Steam wand design
Without further ado, here are our picks for the top 5 greatest home espresso machines with milk steamers:
If budget is a big concern for you, this Rancilio model is the solution.
Aside from being extremely affordable, it uses a well-designed articulating steam wand that will allow you to froth milk from whichever angle you need.
It’s also a fantastic espresso machine for novices. It’s a pod adaptable machine, which makes it so beginners can use espresso pods rather than having to deal with freshly grinding their own espresso.
So if you need a budget-friendly and user-friendly machine, this one is definitely a worthy contender.
- Machine Type: Semiautomatic (manual dosing)
- Majesty Coffee Price: $715
- Boiler Size: 0.3 liters
- Boiler Type: Single Boiler
- Plumbing: Pour-over
- Water Tank Capacity: 2 liters. You won’t need to refill your water tank after making just a few lattes.
- Steam Arm: Articulating with one-hole steam tip, so you can comfortably froth from any angle.
- Thermal Wrapped Boiler: Thermal insulation around the boiler means it won’t consume as much energy to keep the water up to temperature.
- Adjustable Expansion Valve: Customize your drinks just a bit more by using the expansion valve by the boiler to adjust the max pressure used for brewing.
- Optional PID Controller: Do you want even greater control over the temperature in the machine? This model comes with the option to purchase a PID controller, which makes tweaking and maintaining the temperature simple.
- Pod Adaptable: Inexperienced? Start with the removable pod kit for an easier initial experience, then switch to freshly ground espresso if you want once you’re ready.
With the Quick Mill Silvano Evo, you’ll be able to enjoy the famous flexibility that comes with a semiautomatic machine while also being able to brew and steam at the same time because of its boiler.
The Quick Mill also has a breath-taking 20 espresso-per-hour capacity, which means this is also a suitable model for small offices or coffee shops.
- Machine Type: Semiautomatic (manual dosing)
- Majesty Coffee Price: $1,075
- Boiler Capacity: 0.4 liters
- Boiler Type: Single boiler (hybrid, so you can steam and brew simultaneously)
- Plumbing: Pour-over
- Water Tank Capacity: 2 liters, so it can go for awhile without needing a water refill.
- Steam Arm: Articulating with one-hole steam tip.
- Shot Timer: Ensure you brew each shot for the perfect amount of time with a built-in timer you can use to keep an eye on the time.
- PID Temperature Controller: Choosing and maintaining the ideal temperature is simple using this programmable temperature controller.
- 3-Position Power Switch: As an added safety measure, the power switch gives you the option to fill the boiler and heat it at the same time or fill the boiler without heating – if there are any problems with it filling, this option protects it from running dry and damaging itself.
- 3-Way Solenoid Valve: You’ll be protected from being sprayed with hot coffee grounds as this valve de-pressurizes the group head automatically before you remove it.
- Quick Access Water Tank: Rather than being built on top, the water tank is built into the side for easy refill access.
The Nuova Simonelli Oscar I was a legendary home espresso machine, and the Oscar II improved upon its design with several brilliant features.
Suitable for homes or small businesses, the Oscar II boasts an impressive steam power with its 2-liter heat exchange boiler.
It’s excellent for baristas of any skill level. Experienced baristas will enjoy its semiautomatic use that allows users to pull shots for whatever length of time they choose, while those less experienced will love its programmed dosing that will end the brew cycle for you.
One thing to be aware of, though, is that this model does not come with a separate hot water spigot. If you want to make Americanos, keep in mind you’ll need a different hot water tank to do so.
- Machine Type: Semiautomatic + timed dosing
- Majesty Coffee Price: $1,295
- Boiler Capacity: 2 liters
- Boiler Type: Heat exchange
- Plumbing: Pour-over
- Water Tank Capacity: 2.3 liters
- Steam Arm: Long and articulating (allows users to reach further into larger milk pitchers)
- Push-Pull Steam: Rather than strain your wrists by turning a valve repeatedly, you can operate steaming on the Oscar II with the easy push or pull of a switch.
- Cup Warmer: Keep your drinks warm for as long as possible by storing your cups on a convenient cup-warming shelf right on top of the machine.
- Reverse Mirror: You’ll be able to monitor each espresso from all angles using the shining stainless steel back plate that also doubles as a mirror.
- Programmable Dosing: Use programmable dosing options to set the perfect amount of time for brewing, so the machine will end the brew cycle for you.
- Soft Infusion: This pre-infusion system saturates the grounds before full extraction, ensuring the water can come through evenly and promoting a better flavor in the espresso.
The Rocket Appartamento beautifully combines form and function with its artistic side panels and 1.8-liter heat exchange boiler.
Circular cutouts available in White or Copper on the side of the machine make it look graceful and tasteful, while its heat exchange boiler gives it a lot of steam power.
This machine was made for home baristas who demand high-quality drinks time after time. But it’s also ideal for small business, as well, with its rapid steaming ability making it easily breeze through drinks.
- Machine Type: Semiautomatic (Lever-operated manual dosing)
- Majesty Coffee Price: $1,690
- Boiler Capacity: 1.8 liters
- Boiler Type: Heat Exchange
- Plumbing: Pour-over
- Water Tank Capacity: 2.25 liters
- Steam Arm: Articulating with one-hole steam tip
- No Burn Hot Water and Steam Wands: Thermally insulated hot water and steam wands keeps users safe from painful burns.
- E-61 Commercial Brew Group: Temperature consistency is guaranteed by circulating water continuously between the boiler and brew head. Also comes with automatic pre-infusion that erases errors in tamping by settling the espresso puck with a delicate stream of water before extraction.
- Boiler Pressure Gauge: Use the pressure gauge to tell at a glance when your machine is ready for brewing and steaming.
- Metal Tamper: The beautiful look of the machine is complemented by a matching branded metal tamper.
- Steam Power: A strong 1.8-liter heat exchange boiler means you’ll be able to rapidly steam milk.
- Removable Cup Guard: Keep cups stored on top of the machine safe from harm with a guard rail that prevents them from flying if the machine is bumped.
As a volumetric machine, the La Spaziale S1 Vivaldi II is fantastically user-friendly.
With the push of a button, baristas can brew consistently high-quality single or double shots time after time as the machine handles the brewing process for you.
It also comes with an integrated diagnostics system that will let you know when there are issues with the machine. This takes the frustrating guesswork out of the troubleshooting process.
- Machine Type: Automatic (volumetric dosing)
- Majesty Coffee Price: $2,575
- Boiler Capacity: 0.45-liter brewing boiler and 2.5-liter steaming boiler
- Boiler Type: Dual boiler
- Plumbing: Direct-connect (hooks up to a water line and refills its water tank automatically)
- Steam Arm: Articulating with 0.9-mm four-hole steam tip
- Rotary Pump: As opposed to the alternative vibratory pump, this pump is extremely quiet and long-lived.
- Dual Manometer: Group and boiler pressure are combined into one gauge, so you can be aware of any issues with pressure by quickly looking in one place.
- Volumetric Dosing: This machine stops the brewing cycle for users at just the right time using pre-programmed settings, making it simpler to learn to use.
- Programmable Passive Pre-Infusion: Customize and enhance drinks on the fly with programmable pre-infusion that you can set for anywhere between one and eight seconds.
- Touch Pad Temperature: Enjoy maximum control over internal temperature with a straightforward touch pad on the machine.